American Airlines awards not bookable through Iberia Plus — again

Apr 13, 2021

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One of the best ways to book many American Airlines-operated award flights can be through the Iberia Plus program. That’s because Iberia (a Oneworld partner of American Airlines) prices award flights based on the total distance flown. Short trips of up to 600 total miles — such as between Miami (MIA) and Atlanta (ATL) —  price starting at just 11,000 Avios round-trip. Those totaling 601 – 1,000 miles — such as between Phoenix (PHX) and Dallas (DFW) — will set you back just 12,000 Avios round-trip.

That’s fewer points than what the British Airways Executive Club and American’s own AAdvantage program would usually charge for these routes.

This is helpful even if you have never flown with Iberia because the Iberia Avios program is a transfer partner of popular credit card programs such as Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards.

However, for the time being, no American Airlines awards can be booked through Iberia — not online or over the phone.

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American Airlines awards not bookable through Iberia

Normally, when you see saver-level award space on AA.com, you should have access to the same availability through Iberia. So, when I saw a plethora of availability on American’s site — but none on Iberia’s — I knew something was up.

My first instinct was to head to British Airways’ website to verify that the availability really was there and bookable through partners. Sure enough, it was.

British Airways AA Awards
(Photo courtesy of British Airways)

Continuing with top Oneworld award search engines, I pulled up Qantas’ website and found that the awards appeared there too.

Qantas AA Awards
(Photo courtesy of Qantas)

Of course, Iberia’s website can be temperamental at times, so my next step was to pick up the phone and call Iberia. After navigating through Iberia’s non-straightforward phone system, I was connected to an agent who wasn’t able to find any availability either.

Related: The best websites for searching Oneworld award availability

The cause of the issue

At this point, I knew that Iberia was likely having another IT issue. A spokesperson for the airline confirmed my suspicions, explaining, “We have at this moment an IT incident that our Digital Support team is managing. There are few flights with AA availability and we do not know yet why it is not possible to book. We think it would be solve soon.”

Unfortunately, IT issues are a seemingly common trend for Iberia, specifically for American Airlines awards. The airline has had similar problems several times over the last few years. If those past occurrences are any indicator, it could take weeks for Iberia to fix this current round of issues.

Related: 6 best ways to redeem 100,000 Iberia Avios

Thankfully, you can rest assured that this is reportedly indeed a temporary glitch. American and Iberia are both longtime members of the Oneworld alliance so there’s no reason for them to cut off partner awards in the long run. Iberia awards are still bookable through American’s website as normal.

Bottom line

American Airlines awards currently aren’t bookable through Iberia Plus. While we know this is a temporary glitch, the airline doesn’t have a timeline for when it will be resolved and historically has been a little on the slow side when resolving similar past issues

Until it’s fixed, your best bet for booking American awards using Iberia Avios is to transfer them to British Airways.

Just note that if you take this route, both accounts must have been open and active for more than three months and you’ll likely end up spending more Avios booking with British Airways than you would have with Iberia, especially if you have a connecting flight. Fortunately, there are many other great uses of Iberia Avios that are still alive and well, such as business class flights across the Atlantic from just 34,000 miles one-way.

We’ll be sure to update this post when the functionality returns.

Featured image by Chris Dong/The Points Guy

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