Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

airberlin now offering oneworld status via credit card spend – would a UK credit card do this?

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

This isn’t a post you can take advantage of, unless you live in Germany or Austria, but it is another example of how the credit card industry is shaping the loyalty business.

airberlin is now giving status miles when you spend on their branded Visa cards.


The German card offers 1 status mile per €1 on purchases

The Austrian card offers 1 status miles per €1 on purchases AND cash withdrawals!

Not many people will be able to achieve status purely on the back of credit card spend.  You will need to spend €25,000 to get the equivalent of BA Bronze, €50,000 to get the equivalent of BA Silver and €100,000 to get the equivalent of BA Gold.  However it will certainly help people who do only a modest amount of oneworld flying achieve a decent level of status.

That said, some people will certainly be trying to play games with the Austrian card.  Withdrawals of cash on the credit card are charged at 3% plus a flat fee of 35 cents.  An average spender may be tempted to pay the fees required to top up their normal spending in order to hit the €50,000 target required for BA Silver-equivalent.

There is currently no UK airline credit card which gives status by default. Etihad Guest does give Silver status after one return flight to UK credit card holders.

It is different with the hotel credit cards:

the Marriott card comes with Silver status

the Hilton card comes with Silver status and Gold for spending £10,000

the Starwood card comes with Preferred Plus status and Gold for spending £15,000

the IHG Rewards Club basic card comes with Gold status

the IHG Rewards Club Premium card comes with Platinum status

Will we soon see our first UK instance of a credit card giving airline status for spending?

(To see our complete list of all current UK credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (28)

  • Scotlish says:

    I thought I’d just mention that you can apply for the German card from the UK, you just need to have a German bank account which you can get with or with ease (I’m personally with Comdirect), you can also apply for the German Hilton HHonors Visa which offers better value for money than the UK HHonors card (in my opinion), for those ineligible for a UK AMEX you could try your luck in Germany too.

    It would also appear you can apply for the Austrian card too as you can pick Großbritannien however I’m unsure as to whether you need an Austrian bank account. I would presume you can use your British account as it asks for IBAN/BIC in place of an account number/sort code (it’s a one or the other thing) although as I haven’t gone through the application I cannot be certain.

    Just thought I’d clear up the misconception that you need to live in Germany (and possibly Austria) in order to apply for the card 🙂

    • Alan says:

      Better vfm Hilton card sounds good – is there a link to info? Could be an interesting post, Raffles.

      • Scotlish says:

        This is the link to the HHonors Visa in Germany, benefits are Gold status (only reason for the card), 10,000 welcome points, 2 point per euro spend (3 if spent in a Hilton property). I have the card and it’s a good card in my opinion, especially the Gold status compared the UK one which only offers Silver unless you spend £10k. The only thing you that makes the UK card better is the free night credit which to some would be a deal breaker.

        There’s a 48€/yr fee though but more than worth it if you use it daily and stay at Hilton properties regularly.

    • Polly says:

      Thank you for that, v useful for those of us whose MP cards will expire later this year. And yes, it would be worth keeping the plat then once we had BA silver equivalent with someone in OW.

      • Rob says:

        Hmm … I would be interested to see if they actually let you have one. The UK is pretty strict and the Germans are even worse – remember that very few even have credit cards!

        • Scotlish says:

          From experience I can tell you that DKB will issue the HHonors credit card without issue to UK customers, likewise you can be issued a Lufthansa credit card. I believe American Express issue cards to non-German customers too although I’ll need to check as I haven’t had one issued myself (not bothered applying).

          Germany isn’t actually strict when it comes to issuing credit cards, all you need is a German bank account (as before or and you can then apply for any card you like (unless explicitly stated it’s only for German residents) so for the Germans being worse in strictness, they’re not at all, rather they’re relaxed which in a way is worrying but that’s for another topic :p

          Hope it’s useful to an extent 🙂

          • Rob says:

            Very useful! Ironically my German wife has closed all of her local accounts ….

          • Alan says:

            Thanks – that’s interesting info both on the card and the German bank account front 🙂

          • Scotlish says:

            You’re both welcome, when I first discovered this a while back I was surprised too but since it’s been incredibly beneficial especially on the HHonors status front.