This story is produced in partnership with PaxEx.Areo - The Business of Passenger Experience
In recent weeks the topbonus frequent flyer program added two airline earning partners with expectations of redemption to come. That moment arrived, with the ability to redeem points for flights on Condor and Germania now live. The options are less than traditional, however, as is the booking window for such redemptions.
Condor topbonus Redemption Options
The Condor redemption chart offers up two different awards across five different price points, depending on trip distance and class of service. The good news is that rewards start as low as 3,000 points and there are no concerns about booking class availability. The bad news is that an award booking does not deliver a free trip. A short-haul reward gets the traveler a 30% discount on the base fare for a trip. On long-haul routes the discount is 20%. It is not possible to stack multiple rewards to further discount the ticket and the “taxes and fees” component is charged in full, even with the reward discount.
Germania topbonus Redemption Options
Unlike redemptions on Condor the Germnia award chart allows for a full ticket redemption on certain Germania-operated routes rather than just a fare discount. The points requirement is higher – 15,000 one way or 30,000 return – and the seat inventory is limited, but the full fare component is covered by the award. Travelers will still pay the taxes and fees which range from 79 € to more than 230 €. There are other quirks in the program as well, such as one route being available only as a return ticket rather than one-way. Still, the availability of a “full” award is a nice, if small, win.
Read More: Topbonus finds a new home in Germany
Perhaps more significant than the new redemption partners is the opportunity to consolidate points from multiple topbonus accounts for free. Up to seven accounts can contribute to a single member, up to 50,000 points each. The transfers are immediate and allow for orphan balances to maybe go to some good use rather than simply die in the program. It still depends on using the points for a redemption of some value, of course, but at this point roughly anything is better than simply letting the account die.
A Program End Date?
Consistent across all of these new options is a common end date for action by program members: 2 March 2018. There is no public information as to what changes with the program after that time but it is not hard to see the writing on the wall. The program continues to operate on a limited budget given the lack of an airline anchor partner and outside investor support. If neither of those challenges are addressed it is reasonable to presume that the topbonus program may finally succumb to closure. This is not official, of course. But it has been months since the program had solid backing. Expectations otherwise seem foolishly optimistic at this time
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