topbonus, the loyalty program of bankrupt airberlin, has been in its death throws ever since the airline announced their insolvency last year, hanging on and offering occasional redemption of miles with various airlines and travel partners. Now, the game is finally up, the account access is closed and all miles are gone! There is still a little hope for a new operator on the horizon, but should the program restart, you’ll do so with 0 miles! Find out what you can do about your miles!
I received a letter from the insolvency administrator of topbonus that the responsible court in Berlin has started the insolvency procedure against the assets of topbonus. With that, any miles members of topbonus have, become insolvency claims against the company and all balances are set to zero, with no access to the account any longer.
To receive any money for your miles, you have to file a claim with the insolvency administrator, so that your claim is considered among all claimants. The value of the miles has been set at 0.36 Euro Cents. The report that arrived at the value is an interesting read, as it identifies the value of miles for flights, upgrades or merchandise, as well as the payments made to partners for miles!
It’s certainly a lot less than what I value airmiles at, but the report also lays out that your chances at fighting this valuation are pretty slim.
In addition to the low valuation, you also have to factor in that your claim will be paid based on the “quota” – that’s the value of all assets vs the value of all claims. Given that topbonus has little to no assets, the quota is likely to be very, very small, so it’s probably not worth it to proceed for small balances. You can also claim “Other” expenses or fees, which might complicate the process.
I made a claim for my remaining 7,547 miles worth EUR27,17, as well as for the cost of my cancelled business class ticket from Manila via Dubai to Berlin, at 80,000 miles and EUR172,69 in taxes and fees. The process online takes only a few minutes. While I don’t expect anything from this, it’s the first time I was impacted by an insolvency, I have written a lot about it here on my blog, so I figured I’ll give it a go and write another post about how it turns out.
The letter did allude to a new investor who might continue the program. Unfortunately for members, the investor didn’t take over any of the old miles and the associated costs. I’d be curious why any member would want to continue in the program when the balance is zero. I guess they’d have to offer something in return for my personal data to make it worth my while!
If you want to check it out, the link to the insolvency claim is here. It’s all in German though…
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