Air Berlin Topbonus has sent out emails to their members last night announcing changes to their fare structure and the way that customers can collect miles on Air Berlin flights.
Air Berlin shuffled the names of their booking classes around, for example they introduced a new Economy Class called Economy Light that earns 25% of miles.
The mileage accrual values are also slightly modified, especially for Business Class fares which are now broken down into three separate fares categories (from previously one) while Economy Class will remain partitioned into four different categories.
Air Berlin writes in their email:
On 12.07.2016, airberlin will introduce its new fare structure, Fare Choices.
We have also prepared the following overview of the new fares for you.Along with the adjustment of the airberlin fare structure, the topbonus mileage accrual table is also changing for flight bookings made from 12.07.2016. Please refer to the table below for the new mileage values.
For flight bookings made prior to 12.07.2016, the fare and mileage conditions at the time of the booking will continue to apply.
A similar approach was taken when British Airways changed their Executive Club earning structure and to my surprise it was able to track the booking dates pretty accurate. If you ended up changing a ticket after the cut off date however then it would reset the ticket issue date and the new value applied.
This is the OLD chart which will apply to bookings made on or before July 11th 2017:
As can be seen under the current structure the Business Class earnings were all combined into one category for fare classes J,C,D,I which made it easy to determine that for a Business booking you receive 200% of distance miles and 2000 minimum miles. Economy on the long haul route and Canary Islands is also separated into three categories including the new ‘Economy Light’ (Previously: ‘Just Fly’) fare.
The new charts (see here) look a little different:
Air Berlin has introduced three separate Business Class categories on the long haul route which now has a distinctive earning rate based on the fare paid, ranging from 175% for Business Saver to 250% for Business Flex. This slices a little bit off the cheaper tickets and adds another 50% Base Miles for the most expensive flex tickets. For the domestic Business Class Fare (there is no actual Business Cabin on short haul) Air Berlin introduced a 1,000 miles minimum. The European minimum with 2000 miles remains. The values for domestic and European Business Class flights apply to connections of long-haul flights that will be booked as business, however the passenger is seated in the general cabin to to lack of a Business Class.
The Canary Islands continue to remain a separate category with slightly increased accrual rates in the Economy Class fare (up by 25%). The Economy fares are better understandable with the following charts which can also be accessed on Air Berlin’s website (see here).
This is the short- and medium-haul chart:
Here the long-haul Chart:
Air Berlin eliminated the Fly Deal on the European Routes and at the same time changed the name of it to Economy Saver on the Long-haul. I find the jumps between the domestic/EU Economy fares from 25% to 125% to 150% a little strange though.
They summarize it all in the following way:
On short and mediumhaul flights, fixed mileage values will continue to be collected based on the fare booked. On longhaul flights, miles per distance will be awarded according to the distance travelled, based on the fare booked. The number of Economy Light Fare flights does not count towards reaching or maintaining a status level (i. e. no flight accumulator with the Economy Light Fare).
With the introduction of the new airberlin fare structure, there will be a launch campaign for the Economy Classic Fare on domestic and European flights. For flight bookings made from 12 July 2016 for flights until 31 December 2016 in the Economy Classic Fare on Domestic and Europe flights, topbonus members will collect 25 % more award and status miles.
These changes are not bad in terms of earning capacity or devaluation of any sort however it could be more customer friendly in an optical way.
I think overall Air Berlin created a mess with these changes that goes above and beyond what would have been reasonable to apply a simple and clearly understandable approach. If you compare the charts you can’t really see on the first sight what they actually did especially with the economy fare classes. The fact that they also invented totally new names at the same time makes it especially confusing.