Air Berlin Business Class Award Availability Wide Open!

Air Berlin announced over the weekend that they’re adding some more US frequencies on existing routes starting May 1, 2014, as follows:

Air Berlin’s Chicago to Berlin service will go daily

Presently Air Berlin’s Chicago to Berlin service is 5x weekly, though as of May 1 it will go daily, operating the following schedule:

AB7420 Berlin to Chicago departing 10:00AM arriving 12:10PM

AB7421 Chicago to Berlin departing 3:25PM arriving 7:00AM (+1 day)

Air Berlin’s New York to Berlin service till go from 7x weekly to 10x weekly

In addition to their current daily New York to Berlin service, Air Berlin will be adding an additional 3x weekly frequencies (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays) with the following schedule:

AB7454 Berlin to New York departing 5:10PM arriving 7:55PM

AB7455 New York to Berlin departing 9:55PM arriving 11:50AM (+1 day)

Air Berlin’s New York to Dusseldorf service till go from 7x weekly to 10x weekly

In addition to their current daily New York to Dusseldorf service, Air Berlin will be adding an additional 3x weekly frequencies (Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays) with the following schedule:

AB7480 Dusseldorf to New York departing 5:00PM arriving 7:25PM

AB7481 New York to Dusseldorf departing 9:25PM arriving 11:05AM (+1 day)

Air Berlin has a ton of business class award space over summer to Europe

If you’ve tried to redeem American AAdvantage miles for travel over summer between the US and Europe you’ve probably noticed the lack of good options. American is releasing virtually no premium cabin award space, while British Airways has some space, though imposes huge fuel surcharges regardless of which airline you book through.

Air Berlin has literal tons of business class award space, though. They actually seem to have even more award space than they did prior to loading these new routes into the system. For example, just looking at nonstop availability between New York and Berlin from mid-May till September, there are plenty of dates with availability (marked in blue):

Air-Berlin-Award-Availability1 Air-Berlin-Award-Availability2 Air-Berlin-Award-Availability3 Air-Berlin-Award-Availability4

That’s right, every single date in August has nonstop business class availability from New York to Berlin.

Availability is similarly good going from Berlin to New York:

Air-Berlin-Award-Availability5 Air-Berlin-Award-Availability6 Air-Berlin-Award-Availability7 Air-Berlin-Award-Availability8

Again, every single date in August has business class award availability from Berlin to New York.

Air Berlin’s new business class product

Best I can tell, all of Air Berlin’s flights to Chicago and New York are scheduled to feature the new business class product as of next summer, which is fully flat.

Air-Berlin-Business-Class

To be sure a flight you’re eying is operated by the new product, make sure the business seatmap looks like this:

Air-Berlin-Business-Class

If it looks like this, it’s the old product:

Air-Berlin-Seatmap

Redeeming miles for Air Berlin:

There are two ways to redeem AAdvantage miles for travel on Air Berlin:

  • You can book a partner award, for which American charges 50,000 miles one-way in business class. American allows a stopover at the North American transoceanic city on a partner award. This means if you’re booking Berlin to New York, for example, you could then make New York your stopover point, and at no additional cost add a one-way to Los Angeles, Vancouver, or Honolulu, just to name a few possibilities.
  • You can book a distance based Explorer Award, where you’re charged based on the number of miles you can fly. The big benefit of this is that you’re allowed to fly up to 16 segments, and can have as many stopovers as you’d like on such an award.

Booking Air Berlin business class using British Airways Avios

Air Berlin business class is actually one of the best uses of British Airways Avios, given that British Airways doesn’t impose fuel surcharges for travel on Air Berlin.

British Airways has a distance based award chart, and charges just 40,000 Avios for a one-way business class ticket between New York and either Berlin or Dusseldorf, and you’d pay a total of $2.50 in taxes and fees.

British-Airways-Avios

Meanwhile they charge just 50,000 Avios for a one-way business class ticket between Chicago and Berlin.

Keep in mind that there’s presently a 20% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards to British Airways, which further lowers the cost of a one-way to 32,000-40,000 Membership Rewards points per direction.

So it’s not too late to book business class travel to Europe for next summer. And for a product as decent as Air Berlin’s new business class and at the price that’s available using both American AAdvantage miles and in particular British Airways Avios, it’s a tough value to beat.

Comments

  1. says

    @ Steve — British Airways charges for awards on a per segment basis based on distance, so you pay for each segment separately (which means you can have as many stopovers as you’d like, but you’ll pay for each of them).

  2. Buddy M. says

    Have you verified that the award space is actually there? I noticed a couple of weeks ago that the AA award calendar showed some availability on Air Berlin from USA to Germany but each time I clicked on a itinerary I got the error that basically it was no longer available, try again. None of the choices that included Air Berlin were actually there and I tried ones from Chicago to Berlin and also Miami to Berlin; many different itineraries.

  3. says

    @ Buddy M. — In this case it shows as available through both American and British Airways, so should actually be available. In my experience when it was phantom space it only showed on one or the other.

  4. Paul says

    I’m in coach Chicago to Berlin in August. What will it take to upgrade 2 tickets to business class? More miles and a fee? Thanks!

  5. Ash says

    This is not only great news for now but especially in the future as most award travel availability from airlines seem to be goingthe opposite way (like AA). This imo makes my Avios points more valuable. I would love to go AA but (1) availability and (2)accumulating AA award miles seem definately hard for me (especially as I don’t fly for work). Is there any other way to accumulte AA awards or it it better to stick with the avios route? Thanks.

  6. Steve says

    I actually just booked my first business seat on Air Berlin last night! I hope you are right on the lie flat beds – when I went to choose a seat on the air berlin website it was showing 2-4-2 configuration, but with the seats that are blank on your picture as occupied. I guess that’s how they prevent people from booking seats that don’t exist!

  7. Raist says

    Lucky,
    Just want you to know that you really do put out a good product everyday. I am relatively new to the game, only a year, but i have gravitated to this blog because the content, your demeanor, and responsiveness is high quality. Your insights allowed me to travel to Europe recently first class in Lufthansa and Business class in Aer lingus on the way back for a small number of miles. Not to mention that i would never have figured that out without your posts. So again, thanks. You deserve every dollar you make on this blog.

    Disclaimer- I am not Lucky’s mom or dad.

  8. Eric N says

    I tested a few dates and found that all that I tested (random saturdays in summer) have phantom availability. I need that DUS > LAX flight but I can’t seem to pin down the Milesaaver award. Am I correct to assume that Experflyer’s award alerts won’t work for the non-stop AB flight?

  9. TS says

    Quick logistical question: I was looking for AB business award seats for any random date, from DUS-JFK, one way. On aa.com, I found availability in business (and economy) for a particular date. But on britishairways.com, it said there was no availability at all for the same date. Does that mean that I just have to call BA to book on the phone because their website is inadequate, or does that mean BA doesn’t allow that booking on AB, period? If AA says the award seats are available, should BA’s actual availability always match, or is that not the case? Thank you for your help.

  10. says

    @ Raist — You’re far too nice, thanks for the kind words. That’s the most rewarding thing I can hear about my “job.” :)

    Here’s to many more trips!

  11. says

    @ TS — It could be that it’s phantom award space, or it could be that BA’s website is incorrectly not displaying it. The only way to know for sure is to call.

  12. jpgisbd says

    Lucky, a ton of this space is phantom, at least in Sept. when I was trying to book. When you go through to actually book the space AA will come back with “space is no longer available” or something to that affect. Also confirmed with phone rep. Had to double check with BA website which seems more accurate and there was very little space available. Also, confirmed with a phone rep from AA. Hope this gets fixed.

  13. Stan says

    Lucky read you everyday and learn

    I just booked 2 tickets in biz class JFK- BERLIN for end of Aug. total 80k and $5.00 fee -TKS!!

    Now that I am booked –how is Air BERLIN ?? — as good as UA ?

  14. JUN CHEN says

    Lucky,I’m trying booking the return flight from Germany back to US next Oct. But there is no flight at all from Avios for Air Berlin. Will the space be opened later?

  15. says

    @ Stan — Awesome, happy to hear you were able to book! Looks like a good product to me, I’ll be reviewing it in the next month, so stay tuned for that.

  16. Larry says

    Lucky — where did those seating charts you pulled up for air berlin business come from? When I go to check on the ab web site, it shows a more confusing configuration.

  17. Stefan says

    Hi everyone, unless you are sure that you will book yourself in the NEW Business Class I would not fly on Air Berlin in Business. Their seats are only angled and do not offer much room. I know that they refitted the C Class on all flights to Abu Dhabi because Etihad wanted them to since they offer Code Shared flights.

  18. Paul says

    Please put DATE at the top..,first…obvious
    I tend to read you at 1:00 2:00 AM
    Minor. but groggy brains need all the help we can get
    With love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *