I guess I should have known better. After all, Iberia has an awful reputation and was the airline that bumped 3 kids of a DDF member off of their connecting flight in Madrid and stranded them overnight in a foreign country.
When I first heard about the Iberia promotion with the ability to earn 90K Avios for under $300 I thought it sounded too good to be true.
On June 21 I wrote on DDF that buying tickets you don’t intend to take for the promotion “Sounds like a great way to get banned.” DDF member Abey asked what if he would actually fly the flights and I said “You’re going to fly 10 times for some promo Avios that will expire before the year is up? Probably can’t even transfer them to BA.” When other members expressed surprise at my cynicism I wrote that the “odds seem high that they renege.”
I wrote here about the risks in detail on June 22. One of 5 bullet points in that post was, “Will Iberia actually honor this promotion as stated or will they try to change the promo terms when they see how many people are taking advantage of it? Iberia does not have the best reputation when it comes to honoring promotions and complaining to the DoT won’t help for a non-US airline, but as long as you save a screenshot of the promotion I guess you can always try to file a credit card chargeback if things go south.”
But after Iberia confirmed with me and others on Twitter that the promo was legit and that they didn’t care if you bought flights without actually flying I decided to go for it. I spent $277 on 10 tickets, hoping to earn 90K Iberia Avios. It seemed worth risking $277 for award flights that would be worth many times that.
Luckily I only did it for myself and not for my family members. Iberia locked my account and refuses to award my miles. I plan on filing a chargeback and hoping for the best.
I’m hardly alone here.
We made a poll on DDF and here are the results:
I have not seen any reports of award tickets being cancelled yet, so if you did get Avios you should probably use them quickly for a ticket to, from, or within the US. Of course Iberia can still cancel your ticket, but that would be in violation of DoT confirmed ticket regulations.
I have no clue what Iberia is thinking here. The promo was ridiculously generous and they had to know this would happen. Iberia Twitter reps told people to book flights even if they won’t fly on them to take advantage of the promotion. And now they are clearly regretting the promotion and are handling it quite poorly, destroying any goodwill they were hoping to achieve.
Vote in the poll below and share your experience in the comments!