Going All-In on the 90,000 Mile Iberia Promo of the Year With a Family

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There are many sayings in the frequent flyer world, but one of my favorites I first heard from the now-retired original author of The Frugal Travel Guy, Rick Ingersoll. Rick said, if it is worth doing for one person in the family, it is worth doing for everyone. Now I don’t always agree with that approach to every situation, but it is a theory that I repeat in the back of my mind whenever I come across a really good promotion. Assuming it is something that can be done from the kids’ frequent flyer accounts, if it is good enough to do for one family member, is it good enough to do for everyone?

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

Your family can earn 360,000 Iberia Avios for $1,109.20

The limited-time Iberia promotion where you can earn up to 90,000 bonus Avios per person for booking Iberia operated flights is one of those opportunities that is worth considering for the whole family. I highly recommend reading this linked post before proceeding to this one so you have a full understanding of the promotion, the risks, and the rewards. I am writing this post assuming you already know the basics of the promotion outlined in the previous post.

Based on the cheapest Iberia flights I could find this morning from Santander – Madrid priced at $27.73 each way in early 2019, a family of four could spend $1,109.20 maxing out the promotion purchasing ten one-way tickets for each person.

If everything goes as Iberia says it will, within ten days of the purchase of these tickets, each person who booked the tickets with an Iberia frequent flyer number attached to the reservation will receive 9,000 bonus Avios per ticket purchased even if they never fly the flight, up to 10 flights. This means that each family member who has ten tickets booked in their name with their frequent flyer number attached should receive 90,000 bonus Iberia Avios by early July.

For a family of four, that is a cumulative total of 360,000 bonus Iberia Avios earned for $1,109.20 spent on the cheapest Iberia tickets. That is less than 1/3 a penny spent per Avios earned!

Drop the price even further

In reality, you can do better than that as Iberia is a retailer available in the cash back Mr. Rebates portal at a current rate of $3 per ticket order (not per individual ticket in each order). There is also a $5 bonus on your first purchase via Mr. Rebates when you are referred using a link like the one above. I don’t necessarily recommend purchasing 40 Iberia tickets on individual orders just to increase your cash back total, but if you did, that could theoretically be $120 in cash back + an additional $5 if you are a new Mr. Rebates customer.

Of course, you can also earn points paying for these airline tickets using your rewards credit card of choice. I recommend the Platinum Card® from American Express to earn 5x points per dollar spent on the airfare. A total of $1,109.20 in Iberia airfare charges should result in earning 5,546 Membership Reward points. If you value these points at 1.5 cents each, that is about $83 in points earned.

But really, those are just side notes. The main attraction here is that for around $1,100 spent on airfare via this promotion, your family can earn 360,000 bonus Iberia Avios without ever having to fly an Iberia flight. That is an astounding number of points for that cash outlay.

Things to think about before going all-in with your family

There are plenty of caveats to think through before going all-in on this promotion for your family. To name a few, you must book award flights using these Avios by December 1, 2018, and you reportedly cannot transfer them to British Airways the way you can with most Iberia Avios. Children under two cannot open an Iberia Avios account, so this counts the infants out of the deal. Lots of people in the frequent flyer world seem to be taking advantage of this deal, so Iberia award availability may be tighter than normal once people start trying to use all these Avios. The Iberia website is also sometimes buggy and difficult to use.

What your family can do with Iberia Avios

Iberia awards start at 4,500 Avios based on distance flown. It is not an identical award chart to the British Airways Avios award chart, but there are some similarities.

Iberia Award Chart

If you want to use your Iberia Avios to travel to Europe, there are peak and off-peak prices, I just priced out a round trip business class award from JFK to Madrid for May 2019 at 68,000 total Avios + $208.65 in taxes. If you earned your miles via this 90K promotion at the prices mentioned above, that is $209.51 in Avios + $208.65 in taxes to fly round trip to Europe in a lie-flat seat. Good luck finding lie-flat round trip seats to Europe at a price better than $418.16 all-in!

Availability is currently decent for Iberia business class saver awards to Madrid, but it is not common to find more than two seats available on the same flight. If your family of four is okay splitting up on two different flights, or flying two people in premium economy and two in business class, you could be on the same flight. Finding four business class awards on the same Iberia flight might be possible, but it isn’t going to be very common. I can’t run a ton of award searches on the Iberia website as it freezes me out after a handful of searches.

Use your Iberia Avios on American Airlines

If Europe isn’t on your 2018 or 2019 travel radar, you can use these Avios closer to home on American Airlines. What I like about using Iberia Avios on partner American Airlines is that the award price is based on the total number of miles flown as opposed to based on the distance of each individual segment. For example, one of our frequent routes is Houston to Wichita, Kansas, to visit Josh’s parents. With British Airways, each of these segments on American Airlines is 7,500 Avios. Since you must connect in Dallas for that journey, that is four total segments per round trip at a total of 30,000 British Airways Avios, which is not a good deal.

However, with Iberia Avios, it is just 17,000 Ibriera Avios total for the round trip. At these 90K bonus mile prices, that comes to $52.37 spent to earn the 17,000 needed Avios, plus the taxes/fees on the ticket that will come to about $30. Spending a little over $80 for that round trip ticket is a fantastic deal, even if the cities aren’t super exciting. You can substitute in your cities of choice and they will price out the same as long as the flights are a total of 1,001 – 2,000 total miles traveled and there is American Airlines saver award availability. If your desired journey is shorter or longer, just use the award chart above to estimate the award price.

Are you going all in on the Iberia promo with your family?

I’ve seen some online reports of people going all-in on this promotion for their extended family to the tune of close to $10,000 spent on flights in order to earn millions of Iberia Avios. I’m not sure I want to manage that number of Avios and accounts, but I do think it makes sense to spend some time today thinking through if this promotion is a good deal for your entire family. Personally, I’m still sitting at just a few flights booked from my account, but I have not ruled out going in bigger before the promotion ends on June 24, 2018.

Opportunities like this do not come along frequently, so if you go all-in with your family, I’m cheering you on!

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. I am so tempted to take advantage of this deal but I’m hesitant to pull the trigger because of availability. When I search for AA awards on Iberia’s website I’m coming up with a big fat nothing. Not sure what I’m doing wrong. I found saver availability on AA.com (multiple flights per day) but when I feed the same (roundtrip) dates into the Iberia website it says there is nothing available. I’m from a small market (Louisville SDF) which requires connections for most trips, so maybe that is tripping the system up?

    • There are peak and off-peak dates and the chart is distance based, so prices can vary, but that is a round trip price from New York to Madrid and back in May 2019.

  2. Sadly availability will be terrible,but worst comes to the worst I’ll just transfer all my Avios to BAEC and leave my Iberia account totally dormant.

    You can transfer them to BAEC but Iberia have stated that if you don’t spend the 90k through Iberia they will deduct them on the 1st Dec from your Iberia account, losing you any Avios you have in there and even with a negative balance upto -90k.

    Fair enough, so long Iberia 😉

  3. Quick question-do you know if you have a BA Household Account whether you can transfer Iberia Plus into that? I don’t think you can. Thanks!

  4. It looked to me from the rules that you could book 2 to a reservation, and as long as each person had their own individual number, they would each get the 9k.

    One problem I have discovered from the family end is that they want you to send in a paper application for a minor registration into the Iberia Plus program.

  5. This seems like a great deal but I don’t fully understand how there will be NO ramifications if the booked flights aren’t flown. Won’t you get dinged for that in some way? i.e. charged, docked of avios, etc.? (very new to the points/travel game so I’m overly cautious about everything)

    • Sil, those are very normal concerns. Iberia has repeatedly stated you don’t have to fly the flights, but you are right that is pretty unusual.

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