Holy moly: Iberia is honoring it. 90K Avios now ~$260, and it’s for real

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Last night, we published a post about what I thought would be the absolute deal of the year if it were honored — though I was admittedly cautious in warning readers that it might not be honored as written beause it just seemed too generous. It turns out Iberia is going to honor this promotion. If you got in last night at $18 per flight, congrats — the holidays came early for you. If you did not get in on it last night, it’s still a phenomenal deal at 90K Avios for about $300 (maybe even a bit less – as low as $260 after cash back if that works).

See the original post for full details:

Crazy: 90,000 Avios for $183 (too good to last)

In a nutshell, Iberia is offering 9,000 Avios per ticket you book — to any destination in any class. That means that a cheap $30 one-way ticket within Spain will earn 9,000 Avios. You can earn up to 90,000 Avios this way — i.e. book 10 flights at a cost of $30 per flight, get 90K Avios for $300. To recap the key restrictions (again, I recommend reading the original post linked above for full details);

  1. This is only valid on flights operated by Iberia, Iberia Express, or Air Nostrum. (No, I don’t think LEVEL will work or Vueling booked through Iberia.com or anything that isn’t one of those three operating carriers)
  2. Tickets must be booked by June 24th, 2018
  3. You will get the 9K promotional Avios within 10 days after ticket purchase (i.e. before you fly)
  4. You must use the promotional Avios by December 1st, 2018
  5. If you don’t use them by Dec 1st, Iberia will deduct Avios from your account
  6. If you request a refund on tickets purchased under this promo, Iberia will deduct the promo Avios
  7. You must be logged in / enter an Iberia Plus number for each traveler to get the 9K Avios each
  8. One-ways count, so you’ll want to book a round trip as two separate one-ways

When I posted last night, I highlighted the fact that the promo terms state that you will lose the Avios if you request a refund on your ticket — but it said nothing of no-showing your flight. I suggested that it might be possible to make speculative bookings (as cheaply as $18 one-way last night — those fares since gone) and earn 9K Avios for each one. However, I also cautioned that this sounded too good to be true and Iberia may cancel your account and/or get cold feet and cancel the promo. It turns out they intend to honor the promotion and have confirmed that you don’t actually have to fly to get the Avios. Loyalty Lobby has the scoop, as they received the email confirmation from Iberia. Iberia has also confirmed it on Twitter:

Note the Iberia typo in the first response — the promo Avios expire Dec 1st

Can you transfer the Avios to British Airways? Can you redeem them before Dec 1st for a flight after Dec 1st?

Further, Iberia has answered several other burning questions you might have. No, you can’t transfer them to British Airways (or your Iberia account will become “negative”). Yes, you can use them on an award flight after December 1st as long as you book by Dec 1.

What’s the best value now?

The best deal I see now is on flights from Malaga to Madrid. Go here to search for flights early next June. You’ll see itineraries from $29.

If that link doesn’t work, try running any search from the main page and then click “new search” above the search results. That brings you to a tool that will allow you to look for flights through June 2019. Note that it will show some results that aren’t bookable yet as it will only let you book flights within 361 days of departure. I got excited earlier when I saw something for $21 on the site, only to find it wasn’t bookable yet (nor could I put it on hold).

If you first go through Mr. Rebates, it looks like you can get $3 cash back.

Click the image to go to Mr. Rebates

That should bring your net cost down around $26 per flight. Ten of those flights would be $260

What’s the catch?

You have to use the Avios by December 1st. That really appears to be the only catch.

The only other potential catch I see is if Iberia later adds a restriction limiting you to redeeming for Iberia-operated flights. That’s not currently anywhere in the terms and it doesn’t sound like that’s what they intend. However, if they did limit you to redeeming on Iberia metal, that would be one way to limit the utility of the Avios (especially since you’ll now be competing with half the frequent-flyersphere for award space). However, I intend to use the Avios I’m picking up for flights on American Airlines.

That said, it’s worth highlighting one other key about the Iberia Plus program: most partner awards are completely nonrefundable. That means if you try to cancel an award flight booked with your Iberia Avios for travel on American, you won’t get any Avios back.

See the original post linked above for more details and these posts on maximizing Iberia Avios:

Bottom line

This is easily the best promo of the year. Even now that flights are more expensive, if you’re able to pick up 90K Avios for $260-$300, that’s an absolute steal as long as you can use them by December 1st. If you can manage to beat the packs of wolves to the Iberia award space, that’s enough Avios for a round trip business class off-peak ticket from Chicago, New York, or Boston to Madrid — with some Avios left over.

I said via email to a reader earlier that the most interesting way to play this promo would be this: book a bunch of flights out of Madrid and then use your Avios for a business class ticket to Madrid. Spend each night in Madrid, but fly round trip to have lunch/dinner in Seville, Valencia, Mallorca, etc. Of course, you would want to book those tickets as one-ways since you earn 9K per ticket — might as well get 18K by booking the outbound and return separately. Of course, that strategy would rely on booking your paid one-ways in Spain now and relying on business class space on Iberia to be there when your promo Avios show up in about 10 days, which I can’t imagine being likely.

That said, I didn’t imagine the chances of Iberia honoring this as written were likely. Sometimes, it’s great to be wrong.

H/T: Loyalty Lobby

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