Iberia launched a new promotion on Thursday which, on the face of it, looked EXCEPTIONALLY generous.
For every Iberia flight you book between now and Sunday night, however cheap, you will receive 9,000 bonus Avios. Your flying dates can be for whenever you choose.
These Avios will post to your account immediately (within 10 days) and not when you fly.
Even if you use the points for what is usually a poor value deal, such as booking a hotel, you should double your money.
You can find full details on the Iberia website here.
There were, however, a number of things that weren’t clear as you can see in the comment section under yesterday’s article.
We talked to someone at Iberia to clarify the promotion and here are the facts about how the deal works.
In summary – EARNING the Avios really is as good as it seems. (Spending is different, see below.) Book 10 x cheap one-way flights on iberia.com from a participating country by Sunday night and you’ll have 90,000 Avios in your Iberia Plus account within 10 days.
Santander to Madrid appears to be a route with very low fares, around €25, as is Palma to Madrid and Malaga to Madrid. There are likely to be others. If you want to spend some time digging I would start with the Iberia Express route map and look for the Winter months. October to February are likely to have the best prices.
The 9,000 bonus Avios are awarded per booking and not flight, so for cheap Avios you need to be booking one-way flights on any of the participating airlines (Iberia, Iberia Express, Air Nostrum)
You only need one segment in a booking to be on Iberia, Iberia Express or Air Nostrum, so a flight on British Airways which connects to Iberia Express for the last leg is OK
Bookings must be made by Sunday night – for safety I would make them by 11pm which would be midnight in Spain
Your Iberia Plus number needs to be put into the booking at the time of making it
Each booking can be for multiple people – if each person has an Iberia Plus account, each will receive 9,000 Avios
This offer is available in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Russia, United Kingdom, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mexico and USA
There is no obligation for your flights to start or end in the UK – domestic Spanish flights are fine
Here is the key one:
Iberia WILL NOT take back the 9,000 bonus Avios if you don’t turn up for the flight but you will not receive the normal base Avios that the flight would generate
So, as far as earning the 9,000 to 90,000 Avios is concerned, it is all now very clear. If you can find 10 x bargain one-way flights, which could be as cheap as €250 or so, you’ll get 90,000 Avios very cheaply.
Spending the Avios is more of an issue:
If you don’t spend the bonus Avios via Iberia Plus by 1st December they will be taken back.
Iberia has confirmed that the 9,000 bonus Avios have to be spent through the Iberia Plus programme before 1st December but the services booked can be for 2019 (i.e. future flight tickets, hotel bookings or rental car bookings)
Transferring the Avios to a BA account instead of using them through the Iberia Plus programme will result in a negative balance in your Iberia account on 1st December
So, as I see it, here are your options for spending the points:
You transfer the Avios to a standard BA Executive Club account
This is possible via ‘Combine My Avios’ and they can be used as you want. However, on 1st December, your Iberia Plus account will show a negative balance because the bonus Avios will be reclaimed as you have not spent them. Having a permanent negative balance on your Iberia Plus account will stop you booking low-tax redemptions via Iberia Plus in the future.
You CANNOT transfer Iberia Plus Avios into a BA Executive Club account which is part of a Household Account
You would need to break up your BA Household Account, remembering that changes can only be made once every six months. Alternatively you could transfer to an Aer Club or Vueling Club account but I am not 100% sure if they can transfer into a BA Household Account. It should be possible as the old-style avios.com accounts allowed this. Your Iberia account would still end up with negative balance in December which may or may not concern you.
You spend the Avios via the Iberia Plus website
This is the ‘cleanest’ option because you won’t end up with a negative balance in December as the bonus Avios won’t be clawed back due to non-use. However, remember the following quirks with Iberia Plus:
British Airways short-haul redemptions have higher taxes, because you don’t get Reward Flight Saver pricing
You cannot use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher when redeeming via the Iberia Plus website
Partner redemptions (except for BA) CANNOT be cancelled or changed once booked, if made via Iberia Plus
Partner redemptions (except for BA) must be booked as return flights if made via Iberia Plus
One good option is booking a hotel via Iberia Plus. 90,000 Avios will get – using the 0.55p per point valuation Avios uses – exactly £500 of free hotel stays. If you can pick up the 10 flights for £250, you are doubling more money. Remember that hotel bookings made with Avios do not earn hotel loyalty points and you will not receive status benefits.
If you can work around these three issues then you are fine. This HfP article looks at low tax options when redeeming Avios on Iberia’s website.
It is now clear that Iberia is serious about this offer (heaven knows why, as they are paying real intra-group cash to Avios Group for them) and that you can earn 90,000 Avios as cheaply as you can find 10 x one-way Iberia, Iberia Express or Air Nostrum flights on iberia.com. You will NOT need to take these flights.
Spending those Avios will not be totally straightforward, however, and will leave you with some mess to tidy up, even if it is nothing more than having to abandon your Iberia Plus account due to a negative balance.
Iberia has ensured us that complaints, should your Avios not appear, will be taken seriously and you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3684 3774 if there are any issues.
If you are going to give this a go, block out an hour of your day to do it. You need to make 10 totally separate bookings, meaning 10 credit card payments etc.
You can find full details of this offer and the booking link on this special page of the Iberia website.
You can book from there or via the main Iberia booking page here.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.