Booked an American Airlines Award Through Iberia? Look for a Refund of Overcharged Fees

Aug 17, 2019

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Great news continues to come out of the Iberia Plus program for those of us who book American Airlines awards through the Spanish-based mileage program. Recently, AA awards booked through Iberia got cheaper. Now, travelers overcharged on past awards are getting some fee refunds.

Here’s the background: In response to my mid-July post that American Airlines awards were bookable through Iberia’s website, TPG reader Michael H. shared that Iberia was improperly collecting fees on these awards. He’d discovered that Iberia was charging Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) fees on these American Airlines awards, and the US Department of Transportation took his side that these fees shouldn’t be collected.

TPG reached out to Iberia about this to see if the airline would stop collecting these fees. In response, an Iberia spokesperson shared:

“We are aware of the issue and we have started fixing the problem. Right now, the fee is not being charged anymore. Though it appears during the booking process on the website, it is not charged, when the ticket is issued.”

Sure enough, when we tested an award booking in late July, the extra fees showed throughout the booking process, but the fees disappeared when the credit card charge posted.

That was great news for future award bookings, but what about all of the fees improperly collected over the past few years? At the time we originally reached out to Iberia, the spokesperson shared that the airlines was “working to identify the customers who have been charged this fee, in order to contact them and refund them the fee.”

Now, it seems that refund process has begun. On Tuesday, a credit of $8.73 appeared on The Ritz-Carlton Credit Card related to an American Airlines award that I booked through Iberia back in October 2018:

It seems like there’s a bit of a currency conversion issue here, as the two charges should net to $11.20 instead of $11.52. But, that’s close enough for me.

Then on Wednesday, my Chase Sapphire Reserve was credited with $9 to refund extra fees on a booking that I made in November 2018:

Also on Wednesday, Katie’s Ink Business Preferred Credit Card received two credits of $13.50 for flights we also had booked in November 2018:

That’s great news for those of us that have booked American Airlines awards through Iberia. While it’s not a significant amount of “found money,” it’s still nice to get some extra money back on an award booking that many of us have likely forgotten about.

Beyond that, I’m encouraged to see an airline that seems to be trying to do the right thing for us award travelers, from restoring AA award availability on its website to removing the fees when it was pointed out that these were improper.

If you’re left wondering why you might want to book American Airlines awards through a Spanish airline, we go into detail in this post. In short, awards booked through Iberia can cost fewer miles. Plus, you can accumulate Avios easier as Iberia is a transferable partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards — the latter of which is offering a 40% bonus for transferring Membership Rewards points to Avios.

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