Free Airberlin Topbonus Gold, Oneworld Sapphire status match

By Chris Chamberlin , March 17 2015
Free Airberlin Topbonus Gold, Oneworld Sapphire status match

Aussie travellers should move swiftly to take advantage of a great ‘status match’ offer from Airberlin, where jetsetters can flash their existing frequent flyer card and pocket Silver or Gold status for 12 months from the German airline's Topbonus loyalty scheme.

As it happens, Airberlin sits in the convenient centre of a virtual ‘love triangle’ with Qantas, Virgin Australia and Etihad – offering perks such as airport lounge access, priority check-in and priority boarding with all three airlines.

Add to that Airberlin’s standing in the global Oneworld airline alliance and you’re also looking at lounge access and other benefits with airlines such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Qatar Airways for cardholders at the Gold/Oneworld Sapphire tier.

For those not familiar with the concept of status matching: Airberlin is doing this primarily to entice loyal customers of other airlines to jump ship – but without starting at rock bottom in long check-in queues or sitting out in the terminal when there’s a lounge or ‘Exclusive Waiting Area’ available.

The quirks of status matching with Airberlin Topbonus

This one’s a little tricky… Airberlin won’t status match travellers across from other Oneworld airlines – including with Qantas Frequent Flyer and Cathay Pacific Marco Polo – as in theory, these members already enjoy privileges when flying with Airberlin: Exclusive Waiting Areas excluded.

Airberlin's Exclusive Waiting Area in Hamburg – off-limits to Oneworld frequent flyers
Airberlin's Exclusive Waiting Area in Hamburg – off-limits to Oneworld frequent flyers

Australian Business Traveller has also received reports that Virgin Australia Velocity cards aren’t being accepted for matching by Airberlin, and that shiny Etihad Guest cards are being accepted for some and declined for others.

That creates a handy shortcut for Aussies who took advantage of Etihad’s own status match promo this month and who now possess an Etihad Guest Gold card – simply proffer that, rather than your Qantas Frequent Flyer card, for a possible match with Airberlin.

You could also parlay an elite card from frequent flyer schemes such as Emirates Skywards, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, GarudaMiles or United MileagePlus to get the same with Airberlin and Oneworld.

Eligible Silver-level members will be offered Topbonus Silver and Oneworld Ruby status, while Gold, Platinum and other high-tier travellers will receive a Topbonus Gold and Oneworld Sapphire card.

Topbonus Platinum and top-level Oneworld Emerald status, however, isn’t up for grabs.

Applying for Topbonus Silver, Gold status

If you’re not already a member, sign-up to Airberlin’s Topbonus frequent flyer program online for free, then email [email protected] with your Topbonus number and a scan, photo or copy of your current Silver, Gold or Platinum frequent flyer card.

(We’d suggest that travellers joining Topbonus ignore the final, optional question during the sign-up process which promotes a ‘Topbonus Service Card’ for €119/year. This isn’t required to join the scheme and only provides benefits when travelling with Airberlin – not its web of partners.)

Even if you only qualify for Topbonus Silver, that still lands you priority check-in, priority boarding plus a boosted baggage allowance with Virgin Australia, along with access to Airberlin’s own Exclusive Waiting Areas in airports across Germany and Austria.

Make it to Topbonus Gold and you’re also looking at access to the lounges of both Qantas and Virgin Australia, and the business class lounges of others such as Cathay Pacific and British Airways.

Stop by Cathay Pacific's The Pier Business Lounge on your next trip to Hong Kong
Stop by Cathay Pacific's The Pier Business Lounge on your next trip to Hong Kong

So if you don't already have status with those airlines' own frequent flyer schemes, adding a free Topbonus Gold or Silver card to your wallet is a great way to guarantee a little sanctuary at the airport when flying with Airberlin and its growing web of partners.

For more information, head to the Airberlin website.

Also read: Topbonus, Etihad Airways and the quirky Qantas connection

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter:  we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

So no go if you are Platinum QFF (or other OneWorld) or Platinum Velocity (VA), and may be rejected if Etihad Guest elite. Sounds like a very small pool there (for the Australian readers)...

Qantas and Velocity may be the 'biggies' in Australia, but let's not forget all of the Star Alliance and SkyTeam airlines that fly in our skies and the loyalty programs of each of those, to which many Aussies are members.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Agreed, it might not be available to the most common FF elites here but as long as people are aware of that, it is still a benefit (there are some other elites out there). Plus you can always try to get a Turkish Airways status match if you are a QFF elite (slightly less likely for a VA elite but not unknown), and if the gods smile on you, you might be able to just sneak it in before this Airberlin status match closes. Wouldn't count on it, but you never know your luck.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 343

It's perfect for those Aegean gold, who just lost permanent *A gold status due to their recent changes and the status will expire this year. 

I've read several report that Aegean has been accepted as Air Berlin is competing routes with it, and they are in competing alliances as well, ie, OW vs *A. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

02 Nov 2013

Total posts 29

I can definitely confirm that. I have Gold with Agean and airberlin matched that yesterday. Have to say, I was a little surprised. In my experience, status match requests for A3 gold are always dismissed.

09 Nov 2011

Total posts 10

Just got my A3  gold matched in just hours. Pretty happy about that!

qff

26 Nov 2013

Total posts 8

While this article suggests that those who recently applied for the Etihad Gold status match successfully should sign up for this one, I'd be very surprised if anyone would currently be in a position to take advantage of this offer using a newly aquired Etihad gold match - by all accounts, the process takes several months (and as we know, Etihad reserves the right to pick and choose).  Happy to stand corrected.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Apr 2015

Total posts 12

Stand corrected :) it worked for me. Sent them a copy of my email from etihad

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

Around 3 weeks ago they knocked back my NZ *Silver Card cause they won't do any QF cards

Has anything changed since then?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Dec 2012

Total posts 172

The air berlin website has a status match promotion dated 3rd March. If you click on it another page opens and says registration has closed

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

18 Jun 2013

Total posts 26

Damn, I have been hanging out for a status match on Oneworld , but have only currently VA Gold to match with. Back into the waiting line.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Feb 2015

Total posts 34

Airberlin do not fly to Australia, so if someone lives in AUS what can they do holding an Topbonus Silver with which airlines at SYD for example?

Topbonus Silver = Oneworld Ruby, so in Sydney that's priority check-in and priority waitlisting with Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LAN and Malaysia Airlines.

The is also available with both Virgin Australia and Etihad, and if you qualify for Topbonus Gold/Oneworld Sapphire, add lounge access and priority boarding to that as above.

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

14 Apr 2013

Total posts 320

I just got Status Matched. I am a Delta Gold Medalion Member and now a AB Gold Member. That was esier to attain then if I worked throuh the QFF programe :-)

19 Mar 2015

Total posts 1

Can confirm airberlin are still status matching, i got my conformation email *A gold to Airberlin gold this afternoon (18/03)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Mar 2015

Total posts 2

I just got approved for Top Bonus status match !!! Thank you AusBT ! I fly regularly on star alliance and enjoy the perks of gold status. Sometimes have to travel on one world airlines and have never been able to achieve the gold with them. Now I am sorted for nearly all my flights i Take ! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Mar 2015

Total posts 3

thanks so much for this tip Chris.  

Successful status match Qantas Gold to Etihad Gold last year and was emailed just now re successful Etihad Gold to AirBerlin Gold.

Simple and quick process too

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Apr 2014

Total posts 37

Aegean Gold matched to Etihad Gold for Virgin privileges, and now used the combination for Air Berlin Gold, for privileges on QF and OW!

Great. Fast. Thanks AusBT!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

02 Nov 2013

Total posts 29

Thanks for this, great tip! I'm Gold with Agean and airberlin matched me - and it's a far more useful FF scheme for me. 

But just wondering... if I'm flying Etihad out of Melbourne, does my topbonus Gold get me into a lounge? I know it gets me into the Al Reem lounge in Abu Dhabi, but that's a dedicated Etihad lounge. I believe Etihad uses Air NZ's lounge in Melbourne, but does anyone know if that extends to topbonus gold members?

20 Mar 2015

Total posts 2

Very disappointed.  I have alaska airlines gold and air berlin only matched it to silver.  Not much use for me, I wanted to use it to get into the virgin australia lounge.  Any suggestions?

I also sent an email to Etihad for their status match but haven't had a response.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

02 Nov 2013

Total posts 29

I got an instant, automated reply yesterday to the Eithad one - said it's closed.

Apologies if I have misunderstood the obvious - does TopBonus Gold allow entry into the Etihad Lounge in Sydney (if travelling with Etihad on economy) ?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

02 Nov 2013

Total posts 29

Just asking again...

if I'm flying Etihad out of Melbourne, does my topbonus Gold get me into a lounge? I know it gets me into the Al Reem lounge in Abu Dhabi, but that's a dedicated Etihad lounge. I believe Etihad uses Air NZ's lounge in Melbourne, but does anyone know if that extends to topbonus gold members?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Apr 2014

Total posts 37

Pretty sure it wouldn't as it is a contracted lounge.

I remember a similar situation where I was not accepted into the Singapore Airlines lounge at Perth on a Virgin Australia international flight using an Etihad Gold card: also here the card allows lounge access with Virgin, but as they contracted the lounge to SQ at the International Terminal this doesn't apply.

Velocity Gold members were allowed access though..

Small print on that card said 'Virgin Australia Lounges', and not 'any lounge Virgin Australia uses for their flights'..

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Apr 2014

Total posts 37

The thing is that the Etihad 'alliance' is not as reciprocal as the real alliances like OW, *A and ST where any combination works.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

31 Mar 2015

Total posts 1

Just received this email response when trying to status match Gold VA  

Thank you for your e-mail. Unfortunately we may not match your status. Virgin Australia is no longer a status match partner of topbonus. The VirginGroup intends to build up its own alliance, so thy release their connections to any other alliance.

 

Hi Shane, good to know that this is still the case, although this was covered in the article:

"Australian Business Traveller has also received reports that Virgin Australia Velocity cards aren’t being accepted for matching by Airberlin..."

"You could also parlay an elite card from frequent flyer schemes such as Emirates Skywards, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, GarudaMiles or United MileagePlus to get the same with Airberlin and Oneworld."

Email from AIr Berlin:

"thank you for your E-Mail and your Status Match request. 

Unfortunately a status match with Garuda Indonesia member card is not possible. 
It only is possible for some airlines."

This was a Gold Elite Skyteam application. Oh well, maybe another time.
 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Apr 2015

Total posts 12

Anyone got their card in the mail yet? I'm still waiting....

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

02 Nov 2013

Total posts 29

I got mine a while ago. Took just a couple of weeks. Very handy, too - as the article says it has got me into both Virgin and Qantas domestic lounges in the past couple of weeks. 


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