Iberia published new, much more expensive award charts for travel on partner airlines recently.

That was pretty scary, not because Iberia points were worth less (nobody cares), but because of what it could mean for British Airways points. The two programs are structured similarly. The airlines are jointly owned. And points transfer between the two fairly freely.

Commenter Prospero offers some good insight into what’s going on.

The prevailing wisdom seems to be that Iberia published this partner award chart online, which they hadn’t done before, but the rates themselves aren’t actually new.

  • Iberia hadn’t posted the chart before
  • Few people booked partner awards with Iberia.
  • You couldn’t book most partner awards online with Iberia for a long time, and you can with British Airways.
  • The Iberia awards are non-refundable.

Non-refundable awards you’d have to call Iberia agents to book, few bothered, using British Airways Executive Club instead. In other words, there was little reason to mess with Iberia call centers to get less-desirable awards. So their crazy pricing wasn’t really noticed.

So they never updated their online award charts before. These are the old rates, but no one really knew it. I have an award booking business, and I haven’t had to use Iberia Plus Avios points.

I still believe the best values go away eventually. That’s always been true in miles and points, if an opportunity is several standard deviations better than the median program offering it won’t last. That’s the case with short-distance non-stop partner awards using British Airways points.

But the publication of the Iberia chart — odd they wouldn’t have done it in 3 years! — isn’t necessarily a sign of that.

Of course there may well be a reason for them to publish the chart now.


  1. Dov said,

    Online functionality for oneworld partners was always on iberia.com I was able to price out AA flights online just make sure to select the oneworld tab before you enter your flight’s

  2. Gary Leff said,

    @Dov I got my tenses screwed up so I’ve clarified. Online partner booking has been pretty limited with Iberia but indeed it’s been possible and has gotten easier.

  3. Ben said,

    Of course no apology from Gary for stirring the pot and causing panic without actually investigating when the changes took place, all the blame is on Iberia.

  4. Gary Leff said,

    @Ben I posted as quickly as I could what seemed to be going on as soon as it was flagged in the comments here. It made good sense.

    I explained how the misunderstanding happened. Their *publishing* this award chart was new. And I explained why I did not know its implementation was already in place. I’m definitely sorry for that!

  5. Alan said,

    Hmm interesting – of course some of the long haul rates actually were quite reasonable, perhaps we SHOULD be booking some travel through IB! (I think premium classes to Oz were particularly good value?)

  6. Gary Leff said,

    @alan – long haul to australia on qantas in premium classes is cheaper with IB than BA. it’s still bonkers pricing though!

  7. Alan said,

    Indeed! Possibly lower taxes though with IB? I find availability one of the biggest issues, SQ is pretty good in that regard when booking through KrisFlyer.

  8. British Airways Scare: What's The State and Is There a Silver Lining? said,

    […] all this, Gary from View from the Wing may just have the clear explanation on what likely happened. When we all thought Iberia was devaluing its award chart, it simply published online the partner […]

  9. Gary Leff said,

    @Alan you’ll find taxes on QF redemptions to be the same whether using BA or IB Avios

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