Iberia ran a promotion a couple of weeks ago with limited terms that many travelers took advantage of. After $340 and an hour of bliss with their excellent website, the Avios have arrived much to the dismay of many. The problem is spending them.
They Are Here, Now What?
I can’t believe they are really here. I was fully prepared to have to take a refund (though Matthew pointed out earlier today that should not be the case – he was right). I was also prepared to challenge the charges on my credit card but won’t have to do that either. Now the race is on to spend them faster than I received them.
I have planned my call with the flight numbers needed, the information from each traveler’s passport and will shortly dial their US call center (if you dare – see update below):
+34 913 894 357
I Said I Would Use Them On American Coach Awards, Did I Mean It?
Oh yes. I have checked the availability of my flights recently and they are still wide open. Booking now before others have even had their points post will help me to ensure that I get ahead of the phone line for what will be, I am certain, a challenging experience.
UPDATE: On the phone with the first rep, they rudely ended the call and I mean rude.
UPDATE 2: On the second go around the rep was far more pleasant but she indicated that they could not help with Iberia Plus and suggested I call the Spanish line (now listed above). Also, just a heads up, the most British possible phone agent will scream at you about every 20 seconds while on hold, “All of our agents are busy at the moment, please hold the line. Thank you.” So… holding, I guess.
UPDATE 3: I got through, third rep, this one in Spain. I’m told it’s the wrong number again, they can’t transfer. I repeated back the number to her, it’s the same as above. She doesn’t understand why it’s not working. I do…
UPDATE 4: New rep states they cannot see American Airlines space (I am reading the flight numbers and know they have seven coach award seats available right now). Suggests I call American, to spend my Avios. I switch to Spanish explaining that of course I cannot spend my Avios with American Airlines by calling them. Puts me back on hold while she checks with her supervisor.
I have just one trip picked out with space so I quickly need to identify the next and secure it. I would hope to execute both on the same call but I can’t be sure that will be possible. I do speak Spanish (poorly) so perhaps I have a small advantage over others that may face a language barrier – Lifemiles is really difficult to use for English speakers like myself – though I should not expect a Spanish airline to speak English. I hope they do, I hope this isn’t an issue, but I wouldn’t presume that to be the case.
I intend on reporting back once my tickets are issued.
Why Spend Them So Fast?
There are a few reasons why I intend to get rid of these points as fast as they entered my account. The first is that I have a specific purpose and I suspect that after all of the Iberia flights have filled up, others will turn to simple answers from partners nearby. Even if my specific destination is available from American Airlines, the connecting flights may not be. Right now I can secure those with a simple itinerary, I hope to avoid a rush to fill up connecting flights reducing my options for using them at all.
Another reason I will spend them as fast as humanly possible is to avoid the looming December 1st deadline. Any Avios I do not spend by then will be relinquished from my account. I recall putting off upgrade certificates when US Airways and American merged and the long hold times with US Airways made it so tough to redeem the upgrades that I missed the deadline. Luckily, it was extended though I highly doubt that would be the case. Out of my account on confirmed tickets is a far safer position to hold, then any day close to the deadline.
I am also in a rush to spend these is that I don’t necessarily trust Iberia to not add further stipulations to the deal. I purchased my tickets in Mexico from the US website and had to reset my password to gain entry. While both of these two countries were included in the offer, some have mentioned that if they were out of country accessing a different country’s Iberia.com website that their accounts have been frozen (albeit temporarily). I don’t see my situation as ambiguous, but I also don’t want to wait around until someone else does.
Some of my tickets fly in the near term. I do not want any confusion about the validity of the Avios staying in my account once those flights take off without me on them.
Have your Iberia Avios arrived? What will you spend them on? Matthew passed on the deal, as others did, any regrets about not taking advantage of the promotion?