Avios changes 8: oneworld partner redemptions may be cheaper via Iberia Plus

Executive summary:  instead of charging for partner airline redemptions by segment, Iberia is using an ‘all-in’ pricing chart.  This will make some redemptions cheaper than booking via BA.

Key link: ‘Club Changes’ page on ba.com, ‘Club Changes’ page on iberia.com

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Here are the other articles in this series you may have missed:

1. Understanding the new tier point rules

2. Understanding the new earning rates

3. Understanding the new spending rates

4. What is an Avios point worth after April 28th?

5. Exploiting the ‘no repricing on date changes’ rule

6. Why are off-peak upgrades now more expensive than peak?

7. Save 43% of your Avios on long-haul redemptions if you fly Iberia

9. What will happen to airline partner earning rates?

10. Are you a winner or a loser overall?

This article looks at the cost of booking Avios flights on airberlin, American, Qatar, Qantas etc after the forthcoming changes.  Will it be cheaper using ba.com or iberia.com to book?

Remember that, using ‘Combine My Avios’, you can move your points freely between BAEC and Iberia Plus.  The only conditions are that your Iberia account is 90 days old and has ‘earned’ 1 Avios point.  This is easily done via e-rewards or an Amex Membership Rewards transfer.

British Airways has made its position clear:

  • Partner awards will be priced flight-by-flight, like BA redemptions
  • They will use the BA pricing chart below but ALWAYS using the ‘peak’ pricing

Redemption chart 2

Iberia is doing something completely different.

They have a got a totally separate chart for awards using just one partner airline (or Iberia and one other partner airline).

This chart prices your Avios redemption based on the distance of the entire trip, return, irrespective of segments.  The rules say that you MUST book a return flight and it must return to the same airport from which you departed.

Take a look at this which is from their PDF booklet explaining the changes:

Iberia partner 2

Let’s look at a few examples:

airberlin from Berlin to Abu Dhabi in Business Class.  BA wins:

  • Current BA price:  50,000 Avios return plus tax
  • New BA price after 28th April:  75,000 Avios return plus tax
  • Price if booked via Iberia (5800 miles return):  100,000 Avios plus tax

London to Doha on Qatar Airways in Business Class.  Iberia wins:

  • Current BA price:  80,000 Avios return plus tax
  • New BA price after 28th April:  120,000 Avios return plus tax
  • Price if booked via Iberia (6520 miles return):  100,000 Avios plus tax

London to Perth on Qatar Airways.  Iberia wins:

  • Current BA price:  (2 x Zone 5 + 2 x Zone 7 flights):  200,000 Avios return plus tax
  • New BA price after 28th April:  (2 x Zone 5 + 2 x Zone 7 flights):  300,000 Avios return plus tax
  • Price if booked via Iberia (18098 miles return):  270,000 Avios plus tax

The downside of Iberia Plus redemptions is that they are non-refundable and non-changeable on carriers other than Iberia.  You may therefore prefer to see the saving you make booking via Iberia Plus as a discount in return for losing your cancellation flexibility.  It is also likely that you will need to book via Iberia’s Spanish call centres.

Coming soon:  tier point and Avios credit when flying partner airlines, a summary of the winners and losers

Earn up to 20,000 bonus Avios with new Kaligo.com hotel promotion!
Virgin status match still running if you fly Little Red - and why you should do it
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  1. I see iberia’s website only lets you book 11 months ahead and it doesn’t seem to have the same availability, in business, as BA’s does :-(
    Ie BA has lots of availabilty, London to Doha, Iberia no availabilty.

    • I also spotted that. It also doesn’t accept many destinations at all. As Rob says you may have to phone them – not sure if that will open up more availability though for the routes you can see online.

      Maybe a miracle will happen and the website will magically improve when all the changes kick in. 😐

      • …and you think Indian call centers are bad. Iberia is in another league of worstness.

        • Well not really a representative sample, but the only time I had to telephone Iberia, to cancel a redemption booking, they were charming and efficient. Money and Avios back to me not immediately but very quickly – couple of days or so.

          • Raffles

            Will you be doing further articles on booking reception flights through, Iberia plus, as although I don’t have any Avios in our Iberia plus accounts currently I would probably like to use them for LHR – doh/dxb redemptions post devaluation.
            At the moment when I check on iberia’s website their availabilty in business, October onwards, is non existent.
            As someone mentioned earlier does that change if you phone them?
            It’s the difference in peak and off peak, between them and BA, that makes Iberia a possible option.

  2. Is it possible to add DOH-DXB on to this as well if it is only based on distance and not segments? So to fly LHR-DOH-DXB-DOH-LHR – it would come into the same band as under 8,000 miles?

  3. Are the cash elements the same booking via IB an BA?

  4. The e-Rewards link from Iberia still does not work.

  5. Hi, sorry newbie question.
    I have looked up my chosen flights on Iberia and it states my route is flown by BA on the IB site even though it shows the IB logo. If you book through IB i take it they will charge you the same Avios as if you booked directly through BA?
    Just worth a chance of asking, you never know!

  6. I presume there’s no way to redeem a 2for1 on Iberia though?

  7. On a completely separate note, tesco have extended the fuel save until 31st May

  8. Hi, I want to cancel an Amex card which has a MR points balance. Is there anywhere I can hold these points that means I don’t need to commit to moving them into a particular airline scheme, until I’ve had time to digest the BA changes?

    • MagicByNature says:

      When I cancelled my card a few months ago, I was told that the MR points will still stay intact for 30 days from cancellation. However, once you cancel, you can’t move transfer them anywhere using the online account and would need to call instead.

    • If it is a Plat you could downgrade to Gold (£10 per month) or Green (£8 per month including the fee to be in MR). It buys you some time albeit at a cost.

  9. Not without a hefty devaluation I think. You can move them to SPG 2:1 and then to a choice of airlines 20k:25k so in blocks it’s a 37.5% haircut.

    Are you eligible to apply for a Gold card. Free for a year and 20k for spending £2000 (or 22k if you take a referral).

  10. It looks like the deal gets better at greater distance, and when combined with low fuel surcharges. CX LHR-HKG-AKL would be about 23k miles = 270k, not too bad with £370 of taxes (less if you went ex-EU).
    What do they mean at the end of the pdf by the “Multicarrier” table. There’s an existing partner chart but it doesn’t explicitly say Multicarrier. Given it’s grandfathered and probably 2x for J / 3x for F it may now have more appeal.

    • The multicarrier chart is the one for 2 or more oneworld airlines excluding Iberia. It was a pretty scary chart but I need to look at it again in light of the changes.

  11. Could I ask for a bit of advice? Which would be a good destination to use the BA 2-4-1, taking into account miles redemptions and taxes. Not interested in USA destinations or UAE.


    • Moscow

    • How long is a piece of string? Excellent coverage in Asia, you can fly to loads of places so seats are not an issue and then hop around cheaply. China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia now, Thailand etc. I have a soft spot for Mexico with a twin centre city and beach holiday covering Mexico City, Oaxaca, Merida and then a drive down to the coast. Latin America is harder outside Brazil / Argentina (Iberia covers it but no 241) to reach as is Africa apart from SA. Caribbean is also an option.

      • Been looking at Asia to use up 2 x 2-4-1’s for a family of 5 before the devaluation kicks in. Can I ask are any of those locations particularly suitable for 11-15 yr olds? We’ve done quite a bit of travel in the states, but there appears to be more availability going east in Jul/Aug.

        • I’ve always thought that we would take our kids to Thailand when we got around doing a proper Asian trip. A mix of Bangkok, Chiang Mai (preferably with some elephant riding) and a beach trip to Phuket etc would work well.

          If you want to break them in gently you could have a few days in Singapore first and then get a cheap flight across.

          • We were looking at Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Singapore. A few days by the beach also maybe, although none of us are huge beach fans. They’re also keen on Hong Kong and Japan and it looks like there are plenty of options for getting between all of these with cash or avios. Great site by the way, the information and tips I’ve picked up here have been invaluable.

            • Kyoto is worth a visit. Tokyo is a bit, well, odd, with few major tourist sites – it is more of an anthropological experiment, because (due to the closed nature of the country for much of the last millennium) everything about the people and culture is different to what you know. Not much for younger kids who can’t appreciate this.

        • If you had 2x 241 tickets – can you redeem these at the same time using 1 lot of avios?

    • The best value we’ve had in terms of miles on a 2for1 was an F return to Singapore in the days when F was 240k avios return. That was booking within hours of the return availability being released, nearly a year in advance.

      Of course it really depends on where you want to go…. And the savings compared to a cash fare are not necessarily greatest on the longest routes.

  12. Out of interest… I’m planning on heading to Tokyo in October/November. I have c.250k avios and a BA 2-4-1 voucher.

    I could fly BA business/first for and pay c.£530 tax… is there an alternative way I can go business/first for lesser airmiles and less tax??

    • Oh – this would be for 2 flying…

    • With a 241 you have to fly BA so there is no alternative. You can avoid the APD by starting in Jersey but then you have to pay to get to Jersey.

      With no 241 I would suggest Cathay Pacific AMS-HKG and then a connection on Cathay or JAL. Cathay AMS-HKG is only £91 tax compared to £500+ on BA.

      • Jesus… that’s a huge difference… But I guess I’ll need to double up on Avios for 2 of us? These BA charges are quite stupidly high!

        • You will but the avios you have won’t get two of you to Tokyo without flying BA on the 2for1.

          If it were me I’d pay the tax and go in F if you can get seats…. In the end you’re saving more in the value of the avios saved through the 2for1 than the BA taxes and fees anyway, even at £500+ each.

          • I agree, we are in Bali now with a 241 via HKG F, and CX with adios, £57 return for 2 in taxes, brilliant deal, priced up normal F to HKG, huge, so def worth using the voucher, and taking the hit on taxes for convenience. However as I said earlier IB now looking good even without the 241, if heading to South America.

        • Yes you really have to be avios rich to go this way. I guess that’s why the 241 is so useful, even if we do have to take the hit in taxes. But, as rob says, if fuel duty reduces along the way, we may have even better value with the 241.

      • How do you check cathy availability on this route? Dipo you have to ring to book?

        • Look it up on ba.com BAEC, it will show the partner options.

          Meant to say Rob, thanks for all this effort you have put into this, great holiday reading for us her! Really appreciated. That’s why I am posting in the middle of the night!

      • Rob, today when I was booking our 241 long haul. I tried to book it starting in Jersey to avoid APD, and a red warning came up saying, the 241 voucher must start in the UK, thus, the taxes were still the same. Weird, or did I do something wrong?

    • Thanks for the responses all. Looks like its 241 BAEXC F tickets then. Convenience is king to me. I’d gladly pay a “full” price Economy ticket to travel in F =D.

      I have another 241 voucher coming – guess that’ll be for America/Canada next year!

      • Good luck, hope you get F tickets where you want to go. Having read Robs suggestion about Mexico City, that’s one we will now consider to use up for our second 241 later this year. Got our F for next Jan today, so plenty of holiday homework going on here. For those of you frozen ones in the UK. It’s 30 degrees and balmy here in Bali… Sorry!

  13. I’ve opened an Iberia account for my partner and wanted to do e-rewards to get some points in but it now appears you have to be invited to join by one of iberia’s parners, anyone know how to get a quick and easy free invitation?