Do I Think Iberia Will Honor Their Avios Promotion?

Iberia Plus has run what I’d consider to be the promotion of the year, as they offered 9,000 bonus Avios for every segment booked, up to 90,000 bonus Avios. The Avios post within 10 days of booking rather than after flying, so many people booked $30 one-way tickets within Spain, and are hoping to pick up 90,000 Avios for about $300. That’s an astonishingly good deal… if it all works out as planned.

It’s now the middle of the night in Spain, so I imagine in a few hours Iberia executives will be arriving at their desks to start their Monday, with quite a situation in their hands. I’m sure whoever is in charge of revenue management for Iberia’s domestic network is patting themselves on the back and expecting a promotion shortly, because they’ve probably set new records when it comes to advance seat sales for domestic flights. 😉

Anyway, on a previous post reader Jamie D asked me the following:

Hey Ben! I know Iberia has come out saying they will support this promotion but where do you put the odds?

Typically when we see mistake fares or crazy promotions, I feel like I’m pretty good at predicting the outcome. Of course I’m wrong sometimes, but I feel like I get the outcome right more often than not.

In this case I feel even less confident in my prediction than usual, though that won’t stop me from sharing my thoughts. So let’s talk through it, and I guess we’ll find out anywhere between a few hours and 10 days from now how this plays out.

On the surface, Iberia Plus has no way out

This wasn’t a case of a fat finger mistake, where someone accidentally left off a couple too many zeroes.

When we first heard about the promotion, I was surprised by how few terms there were associated with it. That’s why I was initially hesitant to write about it. I figured the promotion was intended to be targeted, that there was a fare class requirement, or something. There were suspiciously few terms.

But over time Iberia Plus directly confirmed that the promotion was exactly the way it was intended to be. They said you didn’t actually have to fly to earn the Avios, they confirmed that even a cheap domestic one-way ticket qualifies for the promotion, and they confirmed it wasn’t targeted.

So this isn’t just the case of a program accidentally publishing a promotion and then quickly realizing their mistake and backtracking. Iberia basically stuck with it the whole way through, so they have zero grounds on which to not honor this promotion.

Of course what companies can/should do and what they actually do are often two different things, since they know that most people won’t fight them.

Option #1: Honoring the promotion

The logical thing for them to do here is to honor the promotion. I have absolutely no clue how many people took advantage of this promotion. In the past sometimes companies have revealed the details after these kinds of promotions have gone viral.

This is complete speculation on my part, though I’d guess that probably about 10,000 people maximized this promotion, meaning they bought 10 tickets each, for a total of 100,000 tickets sold. Again, this is total speculation on my part, and I could even be off by a decimal point. But that’s the best guess I have.

Assuming the average base fare was about $15 (which is how much the ~$28 fares were before taxes and fees), that means Iberia got about $1.5 million in revenue, and they’re expected to award about 900 million Avios.

That sounds like a lot, though in the context of how many miles are issued by many programs, it’s not actually that much. As a point of comparison, currently American AAdvantage has over 600 billion outstanding miles (though that’s a much bigger program, and also represents all outstanding miles, and not those issued over a period of a few days).

The bigger concern here is that all of these Avios have to be redeemed by December 1, 2018, which will be the limiting factor. There will be a lot of competition for limited award seats.

This might come as a surprise, but I actually think Iberia might not lose that much money if they honor this promotion. A lot of people won’t fully use their Avios, some won’t use them at all, and for those that do use them, the reimbursement rates between airlines for award space are typically quite low.

Even if they do intend to fully honor, this is going to be a complete mess for them. Of course there will be hundreds if not thousands of people who don’t have their Avios post correctly, who have questions, etc. Iberia has awful technology to begin with, and I imagine it’s even worse here, given how complicated this is. It doesn’t seem like Iberia Plus is properly staffed to handle normal operations, let alone the level of involvement they’ll need here.

Option #2: Various levels of not honoring the promotion

Hopefully they do honor the promotion, but if they don’t, there are plenty of ways that could play out. I’m not saying any of these are acceptable or even legal, but I’m just sharing the possibilities:

  • They could unilaterally cancel all tickets (they could create a script to cancel any tickets for members who made 5+ one-way bookings for under $50 over the past few days, for example)
  • They could technically honor the promotion but intentionally not release any award availability on their own flights, and make it really hard to redeem on partner airlines
  • They could only issue Avios to a small percentage of those who took advantage of the promotion, and claim that many people didn’t have their Iberia Plus numbers on the reservations, etc.
  • They could retroactively add restrictions, and claim that only existing members are eligible, that you actually have to fly the segments, that they’ll only award the miles after flying, etc.

Let me once again emphasize that none of those options would be at all reasonable, but I’m just trying to share all the scenarios I see. The logistics of them executing any of these options is beyond challenging, so before they make any decisions, I hope they fully consider the implications of them.

My prediction

My prediction is that Iberia will honor this promotion. Not because they want to, but because they realize they have no other option at this point. If they’re smart, they’ll make the best of it — this will make a great media story that will be picked up widely, they have a huge number of new Iberia Plus sign-ups (which is something airlines really do care about), and they might even pick up some awards for the promotion.

However, I also predict that Iberia Plus customer service will be as lousy as usual. Have an issue with Avios posting? Getting in touch with someone will probably be a challenge. I suspect their website will continue to be not-great, making it tough to book some tickets online. And I also suspect that Iberia Plus hold times by phone will be long, since demand will be through the roof and they won’t increase staffing, and their agents will be as unhelpful as usual.

Do you think Iberia will honor this promotion, or how do you see it playing out?

Comments

  1. Is there a possibility that they will honor this promotion, and then no award space will be available on both Iberia and other One World flights? Technically, booking an award with Iberia Avios you should do this via their customer service, right? I guess they can easily say they can see no award space for this particular period on any partner airline…

  2. I don’t think they will need to hold back award space. The sheer number of people getting in on this deal due to the amount of coverage it received likely means a lot of people fighting over limited award seats and with that 12/1 deadline looming means a huge amount of competition. Some may mistake this effect with Iberia holding back award space. I didn’t get in on this deal but it will be interesting to watch what unfolds for everyone else.

  3. “They could technically honor the promotion but intentionally not release any award availability on their own flights, and make it really hard to redeem on partner airlines”
    For those who really know Iberia Plus, this is already the case.

  4. I’m starting to think they will cancel these tickets because all my bookings from Thursday night are still showing as “Pending” on my credit card.

  5. it is kind of like the B6 promotion two years ago for 75k points matching from VX with one round trip.

    obviously that was more for US people (had to fly B6) and also gamers (must have VX points already — transfer from spg works).

    This one opens to everyone in the world with a few click and a credit card.

  6. And what do you think about what time is the deadline for issuing the tickets? It’s still june 24th in Brazil, but tickets that are bought right now comes with the mention that they are issued on june 25th, however the place of issue is Brazil. Its past midnight in Madrid, but there is no mention that tickets had to be issued before midnight in Spain. Any thoughts?

  7. Is there really anything bad for Iberia with this? They got 1000+ new members and 10000+ sold tickets. New costumers are always good. They will send out promotions and news letters to all of us who gave them our data. I dont se the problem here. If they play well they will get alot of goodwill and some peoole will actually fly with Iberia, and maybe have a good experience. And fly again etc…

  8. Fortunately, Iberia is so transparent and customer service oriented that I’m sure it will all go swimmingly for everyone.

    I sat this one out. Even though the cost was low, I really just can’t stand having to deal with Iberia for anything other than redeeming tickets online. They are really tough when it comes to anything unusual.

    Assuming their AA itinerary continues to match AA’s saver award tickets then I think this is a very low risk proposition. Even if using these miles solely for short haul AA domestic, this is a fantastic deal. I hope that’s how it works out. More likely, I foresee endless crying about class actions that will put the British Airways match.com thing to shame, with many frustrated calls to Spain.

  9. (Long time reader but first time commenting here). I vote for option 2, second item (limited award availability). Hopefully for them, a lot of avios will not be redeemed and therefore before the year end their liability (points to be awarded) will be zero and their promotion costs lower tan expected.

  10. Where do I see my Iberia Plus Number on the e-ticket?

    I don’t have it when I look up the confirmation code and am having trouble locating the number, if it is there, on my e-ticket.

    When purchasing the ticket and put in the passenger info, I selected “I’m Flying” and the system automatically filled in the name information and my frequent flyer information was listed. I made sure to check for that.

    Also, when I am logged into my account the 10 reservations pop up as my upcoming flights so they must be linked to my number.

  11. @Marcus

    In the email confirmation I received for each ticket, it shows: Name, Frequent flyer card, and Ticket No. including my IB number under the frequent flyer card title. However, the PDF e-ticket receipts do not show the IB number or any labeled frequent flyer card section.

  12. Much more than 10k people bought this promotion. Also, imagine how many people will not fly. Iberia will be free to sell a large number of seats again.

  13. I have no doubt Iberia will honor this promotion as advertised–to the most reasonable extent possible. They’re on the hook because they have made too many public statements acknowledging the terms would be honored. This isn’t a mistake fare situation.

    But it could be the prelude to an Iberia Avios devaluation. We know their award chart and surcharges are out of whack compared with BA. I think they instituted a hard deadline on the use of these points both to create a shortage of award seats in relation to demand as well as to provide a cushion of good will in case there is bad feeling if there’s an alignment of their award chart with BA’s.

    Remember several years ago when Club Carlson offered a sweet deal on buying points? And then, within a week, made huge changes to their redemption structure, including the elimination of the second night free?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar is in the works for Iberia. I hope not.

  14. This is a Spanish corporation. There is a real chance they will simply renege without any clear explanation, and won’t think twice about it.

  15. I vote for award space restriction (which may not need to be restricted because nothing will be available as a billion Avios are looking for redemption in typically meager availability). Smart promo from Iberia if you ask me.

  16. I think they will use some technical issues like the member numbers not in the tickets to make it hard to get the points, and I think getting good value for the points will be very difficult, but I still did it. Relative to other recent opportunities in this game this feels low risk high reward.

  17. @Tom, I’m not sure why you need to engage in that kind of stereotyping. As you might be aware, Spain is a member of the European Union, which has stronger consumer protection rules than the United States.

  18. Ben, I’d be curious about your thoughts around the ethics on participating in this promotion.

    (For full disclosure, as a US-based traveler who has no connection to Iberia or Spain outside of enjoying vacations there, I found myself having a hard time getting past the unspoken costs, even if it’s primarily Iberia’s own fault for running it.)

    While there’s a true cost to Iberia for honoring the promotion – the awarding of Avios, the customer service, and the reward flights taken – there’s also a hidden cost toward Iberia’s customers and those already holding Avios that seem to be neglected in all of the commentary.

    If we discount participants who purchased tickets in good faith and plan on flying (the minority), and focus primarily on those who purchased the lowest cost, one way flights with the explicit goal to earn Avios on throw away tickets (the majority), there’s a cost being levied on Iberia’s current and future customers which has financial fall out beyond just the airline.

    Using your numbers, if we assume 90% of the tickets purchased fall into throw away tickets, that’s approx. 90,000 seats that will fly empty unless revenue management can accurately predict the customer is a no-show. If the average domestic flight seats 150, that’s equivalent to 600 flights flying empty.

    While that might be great if you’re currently booked as you’ll likely have an empty seat next to you, for future customers, it’s likely that domestic flights will cost more than it would have before.

    Families will need to weigh the added costs for vacations, visit, etc.; low-cost airlines such as Vueling might gain some additional market share at Iberia’s expensive; and business will likely have higher travel expenses – all because a large set of flights were sold as throw away – more than an airline would see in a given day.

    Add in possible EU compensation for poorly accounted for flights, the lack of award seats for current Avios holders, and any additional staffing costs to handle the influx, and it seems to me there’s a lot more to this than just Iberia providing promotional points.

    In short, I’d be interested in how you see the ethics around participating in a promotion where you (the individual) may personally benefit, but at the much larger expense of the company running the promotion, and to some degree, it’s larger customer base.

    Thanks!

  19. @Anthony, I can stereotype because I have lived and worked in Barcelona and Madrid. Obviously, stereotypes are inherently limited in their usefulness, but I can assure you that what happens in Brussels is not what happens in Catalonia or Castilla.

    So many are writing that Iberia will “have no choice” but to honor the promotion. I assure you, they will not feel so constrained.

  20. Worst case one could always redeem for hotels or experiences. The value is Def not as good as flights in premium class, but still a significant savings. I’m looking for rooms for upcoming travel and my redemption would be 3x the value of what I paid, allowing me to stay closer to the city core for less money. Not as good as a flight but still a good deal.

  21. You can search on award’ capability right now. I doubt it will change. I think the limited capacity and the fact that you must use ‘these points by 12/1 will be the limiting factor. Why would Iberia care whether award seats available right now to anyone with an IB acct are booked by a newly acquired member with an IB acct or pre-exisitng one? They wanted to acquire new members: mission accomplished and now everyone fights for the same availability.

  22. @Aram K – This may not be the most ethical promotion, but if you are truly concerned about hidden and unintended costs I think you should be focused on Iberia not the people who participated. This promotion is unlike any that I remember in the sense that the promoter (Iberia) has been given every opportunity to change or clarify the terms to prevent customers from doing what you are concerned about…and they have not. They’ve had numerous inquiries about the terms specifically because people thought it seemed unreasonably generous, but despite that Iberia has been quite comfortable continuing to sell tickets as part of the promotion.

    They were asked if cheap one way bookings qualified, and they said sure.
    They were asked if the miles would be awarded on throw away tickets, and they said sure.
    And once the apparent frenzy around the promotion became obvious (late Friday in North America I would say) they did not move to shorten it by a day or add terms or do anything else to slow it down.

    The only reasonable conclusion is that they are completely fine with what has happened. I am not suggesting that they won’t change their mind later, that’s totally possible, but they’ve known and been specifically asked about how this promotion would be used by customers and they’ve been watching it happen. That may create costs to their actual customers, but that’s 100% Iberia’s responsibility.

    If they do not award the points, the only people whose ethics should be questioned is Iberia’s…specifically because they have known full well for 72+ hours what was happening with their promotion and they have not even attempted to shorten the window for the promotion. They could have easily said on Friday night that the promotion would end on the 23rd, and they did not.

    At some point, it seems reasonable to expect that a company the size of Iberia is not a helpless victim and that they are either very comfortable what has been happening, or they are intending to take this weekends cash infusion and stiff the new members. It’s one or the other, but they hold all the cards here until the miles are 1) deposited and 2) redeemed. So far, Iberia has a whole bunch of new money and this has not cost them much of anything. It will create costs to Iberia’s legitimate customers but if I were one such customer I’d be focusing my irritation and displeasure on Iberia since they 1) created the promotion; 2) set the terms; 3) clarified the terms; 4) sold a whole lot of very cheap tickets to new members and promised to reward them very well.

  23. I would suggest looking deeper. It’s nearly the end of the first half of 2018. Financial reporting cutoff for Q2 is in a few days. What better way to drive up revenue while having a relatively low addition to liabilities (as miles are not used/expenses in a 1:1 ratio. Just my hunch that this is coming as a creative way to bolster IAG/Iberia share price.

  24. I thought about getting in on this promotion but I couldn’t ethically justify purchasing 10 tickets I had no intention of using. It goes against the spirit of the promotion. Sure, Iberia confirmed you didn’t have to fly to receive the Avios, but that response was likely in the context, whether spoken or not, of a scenario were you legitimately miss a flight due to illness or something, not because you’re purchasing 10 tickets to take advantage of the promotion with no intent to fly.

    Lots of people keep saying they’ll have no choice but to credit the Avios. They very well may do so, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t. The Iberia Plus program terms and conditions stipulate fraud as an adverse action, and it wouldn’t be a stretch for them to consider these actions fraudulent in order to not credit the points. You may not agree this is fraud, but intent is the critical factor in determining fraud, and I would argue they have a case.

    I have no skin in this situation but just wanted to offer my perspective.

  25. Just booked my 10 in nick of time here in Florida. Found little cheaper prices at Orbits, so hopefully that counts. We’re going to have to live on those planes for days!! See you there! Lol

  26. Iberia will honor it. No questions. Otherwise, they wouldn’t impose all the restrictions(i.e., no transferring to BA, short use by date, etc.)

  27. I took the safe route. My wife and I have an upcoming trip to Poland next April. So I booked 4 flights – Madrid to Malaga, Seville to Madrid, and 2 cheap throwaways at $34 per ticket. Used Kris Flyer miles for a one way Madrid to Warsaw. So I have 2 flights left to book. One is the return from Warsaw, and I’m not using Avios on that one. The other is Chicago to Madrid to start the trip. So I’ll get 36,000 Avios from my 4 flights. If business class is available, it’s 50,000 points, and I’ll transfer 14k from BA. If not, I’ll shoot for PE, and if all else fails, economy. With the Dec. 1 expiration, I didn’t want to shoot for the full 90k, since it’s doubtful I’d use them all anyway. And if the promotion goes south, I’m only out the 2 cheap flights.

  28. IB’s flight operations are solid but everything else is really janky – especially their glitchy website.

    I’m guessing this is a case of “the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.” In other words, the marketing people weren’t communicating with the IB Plus people who weren’t talking to the people in media (Twitter, email, etc.) – all the way around. I also think that Ben’s prediction of surprised executives isn’t far from the mark.

    I’m also guessing that a lot of people are going to get burned here. As soon as IB discovers what a circus this promo will from an execution standpoint (not to mention the financial aspect), they’ll invalidate the Avios or severely restrict redemption availability. I agree with those posters that believe that there is a difference between an agreement in Spain and an agreement in much of the rest of the world.

    I did not participate because I felt this was too good to be true – which usually means it is. I’m not sour grapes. I had the money and the opportunity. I don’t feel that I missed out. I hope this works out for the folks who did take part and am really interested to see how this plays out.

  29. I didn’t touch it. But then I have my airline discount benefits for another 15 years including business class upgrades.

  30. Am I the only one cheering that this “promotion” is a clear and utter failure?! No chance you the majority of you clowns actually will be able to redeem for flights and @lucky – can’t wait to see if you can actually book AA transcon first class…radio silence on that…

  31. If people no show on the tickets, Iberia keeps the whole amount paid right? They get $28 instead of $15 in your example above. They wouldn’t pay taxes to the authorities if they don’t have to. This makes it a little better for them. They are basically selling avios at 0.3-0.4c each. Not great, but it would be a drop in the bucket if your quantities are right.

  32. Tom – EU regulations approved in Brussels apply in Barcelona and Madrid. Perhaps you’d like to back up your claim that they refuse to follow EU regulations (which are in turn made into Spanish regulations) with some examples?

    While I agree the culture is different, I wouldn’t agree that ultimate adherence to the law is (by which I mean they may kick up a fuss, but the law eventually wins).

  33. Even if aware space is limited, you could still use the Avios as cash for hotels (that’s about 0.55 pence of value per point), and still come out ahead.

    That’s why it makes absolutely zero sense…

  34. WTF lucky? First you tell us how great of a deal this is and now you are telling us they might not honor it? I create 10 IB+ accounts and purchased 100 tickets. If they don’t honor it, I expect you to compensate me the value of 900,000 worth of Avios which is valued at $27,000+

  35. People keep saying this is a bad deal for Iberia, and a great deal for anyone who took advantage. I don’t get that at this point. 90,000 Avios mean nothing if they can’t be redeemed. Iberia and the Oneworld partners can control how much award space becomes available before 12/1. If a majority of people can’t redeem then who gives a damn if planes go out empty? They took people’s money and gave nothing out in return.

  36. I think revenue is much higher:
    1. ticket taxes will be held by Iberia in case of no show (~90% of tickets issued during promotion).
    2. I see average basefare in this promotion higher than $15 (this is almost the lowest), I would say at least $18.
    3. no show seats can be sell as overbooking at crazy high prices.
    4. new IBplus account created.
    5. no more basic cheap tickets available on many routes means people will spend more
    6. when you fly shorter routes you get 150Avios (you pay for that in your ticket): well, Iberia will save 90% of those if people won’t fly.

    Also we have to consider all the Avios that will not be redeemed by 1st of Dec. There will also be an increase in Avios spending and award tickets will most likely sell out. Not to consider also the huge marketing advantages…
    One last thing: I remember Iberia launching huge Avios promotion with Avis car rent back in December 2016, something like 18K Avios for one 3 days rent. Ok that time it was AVIS and not Iberia but it was a huge amount of avios and, like this time, near to the end of financial quarter.

  37. I am sad because I couldn’t get the 90,000 and have 66,000 Avios with Iberia due to a cancelled booking. Fat chance now of finding Iberia metal from Ord to Madrid. Hoped to book before the 10 days run out but I see zero availability now in July even for economy!!!!!!!!!!! Sad. I guess I’ll try to use on aa although also have infinite points on them lying around.

    Note that took 3 months for my avios to be refunded after cancelled booking……

  38. @Jackie

    No sure things in this game. Absolutely a chance that something unexpected could happen leading them to not honor it. Do we expect them to honor it? Sure. Does that mean its bulletproof? Absolutely not. So its a calculated risk and you shouldnt be gambling any more than you would be ok losing to the extent something goes wrong. Its entirely on you, not on Lucky, if you end up losing what amounts to about 2500 on this

  39. Do you think they’d try to double book some of those flights knowing that many or most are throw-aways? It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out which tickets will likely be tossed. Risky for IB’s part, yes, but so is this promotion.

  40. @Jackie, reading your demand caused me to spit out my coffee, which then ruined my pants. I demand that you compensate me the value of these pants, $110.

  41. Just to share: the Iberia website was down for a few hours an Saturday afternoon Europe time, so I am guessing it really did go viral. (I got 2 x 10 flights, so fingers crossed…)

  42. Could it be somehow related with huge British Airways lawsuit – as BA did compensated taxes they charged with 12500 avios to each American citizen for each reward she redeemed in years?

    Should BA and Iberia issued Avios be somehow balanced? Or each airline could issue unlimited amounts of mile currency on there own?

    Most likely they both would devaluate avios very soon.

  43. @Matt I agree with you . It wont take a genius to figure out the popular routes that people made bookings on especially on the number of new accounts opened since the promotion began . Secondly as its near to the 2Q reporting period its always possible that they need to boost their INCOME STATEMENT .
    I think they will give us the promised Avios but make it difficult for us to book reward flights on their metal or partners .
    Its going to be an interesting few weeks for everyone – Those that participated in the promo and those that sat it out.

  44. I’m getting a bit tired of the “ethical” questions with regard to those who took advantage of this promotion.

    1. Not taking a flight I have paid for has nothing to do with ethics. Neither is it illegal, and neither is it against any airline’s terms and conditions. Is it unethical to order something online just to get points and throwing it out when you receive it? Of course not. Once I have purchased and paid for a product or a service, I am free to do what I like with that product and to use or not to use that service. If I don’t use the service, the company that provides it gains. And to those bleeding hearts who think it’s unfair to the others who would have wanted to use that airline seat I say, too bad, they’ll just have to pay the higher price. I do not owe any duty of care to anyone who may or may not have purchased that seat. Again, it has nothing to do with ethics. In any case, as others have pointed out, airlines are very good at figuring out if people will actually fly or not and in the case of these promotional seats, it will be easy to figure out very quickly. Plus they have the luxury of selling the seats twice at the same or a higher price. They were prepared to sell those seats at those prices all along and they have their money, why in the world would anyone think it was immoral not to fly? The airline gains even if they fly an empty plane!

    2. There is a huge difference between unfairly exploiting an airline’s fare structure (such as the throw-away of the last leg) which is against their terms and conditions, and taking advantage of a “too good to be true” promotion, which is not against their terms and conditions. There is also a huge difference between taking advantage of a mistake fare and taking advantage of a completely thought-out (albeit not very well) promotion. It wasn’t a typo, they didn’t write 900 Avios instead of 9,000 Avios. Their intention to offer this promotion was real and confirmed by them publicly. They even said that you didn’t have to fly. How much more evidence do you need to be convinced that taking advantage of this promotion is not cheating, it’s not unethical and it’s not unfair for anyone including the airline and their other would be customers. Loss leading promotions happen all the time, whether it was intentional or badly thought out, it doesn’t matter. To call people unethical or dishonest for buying into them is plain stupid. Has anyone ever thought that this is what Iberia actually wanted? The world has been talking about Iberia non stop for the past few days, people have opened Iberia Plus accounts and have engaged with Iberia and their frequent flyer program, and they will fly with Iberia when they redeem.

    3. Now for the law. Each and every one of those bookings is a contract. There are four required elements to a contract: offer, acceptance, consideration and intention to create legal relations. Those four elements are present. Those of us who have purchased a seat have done so by accepting an offer for an airline seat reserved for us AND 9,000 Avios. The fare is the consideration and both parties intended to enter into the contract. Not using the seat does not invalidate the contract. If they do not pay the 9,000 Avios in 10 days, they are in breach of contract, plain and simple. It does not matter whether you intended to fly or not. If they don’t credit the Avios, they could be exposing themselves to legal action or at the very least, passengers can initiate a charge back through their credit card provider on the basis that they did not deliver what we paid for. It’s like ordering a pair of gloves and only receiving one. And if they don’t credit the Avios in 10 days time, then you have cause not to fly and claim your money back instead.

    4. The only potential for anything unethical here is if Iberia back down on this and refuse to credit the Avios for any reason whatsoever. Let’s be clear, this is not a mistake and they’re on the hook for it. That’s what they wanted and that’s what they got. It is not unethical not to use a service you’ve paid for in advance whatever your intention is at the time.

  45. @anthony – Spain is amongst the most corrupt countries in the EU. Their Prime Minister just resigned for corruption. Look at how many government and elected officials are in prison for bribery and corruption. In their dealings with Gibraltar, they constantly disregard international law and they have no sense of fair play whatsoever. Their reputation speaks for itself. @tom is not stereotyping, he simply being a realist.

  46. IAG (parent company of Iberia/BA) down 4% today. Maybe they are trying to cook the books for Q2. Issuing points and making redemptions tough/devalued seems like a logical answer – my crystal ball says aligning with BA’s redemption policies of per segment and fuel surcharges.
    FYI these miles are great for expensive AA shorthauls involving small markets and layovers.

  47. I suspect they have cash flow problems and needed to do something desperate to bring in enough cash to avoid breaking banking covenants, or some debt that’s about to roll over, or similar. They get the cash in for the tickets sold now, and have a deal with Avios to defer payment of the miles purchase. Why else would the promo be for a lot of Avios over 3 days only rather than fewer Avois over a longer period. It’s not the marketing – it’s the CASH. Follow the money. We’re all just the lucky beneficiaries of creative accounting. QR should just buy them now.

  48. I just spoke with Iberia agent and he mentioned that we MUST take the flight otherwise they will take the 9,000 points out of the account. I told him that T&Cs never mentioned it ,infact it stated the opposite, he said that’s the terms and conditions hes been given by the upper management and that s what we are suppose to tell everyone.

    im not sure if this agent doesn’t know what hes talking about or is this is really happening (Iberia changing rules after the fact).

    anyone else got the same info?

  49. I’ve been using IberiaPlus for many years, mostly flying HAV-MAD and MAD-PVG. I find the website and the customer service completely normal. I don’t know why people think they are lousy. The agents are more than helpful. Yes I am hispanohablante, but I’ve used their Eng speaking hotline, too, very acceptable.

  50. Checked my Chase Sapphire Reserve yesterday to see the 10 flight purchases in the pending queue. Today they seem to be conspicuously absent. Not posted, but not pending either. Reservations still appear to be good on the Iberia website and haven’t gotten any emails about cancellation. Anyone else have this going on?

  51. Sunny,
    For me, the statement “we MUST take the flight otherwise they will take the 9,000 points out of the account.we MUST take the flight otherwise they will take the 9,000 points out of the account.” doesn’t makes sense. Because the flights that I bought are to 2019, and the avios expires at december 2018.

  52. @ Melinda…My 10 flights purchased on Friday afternoon posted to Amex as of this morning. Maybe give it another day? Also, does your balance/available credit still reflect the Iberia charges? I had a few Chase charges recently that were impacting my balance but were not showing as pending or posted for a few days and then finally posted.

  53. No skin in this thing but I feel bad for the ordinary customers now will not see the dirt cheap fares booked far in advance for their actual needs – people actually need to go between the Spanish cities, and now they would pay twice as much because all the lowest fares were bought up, and probably 99% of such would be a no show.

    Good luck to those who would need to deal with Iberia on days / weeks / months ahead.

    Fwiw, Iberia reps have said on FB that those Avios can only be used to book Iberia award seats.

    The records of the “conversation” can be found on IB Facebook

  54. @fll There’s a difference between “Iberia award seats” that are on codeshare partners but have to be booked via Iberia (vs via BA etc.) and award seats that have to be actually *flown* on Iberia metal…the conditions state the former which I think we all expect to be the case.

  55. cannot enter the IBERIA website in this morning

    Please wait a minute
    Transferring data

    Plan your trip with iberia.com
    Transferring data

  56. Melinda – charges dropped off my Chase Sapohire Reserve two days ago and still have not reappeared. My reservations are still intact with Iberia. I will keep checking.

  57. Tom – Thanks. Charges disappeared for a day and re-appeared as cleared yesterday, so yours will probably settle soon too. Now we wait for the miles…

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