(Update re: changes) [EXPIRED] WOW: 17K Business class to/from Europe on Iberia through March 2021

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Update 12/15/20: This deal is long dead, but if you booked this deal back in August when it was alive, note that you can now change your dates through late 2021. The email that Iberia sent today indicates that you can change dates up to December 10, 2021. I can confirm that I originally booked in August 2020 for March 2021 and today I changed my dates to October 2021 and changed my departure city to Boston totally free of charge and entirely online. While the email says dates can be changed to as late as December 10th, the online tool does not have availability loaded beyond the end of October. YMMV as to whether or not phone agents have access to later availability. We obviously don’t know when travel will be possible/advisable/enjoyable, but I was personally happy to push my trip out eight months (and to more than a year beyond the original date of ticketing!) as the chance for a March trip is looking near-zero for me and October is imaginable if not certain.

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Update: Reposting this because the promotion page has been updated to note that it is available for residents of Spain and the USA, confirming that this sale is indeed valid for US residents. Keep in mind that you can combine Avios via Avios.com (login using your Aer Lingus account information and then find “combine my Avios”) or see this post for more detail on that method and also the additional options of combining from the British Airways or Iberia side. Note that I used Avios.com yesterday to move a small balance of Avios from British Airways to Iberia and it worked smoothly and instantly. Also keep in mind that Avios may not transfer instantly to Iberia from Membership Rewards, but they do transfer instantly from Chase Ultimate Rewards and from Membership Rewards to British Airways (make a small test transfer if you aren’t confident on the method of moving from British Airways to Iberia).

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Iberia is offering an incredible 50% off on award tickets booked by August 30th for travel through March 15, 2021. Those familiar with the Iberia award chart know that this means you can thus fly from Eastern US cities to Spain for just 17K points each way in business class. That is awesome if it works out. Note that the promotion page says that this is for Iberia members residing in Spain, but US members see the discounted pricing when logging in and searching, so this appears to actually be open to everyone.

The Deal

  • Iberia Plus is offering 50% off on Avios redemptions made by August 30, 2020 for travel from September 1, 2020 through March 15, 2021
  • Direct link to this promotion
  • Save yourself some aggravation with the Iberia site by starting your search here at the Advanvced Avios Tool. Thanks be to Tiffany from One Mile at a Time for posting that link a couple of years ago — I keep it in my bookmark bar.

Key Terms

  • Note that the landing page says, “Exclusive promotion for Iberia Plus members residing in Spain.”, but it shows the discounted prices for US members when logging in and searching The promotion page has been updated to indicate that this sale is for both residents of Spain and the USA.
  • 50% discount Avios offer on the purchase of Avios tickets from the 24th of August until the 30th August 2020 for flights operated by Iberia, Iberia Regional Air Nostrum and Iberia Express for travel between the 1st of September 2020 and the 15th of March 2021, with the following exclusions: Madrid-Barcelona airlift flights, Iberia flights operated by LEVEL, and flights operated by Air Nostrum that do not have origin or destination of Madrid.

  • The offer applies to available classes for redemption in the Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class cabins.

  • Fees, taxes and surcharges are excluded from the promotion. Promotion not applicable to flights operated by Vueling or other airlines.

  • For full terms, see the promotion page linked above

Quick Thoughts

First up, we obviously have no idea if and when Americans will be welcome back in Spain / most European nations. We further don’t know if travel will be safe/advisable/enjoyable. This is a gamble and whether or not it appeals to you at all is likely at least in part a function of your propensity to take a swing at an unsure bet.

Furthermore, the landing page for this promotion indicates that it is for members who live in Spain. However, when I go to Iberia.com and log in and search, I see this pricing available in both directions. It’s not as though I can ask the system to charge me more or fewer Avios — since they are displaying the discounted price, I assume the landing page is incorrect and the pricing engine has it right. The promotion page has been updated to include residents of the USA.

The opportunity to use 17K points each way for business class to/from Europe is the kind of thing we just don’t ever really see. Most programs charge 25-30K miles each way in economy class. Iberia adds a lot less in terms of surcharges than British Airways does. One way from New York to Madrid came in at 17K and $69.34.

The way back came to $105.52.

Those prices are phenomenal.

Keep in mind that 17K applies to Eastern US cities. Iberia operates a distance-based chart, so the prices vary a bit depending on your starting gateway.

Again, this is of limited utility for most of us given restrictions on international travel. Greg and I have said several times in the podcast and Youtube Live broadcasts that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to transfer a flexible currency to airline miles right now to book speculative travel given that we have no idea what restrictions will look like, what flight schedules will be, what equipment will be operated, and so on.

On the other hand, if you have Avios sitting in your account because of canceled travel, this seems like a compelling deal to jump on if travel to Europe in winter or early spring is something you’d like to do. No Mas Coach reports that Iberia’s flexible booking policy in light of COVID offers free date/time/origin/destination changes on bookings made by August 31st. You would theoretically be on the hook for any change in fare — though I’m not sure how that would work with an Avios booking (would they charge you the other 50% in Avios? I don’t know).

And all that said, I am downright tempted to go against my own advice and better judgment and transfer points here. I am very skeptical that I’ll be ready to travel to Spain in March, but I am at least in part hopeful enough as to be willing to gamble that I’m wrong about that (it helps that I have family here in the United States that lives at a destination that costs me 17K Avios round trip on American Airlines, so I have a decent backup if I need to cancel). I believe that the cancellation fee is $40 per passenger to redeposit the points.

One note for traveling parents: Iberia charges 10% of the adult revenue fare for a lap infant. You can not use Avios to pay for the lap infant. Furthermore, I had trouble getting any explanation from an agent as to how they calculated the adult fare when I booked a lap infant on them last year (it didn’t quite match the best fares online — it wasn’t a lot more, but nobody could answer me as to why it priced the way it did). Contrast this with British Airways, which charges 10% of the adult Avios fare. Given the difference in fuel surcharges, you’ll probably still come out ahead paying 10% of the adult revenue fare with Iberia, but it’s worth knowing what you’re signing up for and looking at revenue fares to get an idea as to what to expect (remember that one-way international business class can be pricey — I searched one date and would expect the infant fare to be north of $300 on the date I checked).

H/T: One Mile at a Time and reader Jim

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Chad

Resurrecting this old post. Imagine others might be in the same situation as Nick (and me). I originally booked for March but was able to change to this September. Well here it is September and things still don’t look good. I’d love to push out these super cheap business class tix to next year but no luck doing so online. I see Nick has his pushed out to October. Any update on that trip?

BigDog76

I had award flights booked for May, which have now been cancelled. I’ve gone to the website which only allows a change within a 10 day range. I can’t reach customer service (on hold for hours). I simply want to change my flight dates or get a refund of my miles and taxes. Any ideas?

jeph36

Nick, your update makes it sound like you changed to a different departure city, but I do not see where to do that online. I am probably sticking with ORD as my departure anyway, but if changing could open up some other interesting possibilities (after a positioning flight), then I might consider it.

Here is my update: I still did not get the email Nick mentions, but when I go to change my Feb-2021 ORD-MAD direct round-trip which was cancelled months ago, it says I can change the date up to 12/11/2021. However when I try to choose a date, it still limits me to June 30 for the outbound but not the return; future outbound dates are grayed out/not clickable. So I guess I could fly to Madrid in June and then return in November? I plan to wait a bit to let their IT catch up on the outbound and then try to get something in Sep/Oct.

jeph36

Update: I poked around last night after the clock would have rolled over to Dec 17 in Europe (it was still Dec 16 locally for me in CST) and the valid change dates was at 12/12/2021. So for the moment it seems the date is increasing by 1 each day, at least for me.

Also, I am able to book the outbound after June 30, but they have a bug where sometimes I am limited to pre-July. If I refresh and try again then it works. Likely this is the way it worked yesterday and I just did not realize it. It looks like it will let me choose a Dec 10 ORD-MAD and Dec 12 MAD-ORD itinerary for 2021 (obviously I did not book that).

I still do not see how I would change departure or arrival city, though that is probably fine since I do not plan to do so anyway.

jeph36

Yep, they updated the valid change dates by another day to 12/13/2021. So for the time being, it appears you can rebook thru today + 360 days.

Andy Hough

I have a ticket from this deal that I booked back in August, but I didn’t get an email about it. On their site I don’t have an option to change the date online. When I click on change flights it states that I have to call in to change the flight. My flight isn’t until April so I’ll wait a bit longer and see if they cancel the flight or give me a chance to change it online.

Chad

Same boat. Unable to change and my flight is scheduled for 3/5/21. MIA-MAD.

I am interested in Iberia’s current policy b/c that March trip is looking less and less likely.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chad
jeph36

They cancelled my Feb ORD-MAD roundtrip a while ago and told me then I could change, but only up through June. However every date I tried would not show availability, even though I could pick some of those exact dates for a “regular” Avios booking. I had it on my Christmas-break to-do list to call and cancel for a refund, and I did not get an email today, but I will definitely check if I can reschedule for late summer and keep the deal.

Last edited 1 year ago by jeph36

[…] is often best (and some programs charge as few as 34K miles each way in business class and have reduced that to 17K miles promotionally). To be fair, Delta’s pricing is variable by partner and destination, but it is a big […]

[…] up, let me say that I find this deal infinitely less exciting than when Iberia ran the same kind of deal a couple of months ago. Obviously half off a premium cabin award ticket is a rare sight to see; […]

jeph36

FYI, the flights I booked ORD-MAD for Feb 14-24 were cancelled this morning. One of the options is to change dates, and when I click to that option it says I can fly up to Jun 30 2021. I am not holding out a lot of hope that I will be able to travel to Europe in May/June, but I am at least a little more confident than I was about February.

Amy

Has anyone had issues getting the 50% off prices to show? When I log in to book I still see standard reward prices. Confirmed my us address not sure what I’m doing wrong. Thanks

Robert

I booked my flights yesterday and it was pretty easy. I live and am from the US and there was no problem.

It did say that the flights can be cancelled up to 24 hours in advance for a €25 fee.

I figured this is a great deal and the worst case is I would have to cancel. My plan is to cancel unless a vaccine is available or COVID is under control.

Thank you for sharing.

[…] 8.25. According to Frequent Miler, the 50% off Iberia Avios Promotion is now officially working on both sides of the […]

Ashley

This is such a tempting offer. Last week I booked 4 business class award seats on Iberia LAX-MAD for mid June. Usually our fam of 4 has to split up – 2 fly out one day, two fly out the next because there’s NEVER availability for all 4 together. I’m trying not to get too excited though – Who knows if it will feel safe to travel internationally by June? Or if Europe will even have us. Like you say- total gamble.

Jules

Just booked a pair of return tickets from MIA to ZRH in March for 50k + 213 EUR in taxes/fees each. Not sure if this was mentioned here or in another post, but I was able to save a few thousand Avios by selecting Eco for intra-Europe segment (MAD-ZRH) since the seats are pretty much identical to those in Bus class. Hopefully some other readers of this blog can take advantage of this great deal!

HChris

I selected ORD-HAM for my outbound and did the same as you, flying Biz for the red-eye and then regular Eco for the intra-Europe segment. Eco is also divided into regular Eco and “Blue Class” which is sort of a basic economy so even less in miles. However, baggage is determined by the class you are traveling in for the majority of the segments which would be Biz. Additionally, IB also allowed to me select the seat for my intra-Europe segment and Exit rows are not blocked. For the return, the taxes and fees jumped from 99 Euros to over 200, so I simply booked MAD-ORD for my return and will position to MAD on my own.

Jules

Just selected seats and I was also able to select exit rows for the intra-Europe segment in “Blue class”. And you’re right, baggage allowance also shows 2 checked bags all the way through.
Regarding the taxes/fees, MIA-MAD-ZRH were 85 EUR and ZRH-MAD-MIA were 127 EUR.
Is it the HAM-MAD segment that causes the dramatic increase in taxes/fees in your case?
With all the Covid restrictions, I figured it would be less of a risk to avoid positioning flights.

HChris

Pretty sure it is just the additional departure taxes that Germany is charging. It was actually FRA with over 200 Euros and HAM is 170. ZRH is definitely lower than any German airport.

Mary Graves

Hi Nick – thanks for tweeting about this yesterday! Unfortunately – I waited until today and selection is MUCH lower. I booked for ORD-BIO for 43K RT pp for the last week of February but the taxes and fees (almost $500) seemed high? Anyway – hoping husband will agree to go with me but I guess if I have to I can cancel within 24 hours.

Mary Graves

Agreed – and yes – I should have booked them separately (MAD – BIO) b/c that wouldn’t matter flying economy on that leg (we have actually never flown business class across the ocean so that was a biggie). BUT as I was searching fares, the page kept refreshing and the NS to Madrid evaporated. My husband refuses to fly through London (irrational fear of terrorism) so that would definitely be a deal-breaker. But yes – fees were $250 pp but again the avios were so cheap I still have enough to book another trip! Thanks again!

[…] total in fuel surcharges is still far from cheap, especially when you consider that Iberia is offering business class between eastern US cities and Spain for 17,000 Avios each way righ… (with about $175 in total taxes and fees round trip) for travel through mid-March […]

HChris

It has now been updated to “Exclusive promotion for Iberia Plus members residing in Spain and the USA.

Billy Bob

Americans are welcome if we fly from certain other locations. I have seen other bloggers spread this misinformation too. It’s important to be accurate.

Tonei Glavinic

I don’t see any misinformation in “we obviously have no idea if and when Americans will be welcome back in Spain / most European nations.” Just because you can go to Croatia for a few days and then legally travel elsewhere within the Schengen area doesn’t mean you’re welcome there. And of course, immigration authorities can choose to deny you entry if they think you’re trying to game the system.

(Spain for example does not currently allow entry from non-Schengen countries, with a few exceptions for legal residents of other nations like the UK and New Zealand, and people holding long-term residence permits or student visas for Spain).

High Value

Data point – my address is registered in Iberia dot com as US, not Spain, I was able to book two round trips tickets for March, ORD/MAD, priced at 34k for each of us, business class. For now the Spain residence requirement does not seem to be enforced.

Andy Shuman

In all seriousness, my eyes lit up when I saw this earlier, but it clearly says “Exclusive promotion for Iberia Plus members residing in Spain.” I think it’s abundantly clear. I mean, there is a chance Iberia might honor it instead of going through thousands of cancellation, but it doesn’t even qualify as a price mistake. Maybe if it was more of a gray area, but … it isn’t.

Andy Shuman

Dude, what in the holy name of crap made you think it was a personal jab at you??? I’m just sharing my thoughts, that’s all. Of course if I hadn’t seen the wording, I would’ve a) booked a speculative trip (or 2) ASAP and b) dropped everything and written a post about it ’cause it would’ve been a huge f-king UNICORN! But — do I buy your notion that the T&C is a mistake? No. I might be wrong, though, wouldn’t be the first time.

Andy Shuman

Apologies for my premature conclusions. I didn’t receive the email, but I just went to the Iberia website and while it showed regular prices initially, it DOES slice them in half when you choose your flight. Iberia is known for its half-cooked promotions that they’ve eventually honored, and this just might be another one. I now agree with you, it would be totally unreasonable for them to cancel your ticket given that it’s available through their main search engine. Kudos!

Mark

In terms of the free changes offered because of covid-19, anyone have experience with Iberia’s vouchers? If I got an award ticket, could I convert into this voucher and have until 12/31/21 to use? If so, that could be sweet. From Iberia.com:

Customers who are flying to a destination with entry restrictions or mandatory quarantine and who bought their tickets between 25 July and 31 August can change them free of charge to travel by 30 June 2021. Alternatively, they can swap them for a voucher to use by 31 December 2021.
 
You can use the ticket amount until 31 December 2021, even if your ticket doesn’t allow a refund or change. This means that you can use the amount as if it were cash for one or more flights to any destination and for anyone you want, until you have used up the voucher balance.

Larry K

The low mileage redeposit fee for Iberia makes this very well worth considering but one of the downsides for Iberia bookings is that you cannot combine them with one world partners and they charge by segment so unless you live within driving distance of an Iberia gateway city, you have to position. Having to position on split tickets is an added layer of uncertainty in fairly difficult times and not something I’m doing right now. My criteria right now for booking speculative award travel for 2021 goes something like this: (1) I won’t book something that requires me to use transferable in significant numbers such as capital one, Amex, chase, or TY; (2) redeposit fees or waiver rules need to be manageable; (3) no significant taxes or carrier charges if the airline has been one that is playing games with refunds; and (4) only booking to and from desired airports, no positioning on split tickets. Given that I have avios and wouldn’t need to transfer this one checks off three of the four boxes and 17k is pretty irresistible. But it fails on number 4 and I’m being picky right now.

veeRob

Excellent analysis, I concur!

jeph36

Wow, sitting here w/ ~60K Avios in my account (would need to transfer from BA, but not a problem) and easy access to ORD. Given the rest of the family will be in school pretty much the whole time, I could just do a solo trip. I am tempted to give it a try for maybe February.

Last edited 1 year ago by jeph36
Anthony

Nick, would it be cheaper to just book a separate points ticket for a lap infant?

Entrada

March 15 is last flight date, not end of March.