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For quite a few years, there have been a number of reasons why it has been a good idea for flyers to have an Iberia Plus account as well as a British Airways account despite the fact that BA and Iberia are sister airlines and share the same rewards currency. Quietly and without any apparent notice being given, British Airways appears to have removed one of those reasons.
Historically, one inexplicable difference between British Airways and Iberia has been that British Airways has charged higher surcharges on Iberia award bookings than Iberia itself.
Here, for example, is an example of what British Airways would have charged for a roundtrip Business Class award for travel between Miami and Madrid:
And here’s what Iberia would have charged for the same booking:
A person booking through BA would have paid £219/$263 more in surcharges than a person booking through Iberia despite the fact that they would have flown on exactly the same flights.
For anyone who knew about this weirdness, this usually wasn’t a big issue as they could move Avios from the British Airways Executive Club to Iberia Plus (assuming they didn’t already have enough Avios in their Iberia Plus account) and avoid being gouged.
I used the word “usually” in the last paragraph for good reason because moving Avios from BA to Iberia has been far from straightforward for quite some time. The IT systems that run the transfer process are incredibly buggy and while some people can still somehow get a transfer to go through, a lot of people cannot. Below, for example, is just one of the many different error messages get when I try to combine my Avios” and I’ve been getting it for over a year.
Fortunately, we now have some good news.
While a lot of people still can’t move Avios from BA to Iberia, the need to do so has become less urgent following the revelation that British Airways now adds the same surcharges as Iberia to award bookings [HT: HfP]
No one seems to have any idea when this change came about but if you now price up an Iberia award on the British Airways site…
…you’ll find that you won’t be charged any more than if you booked the same award through Iberia Plus.
This is a small but important win for Avios collectors as it can make life a little easier.
There are still a number of reasons why it’s important for all serious miles and point fans to have an Iberia Plus account (see here), but being gouged by BA when making an Iberia booking is no longer one of them.