Air Berlin's Frequent Flyer Program, Topbonus, Also Goes Bankrupt
Air Berlin announced last week that it was filing for bankruptcy, joining a few other large carriers that have been in financial trouble recently. Today we've found out that there is even more bad news for Germany's second-largest airline, as Airberlin's Topbonus frequent flyer program is also declaring bankruptcy.
When visiting the Topbonus website you'll find a large note at the top of the page, translated from German:
A couple of days ago Airberlin communicated that you would no longer be able to redeem or earn miles with the Topbonus program. According to One Mile at a Time, even TopBonus' cobrand credit card partner stopped awarding miles for credit card spend.
It gets even worse: it appears that you can't redeem American Advantage miles for AirBerlin flights anymore. After a search on British Airways' website, Airberlin award flights were still available to book, but it's uncertain how long that will be an option.
Although it is unfortunate that you can't redeem American miles for Airberlin flights anymore (and likely other Oneworld mileage programs soon), it's not a huge loss for those who might have transferred their SPG Starpoints to Topbonus. The program was not known to be very strong and actually announced a large devaluation in June.
And for those asking, wouldn't Topbonus have gone bankrupt at the same time as Airberlin? Normally yes, as most frequent flyer programs are part of the airlines — but in this case Topbonus was actually spun off and operates as its own independent business. Etihad, which bought a 29% stake of Airberlin in 2011, also owns 70% of the Topbonus program.