Updated December 29th, 2019
Trying to value Iberia Plus Avios is an adventure filled with contradictions. Searching award availability generates moments of euphoria and moments of despair. One moment, you’re fighting with an anti-spam captcha straight out of the 90’s, the next you’re being presented with award booking opportunities worth more than 3¢ per mile.
While availability is generally poor and their website is generally terrible, some good opportunities do exist. After running the numbers, and unfortunately averaging in numerous zeros, we’re placing an ACRV of 0.58¢ per Iberia Plus Avios. Whenever presenting low’ish valuations, I always like to remind readers what this number means. It’s a discounted average, not a hypothetical best-case. Exact calculation steps are documented on our valuation methodology page.
|Current||Previous Period||$ Change||% Change|
|Intra-Europe Non-Zero Average||1.09¢||1.62¢||-0.53¢||-32%|
|International Non-Zero Average||1.69¢||2.83¢||-1.14¢||-40%|
Oh those Fees!
Despite finding several very lucrative award opportunities, two things absolutely eviscerate Iberia Plus Avios’ value: availability and fees. Let’s start with the latter.
Carrier imposed fees, taxes, fuel surcharges; call them whatever you want. Iberia has a metric ton of them. On the domestic(intra-Europe) side of our equations, they weren’t outlandish at $45.28. However, move over to the international side, and get this, we’re averaging a gut-wrenching $205.23 per ticket! Ouch. As I deduct fees from the lowest available cash price, it can really wreck a value. Just for comparison’s sake, US competitor Delta is currently averaging just $14.48.
To make matters worse, there were several data points in which fees Iberia charged for an award ticket EXCEEDED the lowest priced cash alternative. In these cases, I simply recorded a finding of no-availability, or a redemption value of zero dollars. Had I not done this, it would have actually resulted in a finding of negative value.
Our best redemption this month came from an economy run from Frankfurt(FRA) to Dulles(IAD). The lowest priced cash alternative was $825, but Iberia was offering a similar flight for only 17,000 and $246.08 in fees. This gives us a good redemption value of 3.41¢ per mile.
Ultimately, Iberia Avios are an award currency that is nice to have available as an option. However, I don’t consider them worth primarily accumulating via card spend. That said, opportunities for high-value, premium-cabin international award flights do exist, especially if you’re willing to be flexible in your travel dates. To standardize valuations, I always look for award availability on Fridays. That said, there were plenty of Thursdays and Saturdays that did show flights available, even when there were none the following(or previous) day.
One more thing: a warning. I just wanted to take a second and pass along a potentially troubling phenomenon I noticed: unreliable award quotes. For example, on more than one occasion, I’d search for availability and get a result. Then I’d refresh, or my session would log out because I got distracted and the award would disappear. Now I know that award availability does not exist in a persistent state. However, never have I seen so much fluctuation is such a short about of time. So, my advice is this: if you’re considering transferring some highly valuable Ultimate Rewards, call their award booking line first, and confirm you’ll actually be able to spend what you send.