No, Iberia Plus Members Aren’t To Blame For Iberia’s Botched Promotion

I think at this point we’re all familiar with the ridiculously generous promotion that Iberia offered, where you could earn 9,000 bonus Avios for every flight you booked on Iberia, up to 90,000 bonus Avios.

Many of us took advantage of this promotion, and booked 10 one-way tickets within Spain, costing about $30 each. 90,000 Avios for around $300? Yes please!

While existing Iberia Plus members have mostly already seen the bonus Avios post, some who signed up for new accounts have been running into problems. As I wrote about yesterday, Iberia is threatening not to credit some people their bonus Avios due to “booking inconsistencies.” In other words, they’re claiming that booking 10 one-way tickets is reason enough not to honor the promotion. To those receiving the email, I recommend standing your ground.

In my opinion Iberia is handling this promotion horribly (and I say this as someone who actually had their 90,000 Avios post).

What surprises me is how many people are suggesting that new members are greedy and don’t deserve the bonus Avios, and are saying that they should have known this wouldn’t work out.

I think it might be time to step back and look at this promotion big picture.

This Iberia Plus promotion is very different than a mistake fare

It’s one thing to act outraged if an airline is refusing to honor a $200 first class mistake fare, and they communicate quickly to say they won’t honor it. That’s reasonable enough. But I think it’s important to look at the timeline of events here:

  • Iberia published a very generous promotion that was valid for several days
  • The way Iberia published the terms, you got the Avios after booking rather than after flying
  • Iberia repeatedly publicly confirmed that there was no need to actually take the flights to earn the bonus Avios
  • Many of us assumed it was too good to be true, and someone in Iberia corporate communications even reached out to bloggers to say that the promotion was exactly as good as it sounded, while bloggers were writing about the possibility of booking cheap one-way tickets
  • Iberia could have pulled the promotion early, but didn’t
  • For the 10 days following the promotion, there were no communications suggesting they wouldn’t in any way honor the promotion

So was this promotion ridiculous? Yes. Do I have any clue what Iberia was thinking? Nope.

Having said the above, I’m not surprised by the current outcome, and it’s exactly what I predicted from the beginning. I expected they’d mostly honor the promotion, but would try to make it difficult for many. If anything, I’m surprised that many of us got our 90,000 bonus Avios without a fight.

Are people violating Iberia terms with this promotion?

Some suggested that members were violating Iberia terms by booking 10 back-to-back one way tickets.

I’ve read through Iberia’s contract of carriage, and see nothing that would address this in any way.

Then I read through the Iberia Plus terms & conditions, and I also see nothing, aside from the following generic disclaimer:

The Programme reserves the right to recall your card, cancel your account and hold you responsible if you make improper or fraudulent use of the Programme or do not comply with the rules and procedures contained in these General Conditions.

However, I think most of us complied exactly with what we were told by Iberia. There’s nothing in the general conditions addressing this, and Iberia even publicly stated that booking one-way tickets we had no intention of flying was permitted.

I’d say the one exception is those who created multiple accounts. Each member can only have one Iberia Plus account, so members who opened multiple accounts are actually violating the terms, so I think it’s reasonable for Iberia to request proper identification.

That being said, I’m not surprised there are problems

While I think Iberia is in the wrong here, I’m not surprised to see these problems. I think the promotion has worked better for most than we expected (many of us got our 90,000 Avios without issues).

While the problems don’t surprise me, I also think it’s unreasonable to blame consumers in any way here. Yes, the promotion was ridiculous. But Iberia kept doubling down on it. After publishing the promotion, they kept it live the entire time, their corporate communications reached out to confirm that people could just book 10 one-way tickets, all of Iberia’s communication channels continued to clarify that the promotion was real and that you didn’t need to take the flights, and even in the 10 days following the promotion, they did nothing.

Some suggested people who took advantage of this promotion were greedy, though I don’t see how that argument can be made for those who only had a single account (I agree it’s greedy if you made multiple accounts for imaginary people). It’s like a supermarket advertising something for cheap in their circular, walking into the store and seeing it priced that way, asking repeatedly if that’s actually the price, and then buying it.

I think the blame for this falls squarely in Iberia’s hands.


  1. Hi Ben,

    My account wasn’t new, it was a year old. I purchased the flights on the 21st and 22nd and no avios have posted to my account. I was also never locked out of my Iberia plus account. I did transfer UR points to Iberia on the 22nd to register as activity so I could transfer some BA avios to Iberia.

    Do you think at this point, they will post any more avios to anyones account? I haven’t heard of anyone receiving the promotion points in many days.

  2. Ben,
    Do you have a copy( pdf forms) of the promotion and the terms? I want to show this to a lawyer.

  3. “Iberia repeatedly publicly confirmed that there was no need to actually take the flights to earn the bonus Avios”

    To me, and perhaps to Iberia, there is a difference between not taking a booked flight and still receiving the Avios versus booking a flight with no intention of taking the flight and still receiving the Avios.

    “The Programme reserves the right to recall your card, cancel your account and hold you responsible if you make improper or fraudulent use of the Programme or do not comply with the rules and procedures contained in these General Conditions.”

    That’s a big catch-all and I think booking flights with no intention to take them would fall under “improper or fraudulent”.

  4. I saved a copy of the terms if anyone wants them (I happen to be a lawyer).

    This promo is also not governed by Iberia Plus’s conditions, since it is about buying tickets to get another asset. Like, if they were giving away a Starbucks gift cards instead of Avios it is not like the Starbucks gift card terms apply to whether you are entitled to those gift cards.

  5. @ Ted — “To me, and perhaps to Iberia, there is a difference between not taking a booked flight and still receiving the Avios versus booking a flight with no intention of taking the flight and still receiving the Avios.”

    Fair enough, but where is the line drawn on that, when the Avios post after you book, rather than after you fly? Is booking 10 one-ways only “believable” if you’re booking five in one direction and five in the other, rather than 10 in one direction? What if someone can prove that they booked 10 one-way refundable tickets in the other direction? This is a very slippery slope.

    With the way they set up this promotion, it seems pretty arbitrary for them to decide who does and doesn’t intend to take particular flights that will occur long after the Avios have expired.

  6. Regarding the damages question, does anyone know how Iberia themself values Avios? That could be a measure of damages.

  7. Existing accounts that got awarded: Got mine cya better luck next time.

    New accounts that got Avios: wtf are booking inconsistencies when everyone else did the same and T&Cs did not prohibit and some Iberia rep tweeted you did not have to fly.

  8. While I a not surprised in the least this blew up (I stayed out of this even though I have an Iberia account with existing paid flight activity) I agree that Iberia lost what high ground they had when their representatives repeatedly confirmed the terms of the offer and in essence invited folks to “game” the offer by booking cheap one ways. That said anybody who has been around the block on these sort of things should have seen this train wreck coming. When an offer gets too popular the corporation gets seller’s remorse more often than not and finds a way out. Remember the Avios debacle that was on all the blogs last year? That worked out even less well than this one (I am not sure anybody got their Avios from that one). On the bright side it looks like the worst folks will be out is time and aggravation. Not great but it certainly good have been worse.

  9. @lucky It’s been over 10 days since purchasing the flights and I’ve already submitted supporting documentation. For those who have still haven’t received their points, at what point do you think it’s worth disputing the charges with the credit card company or contacting a lawyer?

  10. to everyone questioning what the damages are.

    90.000 avios ofcourse. what the hell? You dont have to value those or anything, just claim that iberia has to honour their side of the bargain.

    at least, thats what would you would claim in a civil law country.

  11. All this inconsistency talk is nonsense. Couples have booked identical itineraries with only the old account receiving points. So Iberia lets stop this talk about inconsistensies ( if anything the inconsistent thing is how your alienating new signups). The real issue is thyve realized they’re in over their heads.
    The only way im letting this go is if they refund my money WITH INTEREST!

    Else class action…..

  12. There is a reason to blame the beneficiaries of the promotion. Some couldn’t get enough and, instead of settling with 90,000 very cheap Avios, decided to create multiple accounts, thereby abusing the promotion and potentially violating the T&Cs of IB+ in the process.

    I hope that everyone gets their Avios once. IB can still make your life difficult by restricting award space between now and December. I didn’t jump on them as it was impossible to do an IB+ to BA HHA transfer (while I have a Avios UK account, my BA and IB+ account are in a different address, hence no possibility of transferring IB+ to Avios UK to BAEC HHA)

  13. Iberia member since January 2016, but no Avios or activity in the account. On 6/24, booked 10 random flights on qualified flights on different dates spending a total of under $375 on my CSP. Got the email on 7/4, and 2 days later 90K Avios posted onto my account.

    Now, I need help booking and flying before 12/1 – have ~ 76K BA Avios. What’s the next step?

  14. I’m with Ted as to the issue regarding intent. It’s obviously sometimes difficult to parse out specific intent, but the law tries to do so in many cases where there’s inherent ambiguity.

    In that same spirit, I think it would be a reasonable distinction for Iberia to try to segment bookings that were clearly not intended to be taken. It’s also probably not difficult in most cases when you consider they likely had thousands of one-way bookings in that short window during the promotion which didn’t match ANY pattern they could match it to from the past (on a customer-by-customer basis and more generally).

    I’m not saying that they should or shouldn’t honor the promotion in this regard, but as Ted pointed out there is an important distinction between booking a flight you may take and booking a flight you 100% know you won’t take. I think it’s a safe assumption in almost EVERY case that if somebody in America registered for an account during the promotion and booked EXACTLY 10 one-way flights that were all very cheap in a foreign country where they have no record of flying with this airline, it was a flight they’re 100% not going to take. Again, that doesn’t necessarily mean the promotion shouldn’t be honored in this instance, but I don’t agree with the “slippery slope” counterargument that Ben made.

  15. @ Matt — But that’s something Iberia actively encouraged/promoted, responding to US residents asking if they can just book 10 one-way tickets they won’t fly and get the Avios, and they said yes.

    And for what it’s worth, I booked 10 one-way tickets (all in the same direction) that I have no plans of flying, and I got the 90,000 Avios.

  16. I don’t see how 10 consecutive one ways like the other example you posted could pass the sniff test.

    The dividing line issue is a red herring. That can be said to any rule/standard/etc. The folks who tried for 9 million points are a problem, what about 8 million?

    They are giving the money back. This is just like a mistake fare one thought was a mistake fare but took a chance. Now folks are upset because Iberia wasn’t as stupid as folks hoped.

  17. As far as they don’t have to fly, I always interpreted that to mean

    “The points will post in July even though the flight will occur after July”.


    “We don’t care if you really fly and are just buying points at a ludicrously low price”.

    And I’m someone whose locked out, bought 6 RTs, and was an existing IB member who flew on them in May.

  18. @Ben – My post stated multiple times that it wasn’t regarding whether the promotion should be honored. I was pointing out that I don’t think it’s a slippery slope to the extent they want to parse out bookings people don’t intend to take, because I think they can probably spot those with almost 100% accuracy in this case. I actually took great care in my post to not comment on how the actual promotion should be handled.

  19. The flights were paid for and the terms of their promotion met. It should be as simple as that. These weren’t mistake rates our anything if the sort. If they are worried about inconsistencies in the bookings they should be doing more than just denying promotional points! Since they’re not it’s clear the motivations are not in good spirit.

  20. @ Matt — I get that, my point is, where is the line drawn? If someone based in the US booked five roundtrips (MAD-AGP) for next spring, I don’t think Iberia could reasonably claim that the person doesn’t have the intent to take the flights. They’d have no grounds on which to assume that. Meanwhile perhaps if they booked 10 one-way tickets, they might have somewhat more of a cause to believe that. That’s where my “slippery slope” comment comes from. Past customer data wouldn’t necessarily be an indicator here, because a good promotion will get new customers. For example, if the promotion had required actually flying and only awarded the Avios after taking the flights, I guarantee there would have still been many people who would have taken advantage of it and flown the flights.

    Or do you think it’s safe to assume that someone who booked five roundtrips but is based in the US doesn’t have the intention of taking the flights?

  21. Honestly, if Iberia are watching accounts closely enough to catch what they’re interpreting as “fraudulent” bookings, they have the tools to revenue manage the flight system so as to overbook them appropriately to have full plane and make more money. Typical IAG behavior…stepping over pounds to pick up pence.

  22. Trump is not to blame we will put this country in by the time he leaves, it’s the stupid fucks that enable him. A monkey can’t be blamed for the mess it creates.

    Yeah please pursue court cases against Iberia. Sure!

  23. Jonathan,
    You are a lawyer and have experience in the legal system. What is your view on this from a legal standpoint? Do you think Iberia will have a legal problem if people take them to court?

  24. To the lawyer above. What jurisdiction would you file this under? Any US court? Would an US court take cases that you book flying intra Europe flights?

    And do you happen to pass the bar exam in the EU?

  25. @ Ben “Do I have any clue what Iberia was thinking? Nope”. Iberia was not thinking. I passed on this promotion because I expected all sort of glitches and I knew how frustrating it is to deal with Iberia’s customer service. If the One World availability was scarce so far, I expect even worse for the rest of year after Iberia honors their promotion. The longer it takes for someone to get their avios, the harder will be for them to use the avios.

  26. Other than the individual twitter responses saying the promotion still is good if you don’t take the flight, where is this “active encouragement and promotion” you are talking about from Iberia to buy tickets you had no intention of using?

    Again I don’t don’t see any language specifically allowing tickets to be bought without the intent to use. I don’t think anything is clear-cut, but let’s face it the whole point of this promotion was to take advantage of a scheme that was ethically sketchy. And now that there are problems it’s entirely the company’s fault?

  27. ”And now that there are problems it’s entirely the company’s fault?”

    How can it not be the company’s fault? They opened the door widely for people to book 10 flight, that they were never going to use. To be perfectly honest: I have never seen this before, awarding points for flights not taken. That was a stupid move to start with.

    But as a matter of fact: this argument (whether or not someone intends to take the flight) has sailed. Because IB has already honoured 90k to several accounts (existing ones) , based on 10 one way reservations, that the customer will not use.

  28. I just received the dreaded “inconsistencies” email from Iberia.

    But what is especially incredible in the email is Iberia’s claim they found a SECOND Iberia Plus account for both my wife and myself!

    I know that is not true because I keep meticulous records of all accounts open, and handle them for my wife, too. And we’ve only been married for a few years, so it is not like I forgot about a very old account. Plus she has never opened any accounts with any airline in her entire life.

    So the only explanation I can think of is that they are inventing second accounts for us so that they have an excuse to deny the Avios. But how can I possibly prove the negative – that we don’t have second accounts?

  29. Reading this thread, and following this whole situation from day 1, I see so much of the usual “travel hacker expert” complaining. Lucky, I agree that so many “long-time” hackers blamed the newbies for what may or may not happen to them. So many people want great things for themselves, and to shut the door right after they walk through. Typical behavior I see on FT, blog comments etc. I find it pathetically humorous, especially since if the “door closes” right in front of them they raise hell about how unfair they are treated. But I see no reason why someone creating a new, legitimate account should not get exactly what an established account holder got.

    Second, there is no real way to prove intent for taking flights. That said, Iberia could choose any line they want and decide that beyond it is “no intention/abuse” and cancel flights. I am not a lawyer, but I’d imagine that doing so would be reliant on them finding a line that would cut off as many people as possible without triggering a class action lawsuit of some sort.

  30. I didn’t participate in this but do have an older IB+ account. Just my two cents.

    It seems that everyone is crying foul that there appears to be inconsistent treatment generally between those who are older members vs those who are new. However, it’s entirely possible that Iberia is acting consistently from their perspective. They just might be applying a different set of standards for new accounts. Or, perhaps they let certain things slide for old members.

    Perhaps their intent was for everyone to book a realistic pattern of flights. The promotion didn’t specifically call out these terms but it could be implied from the program’s general terms and conditions. Perhaps Iberia decided to systematically allow those with older accounts that had activity to not adhere to a realistic pattern of flights and awarded them miles on account of their past loyalty.

    Longtime members of any program generally complain when there are status matches or even free status awarded to new members who have not demonstrated any loyalty. Perhaps here they decided to go above and beyond the terms of the IB+ program for the existing members and not the new ones, contrary to what other loyalty programs seem to do these days.

    There are reports of some new members getting the miles but it seems like others are having issues. It would require further analysis to determine if there is some logic to the approvals or denials to uncover the pattern. Just because Iberia hasn’t clearly stated the reason for the denial doesn’t mean there isn’t a method to the madness.

    Now this view certainly could change as new information appears but I wouldn’t be so quick to say that Iberia has violated anything. They just are being silent about their criteria.

  31. So are bloggers like Lucky going to stick up for their readers or are they just going to be stay (mostly) silent, happy that Iberia isn’t targeting them?

  32. So are bloggers like Lucky going to stick up for their readers or are they just going to stay (mostly) silent, happy that Iberia isn’t targeting them?

  33. ”They just are being silent about their criteria.”

    Take that to court and you are out instantly.

  34. lucky,
    How would you proceed with this? My account is blocked and still waiting for the email “booking inconsistencies”

  35. Whenever one of these idiotic promotions (or mistake fares, for that matter) comes up, it gets broadcast over and over again by the travel bloggers like Lucky and TPG. Then people hear about the loophole and exploit it in large enough numbers that the airline takes notice and has to step in to make corrections/cancellations. And while the airline made the mistake in the first place, there’s still a teensy bit of blame to be placed on the bloggers who spread this information so widely and enable so many people to pile on that the airline has to publicly correct the mistake and tell all those people they can’t get what they were promised.

    Putting money into one of these loophole scams is a bit like sticking your hand in a sleeping gator’s mouth. You might be amazed that he’s so deeply asleep that you can actually fit your hand in there. But when he wakes up and chomps off your hand, you can’t really blame him, can you? You were the one who assumed a sleeping and vulnerable beast wouldn’t wake up and make a meal out of you.

    And to complete the metaphor, bloggers like Lucky and TPG would be the carnival barker standing next to the sleeping gator with a big neon sign that says “Come stick your hand in this animal’s mouth. He won’t bite you, and you’ll have such a great story to tell your friends. Also, please sign up for a credit card while you’re here, so I can pay my bills!”

  36. @James W
    Carnival gator: I don’t think I’ve seen a better analogy yet lol.

    These schemes get amplified here and we all do a double-take…because we know that this is too good to be true. And so we try to get away with as much as we can and we search for affirmation (even from Twitter reps) to convince ourselves that what we are doing is ok (i.e. missing a single flight is not the same as intentionally no showing for 10 identical flights).

    And now when something goes wrong, our moral outrage erupts at the big bad company for taking advantage of the poor helpless consumer. Womp womp.

  37. @ Ben:
    How about using your followers, kind of market power and social media power to get into a direct touch with Iberia to remind them about their T&C and get them honoring validated accounts with paid bookings?

  38. @ryan I am in the same boat as many of you. I signed up for an account. I also had the dreaded double surname issue for half my tickets.

    @eve I am not a EU lawyer but I don’t see why you couldn’t file a claim in the US, which I wouldn’t do until the end of the month. It is not an EU issue but their ticketing address is a US one if you bought from the US site.

  39. I did not receive my points yet and I provided them will all the requested information.
    What should my course of action be?
    Thank you

  40. I opened my account in 3/2017. Bought 4 tickets on 6/24 before the promo expired in Spain local time. As of today, nothing posted, and calling Iberia is a nightmare.
    Any suggestions??

  41. Excerpts from Iberia Plus program terms…

    “The General and Operating Conditions form a whole and shall be interpreted and applied in accordance with the Laws of the Kingdom of Spain, with the Spanish version prevailing over any translation.”

    “For any question that may arise in relation to the interpretation and application of these General Conditions, the parties, who expressly waive any code of law that may correspond to them, submit expressly to the jurisdiction of the courts and tribunals of the city of Madrid.”

  42. I scrolled through only to conclude that there are alot of people that could afford the time to book flights on a company they had never flown – to or from places they never knew they existed.
    And now it is clear they do not have any work that needs more attention…

  43. @David—Gotta love a good ole forum selection clause (that I’m guessing no one who actually participated read).

    I wonder if IB could award the Avios but literally make them impossible to redeem. After all, it’s their currency; they can do with them as they want.

  44. Lucky & Staff,

    I thank you and your staff for their due diligence. You’ve done an exceptional job on behalf of all of us. Unfortunately, Iberia didn’t do the same. And the longer they fight legitimate promotional transactions, the more they will pay, in a multitude of ways.

    Thanks again.

  45. @andrew

    Justice would be making the Avios only redeemable on $15 flights from Madrid to Malaga.

  46. To find out who to file a suit with (serve legal documents) in the USA, look up your states’ registered agent for Iberia. Usually found with your state’s secretary of state and/or business license agency. Typically, if doing business in a state, they must have a Registered Agent to accept legal service in that state.

    I wouldn’t worry about Iberia’s language to the effect that only Madrid, Spain has jurisdiction. This should not be considered legal advice, always speak to an attorney or check your state or federal laws.

  47. Okay, so here is my question and feel free to correct me. If you bought a intra Spain flight, are you really buying it through Iberia’s registered agent in the US? Or maybe you’re simply buying it though the Madrid’s registered agent that happens to offer English language page?

    And even if you want to file and can file, how much is the filing fee? And if you want to do class action suit, do you have enough money initially to get enough people join the suit and file? Pay for your own fees?

  48. A similar question would be. If an Madrid person books a New York bus through American Greyline ONLINE, can this person find jurisdiction in Madrid? Just because there’s another Greyline in Madrid? Or this person has to come to New York and find jurisdiction in New York?

  49. What are people hoping to gain from the class action specifically? 90k avios with four month expiration? If they do Im pretty sure they will throttle the redemption avenues in terms of their own availability or ability to see partner availability (like ba has been doing). If that happens people would probably have hoped to simplybreceive a refund.

  50. @TheTruthIs—What is the basis of your opinion not to worry about the forum selection clause?

    Without it, I would say that IB probably could be brought into a US court based on minimum contacts. But the Supreme Court has said that forum selection clauses are enforceable unless they’re fundamentally unfair. Given that Spain is where IB does business, and given that most people who would be part of the class are not (generally) poor unsuspecting customers, I would guess that a court wouldn’t have to work too hard to find the clause enforceable. But who knows? Maybe someone with time and money should try—I’d be interested in seeing how it turns out. And of course, none of this is legal advice.

  51. >The only way im letting this go is if they refund my money WITH INTEREST!

    >Else class action…..

    The entitlement among the outliers in this community is hilarious. Interest on what? On the money you haven’t even paid your credit card company because your billing period haven’t even closed it.

    This is not even good trolling

  52. None of these lawyer talk make much sense to me.

    Okay, first of all you need to establish a jurisdiction. The federal intrastate commerce law says, to file a lawsuit intrastate you have to file it at a place where seller has significant presence.

    So you have the following states where Iberia have presence: NY, CA, IL, FL, MA

    Say, you’re lucky enough and find a lawyer in those states, now you have to proove that those Iberia offices are indeed the same office, or are proxies, as the one you bought tickets from.

    It’s very likely that those offices only sells Spain to US tickets, and might not even have substantial connection to their EU headquarter. They could, like some airlines, merely be a third party contractor that sells tickets for Iberia.

    But now say you get the jurisdiction, you spend like what $300 on flights? So your case goes to small claim court. How much is lawyer? How much is your time worth? Transportation cost? Probably add up to at least $400.

    So you win. You get $300 back but you loose $400? Great job? What if you loose. You loose $700?

    Say you want to file a class action suit. How many plaintiffs can you find? And who is going to provide the initial cost when each of you at best only lost $300-400?

  53. And of course I’m not a lawyer, and wasn’t offering any legal advice. I honestly don’t know why people think they’ll get jurisdiction in the US.

  54. I believe the cash value plus damages will be based on the worth of 90,000 Avios (if you bought 10 tickets). What is worth? I would argue worth to be what Iberia is charging for 90,000 Avios on the date of the transaction.

    However, I personally suggest Iberia customers consider suit in their own local jurisdiction. It will cost far less in small claims court but it’s a nightmare for Iberia. Class action legal fees will be borne by the law firm on contingency but you will probably receive less by allowing settlement by a law firm. However, they do all the work. Just my opinion. Nothing is worth the hassle if it means nothing to you.

    USA purchased tickets were processed via wire, inside the US. That falls under the USPS and the DOJ typically. Just my personal opinion.

  55. I have no involvement in this but why would any company do any promo without a cap on it? Nobody should ever go into something without a cap on their liabilities. Companies keep forgetting this.

  56. @Ben,

    If you were of one those who don’t get your Avios, what would you do?

    You can at least write one post about that given the numerous post you’ve written regarding this particular promotion.

  57. @TheTruthIs , Again, feel free to disagree with me.

    My question isn’t toward Iberia, but towards “you” (please don’t take it personally). Iberia is one of the biggest airlines in the world, I would guess they have a robust legal team. But would “you” spend that much annoyances and expense to file lawsuit? And why would a law firm take a small case like this?

    Lastly, would you mind providing proof (either through Supreme Court decisions or existing law or other federal cases) that just because you used an American credit card, that you can bring jurisdiction into a foreign land without the significance presence of the seller?

  58. This ordeal is very entertaining. I hope lucky posts follow up regularly. It is pretty lucrative for him in terms of clicks so he shouldn’t mind.

  59. Steve – The most recent class action case that I know of would be the one just settled with British Airways in the US, by US FF’s.

    Here’s the link:

    Also, in my last post, I forgot to mention NY State courts who many if not most times have jurisdiction (both criminally and civilly) because most USA financial transfers to and from EU pass through NY.

    As far as cases, just look up any of the banking cases brought by the federal govt. in last few years against EU and off shore banks and NY state govt. cases. Bottom line; If you’re doing business here, you’re liable here.

  60. First of all given how bad Iberia is I am surprised by whoever asks Iberia to be good. My take on this is that Iberia probably didn’t expect or want random people signing up for their program just for this promo and this was intended for their current members. Yes Iberia should have stated that in the promo but probably because they didn’t anticipate this. In the end it is Iberia… On the other hand what Iberia is trying to say is that all new accounts booking ten one ways is different from existing accounts booking ten one ways. Now this is my guess but I am not affiliated with Iberia so I don’t know for sure. Either way in the end of the day one cannot confirm new accounts because people can digitally modify their proof or physically get a fake ID for this promo so I can see why Iberia doesn’t want to honor this promo for new accounts. But of course people want to see just a side that is beneficial for them….

  61. @TheTruthIs but question here is, is Iberia in this case, indeed doing business in the US? Or are you simply buying tickets in EU, for EU, with your US credit card?

    Lastly, and again don’t take this personally, the case you mentioned don’t seem to be exactly the same. BA charges fuel surcharges not just within the EU, but also towards US to EU flights. BA is indeed doing business in the US in this case.

    And my case still stands that it’s simply not economically sensible to file lawsuit. You at least will spend $400 on the suit (probably a lot more, even in thousands, not to mention you could loose, then you have to pay court fees). Say if you win, adding to the initial 300 you spent, and say you get the avios, is $700+ for a case you might loose, and mere 90k avios that might expire in 3 months, worth it? Maybe you can sue for damage? But what kind of hardships had this bought you?

    The BA case is also different because the numbers of people impacted and the duration of impact. How many people are impacted, and how long, in this case that a law firm could make a good profit from taking this case?

  62. @ Steve Scott – Iberia does do business in the US. If they fly into the US – obviously, they are subject to US jurisdiction and you can sue them. They also have a number of employees under their US subsidiary. This connection is sufficient under both the Due Process and Commerce Clause of the US Constitution.

  63. I don’t dent they do business in the US, and in fact I have stated several states where they had presence earlier in my comment.

    However, my question is, just because they have a branch in the US, what’s the proof that one can establish jurisdiction (again, I’m not arguing here, I’m looking for solid prior Supreme Court cases or federal cases that states it.) for something you bought for and through and intend to use for their EU operation that have nothing to do with their US operation, and in addition the contract clearly stated the suit should be filed in the city of Madrid?

    Also, if you do not live in the states mentioned, what’s the proof that you would have jurisdiction to file for the suit in your home state? I would assume not everyone lives in states Iberia operates.

    And lastly, I’m simply stating that even if everything checks out and one wins, who would file the lawsuit? It seems like a tremendously bad value consider the risk and reward.

  64. If you buy an umbrella in Walmart in China with your US credit card and it hurts you, would you sue Walmart in the US just because Walmart has operation in the US? Or because you used an US credit card so you’re entitled to sue in the US? What are the laws and decisions that states you could do this?

  65. @ Steve Scott – if an entity is registered to do business in a state (with the Secretary of State), it has given consent to be subject to that state’s jurisdiction. That’s a requirement of doing business in a state. It is generally illegal to operate (do business) in a state without this consent / registration.

    In the states where Iberia does not do business – agree that Iberia cannot be compelled to defend a lawsuit.

  66. You can say “stand your ground“ but Iberia/BA are the absolute worst aholes when it comes to honoring fares (even legit), promos (even legit) After they’ve gone back and thought “well we don’t like this outcome, so we’re going to cancel it.” They are the scummiest company out there right now as far as Airline companies.

    Nobody should give them business. I have tasseled with IAG about the Ecuador fare about a year ago. I even got involved in so far as their legal department. They have ZERO sense of customer service and don’t care about you. Their attitude basically is “come and sue us and see what happens.”

    They literally don’t care. Until some government agency stops them from abusing customers, they’re just gonna keep doing it because they know they can get away with it. And it’s such a great area because they are based in the UK, and it seems like they have regulators they’re in their pockets. So I say stay away from them the airlines sucks, and they treat everybody like dog poop. So I will take my money elsewhere

  67. I also just got the dreaded email about inconsistencies. I asked them to explain what they were As I filled the times and conditions and full. I await their response

  68. Sue sue, the American way. For $300 to $400, what a joke. You all gambled and lost, get over it and fly you 10 one ways. WTF

  69. Lucky – what you have done, and no doubt many others, is pure opportunism. I don’t feel particularly sad for someone who has chosen to exploit a promotion (when they never intend on catching the underlying flight!). Except perhaps those in the resource industry, most companies aren’t gold mines, so there must be a little fairness in these things. It’s like going to a lounge and eating and drinking 5 times as much as you ordinarily would.

  70. Ryan: opportunism? Really? This isn’t a charity! This is a business. Just immagine the revenue IB gathered together within less than 72 hours! Somewhere I have read that for a short time, their website had more traffic (!) compared to Amazon, which is usually number 1. Again, this is a business deal. Nothing more, nothing less.

  71. This is all getting very tiresome. All you whining vultures…just get off your backsides and stop with the entitled attitude. Either that or you all invade Spain and bang some Spanish ass.

  72. Talking about invading Spain: If IB does not grant me 90k Avios, I will take a Ryanair flight from Bologna (where I live) to Madrid and go to their headoffice myself. And I won’t leave before I get my Avios.

  73. My account remains as being deleted and not accessible, sent them passport and the form. Got response saying I have duplicate account, which I don’t recall, without any further response to resolve or reinstate it.

    Iberia has just cancelled and refunded all reservations I have made and I had not instructed or requested for these.

    Called the Iberia plus, the operator could not resolve the problem and do not understand why.

    What would you suggest to do??

  74. @David and the other lawyers: the forum selection clause does NOT say that Madrid is the EXCLUSIVE jurisdiction. Nothing in it prevents Iberia from being sued in other courts.

  75. Wow all of the legal talk on here seems like such overkill.

    It’s very clear that Iberia handled this poorly from start to finish, it was an insane promotion and they clearly didn’t do their homework at all in terms of setting the terms and conditions out. While I agree they did a terrible job of clarifying the T&Cs of this promotion that catch-all disclaimer about ‘fraudulent or improper use” of accounts is very broad and will probably get them off the hook. Still, i strongly agree with @Ted and @Matt about the issue of intent, IB clearly didn’t intend for this many people to book tickets they never intend to fly.

    I would be fascinated to hear how the airline’s response has developed internally as my guess is this promotion was launched without consulting BA or IAG group leadership. This has a knock-on effect on the whole group and my guess is that once Willie Walsh saw how many hundreds of millions of new Avios IB was having to print for this he took swift action to try and put a stop to it. Unfortunately this is also clearly going to have a severe negative effect on availability for BA award space moving forward through at least the rest of this year, making an argument for the case that Iberia’s crazy/idiotic promotion has now devalued everyone’s Avios.

  76. Oh, brother. The people on these forums threatening to contact a lawyer over $300 for airline frequent flyer points tells me we’re doomed as a society. Seriously, request a refund and/or dispute the charges and move on with your life.

  77. Andrew: I don’t think it’s about 300 USD. It’s about 90k Avios worth of travel opportunities. A whole different price label!

  78. I agree this legal talk is overkill. People must be willing to forgo the refund if they want to have Legal ground to stand on. That’s too big of risk for me. I just want my $300 and chalk this up as entertaining time waster!

  79. “Reached out” twice in the one post. Does that mean contacted? Emailed? Advised? Wrote to? Why you insist on using that absurd, phoney, awful phrase is beyond me.
    As for Iberia, your initial fear, shared by many, proved to be correct, ie, that they would make life difficult. One could reasonably assume it’s not going to get any easier as the redemption deadline approaches. That will surprise no one with any experience in dealing with them.

  80. @Steve Scott
    I disagree that the sum in dispute is just $300-400. IB is selling 90,000 for EUR 1,647 = USD 1,934. Still not a huge sum of money, but enough (at least for me) to not simply write it off.

    Has anyone actually reached out to a lawyer yet?

  81. My friends, that is the side adverse effect of social media.

    A long time ago in a galaxy far far away before travel blogs, social media, etc. when an airline made a fare mistake and a few people took advantage of it, it was not a big deal. The airline might not want to inconvenience someone by “their” mistake and the loss of revenue was probably insignificant to them.

    Now, as soon as a fare mistake is discovered, it is published and shared so it is no longer a few people and if they let it go, it could mean a lot of money; therefore, they are going to argue and use all their legal tools to prevent the money loss. This same argument can be used for other promotions, “loopholes”, airline awards, etc.

    Back in the early 90’s, I never had issues finding award availability anywhere or any traveling class. However, in those days you can only get miles by flying so the miles banks were not as big as now; offer and demand.

    My point from an old man here is that having it all is almost always impossible to have. This Avios promotion proves the point. Iberia did not think clearly when putting the promotion together, someone clever figured out that 90000 Avios could be earned for only 300 dollar and told everybody. People went wild going for it and now Iberia is panicking.

  82. At this point, it’s a waiting game.

    Iberia risks losing quite a bit here beyond any sort of monetary loses they will incur with their (admittedly stupid) promo.

    If a company clearly and emphatically states multiple times it will do X (9,000 Avios per flight, on one-way flights, no requirement to fly the tickets booked) then any customer that participated should be entitled to the full AVIOS per their own terms unless they tried to game the system beyond those terms. As a supplier, vendor, partner, investor, end user or even employee – if reflects very poorly on Iberia if they refuse to honor their contracts. End of story. Loss of good will is something that is hard to quantify, and easy to lose.

  83. I am one of the few that booked 10 tickets that I intended to use since I am based out of Europe. I thought to myself, hey ticket tickets and 90K avios to boot, why not. I jumped on this bandwagon and got the avios. My account is not new, as I opened it a couple years back. Then today I got a whole bunch of emails regarding my bookings , with this note.


    Sure enough, I called the Miami office and they told me all of my bookings were cancelled and no tickets will be issued. As I now, I still seem to have the 90K avios in my account, and I still did not get a refund for the charges that posted to my credit card – yet. All I can get from the rep was that there was a “website issue” and I will not be charged. We will have to see what happens next. (1) will they take back my avios and refund my money? (2) will they let me keep my avios and not refund my money?….Is this another way for them to renege on this deal ? I did not request a refund, so I am still within terms of the agreement and it’s not my fault they have a technical issue. What I am losing out on possibility (2) is that I really had uses for the tickets with I take it as a free trip, and with cheap buy on the avios.

  84. @Joaquin and all the other clueless posters


    Anything else you spout about greed, taking advantage of Iberia (lol) is worthless and your opinion on how ‘whiny’ people are even though they followed t and c to a T is completely unjustified. If Iberia did not post on twitter, AS WELL AS DIRECTLY EMAILING A PROMINENT TRAVEL BLOGGER.

    You are welcome to shut the hell up now.


    – Everyone with a brain

  85. @I Have A Brain

    To me, the issue is an interpretation of the phrase “do not have to fly the flights to receive the Avios”. This could be interpreted that on flights booked with an intention to travel, the traveler would not have the Avios points clawed back if, for whatever reason, the flight is not taken. I think Iberia may have the view that flights booked with no intention of travel violate the terms of the promotion and/or program so therefore no Avios will be issued.

    I don’t think the issue is as black or white as you propose.

  86. @Ted: I understand your point of view. But that argument is out.


    Because people that had an IB Plus card already for a longer period of time, yet used it perhaps only once years ago, and now booked 10 one ways on consecutive days (very unlikely they will use any of this flights) did get their 90k Avios, without a problem.

    I just heard that IB claimed to award the Avios ONLY to IB Plus members that had their card already at least 3 days before the promotion started. Now the question is: can they do that?

  87. @I Have A Brain (you think you do)

    First of all, it is not polite to tell people commenting in a public forum to shut up; I bet you will not have the guts to say that to people face to face since it is easier to hide behind the curtain of online anonymity. But this is how people behave now.

    My point is that regardless of whether Iberia knew what they really were promoting or whether somebody screwed up; it obviously backfired and there is panic. The panic is likely caused by a huge unexpected participation in the program. They are doing anything the can get away with to avoid granting the 90 K. It is likely that they will get away with it.

    Another spin to this is how they are dealing with the aircraft loading factors. A lot of people bought the tickets but are not flying.

  88. joaquin,
    I think a lot more people agree with I have a brain compare to you. It’s black and white Iberia made a huge error and they must be accountable. Who give a dam about flying loads… Don’t put blame on people like us.

  89. Has Ford’s avios posted?

    Mine have not yet. I wasn’t a new account and took advantage of the promotion on the 21st.

    Is there anything you can do to get Iberia to even address when this will be handled? I’ve tweet, DM, email and FB messaged with no response over the past 10 days. You have more of a presence on this front then myself or most of your readers.

    For those of us who are still waiting, is there anything we can request for the massive delay and lack of correspondence? The terms and conditions were very clear that the points would post in 10 days.

  90. @Joacquin

    ok. try this analogy on for size, since you dont seem to get basic law and logic.

    Imagine McDonalds says you will get $3 with every burger purchase, regardless if you eat the burger or not (limit of 10 burgers). A million customers come in, McDonalds confirms that you dont have to eat the burger and it can be any burger multiple times on TV and the radio. While the million customers come in the restaurant, the restaurant has every chance to stop the promotion or do anything. On the last day, they acknowledge that this promotion is 100% legitimate and this is the word from not only a single rep, but from every staff working there. the restaurant even reaches out to a mainstream media news channel to say its all good.

    after the promotion ends, the restaurant gives the $3 to only 10000 of its members that have dined there before (even though 99.99% of them throw the burger away, and they buy the cheapest burger with only a bun and no other ingredients (the official 20 cent el plaino burger). they ask the other people to send in their burger receipts and ID. after sending in receipts and ID, they state ‘inconsistencies in the burger purchases’as a reason for not delivering the $3 to the customers.

    Of course, the natural thing to do for those who are selfish with no intelligence is to blame the ‘greed’ of people who were encouraged to take part in this promotion by a large company that repeatedly confirmed all the details of the promotion and even went out of their way to email a prominent blogger that already encouraged people to book one way cheap flights days prior.

    You wanna know the saddest thing, its not the people who missed out who are selfish and greedy. its the people who got their points and dont want others to get them, even though they themselves booked 10 throwaway flights and already redeemed their points (its not good enough that *I* get the benefits, everyone else has to burn. Life is sometimes funny like that. the people who are insulting the people who missed out are the true selfish and inconsiderate.

    of course i expect replies picking apart holes in an analogy (because low intelligence wont understand the purpose of an analogy). but i hope you one day learn to stop being selfish and see how it feels for people who were screwed and have money in limbo and stress and worry for who knows how long, despite the clear and direct confirmation actively encouraging us all to participate. its your lack of empathy that makes you so rude towards us.

    its also funny that you insult tens of thousands of people online, but the instant someone criticises your (wrong) attitude, you accuse them of not saying if it waa real life. thats just classic.. thank you for the entertainment

  91. New account here who’s Avios have not posted yet either. I did get this yesterday from Iberia, which I appreciated. This was after the first email they sent requesting my ID plus flight confirmations and after I sent all that in.

    Dear Customer,

    We confirm that we have correctly received your request in our Iberia Plus mailbox.

    We apologize for not having been able to answer your request so far, as we have had a large number of inquiries over the last week.
    We are doing our best efforts to answer all of them within the shortest delay.

    Thank you fou your understanding. Please receive our warmest regards.

  92. I received the following email from Iberia this morning:

    “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 regarding our 9,000 Avios promotion.

    In reference to your request, we inform you that in order for a customer to be eligible for our promotion, we must verify that the Iberia Plus account number was correctly linked to your ticket at the purchase time and the name on the Iberia Plus account and the name under the official identification document are the same. This verification process is usual within our trading process and security control.

    After validating your inquiry with the information you have provided us, we regret to inform you that the Iberia Plus cardholder name registered in our program is different from the name shown on your passport.

    This kind of discrepancy does not fulfill the conditions of our promotion or the general conditions of our Iberia Plus program, therefore, we will not be able to credit the Avios you have requested or activate your account.

    If you wish to reimburse any of the before mentioned tickets, as an exceptional case, you will be able to do so without any extra charges, only by indicating us over this via the ticket numbers to be refunded.

    Unlike the issue many have mentioned regarding the double surnames, that does not appear to be the issue here. Instead, while not explained in the email, I am assuming the issue is that I did not enter my middle name when I registered for Iberia Plus. However, I’ve written them an email pointing out that their website does not have a field that asks for the middle name, nor does it ask for my “Given Names”, which is what the field on my US passport is called. Instead, there is a field for “First Name”, “Last Name”, and “Second Last Name”. I answered each of those fields truthfully by entering my correct First Name and Last Name which match my passport. In fact, it would have been untruthful to include my middle name in a field labeled “First Name”. I left the Second Last Name field blank because I don’t have one. Regardless whether “middle names” are a thing in Spain, it seems ridiculous for them not to include a Middle Name field on the US country website, and even more outrageous for them to try to use their own deficiency to deny my claim for 90,000 Avios.

  93. I think it’s time we (IB promo people) start something like legal action, in order to get our points.

    Personally, I am based in Europe and anyone willing to join is free to contact me.

    I am willing to go all the way here. It may take months, years even. And if I cannot redeem my Avios anymore, next step will be claiming compensation for damages.

    What do you say?

  94. @PM (or anyone else who received the request to send in a passport scan plus tickets)

    How long did it take them to send you that email after you sent in your info? I’m guessing I’m going to get the same BS reply, given that I have a middle name as well…

  95. Geez, you go away for a few days, and the comments turn nasty! I wonder if all those screaming blue murder about the handling of this promotion think the Avios are worth all the stress it has caused.

  96. @PM

    I think you may have some grounds to continue to try to work this out with Iberia – depending on how much more time you want to invest.

    I got the original email requesting document verification – then sent in my passport and copies of all purchased tickets. Then didn’t receive anything back until I saw all of my tickets were cancelled and I received a bunch of refund notices. I sent them an email simply asking them for the status of my situation as I did not request said cancellation/refund.

    Then, unexpectedly, I received an email last night saying documentation was received and they’d re-activated my Iberia Plus account. Further, the email said they had reviewed my tickets and approved that they will be awarded promotional Avios – and I should expect Avios in my account ‘shortly’ (still no Avios about 21 hours after this email).

    I have a new account as of time of promotion and have the double last name issue.

    I include all of this to say – there doesnt seem to be a rhyme or reason as to what is going on. If you want to continue to invest time to get the Avios, I think you should go for it. I’ve come to peace that my Avios may, or may not, ever get posted. If they dont, I’ll get a refund and move on – back to where I was a month ago before the opportunity presented itself.

  97. “Then, unexpectedly, I received an email last night saying documentation was received and they’d re-activated my Iberia Plus account. Further, the email said they had reviewed my tickets and approved that they will be awarded promotional Avios – and I should expect Avios in my account ‘shortly’ (still no Avios about 21 hours after this email).”

    I got the same email, though Iberia never cancelled and refunded my original tickets. The email made it sound as if the Avios were on their way…

  98. Wow!! Both me and my husband’s Iberia Plus accounts (which were created just for the promotion) finally just got hit with the 90,000 points each. So we QUICKLY booked some trips to Madrid from our home in Ecuador (flying out of Quito non-stop to Madrid). We were able to get business class for 85,000 points each r/t and 257 euros in fees. Hope this sticks!!! We got electronically ticketed and credit card already shows pending charges for the fees. Keeping our fingers crossed it works out and they don’t try to jerk it away from us!

  99. Hi Lucky, with reward space disappearing quickly on this offer, I wonder whether you or Tiffany have had any chance to look at availability with one world partners in the Asia Pacific region? I haven’t had any success via the Iberia site but don’t imagine there is as much demand in that region although on the other hand reward redemption is always difficult on Cathay or Qantas.


  100. Still no points from Iberia. I’ve emailed consistently every two days for the last couple of weeks. I really don’t know what to do anymore…

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