Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The madness continues …. Iberia’s ‘90,000 Avios points for £200’ ends tonight. Let’s do the maths.

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In all of the years I’ve been running Head for Points, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a deal get as much attention – globally – as the Iberia ‘90,000 Avios for booking 10 flights you don’t need to fly’ offer this weekend.

We’ve certainly had good Tesco Direct deals in the past which were more generous, such as 2,400 Avios (1,000 Clubcard points) for a £10 printer ink which you could resell on eBay.  These were glitches and got no attention outside the UK.  This deal is NOT a mistake – Iberia has been keen to tell us that! – and it is getting huge amounts of traction across the world.

You can book the Iberia deal here if you still want to jump in or find out more.

To summarise:

  • You get 9,000 Avios for every Iberia, Iberia Express or Air Nostrum flight you book by 11pm UK time on Sunday
  • You can earn up to 90,000 Avios per Iberia Plus account
  • You must book on iberia.com
  • Your booking must include your Iberia Plus frequent flyer number
  • Your 9,000 bonus Avios will arrive within 10 days
  • Iberia has confirmed that you do not have to take the flights – you won’t lose the Avios if you don’t
  • One-way flights work fine

So …. if you can find 10 cheap one-way flights on iberia.com for €25 each (Santander to or from Madrid still had availability at that price last night, obviously prices are lowest in Winter) then you are getting 90,000 Avios cheaply.

There are restrictions on using these Avios and I STRONGLY recommend reading my article from yesterday here before booking.

Iberia 90000 Avios

Let’s put the deal in context

I am guessing that between 50,000 and 100,000 seats will be booked under this promotion.  If you think that sounds high, remember that it only requires 5,000 to 10,000 people to book their full quota to hit that number.  You also need to remember that non-UK frequent flyer sites have been going crazy over this deal too – virtually all of them, I have to say, giving less focus to the potential downside risks than we have.

What would 100,000 booked seats mean?

Iberia Group carries 85,000 passengers per day, so this equates to over one full day of passenger numbers

If you assume all of the bookings are for Q4 2018 and Q1 2019, as that is when fares are cheapest, it will add 0.6% to Iberia’s load factor for those two quarters (management bonuses all round)

If Iberia pays 0.75p per Avios to Avios Group (which is my best guess) then it will have to hand over £6,750,000 to AGL

Assuming an average ticket price of £20, Iberia will therefore lose £4,750,000, albeit IAG overall sees no loss

The promotion seems to have wiped out every single Iberia seat priced at under €20 for the next 12 months, and a large proportion of those priced under €25

Iberia will see a disproportionately high number of ‘no shows’ over the next year which could have a longer term impact on planning as they will lose track of the ‘genuine’ no show rate which is how they decide how much they can oversell a flight

It is all very odd and, frankly, probably beyond anything that Iberia thought would happen.  There will be some interesting discussions in Madrid on Monday.  Iberia cannot realistically go back on the deal, however, given that it briefed various websites including Head for Points on Friday about how the offer worked.

You can book via the special offer page here if you still want to give it a go before 11pm tonight.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2022)

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.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

50,000 Avios for signing up (A CRAZY SPECIAL OFFER!) and an upgrade voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

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.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

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

Comments (427)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Matt says:

    I have been tempted to book a few flights to get some avios for a planned redemption for next year. I’m looking to book LGW to RAK, but when I search on Iberia for redemptions I only find indirect routes via Madrid. Is it possible to book BA only flights on Iberia, and if so how?

  • CV3V says:

    Different question, wonder how many of those estimated 10,000 people are new IB Plus members? Where if their accounts aren’t verified they might lose out and get zero avios, but IB still gets the cash for the bookings. IF that happened, there are going to be thousands of peed of people.

    Although, thanks to HfP, there are a lot of us who have held IB Plus accounts for a long time, there will be a lot of new new accounts set up, especially in the US.

  • James says:

    Who are the hotel partners redeem against and the conversion rates?

    • Rob says:

      It is the same as the BA hotel booking option – huge numbers of hotels pretty much everywhere.

  • Daniel says:

    Perhaps we should crunch the numbers on how many people are going to be trying to book TATL reward flights in 10 days time (and fail)?

    When the points post it will be a feeding frenzy. Iberia will be cancelling plenty of those avios come December would be my guess.

    • Daniel says:

      I guess hotel redemptions will account for lots of it, but would be good if Rob could run a piece on where value is in the various redemption options.

      • Rob says:

        The hotels are fixed value at 0.55p per Avios. Obviously better value at independents as you won’t miss the loss of points or status benefits. We’ve done a few articles on the best use of Avios via IB.

  • the real harry1 says:

    The biggest risk (if it exists at all) is that you fail to redeem on IB metal & move your 90,000 points to BAEC – then come December 1st, IB grabs the points back from your BAEC a/c – they are sister parts of the same Avios loyalty program, after all.

    • Paul says:

      Is the new IT system in place yet for the Avios scheme?

      • the real harry1 says:

        It could all easily be done manually, ie simple to extract the data about who participated in the promotion then sit a student down on €10/ hour to check each a/c one by one and reverse the points from BAEC to IB before cancelling… 🙂

  • Steve says:

    Rob, out of curiosity, did you buy any tickets yourself?

    • Graham Walsh says:

      I was thinking the same earlier 🙂

      I’ve bitten the bullet and purchased a few flights for £21, not a huge amount to lose.

      • Rob says:

        No, but I am sitting on 2m Avios across our family and, as per Instagram, spent all Friday at the Queens Club tennis and all Saturday at Glyndebourne (as one does). If I get an hour today and do decide to go for it, I am 99% certain to redeem them for hotels via Iberia Plus. I will more than double my money with no risk to my IB account long term.

        • James says:

          which hotels can you redeem against fro Iberia?

        • The Original Nick says:

          Rob, Are Melia hotels included?

          • Rob says:

            I assume so, they just normal wholesale inventory and stick it up. If it is on the BA hotel booking portal then it will be on the IB portal when it works.

  • Jeff says:

    The involvement so many Americans going totally over the top with reports of booking 30 names x 10 flights etc will probably make or break this. Either the outcome will be so extreme that IB do something effectively to kill it directly or indirectly or there will be threats of legal action from Americans that will persuade them to honour the deal to the letter. The issue excess publicity unfortunately makes a good outcome less likely.

    • CV3V says:

      If our US cousins have been booking over multiple new accounts then a lot of those accounts will fail verification, and they won’t get the extra points, and be left with a bunch of useless tickets. Even if its just on one account (no multiple accounts), again if this 72hr verification period is how it pans out in practice then those accounts too will lose out on the bonus avios.

      Where it does go to plan for US folks, then the bulk of the bookings will probably be for using American Airlines on internal flights with very low taxes/fees on redemptions.

      This story has more to go, we’ll get a big update within the next 10 days.

    • Yuff says:

      I suspect a lot of Americans with new accounts and details that don’t match won’t be receiving the bonus Avios.
      I also remember having to put our passport details in but I could be wrong about that……

      • John says:

        IB doesn’t have any way of checking your passport details, up until the point you fly with them on an international flight and they request to see it before boarding.

  • marcw says:

    It´s good to get facts right sometimes! According to Spanish airport statistics, in May Iberia, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum transported a combined 3.2M passengers. So that´s about 100.000 pax per day.

    I doubt Iberia Plus pays so much for Avios honestly. In the last year, they´ve been giving away millions (billions?) of Avios for peanuts. Some others, Avis deals or Groupon.

    • Rob says:

      The 2017 estimate for Iberia is 19 million, which may exclude Air Nostrum admittedly. May is a peak month.

      • marcw says:

        You don´t need estimate when the numbers are out there available for anyone to check. In 2017, Iberia Group transported 33.5M pax.

      • marcw says:

        In 2017: Iberia transported 17.4M, Iberia Express 8.4M and Air Nostrum 7.7M passengers. Don´t know where you get your numbers from, but…

        • Rob says:

          The number I saw was purely IB then, I assumed it was the wider group.

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