Best Practise Profile: Air Berlin - Top Bonus
Air Berlin Top Bonus – Air Berlin's frequent flyer program – was launched on 1 July 2004, making it the first frequent flyer program from a major low-cost airline in Europe. The program today has more than 350,000 members across Europe, and was designed around “delivering the promise” of the “member in mind” by being customer-friendly with emphasis on rewards.
Top Bonus is designed to be easy to use. Any fine print is kept to a minimum. The program offers an 'elite' status, but is unique in the industry currently in having no distinction between elite qualifying miles and non-qualifying miles. The more you use the program the more rewarding it gets, whether you're using Air Berlin or one of the many Top Bonus partners.
With elite status Top Bonus is rewarding in many ways. Besides award tickets at achievable mileage levels, members are also rewarded by making trips with Air Berlin easier with priority check-in, free advance seat allocation and extra baggage allowance. A low-cost airline offering a frequent flyer program with elite benefits is truly unique not just in Europe, but across the world.
Award tickets with Top Bonus are achievable because they are available on a one-way basis. There are no strings attached: in our system, a return is twice the mileage of a one-way ticket. One-way awards can be combined with paid-for tickets and other award tickets. Of course they can also be used for one-way flights. Earning miles is also made simpler and easier as Top Bonus offers an equal number of miles regardless of the fare paid.
By using Top Bonus program partners, members can get awards more quickly. There is a wide range of partners to chose from. From typical hotel and car-rental partners, our airline partner NIKI and Air Berlin MasterCard to partnerships such as the Shell CLUBSMART program in Germany, which allows Shell members to exchange their CLUBSMART points for Top Bonus miles.
Probably the most important aspect about Top Bonus is the focus on “delivering the promise”. With many flights fully booked with paying revenue passengers across the industry these days, redeeming an award is sometimes described as difficult to achieve, even by frequent flyers. Air Berlin however follows the principle of ease-of-use and all bookings contribute towards mileage, and therefore awards. Equally, frequent flyers are beginning to question the meaning of "free" ticket, when all the airport taxes and occasional fuel surcharges are charged for awards. Not so for members of Top Bonus redeeming an award for travel on Air Berlin or NIKI. All taxes, fees and charges are absorbed by Top Bonus so that the award ticket is a genuinely free ticket.
Personalised Top Bonus communications with members are also designed to be member-focused. A customer-focused program has proven to be a valuable asset for Air Berlin in terms of increasing customer loyalty, customer retention, product differentiation and leveraging direct marketing opportunities.