While doing some random browsing today I discovered, much to my curiosity, a URL from Etihad in German which suggests that Etihad will discontinue it’s Corporate Benefit Program BusinessConnect for Germany and Austria effective October 1st 2015 and offers to move existing customers and points balances over to Air Berlin. You can access this website here. (German Version Only)
I haven’t found any such announcement on Etihad’s main website and in fact you can still sign your company up for BusinessConnect as usual.
It is obviously a workflow that suggests the following:
- Existing customers can link their EY BusinessConnect to a current Air Berlin Business Plus account or alternatively agree to be signed up for one using existing data per August 31st 2015
- Conversion will be processed under a ‘very good conversion rate XY (not specified)’
- 600 Welcome Points will be credited (enough for a domestic roundtrip in Germany on Air Berlin)
- Etihad Guest Members can continue to earn miles and status benefits as usual
- Alternatively the BusinessConnect account holder can request for the account to be closed and not transferred under which circumstances the existing points will expire October 1st 2015.
I have friends who participate in this program, although not under german registration and they were successful to recently upgrade some longhaul flights to Brazil using their BusinessConnect points.
You can find specific details about Air Berlin’s program Business Points on their website. Looking briefly at the program details, it seems like these points can be redeemed for flights or upgrades on Air Berlin as well as flights on Etihad in Economy & Business Class. Etihad First Class is not available and neither are upgrades of any kind.
First of all this has to be taken with a big question mark because I called Etihad’s general call center in Germany today and they didn’t know anything about this (not surprised).
However, should this become reality either within the timeline mentioned or at a later time I can see only disadvantages here for those customers preferring to fly Etihad whose products are vastly superior to Air Berlin which is part of the Etihad Group. Especially the earning ratio and the lack of available upgrades on Etihad should irk many members if this plan ends up being executed as stated.