Air Berlin, Germany’s Second-Largest Airline, Goes Bankrupt
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Over the last few months, a couple of notable airlines have made news by declaring bankruptcy (Alitalia) or getting dangerously close to bankruptcy (South African Airways). Tuesday, we learned that yet another airline is on the brink: Air Berlin. The German carrier’s bankruptcy comes after the cash-strapped Air Berlin was denied additional funding by part-owner Etihad Airways, which provided 250 million euros (US$294 million) to keep the airline afloat just a few months ago.
In order to keep operations going in the short run, the German government quickly announced that it would be providing a loan of 150 million euros (US$176 million). This funding is expected to keep the airline operating for three months. So, you’re going to want to book a trip soon, especially if you want to take advantage of the Amex Offer of 20,000 Membership Rewards for spending $1,000 with Air Berlin.
We’ve known for a while that Air Berlin wasn’t doing well. It has struggled to differentiate itself in a crowded aviation industry. Would it try to cut costs and structure as a low-cost carrier to avoid competing head-to-head with Germany’s flag carrier Lufthansa? Or, would it act as a full-service carrier as a fellow member of the Oneworld alliance? Its identity struggle has persisted for years.
This marks another black-eye for Etihad Airways. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier has invested heavily in two money-losing European airlines, with a 49% stake in Alitalia and 29% in Air Berlin. These two cash-draining mistakes are a large part of the reason that Etihad’s former CEO James Hogan no longer holds his position at the helm of the Middle Eastern airline.
There’s no word yet on what the airline’s bankruptcy will mean for the Air Berlin TopBonus mileage program. Currently, the program is in the midst of a devaluation — with sweet spots open for flights booked until the end of August. For now, though, hold off on booking Air Berlin flights for departures beyond November.
This card from Bank of America gets really interesting if you have a BofA checking, savings or investment account. Depending on the value of your combined accounts you can potentially get as much as 3.5x points on travel/dining and 2.625x points on other purchases making it the richest consumer banking bonus out there.
- Receive 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
- Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
- If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase
- No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire
- Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center
- Get up to $200 in combined airline incidental and airport expedited screening statement credits + valuable travel insurance protections
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Low $95 annual fee