Watch this space…
We’re not usually one for fear mongering, or stirring emotions until the dust settles, but British Airways and Iberia have a unique situation, and for many, the stakes are high. Travelers have long been able to seamlessly transfer Avios points between their British Airways and Iberia accounts, but that now appears to be in jeopardy, and reports are flooding in of a permanent shift.
There are many reasons to move Avios from British Airways to Iberia or vice versa. Each airline has niche uses where Avios points are better through one than another, or are easier to earn with one versus the other. For example, Iberia often has 25% off sales using points, which brings great flights at even better rates. When this happens, British Airways Avios holders want to transfer their points into Iberia Avios, to take advantage. The same thing happens in reverse, when Iberia sells Avios for cheap, and people wish to move the cheap Iberia Avios into British Airways. This function is now broken.
90,000 Point Fiasco
Iberia offered what many considered to be the points deal of the year, offering 9,000 bonus points per one way flight booked, without even needing to actually take the flight. Countless people maxed out the promotion, securing 90,000 Iberia Avios for under $350. In the terms, Iberia forbid transfers of points to British Airways, but it was uncertain how they would enforce this, or prevent travelers from actually doing so. Well, now we know. The transfer option between Iberia and British Airways is down, and it’s reported that it may never return.
The Big Rumor
The big rumor is that although the current transfer ban seems to be coming from the Iberia end, ensuring that the promotion is honored as it was offered, British Airways is the one that plans to limit Avios transfers indefinitely. Iberia has extremely frequent points sales, which allow British Airways fans to acquire Avios inexpensively in roundabout ways, and it clearly costs British Airways money. It’s not hard to understand why British Airways wouldn’t be fans of this loophole, and it will certainly be interesting to see if indeed the transfer option ever returns, or if this is a sign of the future.