[EDIT: this promotion has now been extended until 31 October, 2016] The Economist is one of my favourite newspaper / magazines, and I generally read it from cover to cover when it arrives in my postbox. It should come as no surprise that many of the same people who enjoy the Economist also have the financial means to travel frequently (although the collection of air miles helps bring travel opportunities to more than just the well-off) And I, like many, have been a subscriber for years without knowing that I could earn Iberia Plus Avios for my subscription to the Economist. Even better, at times during the year, Iberia Plus will offer substantially more Avios for a subscription. One such promotion period is now.
Until 31 October, 2016, Iberia Plus members can earn triple Avios when taking out a year-long subscription to the Economist. A print-only or digital-only subscription will therefore earn 10,200 Avios and a full Print + Digital subscription will earn 13,200 Avios.
Iberia Plus and the Economist have closed down the loophole that meant you could subscribe, bank the Avios, and cancel the subscription for a partial refund. You now need to maintain your subscription for at least one whole year. It is also quite difficult to receive additional Avios for subscription renewals, but perhaps you can get creative with different addresses, the Iberia Plus account of a family member, etc.
To earn Avios with a subscription, you need to apply via this special website. It is important to note that the triple Avios bonus is not currently showing here, despite being prominently shown on the Iberia Plus website. You might want to wait awhile before applying, to be absolutely sure of receiving the bonus Avios.
A 1-year subscription for a UK-based resident will cost £179 for full Print + Digital access. Print-only or Digital-only costs £145. Someone resident in Continental Europe will spend €279 for the full Print + Digital access. Print-only or Digital-only costs €229. Exchange rates are quite volatile at the moment, but subscriptions are obviously more expensive in Continental Europe.
As usual, the trick to reducing these headline prices is to temporarily move overseas. I usually take advantage of Canadian dollar pricing, but you might want to check around and see if anywhere else is ever cheaper (such as Southeast Asia). If you apply with a Canadian address, you will pay C$190 for the full subscription and C$152 for the partial one. These prices convert to £110/ €132 and £88/ €105.
If you use a VPN during the application process, you will have fewer headaches (the system will always try to move you back to the pricing applicable to wherever you are applying from). After delivery has begun, the Economist allows you to change the delivery address to anywhere in the world for no additional charge, so all you need is a Canadian address – a friend, a doctor’s office, or just any hotel that you think wouldn’t worry about a copy of the Economist arriving unsolicited. After a few weeks, you can change the delivery address to your preferred address.
Although paying €132 for 13,200 is within the range of sensible behaviour – after all, I have been promoting the Groupon offer of 2,000 Avios for €19 – it becomes a great deal for anybody who actually reads the Economist and wishes to take out a subscription this summer…