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.
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.
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.
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.
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