Just a Few More Days to Redeem Your Promotional Iberia Avios
At the end of June, an incredible deal popped up: earn 9,000 bonus Iberia Avios for booking an Iberia flight — even if you didn't take the flight. Hopefully many of you maxed out this deal and earned 90,000 Iberia Avios, as the bonuses posted at the time of purchase, not when you actually take the flight. If you haven't used these Avios yet, you're going to want start planning quickly, as these bonus Avios expire if not redeemed by December 1, 2018. (Note: the flights don't have to be taken by Dec. 1, but must be booked by this date.)
In fact, if you're based in the US, your window might be even shorter, as Iberia is almost certainly using Central European Time to determine the exact moment these redemptions will cut off. One of my tickets from the promotion was purchased after midnight Spain time but before midnight here in the US, and I didn't earn 9,000 Avios on that ticket. As a result, East Coast readers likely have until 6pm Eastern Time to redeem, while West Coast residents will need to lock in their awards before 3pm Pacific Time.
Bear in mind too that to redeem your Iberia Avios for someone else, you must designate them as a beneficiary (or companion, if they will be traveling with you). To do this, log in to your account and go to the My Iberia Plus page. Click on My card and find the Beneficiaries link:
Follow the prompts on the screen to add one (or more) friends or family members for whom you can redeem your Avios.
If you still have unused promotional Avios, here are some tips and recommendations for how to use them.
Best Uses of Iberia Avios
For this topic, TPG has just the post for you, but at a high level, Iberia has a distance-based award chart. As a result, Iberia Avios are best used on short and nonstop flights. For example, you'll get better value booking short-haul flights like New York-JFK to Atlanta (ATL) rather than transcontinental flights like New York-JFK to Los Angeles LAX). When going from one region to another, the best value will be on the shortest routes, like New York-JFK to Madrid (MAD) and Los Angeles to Hawaii. That said, since we are so close to the deadline, you'll probably just want to use the Avios for whatever trip you can get.
One major advantage of Iberia Avios over its sibling British Airways Avios is that Iberia uses cumulative flight miles rather than pricing each segment individually. This makes Iberia Avios great for routes that require a connection but aren't very long in total. For example, consider Austin (AUS) to Tulsa (TUL). This itinerary requires a connection in Dallas, but the four flights only total to 854 miles round-trip. Iberia charges just 12,000 Avios for this round-trip itinerary:
American would charge 25,000 AAdvantage miles for this ticket, and you'd need a whopping 30,000 British Airways Avios (since each of the four segments is priced individually at 7,500 Avios).
Use 'Em, Don't Transfer 'Em
Technically, you can transfer these promotional Iberia Avios to British Airways Avios at a 1:1 ratio. TPG's Richard Kerr proved this by successfully transferring 3,000 of these points in late July. However, this isn't a good way of "using" these points before they expire on Dec. 1. An Iberia spokesperson was very clear about what'd happen to those that transfer promotional Iberia Avios to British Airways Avios:
"Transferred Avios won’t be considered as a redemption. On the 1st of December, the Avios obtained through this promotion, which haven’t been redeemed in the Iberia Plus account by that date, will be discounted from the Iberia Plus accounts. This could lead to a negative Avios balance in those Iberia Plus accounts from where Avios have been transferred."
To make that clear, it looks like Iberia will subtract the unspent promotional Avios if not used on flights before Dec. 1. For example, let's say you earned the full 90,000 promotional Avios and transferred 70,000 to British Airways, leaving 20,000 in your Iberia account. If the carrier follows through with the above condition, you'd lose the 20,000 Iberia Avios you hadn't redeemed and end up with -70,000 Iberia Avios in your account.
Booking Awards on American Airlines
Perhaps the most relevant way of redeeming your promotional Iberia Avios for US-based readers is for American Airlines flights, so let's go through some tips on how to do so.
First, it's important to know the limitations. Although there was a moment when Iberia was allowing one-way awards on American Airlines, it's back to its old ways now. This means that you'll need to search for and book round-trip flights. If you try to search one-way awards, you'll always get the following error: "No availability has been found for the selected journey."
For example, for that Austin to Tulsa example from above, we see that there's availability on Dec. 1 from Austin to Tulsa bookable through Iberia Avios. However, when you search the one-way award:
If you're planning to redeem your promotional Avios on American, I'd recommend starting your search on American Airlines' website. Iberia's site is finicky and will return an error if there's no award availability for the dates you searched — without letting you easily search alternative dates. However, the AA website can let you search availability weeks at a time. Make sure to select the "Nonstop only" drop-down in the results if you're hoping to save time and Avios by flying without a connection. Once you have your dates and have confirmed award availability, head over to Iberia's website and search the dates you want.
Topping Off Your Account
If you need more miles to complete your award booking, Iberia Plus is a partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1) and American Express Membership Rewards (1:1). In TPG testing, Chase points transfer to Iberia Avios instantly, but Amex points take about 48 hours arrive, so be sure to factor in that timeline if you're trying to transfer Amex points directly to Iberia Plus.
However, there's a workaround to effectively speed up the 48-hour Amex transfer window for those with both Iberia and British Airways accounts that have been open for at least 90 days. You can transfer Amex points to British Airways Avios instantaneously (1:1) and then transfer BA Avios to Iberia Avios (also 1:1). In addition to the 90-day rule, you need to make sure your personal information is listed identically in both carriers' systems before you’re allowed to transfer between accounts. Your birth date, email address and name all have to match exactly before the transfer can occur.
While transferred miles from Chase and Amex won't expire on December 1 like the promotional Avios, I still wouldn't recommend transferring more miles than you need to complete a booking now.
The Iberia promotion from earlier this year seemed almost too good to be true, but the carrier did honor it for anyone who participated. However, time's running out on using the Avios you earned in the process. You have until Dec. 1 to redeem them, but if you're based in the US, you'll want to be sure to lock in your award tickets even earlier, as the window will likely close at midnight Central European Time.