Bits: Iberia launches 50% ‘buy Avios’ bonus, Delta adding fuel surcharges to Virgin redemptions?

News in brief:

Iberia launches a 50% ‘buy Avios’ bonus

Last week we saw a 50% bonus if you bought Avios points via British Airways Executive Club, AerClub or

Iberia has launched its own 50% bonus Avios offer as you can see from this page.  You need to log in to see the discounted prices.

The Iberia system is a little odd as you can only buy certain numbers of points.  Once you get beyond 10,000 Avios then it must be a multiple of 5,000 Avios, pre bonus.

The maximum you can buy is 100,000 Avios – 150,000 with the bonus – for €1,800.  That works out at £1,565 so, basically, exactly 1p at the top end if you use a credit card with no foreign exchange fees.

I am not a buyer at this price.  I explained my logic in my article on the BA 50% bonus last week.  If you regret missing out last week, however, this is your second chance.  The offer runs until 1st June.

Remember that you cannot transfer Avios out of an Iberia Plus account until it is 90 days old, so there is no point opening one purely to take part in this offer.  If you don’t have an Iberia Plus account, I strongly recommend opening one so that you will have one which is older than 90 days in case a good Iberia offer comes along.

Virgin Atlantic 787

Delta adding surcharges to Virgin Atlantic redemptions?

If you have been crediting Virgin Atlantic flights to Delta SkyMiles because of the lack of fuel surcharges on Virgin Atlantic redemptions, you should take note.

Over the weekend, ‘carrier imposed surcharges’ of over $900 return suddenly appeared on Virgin Atlantic return flights from the US to the UK.  (There are already such surcharges imposed on Virgin redemptions using Delta miles if you fly FROM the UK to US, which is why it makes sense for UK residents with Delta accounts to book Virgin Atlantic redemptions as 2 x one-ways.  This means that you avoid the surcharge on the return flight.)

These surcharges disappeared on Monday.  Given Delta’s track record – which this US article summarises nicely – it is likely that they are about to introduce this change and were either testing the functionality or it went live too early.

You really shouldn’t be putting flights into Delta SkyMiles in any case.  The programme has become a bit of a joke in recent years.  Delta doesn’t even publish reward charts any longer and randomly hikes the price of reward flights every few months, with no prior – or even post event – notice.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

A few PR thoughts on the BA system outage
Bits: how to pre-order your BA duty free, 180 Avios for giving Tesco your insurance details
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  1. This was in the email from Iberia with the 50% extra Avios, slightly misleading (unless I’ve missed something)?

    Would you like to take a half-price trip?

    Over the next 4 days, you can!

    As an Iberia Plus member, buy or give Avios from 29 May to 1 June*
    and you will get 50% extra Avios to enjoy however you choose

    How does 50% extra Avios give a 1/2 Price trip?

    • Genghis says:

      Half price (in avios) for one person?

      • But wouldn’t the bonus need to be 100% to make the redemption 1/2 price?

        • Genghis says:

          Let’s take an example 15,000 avios LHR-MAD return. If I give those avios to my wife and pay the transfer fee, I would then get 7,500 (50% bonus) and would only have to pay another 7,500 to travel LHR-MAD. Is that right? Still a bit misleading though!

        • Callum says:

          Not exactly as that only works as “buy one get one half price”. Otherwise it’s transfer 10,000 to get 15,000, which only saves you a third.

          Iberia’s English promotions have always had ropey language though so I’m sure it’s not deliberate. I’m surprised they can’t find a native English speaker within IAG to proof read for them!

    • Alex W says:

      I think the author must have had the same maths teacher as Diane Abbott!

  2. Michael says:

    I can’t help thinking these Avios deals (buy more) are setting us up for a mass inflationary devaluation.

  3. barnaby100 says:

    Just feel lucky if you get a virgin redemption. Not a single seat seems to have been issued for a block period from 28th March to mid April to Boston (Easter 2018 and beyond). Usually plentiful as we book most years. Never had any issues getting Virgin redemptions (usually 4 x UC) to pretty much anywhere until past few months.

    • Have you tried Manchester for availability instead? I’m going out via London and back via Manchester on my upcoming Boston trip. Also ended up as slightly lower miles cost.

      • barnaby100 says:

        I flew from manchester at Easter. Never doing it again (might fly back in but not out) . Plus it only goes Wednesday and Saturday for 2018 redemption it seems- so no good for easter really.

        • Ah OK, shame. Thankfully dates work for me so going out on a Fri from LHR (& get to enjoy the Clubhouse for the first time!), then back on Wed into MAN.

    • thomas says:

      normally i would agree with you re Virgin redemptions.. then surprisingly got 3 seats in Virgin UC for next February.
      Even luxury travel agent was surprised at that..

    • Johnny Tabasco says:

      I’ve found Virgin often temporarily block out date ranges on certain routes, sometimes they even block out a whole month. I’ve seen this with LAX a few times.
      Because of this a couple of times now I’ve changed plans or changed dates and booked something else only to have a look again a few weeks later and suddenly found loads of avalaibilty on my original date choices. Gutted, but it’s their call of course.

      More often than not I get what I’m after though. Key is to have choose a few date options that may work for you. Certainly you should never bank on getting definte dates.

  4. Jason says:

    I received the same email as did my wife. I transferred Iberia Avios to her, paid the transfer fee and did not receive the 50 percent bonus.

    • Werner says:

      Seems only buying and gifting gives you 50%. Transferring is not included in the promo.

  5. Anyone know way to find reward seats on virgin website since it’s change?
    Previously used to be able to see available dates in calendar form even if the one I wanted isn’t available. Now it comes with errors for me

    • the_real_a says:

      Yeah – there needs to be one award seat on the calendar for it to show the grid. Also the calendar does not work on mobile app or the mobile version of the main website (via your phone browser). Need to use your desktop PC.

  6. I disagree with Rob about cresting flights to DL. For me, it’s the best strategy to achieve and retain Skyteam Elite Plus status (= BA Silver), which is more important to me than the value of the redeemed miles (I’ll built up redemmeabke miles in other ways).

    Delta operates a policy of rolling over unused elite qualifying miles at the start of each year. This means that you get a head start each year. For example, I started 2017 with 24,000 EQMs and quickly achieved Silver on my first flight of the year.

    I do agree that their miles are pretty hard to get value from but at least they never expire, unlike, say, AF/KLM Flying Blue which has a very punitive policy.

    I also like the fact you can credit both skyteam AND Virgin to Skymiles.

    All in all, it’s an OK program for my needs.

  7. OMAAT is reporting that the Delta Fuel Charge fiasco has been reversed…

    • Yes, it has – but last time something mysteriously appeared on Delta and then quickly went away, it came back permanently a few weeks later.

  8. Who should I credit miles too, then?

    I chose Delta for my £1100 LHR-MEL Garuda deal, since I thought I might use them on internal USA flights.

    Then I ended up booking GLA-AMS-LAX-DEN for £1300 cash with Delta (flown by KLM) rather than fly BA GLA-LHR-DEN since I really disliked my F flight there with BA last year.

    I have so far chosen to send miles to Delta too, but should I choose someone else.

    I suppose we are talking just one of two long-haul J a year – so I like Delta miles not expiring.

    Have loads of Avios – thanks Rob – and Virgin, but usually try and collect AA because of their low fees and the ability to book a journey rather than a flight.

    • You still get full SkyTeam access via Delta so I wouldn’t totally dismiss it. And, of course, there still isn’t a guarantee that fuel surcharges both ways will come to Virgin redemptions. I just want people to avoid crediting miles to Delta for the wrong reasons.

      Ironically, if you asked me if I would swap my Virgin FC balance for an equivlanet Delta balance then I might do it, despite their charges, because I currently have no SkyTeam miles at all, anywhere.

      • There can be some OK redemptions for SkyMiles. LAX-SYD/BNE on VA used to have great availability and only ~$100 tax. That seems to have gone away recently though and the price has gone up from the 150,000 return it used to be.

        Last Christmas, I used SkyMiles for intra-S America flights in GOL. Really nice airline and excellent lounges (at São Paulo, certainly). And again, virtually no tax.

        To earn most SkyMiles, it’s best to either (a) book and fly on partner airlines or (b) buy DL tickets but on another carrier’s stock. Both of these options mean you earn based on distance rather than revenue.

    • Alex W says:
  9. Oh! Matron! says:

    I find Rene’s points one of the worst places to go for news, but, for some reason, I continue to go there. He’s alarmist, and doesn’t write rationally. He also moderates his replies to posts, and doesn’t allow anything which is slightly critical of his post, or delta. However, down at the bottom, there’s a little nugget:

    Basically, he calculates that using miles to get a flight, at 1C a mile, or buying the flight with cash works out at being the same cost. This comes as a surprise to him, but it’s still a useful calculation.

    And here’s the problem: Whilst, and Rob has does some excellent posts on calculating the “value” of a point, we need to be careful when using that value in the “cost” of a flight. I earn miles in many different ways, even down to buying food. I have to buy food. And I don’t shop for food in particular places because the miles are different, but that Heston’s Smoked Salmon in Waitrose is better than M&S.

    So, any points earned in places like this have cost me £0. If I’ve “bought” points, then it’s a different matter. But, for me, I never see points as having cost me anything in most cases.

    It’s the same with my platinum Amex. I don’t have it for the points: I have it for the insurance, the priority pass, etc, etc. So any points earnt are effectively “free”

    I’m sure many will disagree, but wanted to cast a different light on the whole points thing.

  10. Darren says:

    If you can wait 90 days for the transfer is it worthwhile opening one now or are there any other restrictions?

    • You are also meant to have ‘activity’ on your account before you can transfer. Sometimes the site lets you buy and treats this as ‘activity’, sometimes it claims you can’t and need to do something else (transferring in 1000 Amex points is the easiest way to create activity).

    • Jason says:

      This promotion appears to work differently than the one a few months ago where transfers were bonus eligible. This one requires that you “give” miles and at a pitiful price even though the URL identifies the page as Transfer Points.

  11. Any tips on how to get value emptying ones Delta SkyMiles account? I have 10,545 miles that have been sitting there for a few years…

  12. h1tvd says:

    I am wanting to book Intercontinental Porto for 3 nights in December (not xmas or new year though). Not sure what a reasonable nightly rate is as never looked at pricing this hotel before? Can anyone who has booked it before tell me roughly how much they paid nightly and if it was a good deal? Booking today for December which is one of the cheaper times I think, its 190 euros a night including brekkie.

    • RIcatti says:

      I don’t think IC Porto is particularly cheap at any season. Prices observed in that range 190EUR even for Spring/Autumn.

      Try Ambassador Weekend if you have the voucher.

      • Tracy says:

        Just used my ambassador voucher at IC Paris so will be paying for IC Porto nights, can’t see it being sold out in December so will hang off booking in the hope of a sale or promo, thanks

  13. OT: Do you get HH Diamond benefits if you book the hotel via an agent? I booked airline tickets via and agent and they have sent me a £10 off code. The Hilton Garden Inn is cheaper through them and then the £10 off makes it worth while. However, as a Diamond am entitled to free breakfast so don’t want to lose that and points if they don’t offer that benefit via agent bookings. Not worried about upgrade as just an overnight stay.

    • If you mean an independent TA then possibly. If you mean Expedia etc then no. Remember you’d be giving up 2,000 Avios via the current promo plus your Hilton base points plus free breakfast.

    • Genghis says:

      IIRC it depends on the type of agent. An OTA – / expedia / agoda and the like – no; a Corporate Travel Agent, perhaps. I’ve had points post with HRG and Hillgate but others have reported not getting points from other Corporate Travel Agents.

  14. Thanks. It’s Travel Trolley so a bit like Expedia. I guess i won’t be getting any benefits or points so best not book with them.

  15. Clive says:
  16. Any ideas on what to do with 5k Delta miles?

    Sitting in my account for years but they don’t expire.