From the emails I’ve received in the last few weeks, it seems a fair few Tricks of the Trade readers managed to take advantage of the superb Iberia Avios promotion that ran a couple of weeks ago.
In case you missed it: Iberia offered 9,000 Avios for each flight that you booked – no matter how cheap. A maximum of 90,000 Avios per person (10 flights) was possible, with no need to even take the booked flights for the Avios to be awarded!
People were easily able to snag flights for £20-£25 each – essentially paying just 0.25p per Avios.
(Incidentally, on the day this promotion launched – and this offer sounded far too good to be true – I took a punt and booked a couple of flights at just £14 a pop. Wish I’d booked the rest at that price! 🙂 )
Iberia has paid out – sort of…
Given Iberia’s, shall we say, less than stellar IT reputation, many suspected that getting these Avios awarded would be far from straightforward. The T&Cs of the offer promised that the bonus Avios would arrive within a very optimistic-sounding 10 days after making your booking(s).
Surprisingly enough, they did arive – though it would have been nice had they waited until after the England v Columbia World Cup game! Granted, not all Avios arrived at the same time – my wife’s Avios took a further 5 days to post.
And it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. There are numerous reports on Flyertalk and elsewhere from those who have had their accounts locked/emails saying their tickets have been cancelled and will be refunded.
Primarily, this seems to be affecting those who created new Iberia Plus accounts to take part in this offer. To be clear, there was nothing in the T&Cs to suggest new accounts were ineligible for this offer.
How to spend your Iberia Avios
No moving them to British Airways
Many people now have a large pile of Avios sitting in their Iberia Plus account. Your first thought may have been to simply utilise the Combine my Avios tool to move these Avios to your British Airways Executive Club account and use them that way.
However, Iberia has put a restriction in place that ensures these Avios cannot be moved out of your Iberia Plus account.
These Avios cannot be transferred or combined with Avios from other programmes or accounts, and they will expire on December 1st 2018 if not used by that date. All Avios from this promotion not redeemed by then will be withdrawn from the customer’s account on December 1st 2018.
So what can you do with them? Here are your key options:
There is some tremendous value to be had by booking long-haul flights via Iberia Plus for travel on Iberia – particularly for business class redemptions.
At the beginning of May, I took a closer look at how you can save cash and Avios by booking flights through Iberia Plus.
Some of the advantages of booking Iberia (business class) redemptions include:
- Much lower taxes on redemptions
- Fewer Avios required
- Direct aisle access from every seat (1-2-1 seating layout v British Airways’ 2-4-2 layout)
- Different peak/off-peak charts to BA
Here are a few examples of what you can book:
All examples are per person and based on off-peak cost
Iberia cost: 118,000 Avios + £168 return in business class
BA cost (from London): 150,000 Avios + £548
Iberia cost: A huge bargain at 85,000 Avios + £150 return in business class.
BA cost: 125,000 Avios + £556
Iberia cost: 85k Avios + £200 return in business class.
BA cost: 125,000 Avios + £591
A full list of the destinations that Iberia fly to can be found on this page of the Iberia website.
Watch out for…
- Flight redemptions on partner airlines (other than BA) must be booked as a return journey
- Redemptions on partner airlines (apart from BA) are non-cancellable and cannot be changed
- No Reward Flight Saver when booking BA short-haul flights via Iberia. You can still get good value from short-haul flights but be aware that taxes aren’t capped at £35/£50.
There are several other flight-related options for redeeming your Avios including Avios & Money or using your Avios for money off Iberia, Iberia Regional/Air Nostrum and Iberia Express flights as well as codeshare flights with Vueling.
You can find more info on those options on the ‘Using my Avios’ page of the Iberia website.
Hotels & Car Hire
Generally speaking, I don’t advocate redeeming airline miles for non-flight redemption options. By and large, these don’t offer great value for your miles.
However, say you paid £25 per flight during this promotion, you’ve effectively bought Avios at 0.27p each. That gives you a little more flexibility in terms of redemption options that will still allow you to come out ahead. Especially bearing in mind the ‘redeem by 1st December’ requirement.
To use you Avios for hotels or car hire, you need to locate (no easy feat on the Iberia site) the dedicated Hotels & Car Hire section of the Iberia website.
From the searches that I ran, you can expect to get approximately 0.5p to 0.6p per Avios when redeeming for hotels:
As is the case with the Aleph Rome Hotel Curio Collection by Hilton for example:
The cash price on these dates was £366 – using 69,400 Avios would give you 0.52p per Avios.
The Iberia site does feature Avios discounts on various hotels, which allows you to achieve improved value.
I was able to get a hypothetical 0.68p per Avios for this stay at the InterContinental London – The O2 in August:
The cash price for that night on booking.com was £144.
Now, I would never normally recommend redeeming Avios at 0.52p/0.68p, however, assuming you paid roughly 0.25p per point to acquire the Avios you’d still be more than doubling your money!
The Iberia website mentions access to 30,000 tours and attractions that you can redeem your Avios on. For the life of me, I can’t work out where this is located within the site – if you’ve had some more success than me, please post in the comments below.
Without a doubt, you’ll get the best value from these Iberia Avios by using them for long-haul Iberia business class redemptions.
You really can’t argue with 85,000 Avios and £150 for a business class return to Johannesburg for example. And a quick search suggests award availability is pretty decent, particularly in 2019.
Rest assured though that even if you end up redeeming your Avios for a hotel stay or car rental you should still be looking at a good return on your initial outlay!