I Have A Negative Iberia Plus Avios Balance!

Over the summer Iberia Plus had a generous promotion, where they were offering 9,000 bonus Avios for every flight booked during that period, for a total of up to 90,000 Avios for booking 10 flights.

The best part was that they didn’t actually require you to take the flights in order to earn the bonus Avios. So you could book cheap flights within Spain for ~$30 one-way, and in the end could earn a total of 90,000 Avios for ~$300.

The catch with these Iberia Avios is that they expired on December 1, 2018, which is today. So as I posted a reminder of, yesterday was the last day you could redeem these Avios before they expired.

How I redeemed my 90K Iberia Avios

Well, I’m embarrassed to admit that despite me posting several reminders for you guys, I didn’t actually end up redeeming my own Avios. Heck, I even helped two friends redeem their Iberia Avios yesterday before they expired, but then I sat down to plan a trip for myself, and nothing came together.

I was really frustrated, because I hate wasting miles of any sort, but it was just one of those situations where I obviously waited too long. I already have so much travel planned that I just couldn’t commit to anything else where these would have been useful.

On the plus side, I’d say I still came out ahead with this promotion. Ford also took advantage of this promotion, and we used his Avios for four tickets to St. Kitts. Our total investment was ~$600 between the two of us, so that’s great for four tickets to St. Kitts.

Since I couldn’t quite figure out how to redeem my Avios, I did something that I knew was possible, but that I didn’t fully know the outcome of. I transferred my 90,000 Iberia Avios to British Airways Executive Club last night.

What happened with the 90K Avios I transferred?

Waking up this morning, I still see the 90,000 Avios in my British Airways account.

I also see a balance of negative 90,000 Avios in my Iberia Plus account.

My Iberia Plus account activity looks roughly like what you’d expect, so there are no surprises there.

What does this mean for my accounts?

Iberia said it was possible to transfer your promotional Avios to British Airways, though it would lead to a negative balance of Iberia Avios. Beyond that they made very little clear, unfortunately:

  • Do the Avios also expire on December 1 if transferred to British Airways (I figured there’s a chance they didn’t, which is why I transferred them)?
  • What happens if you have a negative balance of Iberia Avios? You just can’t use your account anymore unless you transfer or earn at least 90,000 Avios? Do they come after you for the value of the Avios (this seems highly unlikely to me)?

I figured it was worth a shot (basically getting 90,000 British Airways Avios with the usual expiration terms), so I transferred the Avios. As of now that seems like a good decision, though we’ll see.

Did anyone else transfer their Avios to British Airways? What do you make of the negative account balance situation?

Comments

  1. Lucky, all of my family’s accounts show a negative balance despite not having transferred any avios. I think there is a glitch because the amounts of the negative balance are exactly equal to the redemptions.

  2. Good luck,but I am sure that your BA Avios balance will be reduced by 90k avios at some time in the near future.

  3. I booked my last shorthaul award close to midnight in Spain, but still November in the US. They deducted a small amount from my avios balance for that ticket. At the time of booking my balance was not negative. For that reason it seems a little unfair.

  4. I transferred my wife’s promo Avios to BA and then requested they close out her Iberia account. As of right now, the BA Avios are safe, just hope when they combine programs they can’t trace her closed Iberia account w a -90k balance back to her.

  5. In the reminder email Iberia sent about 2wks ago, they stated that ..”these Avios cannot be transferred or combined with Avios from other programmes or accounts,…”

    I think they’ll just have Avios transferred to say BA deleted in due time. It’ll be interested to see what will happen to the tickets already booked on BA Executive club using these transferred Avios.

    Has anyone already taken any trips booked on BA Executive using these transferred Avios?

  6. @Lucky:

    Same situation with having so much travel plan and finding it difficult to use the points. I was, however, able to use all the Avios for domestic AA flights, booking the last ticket within minutes of the deadline. It was truly a pain dealing with the website and Iberia’s customer service. They are terrible compared to BA agents, but at least I don’t have a negative 90K balance. I hope things work out for those who transferred to BA!

  7. I booked two round trip premium economy tickets between JFK and Madrid for an off-peak trip for me and my wife. I used my 90,000 promotional Avila plus 9,000 Amex points that I transferred during Amex’s 40% transfer bonus promotion.

  8. I had a negative balance with AA due to a weird issue when I refunded an AA award to process an upgrade but the AArep (and me) didn’t realize the 10% Barclays card refund would actually take the miles back that I ended up using to make the upgrade during the short transaction. Essentially the rep told me that any miles I earned would go to pay back the negative balance. I wouldn’t actually accrue anything else until I reached zero. That’s how it worked out. There were no other negative repercussions.

  9. I had slightly under 9000 miles left over from the promotion so on Nov 30th I booked a short round trip in Europe for 9000 miles at slightly after 6pm eastern time or midnight in Spain. Iberia confirmed my booking and charged my credit card for the taxes and the small amount of extra miles needed to book the flights. This left me with a small Avios balance last night.
    This morning my account is negative for the miles applied from the promotion to buy the tickets. The booking is still showing in my account and I was even able to pick my seats.
    I guessing if Iberia withdrew the miles to make the purchase, confirmed the purchase and charged my credit card for taxes and additional miles, the negative balance will be “fixed” somehow, but who knows.

  10. I transferred my Avios over to BA and redeemed them for a flight before the deadline. My Iberia account is showing a negative balance but nothing unusual with my BA account.

  11. You should book something with the Avios on BA. BA lets you cancel for pretty cheap. Iberia can’t vacuum up the miles once they realize where they went if they are committed elsewhere…

  12. Negative here too. Still in BA however. Tried sending them back and forth between the accounts a bit to potentially confuse the system but that didn’t seems to matter ultimately.

  13. Both wife and I took advantage of the offer although I felt I was playing a Russian roulette of sorts. However, per the rules of the promotion we spent all the promotional Avios before yesterday’s deadline and our accounts show no deductions as of today.

    All in all, we spent about 550€ for 180,000 Avios and redeemed them for a few transatlantic IB C awards (future travel). Killer promotion if you played by the rules IMO. Thanks OMAT for all the good info as always.

    PS: Hopefully no funny business happens when all the no shows occur with all these no-intention-to-fly bookings, including our own!

  14. I used mine by booking four one night hotel stays at Hiltons at JFK, Helsinki and Miami before/after international flights and one at Sofitel LHR. So I think I did OK for my $336 investment! I called all hotels to confirm the pre paid reservations came through and all fine EXCEPT the Hilton at JFK which Iberia is trying to sort out.

  15. I wound up with 81K from the promo (couldn’t get one last ticket to finalize, the payment kept glitching) and then since that gave me a balance I could transfer a few more thousand in from BA Avios to get the booking I wanted and leave myself 2,000 on account so that I could continue to transfer in from BA going forward which should help save on surcharges versus for future bookings – today my balance properly shows the 2,000 – as a data point, I completed my award bookings a few days ahead of the deadline

  16. That’s crazy that you the expert couldn’t find a way to use them. What does that say? How did your friends use them?

  17. I booked a R/T LAX to NRT on JAL in March for 65K Avios and LAX to MAD on IB for 30K (bought the extra 5K by transferring MR during the 40% bonus deal). Dealing with the phone reps in Madrid to book the JAL was a huge pain. The first time I called (on Friday morning) I went through the ticketing process and near the end the agent tells me the computer system is down and to call back on Monday. Call back on Tuesday and the ticket is no longer available even though JAL website is showing a lot of available seats. Booked the IB flight through the website and that also had several glitches.

  18. I transferred my avios to BAEC and then changed details on Iberia account and will probably ask to close it, or just leave it and open new one for any future promotions.

  19. I used mine last week for BA flights for next summer so my account is showing a zero balance. I wonder what will happen if I had to cancel one of these flights. Would the Avios be re-credited to my account and then instantly disappear because they have effectively expired? And if I had to amend a booking, what would happen? Unless you’re making a very straightforward change limited to dates and times, they usually re-credit all your Avios and re-charge the higher or lower amount. Would you still be able to make such a change with expired Avios? Who knows, I expect they’re making it all up as they go along anyway. I’m sure heads must have rolled over this promotion. Poorly thought out, poorly executed and all they achieved is selling Avios at half the usual price and ending up with a bunch of empty seats.

  20. I also jumped through all of the hoops to get my 90k Iberia Avios and it finally paid off. I just booked two business class tickets, nonstop LA to Madrid.

  21. I am curious if anyone did a partial redemption and partial transfer of their 90k miles. I see people with -90k, but was anyone assessed a negative balance of anything other than -90k? Full disclosure I have -90k and did a transfer for the full 90k to avios.com and then to BA.

  22. I decided to transfer to BA 56k of my 90k Avios. A lot of what I read initially did not specify about the “combining of points from other programmes”, and I did not receive any follow-up email two weeks ago from Iberia clarifying/stating this.

    I have already traveled on some of the tickets booked with BA, but I have two more flights booked with BA and my Iberia account currently shows the -56k balance. Wondering what you guys think — if my flight is already confirmed and ticketed with BA (both AA flights) do you think I am safe?

  23. I ended up with 90k in mine and 90k in my wife’s accounts. Booked two R/T on AA, Iberia Biz BOS-MAD and Iberia Biz MAD-ROM literally with hours to spare. I procrastinated the redemption but got them done just under the wire. I already had 73k Avios in my Iberia account so I ensured I went below that number. Wife’s account only had the 90k and ended up empty. $16k of flights for about $500 all in is hard to complain about.

  24. I just bought 2,000 on Groupon, after transferring out to BA, so now have -88,000 in my account. Let’s see what happens, I have a fair haul of BA avios so I’m not about to clear that account.

  25. Yes, my account went negative -90k even after I redeemed the points for flights on AA, although I have a feeling they’ll be correcting this error.

    Don’t really care though as this promotion taught me that Iberia award redemption sucks, and may never use Iberia again.

    @omaat

  26. 12/x/18 Bonus For Purchasing At Iberia.com – Special T&cs Apply Other services -67,400
    11/x/18 Combine My Avios Other services -67,400
    9/x/18 Hotel/rent a Car Booking With Avios Nº xxxxxxxx Hotels -22,600
    7/x/18 Bonus For Purchasing At Iberia.com – Special T&cs Apply Other services 90,000

    Can confirm that it will not negative the miles if u use it for things like booking hotels which i used it for redeeming 2 nights 4 star ibis in barcelona at sep as it cost nearly the price for purhcasing 10 flights for the 90k avios. The remainder avios was transfered and was marked as negative. But hey, i think that iberia online system is much more worse comapre to lifemiles and its great that I dont need to use it for a while, I will still make a new acc to ready for new promos though.

  27. I booked 3 trips in premium / business from NYC to Europe in the last few days and was pleasantly surprised at how good award availability was on IB. It was much better that normal AA international availability of late.

  28. Wife and I participated in the promotion spending about 330€ each. After confirming our purchases for the qualifying trips they asked us for IDs to confirm our accounts. She got her 90k 3 months later and after we emailed IBERIA about 6 times reminding them. I added my Iberia Plus account when I received confirmation and not during the purchase. Thus, they denied the promotional Avios stating I didn’t follow the rules. Emailed them countless number of times just to keep getting denied every single one. We use my wife’s on the SM of 12.1 to book two business class returns Galicia – Madrid – Miami for 94k transferring the extra 4k from her MR. The whole process was bugged almost from beginning to end. In order to get the MR in time we had to transfer from MR to BA, which was instant. But BA wouldn’t let us transfer to Iberia for some reason giving an error stating “the account didn’t qualify for transfers”. It eventually did after hours trying but then the Iberia tickets were gone. Fortunately it was just the short domestic portion so we simply picked a nearby city to depart from. I have to admit I’m mostly looking forward to the Madrid’s airport lounge since I’ve gotten lots of positive feedback from it. We learned Iberia’s CS needs lots and lots of improvement with both reps and systems. I don’t think I would ever fly with them unless absolutely have to, nor I would participate in another promotion like this as the effort and pain surpasses their subpar service.

  29. fu.. hell what is going on at Iberia ?
    I moved BA Avios to Iberia to book tickets on the last day. I booked two pax in Business to miami. Look what they have done :
    Datum Beschreibung Sektor Avios Elite Punkte
    26.10.19 Ib3132 Mad – Dus ( Madrid – Dusseldorf ) Class : g Flüge -12.500
    26.10.19 Ib3132 Mad – Dus ( Madrid – Dusseldorf ) Class : g Flüge -12.500
    25.10.19 Ib6118 Mia – Mad ( Miami – Madrid ) Class : u Flüge -62.500
    25.10.19 Ib6118 Mia – Mad ( Miami – Madrid ) Class : u Flüge -62.500
    17.10.19 Ib6117 Mad – Mia ( Madrid – Miami ) Class : u Flüge -42.500
    17.10.19 Ib6117 Mad – Mia ( Madrid – Miami ) Class : u Flüge -42.500
    17.10.19 Ib3141 Dus – Mad ( Dusseldorf – Madrid ) Class : x Flüge -7.500
    17.10.19 Ib3141 Dus – Mad ( Dusseldorf – Madrid ) Class : x Flüge -7.500
    01.12.18 Bonus For Purchasing At Iberia.com – Special T&cs Apply Weitere Services -67.500
    30.11.18 Combine My Avios Weitere Services 39.000

    Bonus for purchasing avios -67.500 ?????

    I have IB Avios Flights to cancel which will be worthless if this stays……

  30. I lost out big time with this offer. I bought 10 flights for me, and 10 for my partner. The website was crashing left, right, center on the day, and Iberia claimed I did not buy the tickets inside the membership website – which I absolutely did. Of course I have no proof. The airline refused repeatedly to honor the sale. I am in the UK, and the transport department were no help. So I am about $500 down, and very very unhappy about it, and seemingly unable to force the airline to honor the offer.

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