American Airlines Awards Currently Not Bookable Through Iberia Plus

Jun 6, 2019

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One of the best ways to book many American Airlines award flights is through the Iberia Plus program — especially now that British Airways has increased partner award rates. That’s because Iberia prices award flights based on the total distance flown, with short trips of up to 600 total miles — such as between Miami (MIA) and Atlanta (ATL) — 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. Plus, unlike American’s own AAdvantage program, Iberia doesn’t charge a close-in booking fee.

However, for the time being, no American Airlines awards can be booked through Iberia — not online nor over the phone.

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 award space between New York-LaGuardia (LGA) and Boston (BOS) on American’s site — but none on Iberia’s — I knew something 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.

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

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 was able to confirm that there was availability for the flights I wanted. However, her system didn’t allow her to book it, despite my account having all of the Avios needed. So we tried another route — Los Angeles (LAX) to Las Vegas (LAS). Once again, the agent was able to see availability but not book. This pattern holds true for both economy and premium cabin travel on all routes we’ve searched.

It’s not too uncommon for airlines to have IT glitches that prevent you from booking partner awards online — for instance, some partner awards are currently unavailable through the Avianca LifeMiles website — but not being able to book them over the phone either raises a red flag. It’s not clear what’s causing this issue, but considering that Iberia awards are still bookable through American’s website, it’s safe to say that this issue is temporary.

That being said, Iberia didn’t have a timeline for when the issue will be resolved and is notorious for being slow with things like this.

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 miles 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, 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 Robert Alexander/Getty Images.

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