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Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport finally opens after a decade of delays

Oct. 31, 2020
2 min read
Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport finally opens after a decade of delays
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Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport (BER) has finally opened after nearly a decade of delays. Named after former West Germany Chancellor Willy Brandt, the new airport, which began construction in 2006 was plagued by financial problems, bureaucratic delays and construction flaws.

The project went 4 billion Euros over budget and faces growing uncertainty, with the global pandemic greatly reducing demand for travel. However, with two of Berlin’s three existing airports closing and nearly 300 million Euros in government aid, there is hope that the new facility will weather the pandemic.

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History

Plans for a new airport in Berlin began shortly after Germany’s reunification in 1989. However, it wasn’t until 2006 when construction began on the site of Shoenefeld Airport, which had once been dubbed the worst airport in the world and officially closed Oct. 25, 2020.

The new Brandenburg airport was set to open in 2011, with Chancellor Angela Merkel making an appearance. However, plans were canceled when inspectors found major construction flaws. The airport’s opening was pushed back three years while problems were addressed and debt accumulated. After another failed opening in 2016, the inauguration was scrapped indefinitely while developers attempted to get the project under control.

With reports of incompetence and corruption abounding, the mayor of Berlin resigned over the project, calling it his “biggest failure.” When the doors finally opened on Saturday, staff were greeted by environmental protestors dressed like penguins rather than hordes of eager travelers.

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In some ways, the lower demand for travel could be a good thing for an airport plagued by infrastructure issues. Even the inaugural landing didn’t go as planned, with Lufthansa and EasyJet scuttling a joint landing due to poor visibility.

Operating at half capacity

Brandenburg’s Airport is four times the size of Tegel International, which is closing on Nov. 8. However, the airport is still not operating at full capacity since only one terminal is operating while the second remains closed due to the pandemic. The facility is currently set up for domestic flights, with plans in the works to make room for jumbo jets like the A380. With the pandemic limiting the need for an additional terminal, authorities are in no rush to open it.

Featured image by Günter Wicker

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
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Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more