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Now that autumn is here, a few readers might have cheap flights booked between Madrid and Santander or Palma de Mallorca. 😉 This situation is probably due to booking the cheapest flights you could find to take advantage of Iberia’s absurdly over-generous promotion offering 9,000 Avios for each flight booked on Iberia. Yet since most readers aren’t actually resident in Spain, you probably had no intention of actually taking those flights.
The terms and conditions of the promotion made clear that cancellations would result in the forfeit of the bonus Avios. To catch those (non) travellers who might insist upon a refund of the airport and government taxes imbedded in a non-refundable ticket, most airlines now charge a “processing fee” that is higher than the tax refund otherwise due.
So… cancelling those flights for a small refund isn’t an option. However, you might still be thinking that you bought a flight ticket and are entitled to the miles from that flight. Unfortunately, it simply doesn’t work that way. If you don’t fly, you don’t earn the miles. Full stop!
So why are you still tempted to check in online for a flight departing hundreds of miles away from your current location?
What is 99% Likely to Happen?
Nothing! You didn’t check luggage into the hold, so there’s no reason to hold the aircraft at the gate to find your luggage and offload it. Nobody is going to call your name over the airport speaker system. The gate agent will “close” the flight and you will be treated as a “no show”.
This isn’t a tragedy, as airlines overbook flights precisely because a certain percentage of passengers simply won’t show up. Business meetings run long. Traffic can be bad. No airline is going to delay a flight because a checked-in, no luggage passenger has gone AWOL. Heathrow is way ahead of the game, since airline staff can check to see whether the passenger has cleared security. I suspect that other airports also use the information generated by that boarding pass scan at security…
That said, if the flight is indeed oversold you’ve acted like a *!@#! by checking in online, as it may take a few minutes longer for airline staff to determine that you aren’t planning to fly after all, and that they should give your seat to somebody else. Or worse, your seat flies empty and somebody is unnecessarily left behind…
What Are You Hoping For?
The jargon YMMV exists for a reason. You might be hoping that an IT error means that you earn miles for your purchased, but not flown, flight after all. I can assure you that you won’t earn Avios for an Iberia flight that you skip. Would sending a boarding pass for retro-credit to random Iberia partners such as Royal Air Maroc, Avianca Lifemiles or S7 Airlines work? Possibly… and I suspect that a few of you have fond memories of BMI Diamond Club. If you don’t know what I am talking about, this is a good thing – the rest of you should have guilty consciences. 😉
Another lottery ticket like outcome would be a last-minute cancellation of your ticketed flight. Even though you had no intention to fly, you might be able to make an EU261 claim or negotiate a travel voucher as compensation from Iberia.
If you don’t fly, you aren’t entitled to the miles. So don’t bother checking in online and potentially creating an issue at the airport for airline staff or your fellow travellers.
Others may feel differently. What do you think?