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.
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.