Don't miss out! Join the thousands of people who subscribe to our once-daily email or our free miles and points Facebook group with all the best travel news. Points With a Crew has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points With a Crew and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
Most of us in the travel hacking community know that fuel surcharges on award tickets are a total scam. Invented by airlines as a way to both hedge against rising fuel costs as well as collect some revenue on award tickets, when fuel prices came back down, somehow the fuel surcharges remained…
I’ve been doing some investigation on airberlin award prices, since the deal came out where you could get up to 9500 airberlin points for referring friends (still ongoing). Along with some points that I already had, I currently have 10,000 airberlin TopBonus miles and so I was wondering what to do with them
How to use airberlin TopBonus miles
Drew at Travel is Free had a post a few years ago about the best uses of airberlin miles, and for the most part, that information still holds. One option is a 50K roundtrip from the US to Europe, but you have to fly only on airberlin (or their subsidiary Niki). There is also the idea of a 50% off companion ticket (basically buy one, get one 1/2 off), but the problem is fuel surcharges. Even though we typically think of airberlin as a “good” airline to use (no fuel surcharges), that’s because when you redeem American Airlines miles, they don’t PASS ON the fuel surcharges. Fuel surcharges on a US-Europe roundtrip ticket are about $550, which is… ridiculuous
The other good use of airberlin miles is their Topdeal program. It’s kind of like IHG Point Breaks, where specific routes periodically go on sale for as low as 2500 TopBonus miles
What the fuel surcharges?!?!
So I checked out Barcelona to Dusseldorf, which is currently on TopDeal for only 2500 TopBonus miles
So far so good. But then I checked out the total cost
What?!? $65.40 IN ADDITION TO THE MILES?!??! How much is a cash ticket?
What??!? A cash ticket is only $60.17? Talk about a giant ripoff! I guess I won’t bother with booking award flights on airberlin!
What’s the most egregious fuel surcharge you’ve ever seen?
Points With a Crew has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points With a Crew and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Other links on this page may also pay me a commission - as always, thanks for your support if you use them
So many ALL CAPS. So many exclamation points?!?!? We get it. Reign it in a bit.
😉 ah, you want exclamation marks, see Daraius at MMS. (!!!, really, no really — even after the exclamatory detox trip or two to meditation farms in India)
Actually, the point about flights costing as much or more via miles plus taxes and/or refueling charges vs. cash is something I’ve been howling about for a while now — deserves an angry ‘xclamation or two, and repeating.
Ah, and about TravelIsFree and Drew, yeap, that was my first intro to AirBerlin… (which oh by the way can be very handy, if you’re creative, in avoiding re-entry taxes)….. Yet about Drew, bless the memory of his splendid posts, anybody in the blogger world yet fessing up about Drew’s whereabouts? Far, far too coy over there the past year…. drops us a bone ever few months, no explanation, then vanishes again….. Me suspects he’s working for the BORg these days, aka Google. (many of the TIF tools now also show up in red via google searches….)
Somebody (Daraius?) should start a blog competition, along the lines of “Where in the World is Carrie SanMacomber?” 😉 Dan, you could do a map of it even, with all the known sightings of the dynamic duo.
I’m planning a trip to South Africa in January-February 2017. Currently, my miles/points status is (approx.):
160,000 Ultimate Rewards
50,000 Citi TY
18,000 South African Airways
+ some American, Wyndham, and Air Berlin
My original thought is transfer what I need (320,000 miles, once I get them, + fees) for a United flight round-trip (we want to fly business all or most of the way), but I ran across this article on the points guy: http://thepointsguy.com/2014/04/how-to-find-and-book-star-alliance-awards-not-showing-up-on-united-com/
I followed along as best I could as the website has changed somewhat since 2014, and joined the ANA mileage club to search their search engine for award availability. I found a business round trip for two people on the ANA Site IAD-DUR-IAD for 208,000 miles + fees on the dates we’re interested in but right now, I have 0 in ANA miles since I literally just created the account. At this point, my travel intelligence breaks down. I’m a little leery of transferring the points into ANA if this actually doesn’t work. Do you have advice on what the next step is? I assume that the choice will be presented at a further step in the booking, but I’d hate to be wrong on this.