Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

New airberlin options for low-tax Avios redemptions

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German airline airberlin offers one of the best options for spending your Avios points without incurring high taxes.

Whilst little known, airberlin is a full member of the oneworld alliance alongside BA, Qatar, Cathay, Qantas etc.  All of its long-haul aircraft now offer fully flat beds in business class.

I have flown airberlin business class from New York and I was perfectly happy with it.  Given the tax was under £2 for a one-way ticket, it would have been churlish to complain.

Abu Dhabi services from Berlin doubled

On October 26th airberlin introduced a 2nd daily flight from Berlin to Abu Dhabi.

This is fantastic news as this is one of the best value Avios redemptions available.  Because Berlin to Abu Dhabi is just under 3,000 miles, a return flight in business class is only 50,000 Avios plus £51 of tax.  Economy is only 25,000 Avios return.

airberlin also flies to Abu Dhabi from Dusseldorf but that is 80,000 Avios per person.

It is also about to launch services from Stuttgart (1st December) and Vienna (24th November) to Abu Dhabi using short-haul aircraft.  These will be 50,000 Avios and under £50 of tax return in business but I have not yet seen what seat will be used.  The Vienna flights will be under the NIKI brand.

Etihad is a 29% shareholder in airberlin if you were wondering why it flies to Abu Dhabi so heavily.

Other US routes improved

airberlin has also announced increased frequencies to the USA.  Dusseldorf will see its New York services increase to daily during the Winter timetable and twice a day from the Summer 2015 timetable.

Services to Los Angeles from Dusseldorf next Summer will increase from four to six per week.

To provide the aircraft for this, the Miami to Berlin service is being dropped from next Summer.  Miami to Dusseldorf will remain.

Full schedule

You can learn more about redeeming on airberlin in my ‘Avios Redemption University’ article.

This is the full list of airberlin long-haul routes together with approximate taxes.  The Avios prices are for return flights in business class.  Halve the Avios number for economy redemptions.

This list was put together a few months ago so may contain some errors – I will update it when I re-run our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series soon.  Some of the holiday routes were due to be losing business class seating this year.

Abu Dhabi from Berlin – 50,000 Avios + £51

Abu Dhabi from Dusseldorf – 80,000 Avios + £52

Abu Dhabi from Stuttgart (starts 1 December) – 50,000 Avios + £48 (short-haul plane)

Abu Dhabi from Vienna (starts 24 November) – 50,000 Avios + £46 (short-haul plane)

Cancun from Munich – 120,000 Avios + £88

Cancun from Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £86

Chicago from Berlin – 100,000 Avios + £65

Curacao from Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £46

Dominican Republic (3 airports) from Munich, Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £105

Fort Myers, Florida from Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £66

Los Angeles from Dusseldorf – 120,000 Avios + £66  (Summer only)

Miami from Berlin (stopping Summer 2015) – 100,000 Avios + £65

Miami from Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £66

Mombasa, Kenya from Munich – 80,000 Avios + £82

New York from Berlin – 80,000 Avios + £65

New York from Dusseldorf – 80,000 Avios + £66

Varadero, Cuba from Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £53


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (21)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Nick says:

    As Rob knows, I flew TXL-AUH in Business during September and I had nothing to complain about. Nice big LCD TV at each seat too. I also used the free chauffer service from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. I did try getting into the Etihad arrivals lounge but had no luck.
    Already have new York to Dusseldorf booked for next July in Business with Air Berlin again. 40000 Avios + £3.

    • goglobalnz says:

      So chauffeur service is available on avios redemptions? Interesting..

      • Rob says:

        Yes, you are treated the same as a revenue passenger. 70 mile radius I think.

        • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

          Do you get the chauffeur at TXL? That could make a transfer to SXF very painless indeed.

          • Rob says:

            Yes, I believe so

          • Nick says:

            Yes definitely. I didn’t use it as my parents were with me but it’s definitely available. Only allowed 1 other person in the chauffer car with you.

          • James says:

            Interesting.. So you could arrive at SXF and get chauffeured to TXL… Right? That would solve the major issue with flights ex TXL for us since LH dropped MAN – TXL last year

          • Rob says:

            I know someone who lives in Cardiff who Etihad happily chauffeured to Heathrow on a reward so I doubt SXF is a problem! (NB. I’m not sure that Cardiff still works because I think Etihad reduced the free pick up radius last year.)

  • PGW says:

    I’m finding that Business redemptions to Florida are very much harder to find than previously. Maybe more people are discovering the value now.

    I tried for months to find 2 seats to Fort Myers in October this year without success. I ended up going in Economy which I vowed I would never do again. the seat pitch is dreadful for such a long flight.

  • Dave says:

    Hi Rob,

    I’m interested in using my Avios to book a return to Varadero with airBerlin in 2015. Can’t seem to get to recognise the airport (assuming because its in Cuba). Any tips on how to check the avios redemption availability and book this?

    • Rob says:

      See if airberlin lets you check topbonus reward availability on its own site (you may need to register for topbonus and log in) if you don’t have enough miles to book. If so, you can see what dates have seats – BA should be able to see the same if you call.

    • friendofbiffin says:

      Not sure why but if you search by airport code (VRA) on the Executive Club website it will recognise this and give you the results, e.g. it’s showing availability in both economy and business on the DUS-VRA route for a trip 19-26 June.

  • goglobalnz says:

    On the Airberlin topic – I successfully status matched from Flying Blue Elite+ last week and will have Topbonus Gold until 31.12.2015

    The merry-go-round continues!

  • Andi Hawes says:

    Assume you cant use a BA companion voucher on Air Berlin [or any other Partners for that matter]?

  • Lady London says:

    Wow. Right under Lufthansa’s nose.

  • Michael says:

    If Airberlin has rewardseats under their loyalty scheme, can they always be used/booked with Avios points? Would I need to ring BA in that case, if not showing on BAEC?

    • Rob says:

      Assuming you are looking at base level awards (ie not paying a premium to open up extra space) then probably Yes. I have never heard anyone say that airberlin holds back seats for its own members. Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa are the main guilty parties who play this game.

  • Nick says:

    This is a really lazy question as I’m sure I could find the answer out for myself, but if I book an airberlin flight with my avios do I still have to pay the £70 seat reservation fees? The BA taxes are bad enough, but with the seat thing on top it really is getting ridiculous. It’s probably better value to book 2 reward flights with non-BA airlines now rather than trying to use the companion voucher with BA.

    • Rob says:

      No, only BA charges seat reservation fees. airberlin seat reservations are free.

      • nick says:

        Fantastic, thanks. So that’s an additional £280 saving for flying on non ba aircraft then.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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