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:
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
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):
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.