Home Deals Flash deal: Great Iberia Avios sale...for some

Flash deal: Great Iberia Avios sale…for some


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Updated 4 Oct: Be careful – purchases of Iberia Avios may not post as airline purchases – the Platinum Card ® from American Express only earns 1 point/dollar.

Iberia has brought back its popular Avios sale which we last saw back in June and while for some, this will represent a fantastic opportunity to top up an Avios balance, others will probably find it hard to access the best deal available thanks to an issue that first raised its head in the last sale and that still seems to be around.

Key terms

  • The offer is available from 00:01 (CET) Thursday 29 September 2022 to 23:59 (CET) Monday 03 October 2022 only.
  • During the Offer Period, Eligible Participants will receive 50% extra Avios (bonus Avios) when they Purchase or Gift Avios.
  • This offer is only valid when you Purchase or Gift 2,000 Avios and above. Offer is not valid when you Purchase or Gift 1,000 Avios.
  • Avios can only be purchased or gifted at buyavios.iberia.com; compraravios.iberia.com or via Iberia Plus user journey.
  • The Purchaser can buy a maximum of 200,000 Avios in any one calendar year.
  • The Bonus Avios will not count towards your annual limit of 200,000 Avios.
  • Purchased Avios are not refundable once confirmed.
  • The transaction currency will be pre-determined based on the registered country of the Iberia Plus account.*

*This is the point that is causing issues – more on this in a moment

The promotion

It couldn’t be any simpler: Anyone buying at least 2,000 Avios will get a 50% bonus added to their purchase.

The numbers

This is where I think the bad news will come into play for some people.

Historically, Iberia sold Avios in Euros and US Dollars, and the trick to making sure that you got the best price was to make sure that you bought Avios through Iberia’s Spanish site to get charged in Euros. Purchasing Avios in US dollars has always been more expensive.

Now, however, Iberia’s terms and conditions say that the currency that will be used to sell Avios to Iberia Plus members will be decided by the country in which their account is registered and based on my continuing experience, it’s not going to be possible to do anything about this.

My Iberia Plus account is linked to a UK address and I’m now being asked to pay for any Avios that I’d like to buy in GBP …even when I’m logged in to the Spanish Iberia site.

I’ve tried logging in via Iberia’s Spanish site, I’ve tried buying Avios through compraravios.iberia.com, I’ve used different web browsers, and I’ve even used a VPN to “trick” the Iberia webpage into thinking that I’m logging in from Madrid, but nothing that I do changes the currency that Iberia wants to use. I get charged in GBP every time.

Assuming that everyone is still having the same issue as me, this means that anyone with an Iberia Plus account linked to a US address will be forced to buy Avios in USD and as we know from history, that’s far from ideal.

If Iberia has kept to its historic pricing (I have no way of checking if it has), a US-based Iberia Plus member will probably be offered the chance to buy Avios from 1.84 US cents each while a European-based Iberia Avios member will probably be offered the chance to buy Avios from (the equivalent of) 1.16 US cents each. That’s a big difference!

As a member with a UK-based account, the best price that I’m being offered/Avios is ~1.07p or just 1.16 cents (a new low thanks to the nose-diving pound!). I am, however, being limited to buying 150,000 Avios (+ bonus) in this sale whereas previous sales have permitted me to buy up to 200,000 (+ bonus).

For those who aren’t deeply immersed in the Avios ecosystem, changing the country to which their Iberia Plus account is registered may be a way of getting around this issue (I don’t know because I haven’t tried it), but because the smooth linking of all Avios accounts (BA, Iberia, Aer Lingus, & Qatar Airways) relies on all the accounts being registered to the same address, this probably isn’t a good idea for anyone who really needs all their Avios accounts to work well together.

If after everything I’ve said above you’d still like to buy some Avios (if you can buy them at under 1.35 cents each you may want to do exactly that), keep in mind that even though you’ll earn a 50% bonus by purchasing as few as 2,000 Avios, the cost of each Avios you buy will still decrease the more Avios that you buy.

Why Iberia Plus?

I’ve mentioned Iberia Plus before as it’s a loyalty program to which everyone who collects Avios should belong, and there are 2 main reasons for this:

  • Iberia Plus charges fewer Avios on some long-haul routes than the British Airways Executive Club
  • Iberia Plus has different peak and off-peak seasons than the British Airways Executive Club

What all this means is that Avios in an Iberia Plus account can often be put to better use than a similar number of Avios in a British Airways Executive Club account.

Is this sale a good deal?

During the off-peak season, you can book an Iberia Plus Business Class redemptions for travel between the US and Europe from 42,500 Avios one-way or 85,000 Avios roundtrip.

If you’re using Avios bought in this sale (at 1.07p/1.16 cents each – the price that I can see) to book this award, this Business Class trip would cost you ~£1,141/$1,239 including taxes, fees, and surcharges.

That’s an amazing deal and you’re unlikely to find many Business Class non-stop cash fares on full-service carriers that can compete with that price.

If you’re originating in Europe, there are some similarly great deals to be had…like this one to Rio:

Once again a roundtrip off-peak Business Class fare will cost 85,000 Avios, but this time because the taxes and fees will be a little lower than on the US routes this Business Class trip would cost you ~£1,097/$1,192 including taxes, fees, and surcharges.

The further you fly the less amazing the deal becomes as the number of Avios required for the redemption increases disproportionately to the cash price you’d have to pay for the same flights, but there are still other good deals to be had if you put in a bit of time to find them.

Also, don’t forget that Avios can be used incredibly effectively on short-haul routes – especially at 1.07p/1.16 cents each and especially on traditionally expensive routes.

Use the best credit card

Historically, Iberia Avios sales have been processed by Points.com (which eliminated the scope to earn a travel/flight/airline bonus by using a credit card that offers bonus points for shopping in one of those categories) but in this sale, I don’t appear to be going through Points.com when attempting to buy Avios.

Be careful, however.

I put through a test purchase to see what would happen when I purchase Iberia Avios with my Platinum Card® from American Express and when the vendor appeared in my online account, it appeared to be coded as a travel agent (and not an airline).

A couple of days later, the Membership Rewards points that this transaction will earn appeared on my account and confirmed my fears – Amex is not coding Iberia Avios purchases as an airline purchase so anyone using their Platinum Card to buy Iberia Avios will only earn 1 point/dollar.

What this means is that someone wanting to purchase Iberia Avios will probably be better off using a credit card that offers bonus points for spending in the broader “travel” category. E.g.

*Buying Avios in this sale could go a long way to locking in the great welcome bonus this card is currently offering (details here)

Bottom Line

As usual, it’s all about the math but this time anyone with a US-based Iberia Plus account will need to find a way to make sure they’re not charged in USD if this is to be a worthwhile promotion.

If, as I suspect, there’s no way around the currency issue without entering a random European Address into your Iberia Plus account, US members who need to top up their accounts will probably be better off waiting for the next British Airways or Aer Lingus Avios sale.

For everyone else, the best way forward will be to:

  • Work out on which routes you’re likely to use Avios
  • Check out how many Avios you’ll need
  • Check how easy it is to find award space. I

If things line up then it’s probably safe to buy however many Avios you need in this promotion and you’re probably getting a very good deal. Otherwise, move on.

Click To Buy Iberia Avios

Has anyone with a US-based Iberia account managed to get an Avios purchase to price up in Euro or GBP?

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7 COMMENTS

  1. “For those who aren’t deeply immersed in the Avios ecosystem, changing the country to which their Iberia Plus account is linked may be a way of getting around this issue”

    I tried that, and the prices are shown in GB instead of CHF now.
    But I didn`t pay yet.

  2. yo zig. long time reader. first time commenter.

    i respect your posts so much. you actually make an effort to not cut/paste believing all prior details are the same from prior scenarios or promos. its frustrating and stupid to see so many bloggers and their contributors provide such low effort posts. damn lazy.

    for example, this IB avios 50% sale is a big one with multiple differences vs past promos:
    – GBP getting crushed provides tremendous opportunity for certain people knowing how to use this promo
    – EUR price hack def no longer works and hasnt since past few promos. other blogs keep pushing this outdated “hack”. dumb. thats why the current GBP “hack” w/ currency conversion arbitrage from USD is a big one for those who care and are able.
    – im working on a way to get an address is spain. im in US now. cant get EUR or GBP, but this will have long term avios benefits.
    – This promo seems targeted or something is up. my USA max is also at 150k. why not 200k? no clue. but other blogs have no idea what they are talking about. max is not 200k anymore. YMMV. thank you for confirming you see this limit as well for UK.
    – Avios no longer uses Points.com. Other bloggers just cut/past past info. It now appears their own internal payment infrastructure is used, but i have no idea how it codes MCC.

    i did a BA avios test via mastercard with a US card but i was only hitting min spend 1x w/ no travel categories so i dont know how this codes:

    Merchant Name: Avios Group (AGL) Limited
    Merchant Location: HARMONDSWORTH, GBR
    Transaction Category: Travel / TRAVEL AGENCIES

    does this mean certain credit card travel categories work for buying IB avios? no clue. everything depends on MCC and how its included within travel category. also, does BA and IB code the same? no clue. i dont think this will code as airline. most likely OTA but thats YMMV due to MCC.

    – its clear to me, they are moving towards a consistent pricing strategy. so the next BA or EI sale will be same price.
    – lastly, thank you for using current screenshots and prices. wow. nice. other bloggers use outdated screenshots from 100 years ago believing its the same. omfg.

    also, do you guys have private slack? please make one w/ monthly membership fee.

    • Hi

      Thanks for the very kind words – I make my fair share of mistakes on here but I (mostly) get the screenshots right 🙂

      Based on what you’re seeing (via the BA sale) it looks like the purchase isn’t coding as an airline sale (bad news if you use an Amex Plat) but should still earn a travel category bonus with the likes of Chase Sapphire cards.

      I’ll do a test purchase the next time BA runs a sale and I’ll buy some Iberia too and report back what happens when I use a Platinum Card.

      • appreciate the quick response zig.

        yea. almost no way avios sales code as airline. my guess is the general travel category has best odds of success – so CSR or CIP. you can also use Amex Green or any other card with travel agency bonus. you also have access to UK cards. im so jealous. so many options. im trying to get into the canadian market myself. but i wish Amex Plat would code as airline. thats huge. yes, please let us know.

        i will prob have to buy IB avios with a min spend CC since im working on SUB. but i will still clearly see the txn details. i wonder if BA and IB will be the same. if i didnt have min spend, most likely i would use CIP for 3x.

      • sup zig. FYI. BA and IB points sold by same entity “Avios Group (AGL) Limited”. pretty sure it would be same for EI. but i had only used a 1x CC for SUB. definitely super curious if CSR/CIP 3x or amex plat 5x would work.

        also, IB max cap at 150k. but you can buy again during same promo for another 50k but the price is slightly more expensive. WTF is up with that? its 1.84 cents USD for first 150k. then its 1.86 cents USD for the next 50k. not a huge difference, but why not just allow the full 200k? IB is being stupid. BA didnt have this limitation.

    • Hi Sean

      I don’t have any data points from people who have changed their address to take advantage of a better Avios sale so I can’t say how harmless it is (or is not).

      Personally, I’m too embedded within the Avios ecosystem to make paying around with addresses a sensible thing to do so I wouldn’t do it.

      If I wasn’t as embedded as I am, I may consider seeing what happens if I change my address but before I did, I would be very careful to check how often the Iberia program allows members to change their registered address – I’d want to know that I could reverse my way out of trouble just as quickly as I drove into it should something go wrong.

      Essentially what I’m saying here (and I appreciate that this probably isn’t what you want to hear) is that this decision comes down to your risk profile.

      We don’t know how good or bad an idea it is to change registered addresses with Iberia Plus so you have to ask yourself if what you’ll achieve by successfully changing your address is worth any potential fall out.

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