Bait-and-switch Iberia gift card

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Apr 14, 2021
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We are planning a trip to Europe this summer. It will include a flight from Barcelona home to San Francisco. My Internet search showed that an affiliate of Iberia, Level airlines, offers a nonstop flight. The flight was listed on the Iberia website, which also offered a Valentine's Day discount promotion on a gift card (25% discount).

The webpage for the Valentine's Day promotion clearly indicated that the gift card could be used for “the purchase of any flight offered on iberia.com operated by Iberia…” I read closely the terms and conditions, which state that the card is “Valid for direct and connecting flights operated by all airlines offered on iberia.com.” After I purchased this gift card, my email receipt indicated that it was valid for “flights operated by Iberia…”

I then used their website, iberia.com, to identify my flight, departing Barcelona to SFO. It stated clearly that was “operated by Iberia” for Level Spain. I added the flight to my cart. On the page where I was instructed to enter my coupon code, the transaction “could not be completed.“ I called Iberia directly, immediately, and I was told that “the gift card did not apply to Level airlines.” I made it clear that everything on their website indicated that the flight could be paid for by the gift card, since it was “operated by Iberia," and, if not, then they misrepresented the gift card. On that basis I demanded a refund, which they refused to provide.

Iberia misrepresented their gift card product. This is a classic “bait and switch.” The service that I paid for was not provided. I have petitioned my credit card company to deny them payment (so far to no avail).
 

Alexander Pahany

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Jan 6, 2021
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I guess Iberia does not want to have to spend cash to pay for a Leval flight.
It's odd, though, since Iberia operates all of Level's flights...Level doesn't have its own air operator's certificate. All of the flight crews are provided by Iberia for all four (!) of Level's aircraft. Level's office is inside Iberia's in Madrid!
 

Neil Maley

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Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
Have you tried using our company contacts?


This is how to appeal:

I am also confused by the terms you are referencing. If the card offer said -

The webpage for the Valentine's Day promotion clearly indicated that the gift card could be used for “the purchase of any flight offered on iberia.com operated by Iberia…””

Then Level wouldn’t usually be included because they are not operated by Iberia- Iberia is using Levels metal. Yet the terms and conditions are different.

And you are correct, even their current gift card terms say it’s valid for any flights on Iberia.com.

Use our company contacts.
 

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Alexander Pahany

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I got curious, so I went searching for the sale to which OP is referring. I found a screengrab of the original sale:


IberiaAd.JPG

If this is the same promotion OP saw, it is "any flight offered on iberia.com" AND "operated by Iberia, Iberia Express, and Air Nostrum."

Not Level. It may be an Iberia crew operating the aircraft, but it's still a Level flight.
 

Alexander Pahany

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Jan 6, 2021
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And you are correct, even their current gift card terms say it’s valid for any flights on Iberia.com.
It appears as though the terms and conditions for their promotional purchases are different from their standard purchases.

This, from The Points Guy UK:


"It’s worth noting that the terms and conditions of the gift card offer specify that it must be used towards an Iberia, Iberia Express or Air Nostrum-operated flight. In other words, don’t expect to be able to use the discounted gift card on a flight with Iberia’s Oneworld partner British Airways.
 

smd

Mar 14, 2018
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This is the listing from Iberia.com. I can certainly see why the OP would think this flight was operated by Iberia.

1618503163475.png
 
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Neil Maley

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I think Alexander found the issue. That particular promotion is only for those three - Level is not included.

However the booking engine showing Level is operating the flight has done nothing wrong. When a flight is a code share flight, the website of any airline must show who is operating the flight if it’s a partner flight.

Here is an example of booking AA to Vietnam. Tickets are purchased on AA but some flights are operated by Japan Airlines.

In this case, it seems the original offer wasn’t correctly understood correctly by the OP and Level isn’t included with the card.
 

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May 1, 2018
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I guess Iberia does not want to have to spend cash to pay for a Leval flight.
I'm not sure that makes sense. Level isn't a company or even an airline, it's is simply a 'brand' owned by International Airlines Group - which owns Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Vueling. Level's IATA code is "IB" and their callsign is "IBERIA". All Level branded flights are operated by Iberia on Iberia metal.

If OP's gift card truly is valid for any flights operated by Iberia then it should be valid for a Level branded flight since Iberia is the operator.
 
May 1, 2018
411
1,132
I think Alexander found the issue. That particular promotion is only for those three - Level is not included.

However the booking engine showing Level is operating the flight has done nothing wrong. When a flight is a code share flight, the website of any airline must show who is operating the flight if it’s a partner flight.

Here is an example of booking AA to Vietnam. Tickets are purchased on AA but some flights are operated by Japan Airlines.

In this case, it seems the original offer wasn’t correctly understood correctly by the OP and Level isn’t included with the card.
Article 2 of Regulation No 261/2004, entitled ‘Definitions’, provides: "operating air carrier" means an air carrier that performs or intends to perform a flight under a contract with a passenger or on behalf of another person, legal or natural, having a contract with that passenger. Iberia is the operating carrier for all Level flights because Level does not have an air operator certificate - they are not functionally an airline and cannot operate any flights.

I think the OP's understanding is correct and the original offer was very poorly communicated by Iberia. The flight OP intends to purchase is sold on Iberia.com and is operated by Iberia. It even says "Operated by Iberia for Level". I think Iberia made a mess of this and they owe the OP her money back. If they intended to specifically exclude Level flights they should have made that clear. I hope the OP can use this information to win her chargeback.
 

Comicman

Jul 13, 2020
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If OP's gift card truly is valid for any flights operated by Iberia then it should be valid for a Level branded flight since Iberia is the operator.
But apparently it is only good on Iberia, Iberia Express, and Air Nostrum but not level as Alexander's post listed.
Maybe think of it like this. US foods owns many brands and you get a coupon for 5.00 off of 3 of the 100 brands they own. Would you be able to use that coupon on a brand not listed on your coupon? Would the company be required to allow you to use the coupon on any or all of their product lines?
The answer is no they would not. You could only use it on the products listed. I think this is the same situation. I would not be surprised that after the temporary credit was given that the CC would not re-bill the OP as the airlines would fight the chargeback.
 

Alexander Pahany

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Jan 6, 2021
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All Level branded flights are operated by Iberia on Iberia metal.
This is where things got complicated when I dug into the corporate holdings—the four aircraft actually belong to Level (yeah, the brand leases aircraft) that are operated, serviced, and supported by Iberia.

It’s a lousy loophole, but like @Comicman points out in his hypo, IAG owns them all but manages them quite differently. Level is even more complicated by its relationship with the (now defunct) OpenSkies (also an IAG brand.)

As long as the OP can show his credit card company that the original advertisement did NOT mention that the gift card was limited to those three carriers, he/she may be successful. Worst case scenario he/she may be able to sell the gift cards at a discount to recover something.
 
May 1, 2018
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But apparently it is only good on Iberia, Iberia Express, and Air Nostrum but not level as Alexander's post listed.
No the fine print does not say "only good on Iberia, Iberia Express, and Air Nostrum". The stated requirement are:
  • a flight offered on iberia.com
  • operated by Iberia, Iberia Express, and Air Nostrum.
The Level flight selected by OP meets both criteria of being offered for sale on Iberia.com AND being operated by Iberia.

You could only use it on the products listed. I think this is the same situation.

The OP is using it on the products listed. Why do you believe OP's flight doesn't qualify?
 
Last edited:
May 1, 2018
411
1,132
The post showed the gift card term as "any flight offered on iberia.com operated by Iberia, Iberia Express, and Air Nostrum." If the Level flight is indeed operated by Iberia, it would meet this condition.

I looked up the contract of carriage on Level's website and found the following:

Flights sold under the LEVEL name are operated by Iberia and OpenSkies. The conditions of carriage applicable to your flights booked on flylevel.com will depend on the operator of your flights.

OpenSkies was an airline that went out of business last year so that just leaves Iberia as the only possible operating carrier. There is no question that Iberia operates Level flights.
 
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Alexander Pahany

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Jan 6, 2021
507
1,751
Houston, TX
Why do you believe OP's flight doesn't qualify?
Believe me, I’m completely on the side of the OP here— I think he/she is getting screwed. However, to answer your question: Because Iberia says it doesn’t.

That’s the challenge here. If the OP had not already initiated a credit card dispute, I would’ve suggested appealing to the executive contacts to try to get an explanation or to use the gift cards. However, since he/she did start the dispute, I think everyone is trying to compile the best evidence for OP to use to be successful in that endeavor.