Don’t Believe the Hype?
A great, then good, then in limbo deal surfaced in the past few weeks with Iberia Airlines. Iberia is an airline carrier based in Madrid, Spain. It’s award program uses Avios points that have the possibility of being transferred to and from British Airways. Iberia is part of the One World Alliance, and is a transfer partner of Chase, American Express, and SPG.
The deal that grabbed headlines as “The Best Deal of the Year” on some prominent points blogs was that Iberia was offering 9,000 for every flight booked on Ibera.com through June 24, 2018, up to a maximum accrual of 90,000 points. The cheapest flight, according to FrequentMiler, seemed to be from Palma de Mallorca to Madrid for a little over $18 a ticket. Those that capitalized early in the deal, could book 10 of these flight segments for a total cost of around $183. A few days later, flight prices rose some and the cost of 10 cheap flights now became about $350. The train of thought seemed to be that for $350, 90,000 Iberia miles was an incredible deal. If Iberia turns out to honor these flights and promotions, then at either of those prices, it really is a great deal.
According to Iberia, if a ticket is refunded, the (bonus) Avios will be withdrawn from the customer account. As of now though, Iberia seems to be standing behind the promotion, saying that if a customer doesn’t actually show for a flight, they will still receive the (9,000) bonus Avios. Iberia program members are also allowed to keep the miles as long as one booking is made with Iberia, Iberia Express or Iberia Regional Air Nostrum.
A few caveats to the deal though. Miles earned through the promotion need to be used by before December 1, 2018. Unused miles can’t be saved and are deducted/erased from the Avios account. Here’s why I didn’t do the Iberia deal:
- Miles from the promotion had to be redeemed by Dec 1, 2018. If the miles weren’t used by that date, they will be “removed from your account”.
- I don’t know much about the Iberia program. Even though Iberia is part of the One World Alliance, I would like to know what I’m investing in.
- The unknown factor – when I read about the deal, it seemed odd to me that Iberia would let so many people book flights on their aircraft and not actually fly with them. Was the airline that cash desperate to get these bookings that they would shell out millions of miles and not care that people actually fly with them? It didn’t make much sense, and I was very skeptical.
- Time off – I booked a round the world trip (insert link) for next year and that will take a large chunk of my PTO (time off work). I don’t know if I could make good use of those miles even if the deal managed to be true.
- I found out about the deal either the day of or day before it was set to expire and didn’t have much time to properly evaluate it.
- There is some expense involved, and you’re ultimately paying for points – early in the deal paying as little as $128 was a sensational deal…after the first wave of cheap flights were gobbled up, that price rose to around $350. Add taxes and fees onto that deal and depending on the destination, you’ve got $400-$500 into an award.
- I can earn these points for less money than it costs to do the current deal – via spend on rewards cards. Better yet, I don’t have to learn the Iberia program (although learning it would be beneficial).
Don’t get me wrong, I loved seeing this deal materialize. I was tempted to pull the trigger and get into it too, but after a few minutes of thought, caution-based logic won out for me. Iberia’s promotional points still aren’t set in stone. If Iberia cancels these flights and issues refunds to customers, I’d feel kind of vindicated. However, it looks more like the promotion will actually stand and in that case, I did miss out on a very nice opportunity even if I hadn’t invested at the earliest point in the deal.
Even if I couldn’t make use of the points, my aunt and her husband talked about visiting Ireland next year. However, they didn’t say they would go for sure, and based on my recent experience with trying to gift them 200,000 Etihad miles, I didn’t want to extend myself with time and energy for this deal. However, lie flat business class tickets to Ireland along with a quick jaunt out to Mallorca on a single trip would have been pretty cool for them. Looking back, I probably should have gambled a bit and tried for the deal.
For those who did give the promotion a go, good luck!