Avios from Spain
Groupon Spain run an offer where you can purchase Avios points, for Iberia Plus, at a much better rate than you can via British Airways. I’ve checked today (here) and the offer is currently live. The Avios are posted to your Iberia account, but can then be transferred to BA using the ‘combine my Avios’ feature (as long as your Iberia account is over 90 days old). The current offer is as follows:
In most cases this works out at about 1.1p per Avios. There was a 2,000 Avios for €19 offer recently, which was even better value, at about 0.85p/point. Depending on how you use them, you’d normally expect to get decent value from that. So in theory, this is a good deal.
I generally use my Avios for flights in school holiday periods where, if I’m lucky enough to find reward seats, I’ll get significantly more value than 1p per Avios. So I decided to give this a try, and I have to say, despite reports that it’s worked OK for others in the UK, it hasn’t gone to plan for me.
The process involves buying through Groupon Spain which, with the use of the translation function on Google Chrome, is quite straightforward. You pay in Euros (so use a card with 0% FX fees), and as is standard with Groupon, you are then issued a voucher.
The voucher contains a code and you are directed to a Google Form, where you enter the code, your email and your Iberia Plus number. If you don’t have an Iberia account, you can set this up on the Iberia website, and use your account number straightaway. You then see a screen telling you that the Avios should appear in approximately 10 days. All sounds quite simple, except 30 days, and multiple emails, after following the instructions I still don’t have mine!
What Happens if They Don’t Appear?
Well, here are some things to note:
– Groupon Spain’s ‘Contact Us’ often directs you to Live Chat, rather than email, and unsurprisingly you can’t chat in English. I decided I might not be able to keep up with a live chat using Google Translate, so instead I asked for an email address via Live Chat.
– Eventually having corresponded by email in Spanish, and having forwarded requested screenshots, I was told I would hear back from Groupon in 7 days. That was 10 days ago.
– Iberia Plus has a process for claiming missing Avios, which requires you to follow a different route depending on the partner you used, but… Groupon isn’t listed at all.
– I found an email for Iberia, and despite using my account email address, they wouldn’t respond to my query unless I submitted a form whilst logged in. The form I needed wasn’t on the main site menu, so they emailed me a link to it. The link wouldn’t allow me to log in, so in a second email they told me to log in as normal on the homepage and then copy and paste the link once logged in.
– Once I submitted the form, Iberia replied to say they would get back to me within 30 days.
– Finally, the voucher says the Avios must be claimed by the end of this month – which I’m hoping won’t now become an issue.
My instinct, particularly given other positive reports, is that I won’t have to say ‘adios, to my Avios’ (sorry!!) and eventually either Groupon or Iberia will sort this. However, it’s worth noting that, whilst cheaper, using Groupon, via Spain, to buy Avios is obviously not quite as straightforward as buying direct from BA. Expect it to take anywhere between a bit and a lot longer to receive them, and to take a a fair bit of time to sort out if it doesn’t go to plan. I should’ve guessed at the point I was directed to a Google Form, rather than an Iberia or Groupon portal, that maybe this wasn’t the most efficient set up.
Personally I won’t be rushing to use it again, and I’m glad I didn’t purchase them with a date in mind for a specific flight booking. I’ll post an update when I hopefully get it resolved!