Iberia Trying To Deny Bonus Avios Due To “Booking Inconsistencies”

Filed Under: Iberia

A couple of weeks ago Iberia ran what I considered to be the promotion of the year, as they offered 9,000 bonus Avios for every booked ticket. Even a cheap sub-$30 one-way ticket within Spain qualified. So I booked 10 one-way tickets from Malaga to Madrid for next year, and I know many others made similar reservations. What made this promotion so lucrative is that the Avios were supposed to post after you book rather than after you fly, and Iberia confirmed there was no need to actually take the flights.

For most people who had existing accounts before the promotion started, the Avios have already posted.

However, for those who signed up for a new account to take advantage of the promotion, it’s a slightly different story. Iberia has locked new accounts, and is asking members to send in documentation proving their identity, and also asking them to email in copies of their tickets.

As such I don’t think it’s unreasonable of them to want to verify identities. I imagine many people signed up for accounts for imaginary people/animals, and in those cases I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Iberia to deny the Avios.

However, there are reports emerging of Iberia trying to get out of the promotion for those who took advantage of it within the stated terms. Reader Martin set up a new account for the promotion, and tells me that he emailed in all the required information. When he heard back, he was informed that his account was unlocked, but that they are denying him the promotion because they have “detected inconsistencies in [his] bookings.” They don’t explain what those “inconsistencies” are.

Here’s the email:

Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconveniences we may have caused you for not being able to respond until today the e-mail you sent us regarding our 9,000 Avios promotion.

We correctly received your documentation and we would like to inform you that we have proceeded to activate your Iberia Plus account and to generate a new temporary access PIN code for you to enter into your Iberia Plus personal profile. You will receive it soon on the e-mail address associated to your Iberia Plus account.

Keep in mind that this is a temporary access PIN code; therefore, you must change it once you enter your profile.

We are sorry to inform that we have detected inconsistencies in your bookings; therefore, it is not possible for us to credit the promotional Avios into your account. As an exceptional case, you can request the total refund of your bookings (no extra charges).

In case you are interested in proceeding with the cancellation, please indicate us through this via your ticket number and the Iberia Plus account. The deadline to request the refund of your reservations is July 31 2018.

We hope to continue with your confidence and take this opportunity to send you our warmest greetings, Your Iberia Plus Service Center.

So I asked him if he had booked 10 seats on the same flight, or booked connections that weren’t possible, or what. Nope, he just booked 10 one-way tickets from Santander to Madrid, all on separate dates:

That actually looks to me like a remarkably consistent booking pattern. 😉

I think a vast majority of us (including those who already had the promotion honored) booked our tickets as one-ways in the same direction just to keep things easy. Furthermore, it wouldn’t be impossible for him to take these flights, since he could book one-ways in the other direction (but again, Iberia said it was okay not to take these flights).

Martin tried calling Iberia. The first agent told him to prove the tickets in the other direction, while the next agent said all communication has to be handled by email.

So for now we’ll have to mark this as “developing.” This doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident, though, as several others have reported receiving similar emails.

It really is a shame how Iberia is handling this. They published the promotion, and while it’s clear they regret it, you’d think they’d at least want to maximize the goodwill from this, rather than leave a lot of people frustrated, and with a worse impression of the program.

Like I said, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to want to verify identities, but there’s nothing “inconsistent” about many of these bookings, especially since they directly told people they didn’t actually have to take the flights to qualify for the promotion.

If you received an email like this, I wouldn’t take them up on the cancelation offer yet, but rather would hold your ground, because this shouldn’t be an issue.

Did anyone else receive one of these emails about booking “inconsistencies?”

  1. Oh come on – anyone with a brain wouldn’t have booked the same flight on consecutive days in case of scrutiny. I have no sympathy. This is the game – play it with intelligence or lose.

  2. Crazy. I know those too good to be true deal must be ending in a sour way already. Not surprised if IAG decided to merge Iberia and Aer Lingus Avios into BA.

  3. On the other hand, I’ve had an Iberia account for over a year. I booked 10 one ways on separate dates in late January and early February. No promotional points have posted and I have not heard anything from Iberia. After calling in, they said all communication regarding the promotion must be done by email.

    It was a great promotion for those it worked for. For many of us, we have no idea what’s going on with no communication or like Martin above, a backing out of the deal.

  4. They’re inconsistent in the sense that it’s extremely unusual to book success domestic one-ways this far in advance, coinciding with a promo, where many are abusing it and Iberia has stated one doesn’t need to fly. It’s obvious they are booked with the intention not to fly them and Iberia is being fair by offering a full refund.

    To be clear: I participated, my account is locked and I booked one ways from the same city to Madrid on consecutive days so I’ll likely receive the same e-mail, so im notmaking excuses out of spite.

    They’re honouring it for existing members, even though they also booked just for the sake of Avios and one could argue should be disallowed.

  5. I booked tickets PMI-MAD and MAD-PMI and have not received this email. I have received confirmation of my document submission so am now waiting for Avios to be posted. Fingers crossed!

  6. This promotion was lucrative for you in more ways than one.

    Martin got unlucky with eyes on his account. Rightfully you should/ would/could be denied the bonus as well based on the same booking pattern.

  7. Not surprised. Given it’s IAG and they are responsible for an awful BA product, it’s exactly as I would expect.

  8. @Craig – IB clearly said on social media that one could book any 10 flights and not fly them. So frankly any 10 flights (not 10 seats on the same flight obviously) should have been fine. Clearly all rules were followed and the game was played correctly here. No reason to take pleasure in someone else’s difficulties when they played by the rules.

  9. If he hasn’t left enough realistic, doable time on March 13, 14 and 15 to get back from Madrid to Santander under his own steam to make the next one-way in that sequence, it will have been picked up as suspicious activity and in all likelihood thrown out.
    Like those who registered their dead Aunt and their pet dog, more fool them for trying to exploit what was a very, very generous offer.
    They only spoil it for the rest of us.

  10. @Dave. That doesn’t give you carte blanche to to book a totally undoable string of flights IMHO and seemingly Iberia’s also.
    I preferred to view the terms not as “You don’t even have to take the flights” but as “Don’t worry if you find yourself unable to make one of your flights.”
    The nuance is subtle, but perhaps not to those gorging at the trough.

  11. It was not smart to book one way tickets for several days in a row I think. The distance between Madrid and Santander is just about 400 km. If the flights where not so close to each other, he could always argue that he drove the other way or something…but on consecutive days, it’s a bit harder to believe that.

  12. If this is BA, I tell the people who haven’t had the offer honored yet don’t waste your time. BA is the scum of the scum when it comes to honoring advertised deals.

  13. @Mike Not trying to weigh the merits for or against the ethics of trying to game rather the fact that they (Iberia) publicly stated you could do this and they would honor it. This type of public statement could raise FTC false-advertising claims/fines that could cost Iberia dearly (above and beyond brand image and/or class action) for trying to now back out of this. Just my 0.02…

  14. @Abe why are you giving fake id’s to people, and also that’s totally unrelated to the post.

  15. Iberia is risking a class action suit in America. I fully expect an enterprising class action attorney, or family member, participated in the promotion with the hope he or she could file a class action suit if Iberia tried to add terms and conditions. The biggest problem for Iberia is that flying the segments was never a term or conditions of the promotion. Thus, there are no extra steps for customers to complete to meet their end of the bargain. The terms and conditions were not vague, they were just insanely broad and pro-consumer! Even if there is an arbitration clause in the general terms and conditions for Iberia Plus, there is a strong argument that it doesn’t apply in these circumstances.

  16. Lucky,
    Do you know if anyone with a new account has received their Avios points? I booked 10 flights, received the email to provide documentation and ticket pdfs, sent in scanned passport and pdfs(3 times), but I still have not received auto-reply or acknowlegement from Iberia.

  17. I think the promotion was a fair one. A simple step of just checking for a plausible return flight and booking it would have prevented the audit/red flags. It may not have been explicitly stated in the terms and conditions, but we all knew the promotion was too good to be true. Staying under the radar is key. I’m sure others were more fortunate and slipped through the cracks. As the first poster wrote, this is a game, play it with intelligence.

  18. @dvaid, my account is still locked as well. I expect Iberia will send an e-mail to me similar to what the OMAAT reader in the article received. If so I will respond via e-mail to them asking for their legal department to contact me as I have complied with all the terms and conditions. I’ll also demand that they preserve all communications, internal memos, etc. regarding their decision to deny bonus avios for “inconsistencies.” Maybe that will make them decide it’s easier to give me the avios they promised rather than get into a fight. Nevertheless, I’m not sure how much energy I wasn’t to put into this, which is what Iberia is banking on.

  19. I had the same email, but I had what seems like the common issue of a “second surname” being added to my Iberia account, and therefore the first few tickets that I booked. I updated the profile to delete the surname and that changed kicked in halfway during the process of booking the 10 tickets, so that may be some “inconsistency” on my end.

    Nonetheless, it was Iberia’s tech error, the number was attached to each booking, and it should have been clear it’s an honest technical error that Iberia was actually responsible for. However, I still don’t have high hopes that they will directly honor the promotion for me at least. At minimum they are agreeing to refund which seems like a decent compromise.

  20. You GAMED the system! do not cry

    Anyone who wants to stay in business would do the same

    your intent was to cheat as they tried to reward “real” clients

  21. Multiple reservations on the same day should be fine in my opinion. While some airlines have an option if you want to purchase an extra seat for comfort Iberia states in their terms that multiple seats can be purchased if required for comfort.

  22. “It really is a shame how Iberia is handling this. They published the promotion, and while it’s clear they regret it, you’d think they’d at least want to maximize the goodwill from this, rather than leave a lot of people frustrated, and with a worse impression of the program”

    Well, it really is ashame that so many people think they are entitled to take advantage of programs like this and than try to blame on the airline or company when the true nature of the booking is idenitified. That includes you Lucky.

    Iberia was trying to reward members who actually fly their airline but instead all the bloggers notified everyone and the program was taken disadvantage of. Honestly, If I was was Iberia I would cancel all points rewards for this and than put a restriction of having to actually fly to receive the bonus. They did say purchase, not fly, in the first place so some refunds may be in order. They created this mess, but people trying to take advantage of it are also responsible. Take responsibility for your actions, don’t try and blame someone else.

  23. @Jamie D Same here no communication yet held an account for over 3 years. My partner, who also opened in 2015, has received her avios so not sure why mine are being issued. Tried contacting them numerous times on the phone and keep getting told I need to call Iberia Plus and their department can’t help or they simply hang up on me.

    Sent email in just in case on Thursday and received auto-reply Friday confirming receipt so hopefully that will be responded to soon. Does anyone have contact information for their comms team or willing to reach out about this?

  24. I got the same email.

    I called them about 5 times. 4 of the reps were clueless and just told me to email them.

    I was lucky to be connected the 5th time to a guy who was quite angry as you could tell this was probably the 600th call he received in the last hour about the promo. Luckily he was really helpful and literally was telling me everything he saw on his screen for me.

    He told me that although I got the email they are expecting people to respond and fight it. His interpretation is they are planning on a lot of people not fighting it.

    He said that some names actually got hacked so unknowingly a last minute real account had their first name and surname used by someone else for an account, which flagged both accounts.

    He told me they had multiple people who created 100 accounts in attempt for 9,000,000 avios which is ridiculous.

    He literally stated this clear and I agree, unfortunately the promo wouldve went fine but because of other people it is ruined for most of us.

    He read out my account details and said that if I email back it may take exchanges but should work.

    Now obviously he could be severely misinformed but he was just reading me his internal emails and such which made it a lot more clearer for me.

  25. @HonestAbe,
    If paying money for tickets per the terms and conditions of a promotion is “gaming the system” then guilty as charged. I believe most people, including me, didn’t take advantage of the promotion until Iberia publicly verified that the”games” (cheap one-way tix) were consistent with the terms of the promotion. Then Iberia responded to inquiries from potential customers and said you don’t have to fly to get the bonus avios. Every chance Iberia had to “clarify” the terms they gave pro-customer answers. If you buy a discount airplane ticket at an advertised price (not a mistake fare) you’d feel pretty good. What if the airline cancelled the ticket in the days prior to the flight because a last-minute business traveler was willing to pay more? This is not a “gotcha” situation. Iberia was alerted that the promotion was incredibly generous, that customers were booking cheap one-way tickets in compliance with the terms and conditions, and instead of suspending the promotion Iberia said there was no problem and even if customers didn’t fly they would still get the bonus avios. If you think that’s cheating, you’re just wrong.

  26. To all the people saying it’s a shame people take advantage of a publicly advertised promotion: Next time you go buy something that is advertised on sale and the cashier’s computer doesn’t show the sale price, please don’t complain. Gladly pay the increase and remember what you said here. Haha!

  27. A simple story of dumb and greedy

    Iberia was stupid to tell people that they don’t even need to take the flights

    The majority of the bloggers and commenters got greedy.

    Everyone knew this was probably going to happen. So stop clutching your pearls in mock surprise

    I Don’t feel sorry for Iberia or anyone who tried to get 90k miles using 10 cheap 1 way fares, regardless of the legal arguments

    I reserve my sympathy only for customers who bought tickets with the intention of taking the flights who have locked accounts.

    Then again their accounts will be unlocked and they will get their Avios so that leaves me sympathy free

  28. I’m with those that booked tickets on separate flights as instructed by Iberia. They offered the deal and even confirmed publicly that flyers doing so would be honored. Pulling out now is bad faith, bad publicity, and total BS. People who took advantage aren’t “gaming the system”, they’re expecting the value from the deal that Iberia was bold enough to offer and confirm.

    Those arguing otherwise just seem like people that are happy when it rains on someone’s wedding day. Good riddance.

    For the record, I didn’t take advantage because I figured Iberia would be shitheads and not honor the deal and the effort wasn’t worth it. With my luck, I’d be in the same camp. I hope those that utilized the offer receive what’s due to them.

  29. @JRMW That sounds have right – dumb on Iberia.

    It’s not greedy to take advantage of what’s offered. On top of that, it’s Iberia’s business to sell and operate flights – they didn’t have someone there that thought “this would be really bad faith to offer these with the intention of not honoring the deal”?

    I’m not litigious but I hope they get their asses sued for 3x as much as it would’ve cost to simply honor the deal they offered.

  30. I find the whole situation unfortunate but I will take this forward and argue it out. I followed the terms & conditions & booked viable journeys. I also expect that I may not be able to redeem a single flight when the miles come out. I’m sure the European Commission will be inundated with enquiries…

  31. We have 5 family members who booked viable trips, and all are tied up in various info requests.

    Iberia should expect class action suits, complaints to the FAA and European authorities, and for all of us to book away from the entire IAG system.

    They would do much better to honor their poor decision than to do this.

  32. Has Iberia been confirming they received your proof of identify after you send it? How long has that been taking?

  33. I had flights on consecutive days and even 2 on the same day(different flights though) and have received the full 90k bonus points. I have had my Iberia account for a couple of years.

  34. Iberia ran this promotion using a well known and common marketing strategy known as the Loss leader.


    Excerpts from “Loss Leader” on investopedia.com:

    What is a ‘Loss Leader Strategy’
    A loss leader is a product or service at a price that is not profitable but is sold or offered in order to attract new customers or to sell additional products and services to those customers. This is a common practice when a business first enters a market. Essentially, a loss leader introduces new customers to a service or product in the hope of building a customer base and securing future recurring revenue.

    Disadvantages of the Loss Leader Strategy
    For businesses who use the loss leader strategy, the biggest risk is that clients may only take advantage of the loss leader pricing and not use any of the business’s other products and services.


    So if Iberia wants to disqualify any people who used fraud to sign up pets or people who don’t exist, I would think they would be within their rights, both legally and ethically.

    But for all the people (including me) who entered Iberia’s promotion which used the loss leader marketing strategy, following all the rules that Iberia set, I don’t see how they could legally weasel out of this.

    Iberia clearly understood there were risks to their promotion when they set a 90,000 Avios limit, showing they’d thought out how much exposure they were willing to risk. And any promotion has potential risks and rewards for a business. Run well and the company reaps the benefits. But no company should be able to break their promotion promise just because they failed to be smart enough to anticipate that their promotion would be more popular than they anticipated.

    If they continue to try to try and deny Avios to legitimate promotion patricipants, I hope there is a class action lawsuit, because I would feel completely justified in joining it.

  35. I played this game. We all did. If I’m down £250 GBP on this so be it. But I’ll fight it.

    Fact is I booked 5 one ways MAD to Seville and 5 back in the same week – and I can happily shuttle back and forth for 5 days. I’m almost tempted to get on some of these flights as I’ve never visited either city. If they bite me for this I’ll bite back. I’ve booked in line with their promotion terms and can argue intention to fly.

    FYI – I sent in my ID and flight details yesterday and received email confirmation today.

    If they honor this I respect them. And will likely fly with them in the future out of good will.

  36. I haven’t specificaly read Iberia’s contract of carriage, but don’t airlines usually reserve the right to cancel tickets that are made for fraudulent or exploitive purposes? Obviously those that expected 90,000 avios will be disappointed but if you booked tickets that were not reasonable to travel, I doubt you have legal recourse, no matter what they said on Twitter.

  37. “It’s not greedy to take advantage of what’s offered.“

    @Tom: I disagree
    It was greedy, even though it appears to have been following the terms and conditions set by Iberia

    No different than a kid who stuffs his face with candy pizza and pop on his birthday or the 21 year old Frat boy who guzzles a beer bong….

    All scenarios are legal, but it doesn’t negate the greed

    I understand the gnashing of teeth. I just find it irritating when people act surprised that this would happen. EVERYONE was commenting about how insane this deal was. EVERYONE was discussing the likelihood that Iberia would try to weasel out of it.

    And now they are

    The majority of people got greedy with $30 one way fares (which were COMPLETELY within the terms of this offer). Their greed isn’t expunged just because Iberia doubles down on stupid

  38. Awww, so this careless company caught on to people trying to scam them in exchange for barely-usable Avios currency, and somehow the scammers are the victims here?

    Most of you people had zero intention of ever actually taking the flights you booked, and you’re apparently perfectly fine with this struggling airline having to deal with the logistical consequences of all those phony bookings, and you did it all to make yourselves a teensy bit richer in the pointless little game of airline miles.

    I think it’s hilarious that so many of you got caught in the scam, and you deserve it.

  39. On a side note: here is my prediction of what Iberia will do:

    my GUESS is that Iberia has language somewhere about buying tickets without planning on completing the flight. This language will probably say something about canceling an entire itinerary if this is done too often. (Kind of like “hidden ticketing” where the airline will cancel an entire trip if you miss the first leg)

    They will use this language to say that all these 1 way tickets bought in the same day constitutes an itinerary… and that this itinerary is impossible to complete, and will thus cancel the entire thing. Then they will refuse the Avios saying that legally the tickets never existed. Or something similar

    Alternatively, they’ll drag their feet, wait until the first flight is missed and then cancel all the rest.

    In this way they can say they’re honoring the promotion, but that some tickets were fraudulent and thus don’t qualify.

    They’re asking people for verification while their lawyers scour the contract of carriage to find such a loophole

    Obviously I’m not a lawyer

  40. C’mon, I’m one who plays the game, and that booking pattern for a new flyer is crying out to be axed.

    No, it is not plausible bookings.

  41. This is not a case of the public scamming the airline! Iberia created the rules. Participants bought tickets and expect miles according to the rules.

    Whether or not the seats are occupied is irrelevant. Iberia wanted a revenue boost and they got it. If they wanted more revenue they could have stated a minimum purchase price. If they wanted flown miles and demonstrated customer loyalty they could have entered a “flown before December 1” clause. They did neither. My tickets are all booked for February and March of next year. My intent to use those tickets is not something that Iberia has a right to judge. The tickets have been paid for and that, simply enough, is all that Iberia needs to consider.

  42. The biggest problem is that Iberia is being inconsistent. if they’re going to honor the promotion and provide the Avios then they should do it for everyone regardless of when they set up their account. If they’re going to play hardball and backtrack then they shouldn’t be giving Avios to others who clearly booked flights without the intent to travel but just happened to have existing acxounts. Also if they’re going to lean on the technical shortcomings of their (poor) website to avoid giving some Pelle Avios that is also total BS.

    This is a multibillion dollar business that has no compunction about cancelling your flights or imposing silly surcharges when it suits them so any of you “feeling sorry” for Iberia are totally off base.

    Also they are clearly inundated as I sent in my tickets and ID verification on Wednesday and just today got the generic reply that my email was received. I called and was able to get my account unlocked but no info on the Avios situation yet. I’ll probably get the form letter. Would happily join a class action (and I’m a lawyer so I may be making some calls on that front).

  43. @Ed exactly! And if it’s so obvious these tickets aren’t going to be used they can surely grossly oversell some of these flights and recoup some costs of the promo.

  44. Hey bossman,
    if you are going to start a class action lawsuit. Let me know. I am in the same boat as you. We followed all the terms and they are trying to weaseled out of this.

  45. @JRMW I guess agree to disagree. Iberia offered the deal and the ticket prices. They could’ve and did set the terms. I would even be a little more sympathetic to them if they hadn’t publicly doubled-down by confirming the fights didn’t need to be taken.

    I don’t know what kids at candy stores or college students drinking beer has to do with people purchasing a product and service on the terms dictated by the seller only to have the seller back out. Greed is selfish and nothing these people expecting what they were told they paid for is selfish.

    Iberia isn’t some 5-year old with a lemonade stand that a bunch of bigger kids came up and took advantage of free refills then stole his shoebox full of money. This is a leading national airline who set the terms and people followed (I’m not defending the fraudulent purchases).

  46. This is ridiculous. These things always carry a clause somewhere that they can be cancelled for any reason and refunds made at the discretion of the carrier, etc. Exactly zero surprise.

  47. This article comes off as entitled. Everyone knew this was a gamble. Every blogger who reported on this discussed how it was a gamble. We can sit here and argue about laws, contracts of carriage, the promotion details… there will come a point where all the emails, calls and document producing with Iberia won’t be worth the Avios. What’s your time worth?

  48. I booked logged on my account 10 one ways from Santander to Madrid on consecutive days for me (new account) and for my husband, another older account. He already received his 90 thousand points. They cannot just deny the points because this pattern of booking is insane. They will need another excuse. Also, my account is perfect, correct lastname, document numbers, etc.

    No messagem from Iberia Yet. It will be hard for them to just deny it.

    If they do try to deny me the points, I will take legal action as I played within the rules of the game.

    By reading local blogs here in Brazil, Iberia has simply oppened the pandora box and it is doing more harm then good to their image.

  49. What is there to feel cheated about. The social media posts didn’t say, “sure book the cheapest one way flights you can find on consecutive days and we’ll happily award you 9000 Avios for each of you them.” Did they? That’s way did than missing a doable flight you paid for and honoring the promotion. I’d also add that a new user, who had no loyalty to the airline it program who makes such a booking of course would be scrutinized more than an a current, existing customer.
    Also, they gave the user:
    1) the opportunity to show other flights booked that makes this a viable booking and
    2) they offered a complete refund of all tickets purchased through the end of the month.
    I see no ill will or nothing u fair about how Iberia is handling this.
    And I might add, I’m grateful for my 90k Avios and am also glad that I’m not so delusional to try to game an offer to the extreme and expect everything to work out in my favor…

  50. The fact that they’re not hinoring the promotion due to “inconsistencies” but perfectly content in *not* canceling the tickets themselves or investigating the supposed inconsistencies, instead letting the buyer cancel, shows their claim is BS. If they really saw any inconsistencies (fraud?) I would expect them to take some kind of action beyond simply denying the promotion.

    They had days to amend their terms if the terms weren’t what they intended. They didn’t change them and even reiterated the terms via social media. It’s not gaming the system or being greedy. It’s taking an advantage of a promotion per the terms that their actuaries must have decided were net positive. I get that they’re hoping some people cave but I can’t imagine how alienating potential customers or refudning money now helps their bottom line. Probably just needed the Q2 boost and are somehow ok eating it in Q3.

  51. My wife and I both have existing IB Avios accounts, and while the promo was still running I had already checked availability to Madrid, business class, and found 42.5K for each of our 4 OW segments needed to travel RT from our “secret gateway city”. However, we ultimately decided to sit this promo out because of an international move, which is taking up most of our time and resources. As a prior Airline Sales Mgr, I would not have advised booking all these one-ways, same routing, day after day after day. Obviously what Iberia wanted to see was a more realistic booking pattern– Example: Santander to Madrid Mar 1, Madrid to Santander Mar 3, Santander to Madrid, Mar 5, etc. then they probably would have awarded you the promo miles. Next time, if there ever is one, think smart! Never hurts developing good habits with this hobby. Count this one up for experience, at least IBERIA’s offering you a refund (surprise, surprise)! Take ’em up on it and be done with it!

  52. To all the people complaining that people that followed all the terms and conditions set by Iberia but didn’t book “plausible” routings – really?!

    So if someone booked flights they didn’t intend to fly but booked them “rationally” as a few of you are saying, but with no intent to fly, they are somehow holier than those that did the exact same thing but didn’t book the flights in the “rational” manner you would have?

    C’mon – that’s BS and you know it. Iberia set the terms. Those who met the terms (with one account – like Lucky I certainly don’t endorse creating fake accounts for the dog, etc.) should get the Avios. End of story. Once Iberia confirmed the flights didn’t need to be flown, there was absolutely no reason to construct itineraries in any set way to “look real.”

  53. @Tom

    I think several people misunderstand the word greed.

    a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (such as money) than is needed

    Greed has NOTHING to do with whether or not a person is acting legally or acting in accordance with a contractual obligation

    Many greedy people follow the law and their contractual obligations

    My examples were an attempt to elucidate this

    It is legal for a child to stuff his face with candy. Yet he is still greedy
    It is legal for a 21 year old to drink to passing out. Still greedy

    Wall Street routinely screws over people, while following their contractual obligations to the letter

    In fact, the trading world has a phrase that addresses this situation “pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered “
    Typically the hogs were acting according to their contractual obligations too

    And so on.

    Your response to me centers on whether or not the bloggers acted according to the terms and conditions laid out by the idiots at Iberia
    I have already said that they did. That doesn’t make them “not greedy”

    And lastly, please understand that I have zero sympathy for Iberia

    I stand by my assertion, this is a tale of greed (blogging community) and stupidity (Iberia)

    At first glance it appears that the bloggers have the law on their side.
    But I’d be surprised if there isn’t a hidden clause in the contract of carriage that changes the “slam dunk” that any people expect

    This is what Happens when you fight an asymmetric legal battle with a much larger entity

    The joys of “free market” capitalism in an age of oligopolies and regulatory capture

    If it makes you feel better, I myself learned this the hard way when I shorted the big banks during the 2008 financial crisis. I followed the rules… and got my bum handed to me

  54. Iberia is the greedy one here. They tried to gather as much revenue as possible, within the shortest possible time.

    The fact that they repeatedly confirmed that fights did not have to be flown, is an invitation to buy any cheap non refundable ticket, in order to get the Avios. Now all of a sudden, there is this ‘realistic booking pattern’. Not going to work.

    This could be the end of Iberia.

  55. This is a piece of crap company that is weasling out of the promotion.

    All the people saying that people were ‘greedy’ despite the numerous twitter confirmations that we didn’t need to fly should be ashamed of yourself, you are supporting dodgy business practices. I guess though, you are the real ‘greedy’ ones. You must have received your avios yourself and don’t want other people to get them.

    For shame.

  56. I booked 10 tickets a piece for two new members, me and my partner. We were actually scheduled to go to Spain, France, Italy & Morocco, so this was a great promotion for us. Our tickets weren’t necessarily the cheapest and were one way but with returns back to MAD.

    However, they locked our accounts and even though we sent them all the info they wanted on July 5th, we’ve heard nothing from them. About 12 years ago I had to sue British Airways over a mileage offer and won (twice and an appeal).

    Next week I’m filing a lawsuit against Citi Cards/Citi Prestige and ThankYou points for stealing 129,000 points after closing an account which had not arrears or late payments. Citi Cards/Citi Prestige refused to state specifically why they cancelled my card and stole my ThankYou points without prior notice. Their response was “we can do it without reason and without notice.”

    So a suit against Iberia will just be another suit against a big corporation with even bigger hubris. Everyone who flew British Airways and had to pay exorbitant fuel surcharges on their frequent flyer tickets should go to the link I’ll provide below to see/apply before July 29, 2018, for the Cash Claim Form based on the class action settlement with British Airways. Class Action Settlement Link: http://www.fuelsurchargeclassaction.com

  57. “you’d think they’d at least want to maximize the goodwill from this, ”

    LOL – you think Iberia cares about “goodwill” feelings from people who were OBVIOUSLY taking advantage of the promo to rack up enough Avios to then redeem for a flight on some other airline? I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

    “Customers” like Martin in the article above clearly have no intent of actually being an Iberia customer. There’s no goodwill to be gained or lost.

  58. They will do the same as Qatar Airways, fun fantastic point earning promotions and then just devalue the points by 50 percent al a later date. Why there is no consumer protection law governing the time required to retain the value of the points is perplexing. Of course Qatar Airways Also then makes redemption at x2 miles on most tickets. It is crooked 🙁

  59. Martin could say that he’s buying a Renfe rail pass and refund it within 24 hours and use that as “proof” of a return ticket, just saying.

  60. By the way, has anyone try to move IB plus miles that got from promotion to BA accounts? Before the promo they said we can do that , giving you are ok if your IB plus are minus.

    The email they send to us after the miles are added said, avois could not combine with other avois program….

  61. Why fly OneWorld– BA or Iberia– when so many other airlines take customer service far more seriously. BA is the absolute worst.

  62. Victor/Tomas:

    Can’t speak for others, but I don’t support Iberia just because I think bloggersphere got greedy

    As I said
    Iberia was stupid
    They doubled down on stupid
    They will now try to weasel out of the deal
    They are treating people like crap

    End of Iberia? Unlikely
    Unfortunately, they have a good chance at succeeding
    The airlines succeed in cases that are far more clear cut against them (such as the Swiss First Class situation, numerous “mistake fares” etc)

    This same scenario happens time and time again, and it will continue to happen because this is the way we do capitalism

    Do I like it? Hell no. Am I surprised at all? Nope.

    On a side note: I have exactly zero Avios

  63. This is why I didn’t do it. I knew Iberia would randomly or perhaps in a targeted fashion, screw people over.

  64. “End of Iberia”. This is a truly exceptional case. As far as I know, never before has an airline pulled this marketing trick: offering miles in advance while stating that you don’t have to fly the segments. Lawyers will line up, when Iberia decide to NOT to honour the promo. And that may as well be the end of the company, if judges decide they have to hand over the Avios after all.

  65. I’m not sure what people mean by a “gamble”. We joined Iberia Plus and purchased tickets based upon its representations. Not that it matters per the rules but we’re actually going to fly the 10 flights we purchased because we had already scheduled a trip to Spain.

    I’ve successfully sued British Airways in small claims court over points and recently almost sued Virgin Atlantic but after appraising them of the BA suit they returned the points they tried to steal. Next week I’m suing Citi Bank/Citi Prestige Cards for stealing 129,000 ThankYou points, without a specific reason and without notification.

    This is not gambling. More people should sue these companies in their local courts for failure to live up to their promises and contractual obligations. British Airways has settled the class action suit brought against it. Maybe your one of their customers screwed by its fuel surcharges on FF tickets. If so, go to this link: http://www.fuelsurchargeclassaction.com

  66. For all of you who have tried to cheat the system, using the excuse “it was part of T & C’s” good luck to you if you beat them at their own game, for the rest of you that missed out- TOUGH TITTIES. Stop sooking and acting like self entitles wankers.

  67. As someone watching from the UK, where most people who took part already had an Iberia account (where we sometimes fly them, good Groupon Avios offers, well-aware of 3 and 90-day rules etc.) and where most who took part bought several – 9 flights, it’s very interesting to read the comments here and on other mainly US websites.

    My first comment is how amazed I was at the openness of many in their creation of multiple fake accounts. One for the dog, one on an old passport number, one for my baby etc. OK, so it’s tempting, but presumably these people are adults! Yes, despite what you argue it IS greedy, and it’s also potentially fraud (in the UK it is definitely fraud, but I’ve no idea about Spain). The same people also belittle the airline whilst doing it, and have bragged about transferring the money ASAP and closing the account (against the T&C) because Iberia are worthless! Basically milking the airline who offered a very generous boost to their Avios.

    My second comment is that Iberia IMHO are handling it extremely well considering the feeding frenzy which ensued from never-before Iberia new account holders. They are under no legal obligation to refund any account which is fraudulent as the T&C state the cheapest flights aren’t refundable. Read that sentence again. BUT they are doing so. Read that one again too. A fake account has no right to benefit as it’s the same as no account, but with potential fraud attached. They could stop refunding these thousands of people and their 10+ fake accounts with $4000 in flights bought if they choose.

    I was emailed the offer by Iberia as I use my account. I bought the flights and 10 days latter was emailed that my 90000 Avios were there. All exactly as stated. My account was never locked, and I intend to use them with Iberia or One-World partners, as the offer states. I transferred 20000 into the account from Avios 3 days ago, and last night tried to transfer 4000 back, which I didn’t need there, and which also worked.

    Iberia’s IT is not the best and no-one would say that (myself included), but they seem to be handling this well, considering the massive fraud involved. I’ve had issues in the past and always found their customer service to be polite and helpful. They locked transfers for everyone until they put something in place to keep the 90000 in place, as you will see if those who have accounts with the 90000 try to transfer out existing unrelated Avios (it works). The sense of affected outrage and entitlement I’m reading is ridiculous, and reminds me of the behaviour I see from teenagers who have been caught doing something they shouldn’t and can’t accept the reality of it!

  68. I also booked 10 Santander-Madrid one-way flights, most on consecutive dates. I received the 90,000 Avios on July 2nd and I booked a Business Class R/T (NYC-MAD) a couple of days later for 68,000. I’m about to use 17k more on an intra-Europe R/T.

  69. I just made it re cut off date for bookings and gave it a go. I have two passports and two Iberia accounts. One in my Gaelic name and other country passport.

    Received 90k in each. Already booked to South America and back. Happy days!

  70. Viktor

    Iberia will survive

    Unilaterally canceling a ticket that a customer bought is far worse than not giving people Avios

    And yet Airlines sell people tickets and then refuse to honor the tickets all the time
    They simply say “oops it was a mistake fare” even when it isn’t clear that it was a mistake

    For instance, We all suspect that a $100 Business class fare from US to Sydney is a mistake fare… but the recent BA economy fare to Tel Aviv was not clearly a mistake, especially given the prices of the LCC competition

    BA canceled thousands of tickets nonetheless. Result… nothing

    Or Swiss’ recent first class Aeroplan debacle. Again, they just canceled the tickets. Not sure if Matthew is still suing.

    The legal case here is much murkier

    In the BA and Swiss situation, the purchasers intended to fly
    In the Iberia situation, it is clear many people did not intend to fly (it is not always clear WHICH purchasers intended to fly

    Hence, I’m sure Iberia will argue that these purchases were fraudulent and against the terms and conditions of the ticket itself, and thus void the tickets.

    (The purchases may have adhered to the T&C of the promotion while still running afoul of the T&C of the actual tickets)

    They will likely honor long term Iberia account holders who bought tickets that Iberia thinks are reasonable.
    They’ll honor people who fly Iberia at least semi regularly
    They’ll honor “elite flyers”
    Because those are Iberia customers and Iberia won’t want to piss them off

    But people who signed up on the day of the promotion? Probably not
    Yes, they’ll never fly Iberia again, but they were never flying Iberia anyway

    I see why you are upset. I just don’t see why anyone is surprised unless you’ve never seen a mistake fare in your life before, AND you haven’t read the running commentary by *every* blogger that went like this “holy cow, I can’t believe that Iberia will honor this!!!”

    Greed killed this golden goose, birthed by the stupidity of an unethical company
    People got greedy, EVEN IF they stayed within the T&C of the promotion

  71. Iberia could ban people who have grossly abused the system – let’s face the vast majority never have and never will fly with them.

    ‘They will now try to weasel out of the deal
    They are treating people like crap’

    ‘Unilaterally canceling a ticket that a customer bought is far worse than not giving people Avios’

    Unless those people opened fraudulent accounts and bought the tickets linked to those. What they could legally do is close the account and not refund the tickets. That STILL wouldn’t be treating people like crap….just following their T&C which you know but are too immature to accept!

  72. Thanks for the input. Been working for an airline for over 10 years. I think I know the difference between an so-called error fare (even when it wasn’t an error fare to begin with) and an insanely stupid but repeatedly confirmed promotion.

    However, I got all the time in the world. And I won’t let go. The facts are on my side. The good thing: I am certainly not alone on this case. Wish me luck!

  73. The truth,
    Are you going to sue them if you dont get the points? I would like to join the law suit if you are going to do something. You have the experience to deal with their games. I don’t.

  74. evan,
    How did we cheat the system? We followed all their rules and conditions. Iberia is the stupid one and they are cheating people. They created this mess. Please don’t call us cheats or think we are abusing the system.

  75. I booked my ten one way bookings all going logically to and from various places so not all in the same direction. Had to do two separate bookings though (six on one reservation and four on another). I’ve got my 27k for the four, but am left without the remaining 63k for the other six. In both cases I went through the proper landing page and was logged into my long standing Iberia account.
    Email was sent yesterday with my etickets attached so will see what they say.

  76. This is one reason why I’m following the advice I received years ago. Create accounts in all the major carriers just in case. I originally set up Iberia Avios to take advantage of the transfers from BA. Never actually transferred BA but because I had created the account back then I now have 90k points for $300

  77. I live in Italy, Europe.

    I booked ten one ways, not on consective days, but again: that is not the point. As seen in this forum as well, there are people with an existing account that got 90k Avios, booking one ways only. There is nothing ‘cheating’ of ‘greedy’ about that.

    The point is: I opened one account, under my name, during the weekend of the promotion. Booked, paid and got confirmation emails for all 10 reservations. Now I want my Avios. Period.

    Personally I think Iberia should have said something like, this promotion is for existing accounts only, for example. But they didn’t. In fact, they urged us to participate, even by stating that you do not have to take the flights.

  78. You can take them to court in the US. If I don’t get mine I’ll file in Florida where I made the reservations in small claims court and ask for treble damages. I had to sue British Airways here once and won. You can sue Iberia (get a judgment and a lien) in any state that they operate in.

    I’ve already notified them that if my Avios don’t show up soon, I’ll sue them. We are headed to Spain, Italy, France and Morocco (based out of MAT) anyway and this was a boon for us.

    Small claims court is inexpensive for the filer. You usually don’t need an attorney and the case is based upon the simple facts. In this case it should be a slam dunk. Save all your correspondence and screen shots of the program rules.

  79. Ryan Vissar

    I’m not suing in a class action but in small claims court in Florida. I’m sure class action suits are being drawn up as we speak, like the British Aiways suit settled over exorbitant fuel surcharges to FF tickets and will close out July 29th.

    Here’s the link:http://www.fuelsurchargeclassaction.com

    If you choose not to sue a class action will be USA wide since Iberia has business here. NY will probably be the first since most financial transactions flow through the Federal reserve and associated state and federal banking systems. At that time, you’ll probably be contacted by one or more law firms to add you to the list. It’s best to keep an eye out though.

    My reason for going to small claims court is I don’t have to pay an attorney, local courts and juries are predisposed (in my opinion) to their local citizens being taken by large business entities. Many if not most class actions I’ve been involved with paid pennies on the dollar. However, the recent BA suit, referenced above, isn’t too bad for the customer.

    One more point. OMAAT blog (Lucky, et al) helped by doing their due diligence in advance and the answers they received and published should be allowed as evidence in court, especially small claims. I’m not a lawyer. Check your own county/state court rules. Good luck.

  80. truth,
    How do you come up with a cash value for this in small claim court? U would think this is a easy case to win where you show all the paperwork that they breach the contract with a judge.

  81. In my BA case I had originally settled the case with them after filing for my Avios plus court fees and costs. They paid the fees, however, they defaulted on the remainder of the court settlement, so I re-sued them for cash. Had British Airways and its airhead attorney, Tallahassee, Florida, not been so arrogant, I would have simply accepted an apology, Avios, court fees and costs.

    I figured the cash value of the points using BA’s Avios purchase chart and then requested the cash value (treble damages are allowed by Florida law, plus court fees and costs) but it’s up to the Judge. You may also (depending on jurisdiction) request a jury trial. Which, if you’re really going for the bucks, and in a sympathetic community, may really whack them (relatively speaking).

    Ask your county clerk how and how much it is to file. They’ll usually help but can’t/won’t give you legal advice, Like I’m not doing. Good Luck.

  82. I got the same email asking for verification of my details. Only problem is, I’d opened my account to collect Avios points on a recently purchased flight which had nothing to do with the bonus points (I didn’t even know about it!)

    I feel like my account has been put in the same bucket as others who opened accounts for the 90,000, when I’m sure there are others like me who just happened to open accounts at the same time for various other reasons and DIDN’T take advantage of the promo.

    Now they want me to send in documents to verify my ID, which I’m sure they wouldn’t make me do if I’d done this at any other time. Pretty poor treatment, and sending in ID is not something I’m comfortable doing.

  83. @Thetruthis

    “if you’re really going for the bucks, and in a sympathetic community, may really whack them”

    Do you really think any ‘community’ will be sympathetic to you rap.ing the system? Most judges would throw the case out….only in America would such a thing possibly succeed…where cash is king and to b.u.g.g.e.r.y with everything else.

    Get some respect and morals all of you. Look at Margaret Thatcher, she didnt go chasing through the courts did she? Why should any of you guys bother? Pathetic!

  84. Ryan, Iberia are part of a larger group of airlines. You can add the booking details to a BAEC account or an Aer Lingus one too

  85. This is the way I believe it will happen in my case (Florida allows treble damages) I estimate the cash value of the points at the rate Iberia sells them on or about the date of my purchase. I put that cash value to it in the filing.

    These are very simple filings (but provide backup so the judge will be knowledgable of what you’ve gone through, just the facts). I”d file saying I did what was required of me and I was not given the points until…or possibly never. I would explain that I’d contacted Iberia multiple times and had done everything they required for the promotion.

    After many frustrating hours, I never heard from them or they responded negatively or by the time I was awarded the Avios, there were no longer flights to the destination I was trying to book with my 90,000 Avios. At the time of this filing they want 270,000 Avios for the flights I was going to use my Avios for had I received them within the promotions rules (within 10 days).

    Therefore, I request legal fees (not allowed in Florida typically if you hired a lawyer), court costs and treble damages. The judge knows your not a lawyer nor should she/he hold to those standards. Iberia will hire a lawyer but they have little chance of winning this specific case. Don’t worry about precedent, jurisdiction or any of what an attorney would want to care about in another court.

    I’ve done these cases alone (as a layman) in Oregon and Florida. The judges are there to hear the facts. If the facts are on your side, in my experience, you’ll win. Just be yourself and have all your facts (backup, screen shots of promotion, ticket purchasers, emails, etc.

    After you receive the judgment, then you must collect. If they don’t pay, you can lien their property. Talk to your local county clerk. They’ll be happy to help you. They just won’t give you legal advise as I’ve not given to you. Good luck.

  86. To: Montgomery Curruthers,

    Everything happens from the initial action of one person (good and bad)! Of course, many times we fall on our own sword (like the tree in the forest or one hand clapping) and no one knows of them or their action(s). However, if you’ve got them, you grab your gonads or whatever and go for it. Most people live in “quiet desperation” and that’s fine too. To each his own.

    Thoreau: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

  87. My wife and myself booked a flight with Iberia from Dublin to Madrid during the 9000 Avios promotion. This was the only flight we booked with Iberia during the promotion. We did not try to exploit the promotion. We checked in. We upgraded into business class. We took the flight on the 4th of July. Therefore we not only honoured the rules of the promotion but also entered into the spirit of the promotion. I have been an Iberia Plus member since 2017. So I’ve been a member since long before this promotion was announced. To my utter disgust and complete dismay Iberia have not allocated the Avios points to my account. Only the standard Avios allocation for taking the flight have been allocated. As a new member my wife has had her account frozen. she has waited for weeks to have it unfrozen and she has not had ANY points allocated. Not even the normal allocation of points. At this time we are not only totally disillusioned with Iberia but also with Avios and IAG. They should never have allowed this misconceived and foolish promotion to have taken place.
    I was a member of Airmiles now Avios since its introduction. I have witnessed the decline of Airmiles from an excellent reward scheme which provided real value and incentive to a scheme which now seems worthless. For me the accumulation of Avios is pointless. This 9000 Avios Iberia promotion exposes how worthless Avios points really are. Just give them away. If you think differently check out the cost of a flight to the USA from London and compare it to the cost of a flight with Avios and fees. After I DUMP my Avios rewards I am saying goodbye to the Avios scheme and anything associated with it. I am now looking for a reward scheme that holds value for the customer who seeks a worthwhile reward for their efforts.

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