Air Berlin now an AAdvantage partner

In advance of German airline Air Berlin joining the oneworld alliance they are setting up the necessary agreements with other members for frequent flyer earning and redemptions. The partnership with the American Airlines AAdvantage program went into effect this week. This is mostly good news, but there are definitely some facets of the new partnership that are less than rewarding.

Business class fares will earn 100% base miles and an additional 25% class of service bonus. OK, the bonus isn’t the best out there but at least there is something. And most coach fares credit at 100%, too. The real bummer, however, is at the low end of the charts:


Only 25% earnings for the discounted coach fares is a rather unfortunate rule. Looking at a few fares on common routes the cost to buy-up to the higher fare to get the full credit can be rather significant. One route I checked – Munich to Reykjavik – sees the base fare jump from $108 to $435 to move from the lowest fare that earns 25% to the lowest that earns 100%. If you’re looking to earn points on Air Berlin flights expect to pay a tidy sum to get any reasonable number of them.

On the redemption side things are a bit better. With partners the AAdvantage redemption chart is still region based so the only requirement will be finding award inventory on Air Berlin flights. And the company offers a few additional destinations that are otherwise not served by alliance partners as well as additional frequencies and routing options for many destinations.

Overall, more partners is a good thing and this definitely fits that bill. But the earning rates are brutal at the low end of the spectrum – just like with many other European carriers – so caveat vector.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.