There has been NO Iberia devaluation. I repeat …

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, 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 – 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.


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  Because, on, 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.

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  1. Well Done Rob!

  2. Brilliant, great work Raffles, thank you! You deserved our faith in you – when I saw links to these posts yesterday I thought “Yes it looks bad, but just wait, HfP will have the real run down tomorrow morning … it probably won’t be as bad as it seems” … and thank goodness for that!

  3. Thanks for explaining all that in plain and simple language. tbh I had little idea what they were going on about on FT yesterday, other than some folk were getting over-excited!

  4. Yes I had a feeling something sounded dodgy. Thanks for doing the work to confirm.

  5. And all was well in points land…phew

  6. Thanks Rob. Thanks for reporting the *real* news (ie no news!).

    Nevertheless, yesterday’s furore did prompt me to book some internal JAL flights I’d not got round to finalising yet, so not bad thing.

    On that point – I know you’ve reported just how good value it is to book JAL with Avios due to the low taxes and no fuel surcharge but I hadn’t realised just how much the flights would cost for cash. We saved over £500 on two flights from Hiroshima to Tokyo by paying 9,000 Avios + £3.40 tax. Amazing value: 5.6p per Avios!

    • Only if you would have flown anyway. How much would the train have been?

      • We’ll be getting the train down but want to fly back up. However, given the price, we’d probably have got the train back, if we’d been paying cash.

  7. What happened to the holiday? 😉

  8. MaltaPoints Tom says:

    Excellent detective work Rob, thanks.

  9. Phillip says:

    I’ve always felt that the RFS was more aimed at pulling US frequent flyers in rather than keeping British/European passengers happy given that BAEC has nothing more to offer US flyers than what they can get from homegrown programmes. The panic across the pond regarding the “devaluation” does not surprise me one bit!

  10. One thing bad about Iberia redemptions is that there is no infant fares and they want to charge full adult avios for any redemptions.

    • neuromancer says:

      There are infant fares, 10% of adult fare, done that already (lap infants, obviously)

      • I was told on the phone that lap infants with Iberia plus have to either pay 10% of the adult revenue fare available at time of booking or the full adult avios fare plus the adult taxes. This was based on IB operated flights.

  11. You forgot to quite an important point: you can not book one way tickets with oneworld on the iberia website!

    On the other side i flew on Vueling last Friday booking via BA (BA code) but changed from Baex to Iberia plus and got the full 912 avios for the flight! Thanks to your previous post i checked and had i not amended i would have gained a miserable 228!
    This year for the first time i was able to fly home fully with BA/oneworld ! Thank you!

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Lady London says:

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

  15. 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’.