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Bizarre: You can’t book Avios flight tickets for babies / infants via Iberia Plus

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Last week we covered Iberia’s excellent ‘50% off all Avios redemptions’ sale. There were some amazing deals to be had (New York for 34,000 Avios + £130 of tax in Business Class, return, for example) if you were confident of travel restrictions lifting.

A reader posted a comment on this topic yesterday which came as news to me. If you do what I do for long enough you assume that you’ve seen every quirk out there, but there is always something coming along to surprise me.

You can't book Avios seats for babies via Iberia Plus

Iberia does not allow you to book Avios tickets for infants.

By ‘infant’, we mean a child which has not yet had its second birthday.

Does Iberia really not let you book Avios tickets for infants?

Yes.

It is, obliquely, mentioned on this page of the Iberia website:

Can I use my Avios to buy a ticket for my baby?

You cannot use your Avios to buy a ticket for your baby. To issue a ticket for a baby associated with a reservation bought with Avios please contact your Iberia Plus service centre.

When you read the paragraph above, there is an implication that you can’t buy an infant ticket online, but that the service centre can fix it for you.

It can’t.

When you ring the service centre, you are told that an infant ticket will cost 10% of the CASH cost of an adult ticket.

It isn’t clear exactly what fare the 10% is based on – is it the fully flexible price, or is it the cheapest cash fare available on that day?

It also isn’t clear if this fare is refundable or not.

How does this compare with British Airways infant policy?

If you book an Avios flight on British Airways via British Airways Executive Club, an infant will cost you 10% of the Avios and 10% of the taxes used for the adult tickets.

You can book it online too.

The rule seems to work slightly differently for partner airlines, where you pay 10% of the Avios but a low – but more than 10% – taxes figure.

You can't book Avios seats for babies via Iberia Plus

Is the Iberia deal so bad?

IF (and this is a big ‘if’) Iberia prices the 10% off the cheapest possible cash ticket, it isn’t necessarily a bad deal.

Take New York. On a peak date, you are looking at 100,000 Avios + £130 taxes and charges for a return business class flight.

If Iberia had copied the British Airways Executive Club model of 10% Avios and 10% taxes, you would need to use 10,000 Avios + £13 for an infant. This is about £113 of value if you believe Avios are worth 1p each.

If Iberia charges you 10% of the cheapest cash ticket, and the cheapest cash ticket available on that day from Madrid to New York was £1,500 in business class, then you would pay £150 for your infant. There isn’t much in it.

However, if Iberia insists on pricing off a fully flexible business class ticket to New York, you would be asked for SUBSTANTIALLY more.

Having looked at a few discussion on Flyertalk, the majority (but, oddly, not all) comments said that it is 10% of the FULLY FLEXIBLE fare. One person reported paying $1,000 for a one-way infant ticket, based on a $10,000 one-way fully-flexible business class price.

If this really is how it works, it makes Iberia Plus redemptions for Avios a poor deal for most people with infants. It isn’t a terrible deal – in most cases it will remain cheaper than the equivalent British Airways Avios redemption – but most of the saving disappears.

Weirdly, British Airways WILL book you an Avios ticket on an Iberia flight

What is genuinely weird is that you CAN book an infant for Avios on Iberia flights if you make the booking via British Airways Executive Club.

The problem is that you don’t want to do this, because the taxes and charges are substantially higher when booked via BAEC instead of Iberia Plus. It is also impossible to book an infant ticket via British Airways Executive Club for 10% Avios to add to adult tickets booked via Iberia Plus.

If you have any experience of adding infants to bookings made via Iberia Plus, please let us known in the comments what it cost and how the process worked. I wouldn’t surprise me if the Iberia call centre made up the pricing as it went along.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

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

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

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 credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

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

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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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 10,500 Avios:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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

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 (51)

  • Simon says:

    Singapore Airlines have this same policy, can be very expensive on a one way business fare you would have used miles for…

    • Matthew says:

      Indeed. I remember paying almost £600 for a lap infant ticket to NZ with Singapore Airlines!

      • Scallder says:

        Us too – was more cash than two adult reward seats in business to NZ combined!

        • Marc says:

          I’m looking to buy tickets to Tokyo/Seoul next Summer for me, my wife and son (who will then be 2). I assume I will have to pay full price and get a business class seat for my son now he is 2? The Indecisiveness in Seoul/Tokyo is because we are actually flying to Australia, but realise it is near impossible to use a companion voucher the whole way to Oz!

          • Laineyling says:

            Once 2 or over they need their own seat. Interesting trick (and i have tried this and it works) if you start itinerary before 2 yrs you pay infant seat rates and then BA gives seats for free for any flights where they are now 2 or over.

            Caveats, ONLY works for BA bookings and the process to get the agent to hold the seats is very long winded and not every agent knows about it, also at the airport check that they the seat printed on boarding pass.

            We ended up denied boarding as the check in agent failed to release the seat for our son and by the time we went to board was too late as she had given the seat away….

          • Pid says:

            Yes you will have to buy a seat if your son is over 2.

    • Spk says:

      I can confirm singapore airlines uses fully flexible fare to calculate 10%. Unfortunately I was the one who paid it last year.

  • Alex says:

    The airlines that let you use miles to book for infants (rather than pay 10% of the cash price) are the exception rather than the norm. This may not appear to be so in the UK where both BA and VS allow miles infant bookings, but the rest of the world is not so fortunate!

    • HAM76 says:

      Lufhansa Group charges no miles for infants, but requires all taxes to be paid. Children until the age of 12 pay only 75% the miles of a regular award ticket.

      • John says:

        Well obviously they have to comply with government requirements regarding taxes. Do you mean they also charge the full amount of “carrier surcharges”?

        • HAM76 says:

          Yes, full taxes and airline surcharges. You can’t book online, either. Lufthansa lets you pay taxes and surcharges with miles. I don’t know what happens if you have a ticket fully booked with miles and then add an infant.

  • SydneySwan says:

    Weidly, British Airways WILL book you an Avios ticket on an Iberia flight.

    You my want to correct the mispelling Rob.

  • SydneySwan says:

    may – damn auto-correct!

  • Jack W says:

    Is it possible to get BA to add a baby/child to an avios booking? I have a 241 voucher which I will use for two adults (max avios and min cash basis). Can I then add, presumably via the call centre) a minor with min avios and max cash?

    • Rob says:

      Yes, this is fairly common due to new babies not being named before birth.

    • Genghis says:

      Yes. V easy to do. I amended quite a few bookings once my son was born and we’d been to registry office.

  • Lumma says:

    “If this really is how it works, it makes Iberia Plus redemptions for Avios a poor deal for most people.”

    I’m not sure “most people” are people with babies wanting to travel on points

    • memesweeper says:

      Indeed – should read “poor deal for most people with infants” .

      • Tony says:

        And beyond that, it’s only a poor deal for people who 1) have infants, 2) have an IB Avios account and 3) want to make a premium(?) redemption in that two year period.

        So whilst this is an annoying quirk, it really is only a problem for the absolute minority.

  • Eli gold says:

    Excellent work. That really covers it.

    The last subtitle says wei(r)dly

  • Andrew says:

    Interesting article but why not just phone Iberia to make a dummy booking and answer the question once and for all rather than rely on conjecture and second hand reports from FT?

    • Lumma says:

      Have you ever tried phoning Iberia?

      • Andrew says:

        I haven’t. But then I also haven’t just written an article about booking infant seats on Iberia on my points and miles blog.

        • Rob says:

          Surely you’ve been in this game long enough not to trust an airline call centre 🙂

      • xcalx says:

        I have 3 times this year for refunds from cancelled flights. 2 x avois bookings fully refunded within 7 days and a cash booking refunded within 10 days.

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