There has been NO Iberia devaluation. I repeat …

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

One upside of only publishing articles in the early morning, instead of dropping them in during the day, is that it gives me more time to reflect on the issue at hand. And, this time, saved me an ‘egg on face’ moment.

The quiet of my holiday was broken on Sunday evening by a tweet from @FreequentFlyr noting apparently strange pricing behaviour over at Iberia Plus.

Let’s jump back a step first though.  Since Avios was launched in November 2011, all three scheme (Iberia Plus, BA Executive Club, avios.com) have used the same pricing chart for awards – this one:

Avios bandings

The chart that @FreequentFlyr had spotted was this:

(The original source of the chart is here at iberia.com – click on ‘View Redemption Table’ at the bottom)

What he assumed was that he had stumbled onto a massive, secret, Iberia devaluation – that Iberia had devalued oneworld partner redemptions overnight.

And if Iberia had done that, surely BA would follow?

Every major US frequent flyer site was all over this yesterday speculating that a) BA would follow and therefore b) the end of the glorious 4,500 Avios one-way internal US redemption was dead.

EXCEPT THAT IT ISN’T.  BECAUSE NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

Almost no-one, ever, books oneworld redemptions using Iberia Plus points.  This is why:

You cannot book them online

They are non-refundable and non-cancellable

Anyone with a brain moves their Avios to BA and books via ba.com.  Because, on ba.com, a oneworld redemption:

Can be booked online

Is refundable

Is cancellable

No wonder that no-one actually knew what Iberia’s oneworld pricing chart looked like!

However, this is what it looked like back in 2011 (courtesy of Flyertalk):

Old Iberia table

I went through old Flyertalk posts last night and I found references to redemptions which confirm these numbers.

Compare the ‘new’ table with the old table, priced in pre-Avios ‘Puntos’.  They are the same except that the Avios table is the old table multiplied by 15, which was the multiplier used with IB points when Avios was launched.

So, to clarify – Iberia has had (for AT LEAST 10 YEARS according to Flyertalk posts I pulled out yesterday) a very unattractive reward chart for oneworld partner airlines.  Because you could only book by phone, and the tickets were not cancellable or refundable, everyone forgot this redemption chart actually existed.  Until yesterday.

I look forward to some interesting posts on the US frequent flyer sites today.  And possibly some posts being quietly deleted.

Move along now, there is nothing to see.

(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

Amex offer at London Westfield's - £20 off £100 spend
Claiming compensation for flight delays

Click here to join the 15,000 people on our email list and receive the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

Amazon ad
AMEX Gold 20,000 bonus points
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. Good work Raffles! Thanks for sorting it out. I wonder how many people panicked and burned through their avios yesterday?! I almost decided to redeem some by go skiing in Canada next year because I found business class flights to Calgary that were perfect (11-18 April, if anybody is interested). I’m relieved I didn’t (but only because I didn’t really understand what was going on) – I’ll continue to hold on and search for the holy grail- business/first to Australia at any point!

    And I suppose it also means the mystery over the purpose of the 40,0000-50,000 miles category will remain unresolved for the time being too.

  2. Well done Raffles,
    thanks for the clarification I was waiting for this.
    I did panic and booked some flights I needed for my trip to Vegas and the 5 short European trips. Glad it is not a devaluation thought!
    For those of us in the north the short distance redemptions are brilliant as they save us the train down to London

  3. Lady London says:

    So how many hat tips will you get from the US sites for this then?

  4. RIccati says:

    It occurs to me that by crying ‘Devaluation’ the community shoots itself in the foot because if expectations are there, it is much easier to carry out an actual devaluation.

    • What amuses me is the view that goes ‘airlines always devalue’. The 2011 Avios changes were a big improvement for UK residents – Reward Flight Saver came in and rewards to East Coast USA and Asia got noticeably cheaper.

    • I thought that. If I were the person in charge of setting the points chart and I read the comments on Monday, I would be thinking that people in the us would understand an increase in points needed for intra-USA flights, but people in Europe would abandon avios if there was a hike in points along the lines of the one ‘reported’.

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.