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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.

Combine My Avios

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.

What’s your take?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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4 Comments

  1. Since both airlines are now owned by the same company, why should they limit transfer from IB to BA (beyond the current promo), which was, IMHO, a pretty decent marketing move to cultivate more interest and goodwill in Iberia?

  2. Not unexpected as these “bonus” Avios had to be redeemed before the end of the year and if transferred into BA Avios accounts it would require some special time stamping to ensure they were used and not rolled into 2019 and beyond. I would expect Brexit may also be a reason for ending transfers as some corporate reorg of the operating UK subsidiary will require a distancing from the Euro parent holding company.

  3. I was 9000 avios short of making my big redemption to Japan. I transferred BA avios seemlessly to Iberia with no problem whatsoever. I understand that you can’t transfer from Iberia to BA, but vice versa definitely works OK.

  4. I just transfered last night my 90k Iberian points that I earned from the promotion to my BA Executive club account. There was no problems at all and the points were registered immediatly on my BA account, so I am a bit confused with what everyone is saying about Iberia stopping the transfer.

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