Often buying points can represent a great value, especially for first and business class award redemptions, where redeeming miles represents a disproportionately good deal.
For those who like to buy miles, another airline has just rolled out a promotion on purchased miles, and it’s potentially a very good deal.
Through Thursday, August 27, 2020, Iberia Plus is offering a 50% bonus on purchased Avios.
In the past you could purchase at most 100,000 Avios (pre-bonus) per calendar year, though that limit was recently increased, and you can now purchase up to 200,000 Avios. This means that through this promotion you could purchase up to 300,000 Avios, including the 50% bonus.
The bonus applies as long as you purchase at least 2,000 Avios in one transaction. However, the cost per purchased Avios does vary based on how many you buy, and you’ll get a lower cost per Avios if you buy more.
Now, there’s a trick to getting the best price – you want the purchase to be priced in EUR rather than USD.
For example, if you buy 300,000 Avios (including the bonus) in USD you’d pay $5,523.
Meanwhile, if you purchased 300,000 Avios (pre-bonus) in EUR you’d pay €3,601, which is ~$4,261. That’s a huge difference.
That means you could buy Avios for as little as ~1.4 cents (USD) each.
How can you make sure you’re charged in EUR rather than USD? You just have to make sure that at the top of Iberia’s website you select the Spanish site rather than the US site (you can still use English as the language).
This shouldn’t violate any rules since you’re not claiming your account is registered there, or anything, but rather are just using that site. It should work just fine with a US credit card as well.
Personally I value Avios at 1.3 cents each, though there are ways to get outsized value thanks to the distance-based award chart. I’d say this could represent a very good deal.
Iberia points purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as an airfare purchase for the purposes of credit card spending.
Therefore I’d recommend using a card on which you’re trying to reach a minimum spending, or otherwise, a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spending.
Ordinarily, I’d say the best cards for everyday spending are the Chase Freedom Unlimited® ( review) or Citi® Double Cash Card ( review), but those have foreign transaction fees, so I wouldn’t recommend using them if you’re paying in EUR.
Therefore I’d recommend using a card that offers a good return without foreign transaction fees, like the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card or the Capital One Venture Card.
While there are some good uses of Iberia Avios, you can also transfer Avios between British Airways and Iberia, assuming you’ve had both accounts open for at least 90 days, and the accounts have some activity. Therefore this is potentially a good opportunity to buy British Airways Avios at a discount as well (though just make sure you’re aware of the restrictions on transfers).
For more on ideas for redeeming Avios, see this post.
While I think there’s a lot of value to be had with Avios, do keep in mind that there are quite a few ways to earn Avios with US credit cards. Iberia Plus is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards.
On top of that, there are three credit cards issued in the US that earn Avios, and all of them offer huge welcome bonuses of up to 100K Avios, plus lots of great long-term benefits:
You can find a detailed comparison of the three cards here.
Usually, I wouldn’t speculatively recommend buying points, though a 50% bonus on purchased Iberia Avios is a solid deal, as you’re paying as little as 1.4 US cents per Avios. That’s a really good price.
There are some unique uses of Iberia Avios, or alternatively you can transfer them to British Airways, assuming you’ve had both accounts open for at least 90 days.
Do you plan on purchasing Iberia Avios with a 50% bonus?