airberlin is at it again, kicking of 2016 with a status match offer that’s possibly useful to a few Australians, although not everyone.
The oneworld airline offered a similar promotion last year which saw no restrictions to who could and couldn’t apply. This time around there are some geographic restrictions in place and status holders with oneworld are not eligible to apply.
Conveniently for us Australian travelers, airberlin has an interesting partnership going on with Qantas, Virgin Australia and Etihad which offers us perks such as lounge access, priority check-in and priority boarding.
As an added bonus airberlin is of course a oneworld carrier which means these perks are extended across the whole network with Oneworld Sapphire status. Other One World partners include British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Qatar Airways Gold.
Bottom line: If you’re not familiar with status matching: Air Berlin is basically enticing elites from other alliances to jump ship and join them which in turn should entail more business for the airline.
What are the restrictions of this status match?
This time around there are some restrictions in place.
Firstly, the offer is only valid if you have some form of residency or connection to the following countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland and USA – or enough reason to be able to set your airberlin frequent flyer account to an address in one of those countries, such as a residential address.
The promotion is also restricted for status holders on other oneworld carriers. This means that your Qantas Gold status won’t get you far.
Applying for airberlin TopBonus Silver or Gold (oneworld Sapphire) status
Applying is pretty straight forward and doesn’t require too much work. To start you will need to join the TopBonus program which you can do over at the airberlin TopBonus Website and it’s important that at this stage you select an address in any of the eligible countries.
Once you have completed those steps you need to open up a new email addressed to [email protected] and include the following:
- Your topbonus number
- A legible scan/photo/copy of your other valid frequent flyer card
And that’s it! Now you just need to sit back, relax and wait for your match to be approved.
How can you get around the residential requirement?
The rest of this guide should be taken as a proof of concept – obviously this promotion is aimed at residents of the limited countries. If you want to take it further you can probably get in on the deal, with the risk being that if airberlin decide to audit your account, it might be closed (with any earned miles with airberlin taken with it).
On signing up, consider using an address of overseas relatives or friends to see whose address you can borrow for your account.
If you don’t know anyone in the listed countries, you could sign up to a forwarding service such as ShopMate from Australia post. This will give you a postal address in the USA where you can receive your flashy new gold card.
How to get airberlin Gold if you are a Qantas or Virgin Gold status holder?
Since most of you reading this will be based in Australia chances are high you already hold status with Qantas or Virgin. Adding airberlin to your stack is a sweet deal since you can basically double dip by using both Qantas and Virgin lounges.
Essentially, you’ll need a third party status from your Qantas or Virgin status to match back to airberlin.
Until January 31st 2016, Alitalia is running a status match promotion (has been going on for a while now) which is much more flexible in terms of requirements. All you need to do is head over to this page and follow the instructions: Millemiglia Status Match and once you have received your status match from Alitalia (which is a SkyTeam Alliance partner) you will not only hold Alitalia Gold (or Platinum) but you also hold the key to airberlin Gold.
Since Alitalia is SkyTeam, Air Berlin will be more than happy to match you to their OneWorld Gold status.
As of now there is no expiration date for the airberlin status match but you will need to hurry up if you want to get it via Alitalia.
Your status will be valid for 12 months from the date of issue after which you’ll have to accrue 25,000 or 50,000 status miles to re-qualify for Silver and Gold status, respectively.