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

Aug. 17, 2019
4 min read
Booked an American Airlines Award Through Iberia? Look for a Refund of Overcharged Fees
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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.

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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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Featured image by LightRocket via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
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  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases