7 hours ago, I wrote about Iberia blocking new accounts. At that point in time, it was more a suspicion, but now it seems I have some solid proof about the Iberia 90000 Avios promotion being a no-show.
Iberia actively encouraged people to book tickets and not fly them if they wanted, all weekend this promotion was ongoing. Their PR department indeed sent out confirmations to various people on BoardingArea and other frequent flyer websites about how people could just book their tickets and not fly them and could still receive the 90000 Avios.
Yesterday was the first day after the 10-day time limit for many people to receive their Avios. Turns out the Avios did not turn up in their accounts. Iberia had various reasons for that.
Iberia blocking account on Security pretext
It turns out, Iberia may have had a change of heart now. Various data points indicate that all new accounts opened over that weekend are blocked currently. A comment on another website stated that Iberia will be contacting new account holders by Thursday.
And now comes the first real instance of how Iberia is going to hide behind their T&C which were initially very broad and accommodating, but now being used as bait and switch. It seems if you don’t have an address in the 8-10 European Countries the promotion was valid for, you are out of luck. Here is an email a reader received,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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:
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.
Your Iberia Plus Service Center.
Iberia 90000 Avios promotion: Reasons to not honour
There are two parts to this communication, and let’s go with them one by one.
- Iberia is implying country website should be the country of your residence: Iberia has 10 days later clearly indicated that if you did not live in the country on which website you booked the ticket, this promotion is not for you. For instance, a Thai address on Iberia Plus account booking via the UK website does not qualify. They are asking people to call a certain phone number to request reimbursements on their flights.
- Iberia is asking new accounts to confirm identity: Iberia is blocking all new accounts. It sometimes happens that people may have opened fictitious accounts to get more Avios. For instance, in the name of their Dogs. Iberia is now requesting copies of Identity proof to unblock these accounts.
While I believe they are within their rights to request people for ID, I am not sure how does this go with the new GDPR rulings just brought out. I am not an EU privacy expert you see. But the intent is now confirmed, Iberia is not going to honour the Iberia 90000 Avios promotion. They are going to find all loopholes to be not on the hook for these Avios.
And somehow, this feels like that the big guy wants to win here. I can understand their intention to confirm genuine accounts. But I find their new logic unacceptable that you need to be in the country of booking your tickets to be able to honour this promotion.
For instance, they don’t even operate an India website where I can buy tickets, for instance, on Madrid – London. So logically, I would be redirected to their Spanish website, and be charged in EUR since that is how the country of origin prices tickets. Why would they take customer money on other days and allow them to fly and today be very unforgiving of the very same fact?
Similarly, hey big guy, you sold many more tickets than you anticipated, so now you want to refund the monies. What about anyone else who perhaps has a change of heart and does not want to fly you. You would charge them a hefty fee for cancelling those tickets.
I am not sure how does this sit with the EU laws and I am looking for experts to comment on that part. But in the meanwhile, all you need to know is Iberia is not planning to give you those 90K Avios easily.
Update: I went through Manage my Booking to tickets, and the Iberia Plus numbers don’t show there anymore. Although they show on the initial ticket confirmations that were sent to my account.
Have you heard more from Iberia Plus? We could use all the data points we get at the moment.