Qantas and Virgin Australia are severing their respective frequent flyer partnerships with Airberlin as the German airline continues its insolvency proceedings.
Qantas Frequent Flyer members will no longer earn Qantas Points or status credits aboard Airberlin flights with an AB or HG flight number from November 15 2017, or when travelling on a Oneworld codeshare flight when booked on an AB or HG flight number.
Travelling with Airberlin’s low-cost affiliate Niki will also attract no points or status credits from November 15, which Qantas Frequent Flyer members currently earn at the same rates as with Airberlin.
Australian Business Traveller understands that this is because Airberlin has chosen to no longer award frequent flyer on its flights in any frequent flyer program as part of the insolvency process, but that Qantas (and a number of other Oneworld partners) will themselves honour the earning of points and status credits for travellers who submit a 'missing points claim' for their Airberlin flights.
Passengers who have flown with Airberlin and Niki after August 19 2017 will also need to submit a claim to receive their points and status credits.
Qantas has also suspended frequent flyer reward bookings on Airberlin, but assures that all Classic Flight Reward tickets which were issued by Qantas on or before August 19 2017 will remain valid for travel on the flight(s) and date(s) indicated on the ticket.
However, where travel on Airberlin is disrupted – such as by flight cancellations or schedule changes – Qantas Classic Flight Reward travellers may be offered the following:
- Rebooking on an alternative route with another Qantas airline partner, subject to reward availability and the payment of any additional Qantas Points and applicable taxes
- The ability to cancel the reward booking with a full reinstatement of the Qantas Points spent
Qantas also advises that while voluntary changes are not permitted (other than as normally permitted on reward bookings), passengers unable to travel may also be able to receive a full refund on their booking with the usual 'reward cancellation refund' charge waived.
Additionally, all Qantas 'reward assistance fees', change fees and cancellation fees are being waived for Airberlin reward bookings.
Airberlin has advised its Oneworld alliance partners that it will continue to honour Oneworld benefits in line with the normal alliance rules, such as airport lounge access (where available), priority check in and airport fast-track for eligible frequent flyers, including Qantas Gold and Platinum members.
Virgin Australia also ends frequent flyer partnership with Airberlin
Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer members will instead continue to earn frequent flyer points on all existing Airberlin reservations, and on all new bookings made until September 5 2017 (including for travel after that date), but will earn no points on new bookings made on or after September 6.
Velocity members currently earn status credits with Airberlin only when travelling on a VA codeshare flight number – but as with frequent flyer points, these will also be honoured for all bookings made until September 5.
Reward bookings on Airberlin using Velocity points will also cease from September 6, with the last day to exchange Velocity points for an Airberlin flight being September 5. Velocity points cannot be earned or redeemed on Niki flights, as is already the case.
As of September 1 2017, Velocity Silver, Gold and Platinum members will no longer receive Airberlin status benefits, such as access to priority check-in facilities, and for Gold- and Platinum-grade members, the use of Airberlin Exclusive Waiting Areas at German airports.
Airberlin has also suspended its own Topbonus frequent flyer program, with members currently unable to redeem their existing miles or to collect new miles. Any miles that are ‘earned’ while the program is suspended may be credited if the program survives the insolvency process.
“As soon as the collection of miles will be reopened in the programme, for example for specific partners, they will therefore be credited to your miles account again,” Airberlin advised its Topbonus members by email overnight.
“Ideally this means that despite the insolvency proceedings you will not lose any of your miles at all.”
Airberlin affirms that its elite-level Topbonus members will continue enjoying the benefits their status brings with both Airberlin and its Oneworld partner airlines, including airport lounge access for Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers, while the program remains suspended.