The madness continues …. the Iberia ‘90,000 Avios for £200’ deal 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
  • 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 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.  (I’m saying 11pm because that is midnight in Spain and I think Iberia will use that as the closing time.)

(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.)

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  1. A lot of hope being pinned on “double my money on hotels”. This is a fantasy even under normal circumstances; the burn rate is 0.55ppa, the ability to book flexible rates or specific types of rooms is often restricted, you may end up in a less (or more) convenient hotel than you would otherwise have stayed, you lose out on earmings from those other sites we can no longer name here, you lose opportunity to earn both base and bonus points via chain loyalty schemes, and you lose any elite benefits you might be entitled to such as free breakfast, lounge access or upgrades at all chains except Marriott. Added to all that, you are all gambling on these continuing to be normal circumstances, that might not prove to be the case.

    • Iberia has publicly stated you can use them for hotels so that is not an issue. Agree on some of your other points, but that is already factored in to ‘double your money’, since you are actually getting noticeably more than that and can take a hit on elite benefits and points earned and still be ahead. It also depends what benefits and status you hold – as I am now top tier with IHG, Hilton, Marriott and Starwood I leave more on the table than someone who only has IHG Gold via the free credit card.

      • Based on the fares quoted most will have about £250-320 benefit per 90k avios earned based on a 0.55ppa hotel redemption rate. On this basis I agree that all should still finish ahead after factoring in the ‘losses’ if thry redeem wisely. However, I am sure it will fall far short of double money in many cases. Provided there is no sting in the tail from Iberia, it is a good opportunity to try some independent hotels and reap close to full benefit from the promotion. Although I have some misgivings about the promotions impact on genuine travellers and I don’t quite trust Iberia to play fair, I would very likely have had a go myself did I not already poss the points and miles I need to see me through the next two years of travel. Looking forward to learning how this all ends.

        • marcw says:

          In 10 days, the Avios will be on the account. It’s not the first time they run this kind of promotion. A few years ago, they used to run it always during the christmas period, but limited to 1 purchase.

    • Is it definietley true that of the Platinum reward hotel chains (Hilton, Melia, Shangri-La,Club Carlson, SPG, Marriott and Taj), only Marriott provides the benefits if booked via points? Is it the same if booked via third-party search engines?

    • Is it definitely true that of the Platinum card reward hotel chains (Hilton, Melia, Shangri-La,Club Carlson, SPG, Marriott and Taj), only Marriott provides the benefits if booked via points? Is it the same if booked via third-party search engines?

      • They all give benefits on points stays. Only Marriott gives benefits on 3rd party cash bookings and you can’t be certain that this will continue after the new scheme starts in August as we haven’t seen the rules yet.

  2. the real harry1 says:

    Beggar me backwards with a nasty looking log up the jacksy but I just went for it, 20 bookings unfortunately now @ £28 – well done to those who got in quick.

    I’m going to bank the points, transfer to BAEC then close my IB a/c.

    Dithering cost me over £150 🙂

    There was the odd flight floating @ £21 but too much hassle as they kept disappearing thanks to our friends over the pond I guess

    • Struggling to find cheapest routes…what are people using now?

      • OVD-MAD wide availability at 24 quids.

      • I’ve just done ten and intend to fly them (also BA Gold cardholder so lounge access to reduce the punishment a bit plus about another 5000 points): mid July: LGW to MAD £44, MAD to Toulouse overnight trip – £26 each way (loads of availability – see Google Flights);mid August: Avios flight LHR to Bilbao (plus CP T3 lounge); Bilbao to MAD (£29) overnight return to Santiago (£26 each way). (Need to be in Frankfurt so will use LATAM either business Avios or £33 flight). Mid-September: LHR to LIS (using Avios): LIS to Mad (£33), MAD to Porto to MAD day trip (£26 each way) – then need to be in Frankfurt again so will use LATAM etc. I think that’s 10 segments – plus 3 cities I’ve not visited (Toulouse, Santiago and Porto)

      • I had 9 SDR – MAD at £21.20 and 1 BIO – MAD at £24.

    • AndyR says:

      Harry I’m surprised you got in so late I thought this was right up your street???

      • the real harry1 says:

        yep not always the cock of the roost, I still think my misgivings may come home (ahem) to roost, ie can’t transfer Avios to BAEC, we’ll all deal with that if it happens eg hotels or flight redemptions

        not giving away 180,000 Avios 🙂

    • I doubt they are going to fall for a closing accounts trick.

      • AndyR says:

        I doubt they will be able stop it BJ.

        • Mark2 says:

          How will you close an account without their involvement?
          Is there a button on the web site to close (have not looked, and if there is moments to remove it)?

    • AndyR says:

      SDR-MAD has been jacked up to crazy prices!

    • The Original Nick says:

      Harry, your humour is brilliant.

  3. Any idea if you can book flights by December 1 but actually only fly in 2019?

  4. Garyn says:

    If I transfer to my BAEC and close my Iberia acc, how tricky would it be to reopen a new Iberia Plus acc again. 0 balance, just in case I need to use it in the future? My plans all focus more on Asia than Americas for a while

  5. OVD to MAD now looking like the best option price-wise. Plenty of availability at £24.20.

    Booked ours now. We’re planning to fly the majority of them, which should make for a couple of nice long weekends during the first half of next year as well. Shame Iberia/Iberia Express doesn’t seem to offer any flights from London these days apart from Madrid, not even Barcelona. We flew to Gran Canaria last year with Iberia Express (from Heathrow) which would have made for an attractive booking option, but that’s since been replaced by BA services.

    Can’t have everything I guess 😉

  6. Optimus Prime says:

    When redeeming avios ex-MAD on Iberia – is it possible to book a positioning flight LON-MAD with them and have it added to the same ticket? For baggage to be checked through and them to have to reroute you in case of missed connection, etc.

    • AndyR says:


    • I don’t think you can combine it with a positioning cash fare. You can book a redemption as part of the same ticket, although you’ll end up paying UK long haul APD if you do, so probably not worth it. I would plan to spend a night in Madrid to ensure you have sufficient delay buffer.

    • Optimus Prime says:

      One more thing – when booking these reward flights I guess your partner must do a separate booking with his/her 90k points?

      • Possibly, given that I don’t think Iberia Plus offers household accounts. You may be able to avoid it by calling them, but as Iberia doesn’t charge seat selection fees in business class you should have any issues ensuring you are seated together anyway.

  7. I’ve been following this for the past couple of days and am still not sufficiently enthused to open an Iberia account. It all sounds like a lot of work when, as I think Harry pointed out, 5 referrals from Platinum would get you the same thing and greater flexibility with the points. But it still makes for fun reading!

    • the real harry1 says:

      shame you can’t use IB Avios to redeem BA flights… 🙂

      • Can’t you ? I took a look yesterday and they seemed to be offering BA Avios flight on

      • marcw says:

        Yes you can. You can’t apply 241. Sometimes taxes are lower in IbPlus than on BAEC, simply because you are able to select mixed cabins.

  8. Frankie says:

    Have hummed and hawed since yesterday, but after a couple of beers in the blazing sun and heat of London have succumbed and bought 10 SDR to MAD (£21 each) and so has the partner, so 180,000 avios. We’ve accepted it’s a risk and will write it off as a bad investment if it all goes wrong…. Will spend them on hotels in Spain in September and getting a BIG saving. Fingers crossed

  9. Garyn says:

    Ah yes the passports could be an small issue!!

    • the real harry1 says:

      you could try it & report back?

      nobody seems to have cancelled then re-opened on the same ID

      not a problem for our European friends who have both passports & ID cards…

      • Graham Walsh says:

        Good point. I have mine. Originally Irish and got my ID card with my renewal last year 🙂

        • the real harry1 says:

          jammy! 🙂

        • the real harry1 says:

          all the rest of us have dual nationality (wife & kids) same as Raffles/ Genghis I guess

          I’m worried this moronic Brexit vote will rob me of my simple, legal & peaceful retirement abroad – let’s not open the debate – but could lead to me going round the Wrekin at great expense to prove I can stay in a European country as retired old bloke

        • the real harry1 says:

          I’m thinking that my 2 bright kids (the other one’s got a learning disability, autism, gets it from dad no doubt) will be able to mention EU passport prominently on CV and get a massive advantage vs UK-only passport holders when they go for a job with any multinational company 🙂

      • Mark2 says:

        my wife and I have each got a couple of IB accounts for E-Rewards destinations. But we did not cancel anything.

      • marcw says:

        Or spaniards, who get a new passport number whenever they renew their passport.

  10. Delbert says:

    The elephant in the room is the new account opening part of the promotion that’s so woolly. There’s definitely a 72 hour activation period, we know that, and which just also so happens to be the term of the promotion. I’m absolutely certain IB will fall back on this most salient point and not honour the Avios as the account couldn’t possibly be credited with promotion Avios when the account in question wasn’t active during the promotion period.

    It’s the elephant in the room. There’s going to be a lot of wailing in ten days time.

    • the real harry1 says:

      more generosity for the rest of us haha! 🙂

      • Do you know if accounts that have been opened (years ago) but 0 activity has gone through it, will be in a similar boat?

        • Perhaps send 1000 avios over from Amex MR account if you have one…to be sure.

        • Tracy says:

          This is what I am wondering too. I opened my IB account years ago as did my husband. I used mine for a few small transfers etc. His has never been used. My flights are sitting in my IB account. His (done at same time) are not showing in his account…….

      • Delbert says:

        When I opened my wife’s and I Iberia accounts, thanks to HfP, it was for a Groupon promotion and there wasn’t any three day activation nonsense, Harry. The only obstacle we faced was waiting for the accounts to season for ninety days.

        I’m pretty sure this activation period was built in to stop such abuse of the promotion. I might be wrong, but I can’t see it going any other way.

        Put it this way, I definitely wouldn’t have gambled on new accounts for the wife and I and then expected to be credited with 180k Avios. I wouldn’t have touched it.

  11. Daniel says:

    Rob, however this thing works out, can i just say thanks to you for being the only really responsible commentator out there.

    This is all a good lark a the end of the day, whether it’s ebaying printer cartridges or playing the Iberia game, and i have gone in with no more commitment than i’m willing to lose.

    There is a so much nonsense written, and an unbelievable sense of entitlement from many that swallow it, it’s good to have a reliable source who check the facts before commenting. It’s s shame a few give you grief along the way.

    • Shocker, and yet Iberia have also stated that if you transfer the points out and dont redeem with IB your account will go into a negative balance. So who is correct? Wonderful world of points collecting and different CS telling you different things. As discussed, if they can’t be transferred out then a hotel redemption with IB will still realise a profit on the cash spent.

      • the real harry1 says:

        what a complete beggar! 🙂

        • the real harry1 says:

          probs wallah, Harry

          OK – wallah it is 🙂

        • I’m gutted by this if it is true as we are going to do Iberia redemptions and I was selfishly hoping most people would transfer out to BA leaving a decent selection of Iberia redemptions! Fingers crossed the whole of Europe doesn’t suddenly fancy a trip to South America 🙂

      • We should have a competition / race. First person to comment that their points have posted. First person to confirm whether or not they could transfer them. First person to post they have a negative avios balance. First person to threaten to complain to ASA!

  12. the real harry1 says:

    Question: [email protected]_en Clarification on the points please: If points get transferred to British Airways, a negative balance will appear on the IB account, but will the points still transfer to British Airways?

    Answer: Hi Johnny, the promotional avios cant be transfered to BA. Kind regards.

  13. the real harry1 says:

    We knew this (if you had a brain) but greed drove us to go for the max.

    I hang my head in shame.

  14. the real harry1 says:

    For about 10 seconds lol

    Now – how to screw them for every single Euro cent? 🙂

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