Promotional Iberia Avios Can Now Be Transferred To British Airways

Just over a month ago Iberia ran a promotion offering 9,000 bonus Avios for every ticket booked, up to 90,000 bonus Avios. Even cheap domestic tickets qualified, so many of us booked 10 one-way tickets from Malaga to Madrid for under $300, in hopes of getting 90,000 Avios.

What truly made this promotion crazy is that they awarded Avios shortly after booking rather than after flying, and told people that they didn’t have to take the flights to earn the bonus. While Iberia didn’t make it easy on us, the good news is that most people have had success with the promotion. Those who had Iberia Plus accounts before the promotion started received Avios pretty quickly, while those with new accounts had to send in some documentation, but for the most part the Avios have posted.

Some people have been frustrated by the Iberia Plus booking platform, as it’s very difficult to book anything online. The Iberia Plus program also has different terms on redemptions than the British Airways Executive Club program does.

Typically you can freely convert Avios between British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus, assuming the information on both accounts matches exactly, and assuming that you’ve had both accounts open for at least 90 days.

However, these promotional Avios come with a couple of unique terms:

  • The Avios must be redeemed by December 1, 2018 (that’s the “redeem by” date, rather than the “travel by” date)
  •  If a member transfers their Avios to British Airways “they will have a negative balance in the Iberia Plus programme, as those Avios wouldn’t have been spent by the date mentioned above”

That last point has been open to interpretation, with regards to whether it’s possible to transfer Avios or not, as well as what the implications of a negative balance would be.

At first it appeared that it wasn’t possible to transfer Avios to British Airways, and they blocked that in the system. Personally I think that was fair enough.

However, it looks like they may have had a change of heart, and within the past day or so it’s possible to transfer promotional Iberia Avios to British Airways. This assumes you meet the other requirements, of having had both accounts open for at least 90 days, and having the information on the accounts match exactly.

To do this, log into your British Airways Executive Club account and click on “Manage my account.”

Then click on “Combine my Avios” at the bottom left of the page.

Then click “Combine my Avios” at the bottom of the next page.

Then you can enter your Iberia Plus credentials on the next page.

You’ll then be asked how many Avios you want to transfer over.

The next page will ask you to confirm the information, and then the transfer is finalized and Avios should post right away.

Personally I’m not transferring my Avios just yet, for a couple of reasons:

  • I actually think I might get more value with Iberia Plus directly, as I’m considering booking for travel on Iberia (Iberia Plus has much lower fees for those flights than British Airways Executive Club)
  • I want to wait until there’s official communication from Iberia about whether or not this is allowed, and what terms come with transferring Avios

You might assume this is a glitch, but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case. Raffles (the guy behind the popular UK blog Head for Points) posts on FlyerTalk that he gets the impression that this is intentional, and that they’re caving with regards to this restriction. Apparently a big newspaper story is being run about this promotion tomorrow, so hopefully we know for sure by then.

In the meantime:

  • It is possible for eligible members to transfer their promotional Avios from Iberia to British Airways
  • The timing of this seems quite intentional, given that this is apparently shortly before a big story is running about
  • We’re not sure what terms the Avios will have when they’re transferred to British Airways, and whether they’ll still expire on December 1 this way

So if you’re a risk taker you can transfer your Avios now. Personally I’d just take this as a notice that it might make sense to hold off a couple of days on redeeming your Avios, assuming you’d get more value out of British Airways Avios than Iberia Avios.

Comments

  1. To me I interpret it as: if you transfer to BA they wont be able to see if you spent the Avios (or at least aren’t planning to put the effort in) so there is a risk they will deduct the perceived unspent Avios and potentially cause a negative balance. Seems risky!

  2. For me, it doesn’t matter anyway. My Avios have not posted after 4 weeks of continuous calls and email follow ups. As a OW Emerald I would have through they would at the very least look into my case sooner. After getting 4 different emails saying the “correct department” is looking into it, I just emailed them back saying I am suing in FL. Enough is enough.

  3. I am still waiting for my bonus Avios to show up, despite sending them (3 times) requested copies of my ID and the ticket receipts. Nonetheless, my s.o. got her bonus Avios posted to her new IB+ account…and we are both on the same bookings and record locators.

  4. I’ve spent most of mine and I am glad to be mostly out of this deal. You would think that a company giving away millions of miles could easily create a broadly positive impression among their customers but I suspect the majority of people who did this would be cautious of dealing with Iberia again. I am certainly happy to have two free tickets but I am definitely questioning whether it was worth the hassle and risk of dealing with Iberia. Bottom line is that until I fly those tickets I am still in the hole for $750.

  5. The fact that after all these years they still haven’t merged two Avios programmes and even matched their redemption values says it all about IAG.

  6. FYI:
    Got this message when trying to combine the accounts:
    Sorry, your selected account has to be three months old to use Combine My Avios. Please try again at this time

  7. @Geir

    “has to be three months old to use Combine My Avios.”

    is your account 3 months old?

  8. Same as @Adam, only BA to IB, not the radio button for the reverse.

    I have had my IB account for more than a year (redeemed for PE previously) and had a (small) positive balance in it too before the 90K hit

  9. This may help as I have a travel together certificate I need to use. Big question is will this eliminate the 12/01 deadline as presumably they would not reach into your BA account to expire them. Even with the same parent company, I doubt they have the IT to do this.

  10. Iberia’s chart can be better than BA’s but transferring to BA would remove the headache of having to use them by December 1. Hopefully, the article will clarify the consequences of doing that.

  11. Isn’t the risk of doing this such that those avoid may still expire by Dec 1, but you won’t have any way of knowing “which” avios you are spending once they arrive in your BA balance (FIFO vs LIFO)?

    Sounds somewhat risky to be making to many presumptions merely based on the availability of that transfer page.

  12. Mine posted right away, but none of the four other people I roped into this promotion have seen theirs yet, despite submitting all the required documentation. They all planned to transfer from new IB accounts to BA, so I’m glad to hear this news. Not too worried, as they all have to wait for the 90 days to pass before transferring, but if July 31st passes with no change I’ll start pestering Iberia on their behalf.

  13. Even if someone from Iberia tweeted or posted a message stating that the initial flights didn’t need to be taken to earn the Avios, I hope the article coming tomorrow brings to light all the people gaming the system. Those of you who didn’t get the Avios might be celebrating now hoping the article will cause a push back and get Iberia to actually post your Avios, but it might have the opposite reaction and airlines will actually see how people abused this promotion to get their Avios. Doubt their will be anything like this ever again.

  14. @Mr G – oh the poor multi billion dollar airline! All these consumers taking advantage of the promotion under the terms they set! How could they? All these airfares they sold in exchange for an invented currency that they control – what abuse!

    Seriously dude – a department of people came up with the promotion. Either they are idiots or they fully intended for the promotion to run this way.

    If they are idiots and didn’t realise what would happen let’s not forget that all they would need to do is control award inventory (which is well within their ability!) between now and December when the avios expire and they can come out well and truly ahead!

    I’m all for big business and corporate success – but let’s be real – no one is “taking advantage” when they are operating within the terms and conditions. It’s capitalism.

    FYI – did not participate in the promo just get irritated when individuals engage in corporate apologetics. What always surprises me is that it’s usually Americans who believe in the free market!

  15. Austin NZ – Don’t be ridiculous. Iberia can’t decimate their reward system for 5 months, driving the people using it as their normal programme (and who hold vastly more Avios than were given out in this promo) crazy, just to rip off those who took part in the promotion.

  16. Thanks a lot for letting us know about this! I successfully transferred my IB promotional Avios to BA.

    I don’t use Iberia or BA anyway, and so I really don’t mind if I end up with a negative balance or a shut down account.

    I have a lot less than the 90k others signed up for and for my planned redemption (less than 600 mile trips on Qantas), BA is cheaper, flexible with allowing one ways, and the BA website actually works.

  17. Hi. Could you help me. Do you know if I can by a ticket until dez 1 and fly next year? Or I need to fly before dez 1. Thanks

  18. I have had both accounts with the same info for over a year. This is the message I got
    Your session has timed out, please log in again
    Su sesion ha caducado, por favor, acceda de nuevo
    Ihre Sitzung ist abgelaufen, bitte melden Sie sich erneut
    Votre session a expire, s’il vous plait vous connecter a nouveau
    La sessione e scaduta, si prega di accedere di nuovo

    I tried this 5 different times, even logging into Iberia separately to make sure it was working, I still had an account, the names matched etc. Kept getting the error message about as soon as I tried to log into my Iberia account from the combine programs page. Anyone else get this?

  19. I just got it to work by using a different browser and tweaking my password. Now it will not let me transfer from Iberia to BA only BA to Iberia. I wonder if that is because I am from the US and not the UK.

  20. @Robert

    same thing happened to me when trying to combine Avios when using an iPad
    Then tried using a laptop but got the message: “you can only move Avios from British airways to Iberia plus-you cannot move them back once the transfer is complete”

    Does anyone know why?

  21. Robert, I get the error message you see when using Safari in either Mac ir iPhone. If I change to Chrome it works.

  22. @cullum – not suggesting they would decimate it – but certainly suggesting they won’t be opening up more award space out of the “goodness
    of their heart” so that all the promotional avios can be redeemed. Which means they still come out ahead financially – particularly if they can work out a way to overbook flights that were targeted in the promotion.

    I’m not suggesting they’re out to rip people off – just trying to highlight that Iberia are fine and people taking advantage of the promo are also totally fine to do so.

  23. This could be great news for those of us with reason to redeem through BA Avios rather than Iberia flights however there are many questions and even more speculation, its reminiscent of all the speculation when the CX redemptions were messed about with, and many people felt the sky was falling, when it was really about CX trying to recover from a crazy rush of redemptions in the weeks leading up to their IT changes.
    It would be great if Iberia can answer the questions clearly and unequivocally as many of us are still a bit confused about what will happen with the IB+ account if the Avios are transferred to BA , AND redeemed prior to 1 Dec 18. Will the IB+ account still go 90,000 points negative resulting in an Avios debt or will the migration to BA satisfy them? Will the points transferred to BA some how be tagged in the system as expiring on 1 Dec 18? If the points are tagged, how do we ensure that redemptions made before 1 Dec 18 are using the Avios with the short fuse?

  24. There is a workaround, go to avios.com (create an account on Aer Lingus), login > then select manage my account > combine avios > and transfer your avios from Iberia to Avios.com> then go to BAEC> select combine avios in the manage my account section> select that you want to transfer them from Avios.com

  25. My Iberia Plus account is STILL locked and I haven’t received any emails from Iberia at all since I submitted the paperwork they asked for. My son, who got a new Iberia Plus account at the same time and who even shares some of the same bookings with me, got his weeks ago. And I’m traveling to Spain in the fall and was actually planning to use those 10 flights I booked to earn the 90,000 avios. What a mess.

  26. I still have not received my 90,000 promotional Avios! I have been submitting my paperwork since July 4th and still have not received a single reply from Iberia!

  27. @Ross, That is exactly what I did. I changed to Chrome and was able to get in. But once I did, it only allowed me to combine my BA Avios to the IB Avios, not the other way around, which is what most people want. I will look into the work around suggested by Niels. However, it would be nice if Lucky weighed in here or someone from his team to let us know if this dependant on your country of residence per your account

  28. Hi – apologies if this is a novice question, but I opened an Iberia Plus account to take advantage of the promotion and have just sent through the required identity info and then forwarded the booking confirmation emails to the IB plus email address they asked as proof of my flight bookings. What else have people been asked to send? Is this it and I just have to wait for an inordinate amount of time for the points to credit or do I need to strap myself in for a round or 2 of email pong to get the points credited?? Thanks

  29. Iberia confirmed today that “any Avios not redeemed in the Iberia Plus account by 1st December 1 will be deducted, potentially resulting in a negative balance.”

  30. Thank you, Niels!

    I was having the same issue as a bunch of people above, regardless of if I tried to initiate from BA or IB I would get the message that I could only transfer BA to IB. I did what Niels said and created an Avios account with Aer Lingus and I was able to transfer my IB Avios there and then from there to BA. Allowed me to use my IB Avios from the promotion for a one-way business flight on AA that I couldn’t get through IB since they only allow round trips on AA.

  31. Question for anyone who is considering moving their Iberia avios to British Airways (or has already done so).

    I currently have: 83,000 avios in my personal BA account, 152,000 avios in my household BA account.
    Then, I have 102,000 avios in my Iberia account (90,000 promotional, 12,000 previously existing)

    I want to redeem some of my promotional avios for a JFK-MIA roundtrip business class flight. In Iberia’s chart, that would be 46,000 avios + $20.20 taxes and fees. In BA’s chart, that would be 30,000 avios + $11.20 taxes and fees. BA also has more generous cancellation terms. Thus, I would much prefer to redeem through BA.

    However, if I use “combine my avios” to move 30,000 miles from Iberia to BA, how do I know that the system is pulling from my promotional avios instead of my previously existing balance (in either account)? And how do I ensure this won’t cause any “negative balance” impact on my Iberia account that would eliminate my ability to use the remaining 60,000 avios (well, 72,000 avios technically) that would still remain in my Iberia account?

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