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The Economist back-pedals on the 12,000 free Avios promotion

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Back in November I wrote about a very generous promotion that The Economist was – and still is – offering in conjunction with Iberia Plus.

You will receive 12,000 Avios for taking out a £155 subscription to the magazine for one year.  Whilst this is not a bad deal on its own, it is an even better deal if you take up The Economist on the clause in their terms and conditions which allows you to cancel at any point for a pro-rata refund.

I first got wind of trouble last Monday when a reader told me that he was having difficulty getting the call centre to cancel his subscription.  Since the terms and conditions of the offer are very clear, I told the reader to keep pushing back as The Economist has NO CHOICE but to refund him.

I added a warning note to my original article at that time.

On Tuesday, another reader told me that he had successfully cancelled via email with no problems.  I thought the first reader had just hit a grumpy agent.

Yesterday, however, this clause started appearing on subscription confirmations:


The website for this offer has now been updated to include this information.

The terms and conditions were changed on January 16th.  If you ordered before that date, you will receive your refund.  If there is any push back from the magazine, push back yourself.  You are due your money.

If you applied on or after January 16th, you are now bound by these rules:


Unless specifically stated in any Subscription offer or promotion when you place your Subscription order, you have the right to cancel your Subscription at any time. Please note that if your Subscription includes a digital element, by placing your order you agree that we may start your Digital Subscription immediately and you acknowledge that you will lose your right to a refund in relation to any issues that have been published before you cancelled.

If you exercise your right to cancel, unless the terms of any Subscription offer or promotion state otherwise, we will reimburse all payments received from you, less a pro-rated amount for each issue delivered (if your Subscription contains a print element) or published (if your Subscription is a Digital Subscription only) before you cancelled.

(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.)

Comments (45)

  • Andy says:

    This is why we can’t have nice things – everyone jumps on the loopholes.

    Sure, it’s legal to jump on the loophole – we could argue that it’s their fault for not realising what would happen and we get a short term benefit. But the long term loss is greater – companies like the economist spot that things aren’t bringing them custom and roll back on their offers.

    I wonder if we’ll ever see an economist avios offer this generous again?

    • Thomas says:

      Not without airtight terms and conditions.
      Similarly Tesco with the bonus points on game pre orders.. That will likely change to full points only on collection and full payment when game comes in etc.

    • callum says:

      You’re seeing it right now… They got rid of the last one and replaced it with a non-cancellable version. If they were going to get rid of it they would have just scrapped the promotion outright now.

  • sandgrounder says:

    You should just keep the subscription and read the newspaper. With this deal, it is fantastic value! 🙂

  • pazza2000 says:

    Is the email cancellation template still available online?

  • Adam says:

    After my cancellation on the phone, it took 3-4 days to receive an email confirming then about another 5 days for the refund to hit my bank account.

  • Andy says:

    I ordered this deal in December and emailed to cancel a couple of weeks ago. They replied saying “Unfortunately we are currently unable to answer your enquiry at the moment as we are awaiting further information from the relevant department”. I then received a further email saying I couldn’t cancel it because “all subscriptions ordered through air mile websites are non refundable as stated in the terms and conditions when the order was placed”. I changed tactic and phoned them instead. They cancelled it immediately over the phone.

  • mark2 says:

    Those of you who have read the newspaper rather than cancelling after getting the flights may have read this article about ticket pricing anomalies:

    The article on Techdirt is here: