Airberlin is both a member of the oneworld alliance and also an Etihad Airways Partner, so there are quite a few cool ways to redeem airberlin topbonus miles. You can redeem topbonus miles for travel on airberlin directly through their website. However, if you want to redeem for travel on any of their partners, including American, Etihad, etc., you have to book by phone.
There’s only one small problem — the airberlin topbonus team doesn’t have any English speaking agents, so you can only book your award in German. Topbonus used to have an English-speaking call center, though I guess due to their financial situation and cost cutting measures, they eliminated it a while back.
LoyaltyLobby wrote about this in the past, and airberlin’s PR office claims that they’ll eventually bring back an English-speaking call center. However, there doesn’t seem to be an actual timeline for that happening.
Reader Denis just wrote in to share his experience trying to redeem topbonus miles through the call center without speaking German. Here’s what he said, in part:
I first faced that in June when I needed to change a previously booked award. I spent hours trying to get someone to speak English and finally there was a guy willing to do so. Then in September I had to burn some expiring miles in their shop because I couldn’t get anyone to speak English. And it’s not a pleasant experience. You have to call to Germany +491806343333 (0.60 eur per call) then it’s a long menu in German. Then if you’re lucky you get connected to an agent. Most of them are quite rude and after repeating several phrases in German they just hang up.
Today I tried to book an award and it’s the same story – rude agents who hang up the phone and are not willing to speak English. The menu itself is still all in German. I ended up asking a friend of mine to call them and book an award on my behalf. She also asked about English support (we thought it might be available during particular hours) but she was told they don’t have anyone. So it doesn’t look they’re working on it. Otherwise they could at least rewrite the menu with some information in English.
While airberlin is a German company, presumably they want people from around the world to be members of their program. So it’s insane to think that the only way to redeem miles with them by phone is through a German call center.
I know the airline has to cut costs, but that might be taking it too far, in my opinion…
Has anyone faced this issue when trying to redeem airberlin miles by phone?