Iberia Freezing Accounts, Offering Ticket Refunds For Some Who Took Advantage Of 9000 Bonus

A couple of weeks ago Iberia was offering 9000 bonus points per booking. And they confirmed this was any ticket, no matter how cheap, one way and you wouldn’t actually need to fly to get the points — since the points would post quickly, and expire if unused by December, even for travel next year.

This deal meant you could buy 90,000 points for under $300. But I held off writing about the promo until Iberia was confirming the details of their offer in multiple places, though I still wrote “In any deal like this there’s risk – the biggest, I think, is that things don’t happen automatically and Iberia’s customer service just isn’t very good.”

Two hurdles developed over the last 10 days:

Now Live From a Lounge reports on Iberia’s security review of new accounts and refusing to honor bookings made on an Iberia website that differs from a member’s country of residence (e.g. a Thailand resident using a UK website) but offering full refunds for ticket purchases made in furtherance of the promo.

Dear Mr. X:

Regarding your request, we inform you that we have checked your Iberia Plus account details and we noticed your country of residency is THAILANDIA, we are sorry to inform you that our 9,000 Avios promotion was not valid for this country.

For this reason, it is not possible for us to credit the corresponding 9,000 Avios, since there is a discrepancy between your Iberia Plus account and your booking¿s country of issue.

We kindly recommend you to contact our Customer Service Line at the phone number (+1) 800 772 4642 and request the total reimbursement of your tickets.

Also we would like to inform you that your Iberia plus account has been blocked for security reason. In order to activate your account, it is necessary to send an email to clasica@iberia.es with a signed copy of the Rectification Data Document and a copy of your ID or Passport.

You can download the Rectification Data Document from the link below:
https://www.iberia.com/ibcomv3/content/EN/PDF/desbloqueopin.pdf

When you send us the documents, please write your Iberia Plus number in the email subject.

We apologize for the inconveniences this may have cause you.

Best regards,
Your Iberia Plus Service Center.

I view this as good news. First, don’t panic. The promotion was ill-thought out by Iberia. It was more generous than they would have wanted to be. It was also taken advantage by customers at scale, which is a benefit, it’s easy for a company to stick it to or ignore one customer by Iberia is going to have to deal with this.

We’ll just wait it out and see how it resolves, but in the mean time they’re already seeming to understand that if they don’t honor the offer the absolute minimum they’re going to have to do is refund tickets.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. And this is how you write an article like an adult. Some people in the blogging community should take note.

  2. I can confirm that the two accounts we signed up for this promotion both no longer work when trying to login.
    The error message I get back when logging in is: “An error has occurred in the Login.”

  3. @Dave – agreed. I wish Gary wouldn’t have included a link to the other blog, which has a history of sensationalizing and clickbaiting.

  4. @ak_nyc try resetting your PIN through the “Have you forgotten your PIN” link on the Iberia app

  5. @Gary: “The promotion was ill-thought out by Iberia. It was more generous than they would have wanted to be.”

    It was not ‘too’ generous. Rather, very clever. Those booked seats can be resold to standbys. Standbys pay Gary!

    It was ill thought out in that it was too easily exploitable by cheats. It appears they are the people being weeded out now (and don’t even deserve a refund, since they aren’t the named person on the Iberia account).

    If Iberia had made the offer available only to existing account holders the problem would not have occurred.

  6. This is the first time since I first became a frequent-flyer member in 1990 that I have EVER heard of an airline offering miles, bonus or otherwise, for buying but not flying a ticket!

  7. Exactly! I mean…even in paid tuckets you need to fly to get the miles, no matter how much they cost you. I did find it very odd that they didn’t require people to fly.

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