In a really twisted way the British Airways Executive Club program keeps getting better, despite the big devaluation last year. First we discovered that Avios could be redeemed for travel on Aer Lingus without fuel surcharges, then that there’s a workaround to redeem Avios for travel on Iberia without fuel surcharges, and now it looks like another transatlantic carrier is joining the party.

Air Berlin joined the OneWorld alliance recently, and for close to a year it has been possible to search their award space on ba.com. This wasn’t especially exciting to me since there were hefty fuel surcharges for award redemptions on Air Berlin, and frankly their transatlantic product doesn’t look amazing.

However, for whatever reason it appears that British Airways is presently not imposing fuel surcharges for redemptions on Air Berlin. The typical transatlantic fuel surcharges are somewhere around $350 roundtrip, so we’re talking about substantial savings here.

For example, New York to Dusseldorf roundtrip in business class would run you just 80,000 Avios and $102.17 in taxes:

It’s worth noting that you can book one-ways at half the cost (40,000 Avios each way), and you can fly economy at half the cost as well (20,000 Avios each way).

Air Berlin’s routes to North America include the following (with roundtrip mileage costs stated next to them in coach and business class, respectively):

  • New York to Berlin (40,000/80,000)
  • Miami to Berlin (50,000/100,000)
  • Los Angeles to Berlin (60,000/120,000)
  • Fort Myers to Dusseldorf (50,000/100,000)
  • Los Angeles to Dusseldorf (60,000/120,000)
  • Las Vegas to Dusseldorf (50,000/100,000)
  • Miami to Dusseldorf (50,000/100,000)
  • New York to Dusseldorf (40,000/80,000)
  • Vancouver to Dusseldorf (50,000/100,000)

As a reminder British Airways’ award chart is distance based, so you can connect onwards within Europe on Air Berlin or one of their partner airlines, though you’ll be charged the mileage for each individual segment. You can use the Avios calculator to figure out how many miles would be needed.

As far as Air Berlin’s business class goes, it’s my understanding that Air Berlin has a reasonably decent business class product to the US, with most aircraft being outfitted with these angled flat seats.

Lastly, keep in mind that through September 27 American Express Membership Rewards is offering a 40% transfer bonus to British Airways Executive Club. That means you’re looking at roundtrip transatlantic coach award tickets for as little as 29,000 Membership Rewards points, and roundtrip transatlantic business class award tickets for as little as 58,000 Membership Rewards points, which is an amazing deal.

Hope some of you can take advantage of this!

(Tip of the hat to DansDeals and Love2Travel)

  1. September 20th, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Lantean said,

    nice find. sadly, i think their DUS-VIE flight is all coach.
    :(

  2. September 20th, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Lantean — Yeah, they’re a low cost carrier, so their intra-Europe service is all one cabin.

  3. September 20th, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Oliver2002 said,

    Be verycareful to check if the C product has been updated… The have a really old barcalounger config, a refit to the second hand former LX seat and the Ethiad product one aircraft that flies to AUH :o

  4. September 20th, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Martin said,

    The Chicago to Berlin route will start in March.

  5. September 20th, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Jeff said,

    are you getting in on this?

  6. September 20th, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Jeff — VERY tempted to, though my schedule is up in the air right now (no pun intended).

  7. September 21st, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Rory said,

    I think more of their aircraft are to be fitted with the Etihad Business seat, but no idea what the timeline is.

  8. September 21st, 2012 at 12:30 am

    ivk5 said,

    I flew AB JFK-DUS recently (on an AA award). Hard product is terrible – their angled lie-flat seat was the most uncomfortable I’ve ever tried to sleep in. Service was fine although I didn’t stay up for food so can’t comment on that. They’re now flying out of T8 @ JFK which helps with AA connections.

  9. September 21st, 2012 at 12:57 am

    Duncan said,

    Air Berlin is a hybrid LLC/Full service. It is a “cool” airline in both Europe & Asia. Has phenomenal growth and was snapped up by the competition fast. In Business they still have half the fleet with recliners and angle flats being rolled out, If you have a fetish for amenity kits and PJ’s, uber cool. Very popular with the creative types because of it’s routes??? Their intra Europe BC is no worse than the legacy airlines. You can book fare+rail as part of your ticket (very useful and often quicker than a connecting flight in Europe) They have a good code share with Eithiad including chauffeur service. when hu

  10. September 21st, 2012 at 1:00 am

    Duncan said,

    @Lucky,
    “airberlin Amenity Kit, which won the TravelPlus “Gold Award” in 2011,”

  11. September 21st, 2012 at 1:02 am

    lucky said,

    @ Duncan — Wow, they have PJs in business class?!

  12. September 21st, 2012 at 5:53 am

    German Expat said,

    Ethiad owns part of Air Berlin, actually they bought it end of last year to rescue them going bankrupt. They also just had a management shakeup and there are persistent rumors their CEO will get fired.
    They have very good pricing, good service and it really helped to keep Lufthansa’s domestic and regional pricing in check.

  13. September 21st, 2012 at 9:03 am

    oliver2002 said,

    @rory: no plans to install the ethiad seat fleetwide just on 3-4 aircraft that will fly to AUH. They just spent a ton of cash installing the second hand LX angled seat, so that has to wait till they actually earn money. Remember AB nearly wenttits up before EY came in to help out!

  14. September 21st, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Sean said,

    Because they’re One World can the same be applied to AA miles on Air Berlin or strictly Avios?

  15. September 21st, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Corey said,

    I think I remember seeing an airBerlin checking desk at SFO – have they pulled out of that market?

  16. September 21st, 2012 at 11:36 am

    lucky said,

    @ Sean — Yes, you can use AAdvantage miles for travel on Air Berlin.

    @ Corey — I believe that’s seasonal service.

  17. September 21st, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Rich said,

    Minor typo – “It’s worth nothing”

  18. September 21st, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Rich — I always screw that up. Grrr. Thanks!

  19. December 21st, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Jen said,

    I’m trying to book JFK – DUS (direct flight on Air Berlin, via BA website), for two of us (80k avios, $206.20 total).

    I get all the way through the booking process, enter the passenger details, enter the payment details, ‘thanks for reserving your travel, we are creating the reservation in the system’, and then at the very last step, it says I need to contact my local booking office instead. It’s driving me nuts that their regular booking number is still open, until 11pm, but their Executive Club phone number, to book with Avios, is closed at 8pm. :(

  20. December 21st, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Jen — Drives me nuts as well. There has been some phantom Air Berlin award space lately so it’s possible that it’s not actually available (though I’m hoping it is for your sake).

  21. April 9th, 2013 at 2:16 am

    Prämienflug von meinem Konto für jemand anders buchen - Online/Offline? said,

    [...] ich raff es nicht wie ich dahin komme damit ich den AB Flug und Finnair Flug via BA seite buche : Use British Airways Avios for travel on Air Berlin WITHOUT fuel surcharges! – One Mile at a Time ich ruf da sonst später an und frag bei BA direkt doof nach, macht es denn Sinn mich als [...]

  22. April 21st, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Paul said,

    Do you know if the LAS route is still available? I find some info that says it is, but then other pages can’t pull it up on AB site. Also can’t find anything on AVIOS.

    Which plane should have new seats by 2014?

  23. April 21st, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Paul — I don’t believe they fly to Las Vegas right now. I think the only routes which feature the brand new business class product are on the Abu Dhabi route.

  24. July 15th, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Advice: First class to Germany on points? - FlyerTalk Forums said,

    [...] fuel surcharges while redeeming with avios. Edit: articles a bit dated but here's some info. http://boardingarea.com/onemileatati…el-surcharges/ Last edited by 22calbr; Today at 7:35 pm.. Reason: added [...]

  25. October 17th, 2013 at 10:41 am

    ShoNuffHarlem said,

    Are the Air Berlin customer service/baggage horror stories true or overhyped?

  26. October 17th, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    lucky said,

    @ ShoNuffHarlem — I’ve flown them a few times and have always had pleasant experiences.

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