The topbonus loyalty program, formerly of Air Berlin, has a new airline partner in Germany. The group announced today that passengers on flights operated by Germania are eligible for points earning, with a few caveats.
Earning rates vary by fare paid and travel region. Those types of rules are relatively common. But in this case topbonus earning also only applies to tickets booked through Germania call centers. In an era where most companies make great efforts to reduce customer interaction with paid employees in favor of self-service (i.e. online booking) options this decision is an interesting one. Perhaps (and hopefully) it is a stop-gap measure while working to update the website to support such, but there are no indications in the announcement that a move in that direction is coming.
Flight redemption is a planned offering, expected to launch in 2018.
It is worth remembering that TopBonus is a separate company from Air Berlin. It was sold off 5 years ago to help Etihad funnel more cash into the airline without running afoul of foreign ownership rules. During the initial days of the airline bankruptcy the program briefly suspended operations. That was surprising to me given the general long-term value such programs have, even if that is diminished when separate from the parent airline. It is good to see that the program is reestablished and working to grow again.
- Air Berlin sells off Topbonus loyalty program
- TopBonus suspends operations, and I’m actually surprised
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