Iberia launches flights to Cuba – a great new Avios redemption option

BA’s sister airline, Iberia, has announced that it is re-launching flights to Havana in Cuba after a hiatus of a few years.  This is an ideal opportunity to visit before the influx of American tourists begins, which will surely change the character of the island forever.

There will be five flights per week from Madrid starting from June 1st.

ba.com was having a problem finding availability yesterday.  The flights are showing OK on iberia.com.  You should book via Iberia anyway as the taxes will be SUBSTANTIALLY lower – Iberia does not add fuel surcharges to Iberia redemptions if you book via its own website, but ba.com does.

Havana

You can move Avios points from British Airways or avios.com to Iberia Plus via ‘Combine My Avios’, as long as your Iberia account is 90 days old and has earned at least 1 Avios point.  This can done with an Amex Membership Rewards transfer, crediting a BA flight or even by buying a small number of Avios.

Economy tickets from Madrid to Havana cost 50,000 Avios points return plus £95.40

Business class tickets from Madrid to Havana cost 100,000 Avios points plus £110.40

You should book your connecting flight from the UK to Madrid separately to avoid paying long haul Air Passenger Duty.

As a Zone 6 flight, this trip will actually get CHEAPER for bookings after April 1st if you fly off-peak.  Note that this is off-peak on the Iberia calendar and not the BA calendar, so weeks like UK half-term are off-peak!  Economy flights will drop to 42,500 Avios return whilst Business Class will fall to 85,000 Avios return.  Redemptions on peak dates will stay the same in Economy and increase to 125,000 Avios return in Business.

The route will be flown with an Airbus A330 with the new fully flat business seating.

Don’t forget that you can also get to Havana with Virgin Flying Club miles (a Tesco and Amex Membership Rewards partner) on a direct flight Virgin Atlantic flight from Gatwick – remember that Virgin is currently offering a 30% bonus on Tesco transfers.  Virgin has a short guide to Havana on its website.  You may be able to mix and match Iberia and Virgin availability to get your preferred dates.

PS.  Iberia is also launching flights to Medellin and Cali in Colombia starting on July 3rd.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

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Comments

  1. Go now / coz soon it will be miami

  2. So would you say Iberia band 6 destinations offer the best value after de-val .@85k avios off peak

  3. Raffles, I’m (easily) confused. :) In this article you say you can activate an Iberia Plus account, so that you can transfer into it, buy buying some Avios – but in the article about buying Avios, you say “You must also have a balance greater than zero although that is easily fixed with a transfer in from British Airways.” So on a new account > 90 days old, I can’t buy until I transfer and I can’t transfer until I buy…? As it happens I’m going to credit a flight, but just wondering if this is a real contradiction or I’ve just got the wrong end of the stick!

    • I’ve just read the other article and I think it’s saying to buy avios you need an active account AND a >0 balance, the latter beig fixable with a transfer from BA.

  4. Stuart Ross says:

    I think the “Economy flights (to Cuba) will drop to 42,500 Avios return” should read 32,500 for an off-peak Band 6 redemption. Great rate and agree with the comment on getting in before the wave of Americans change the island’s character.

  5. Pommyboi says:

    Searching for avios seats on Iberia seems a bit painful, there was no availability on the dates I was searching for and no easy way to check other dates other than changing the outbound/inbound dates each time.

    Hopefully the BA site will show Iberia availability soon or Tim Rogers will be able to do a new Iberia availability tool as I love the one he created for BA.

  6. If you don’t have enough Avios then the Avios and money option in Economy costs 25,000 Avios + £ 295.40 return instead of 50,000 Avios + £ 95.40…..works out at at approx 0.8p/mile to purchase the Avios which is a pretty decent deal!

    -Mikee-

  7. …and some good cash fares available in Economy for £450 and Business £1275-1500.

    Question: If I book a Business fare before April 28th, how many BA miles and tier points would I get? Unfortunately the BA website doesn’t recognise HAV. I presume booking on Iberia.com and inserting my BA F/F number later would ensure I earn the appropriate TPs and miles?

    -Mikee-

    • To be honest I would view it as not such a great redemption in economy if you’re only getting £350 value 42,500. These days applying a rule that we will never pay more than 1p/avios and always seek at least 1p/avios in value seems about right as someone who doesn’t earn much from flying.

      Business class OTOH (which is what we’re likely to be looking at anyway) could be tempting, although still have to weigh up that the 170k avios (2 tickets) will get us an off-peak 2for1 in F to the US or Caribbean in F with BA (albeit with much higher taxes and fees) and the cash differential is such that it would be better to pay for the HAV flights rather than premium BA flights to the US in most cases if it came down to a choice.

      It’s interesting that part cash, part avios requires an extra £800 in order to save 50k avios. That really is poor value against a full cash fare that would earn avios and tier points. In contrast I’m looking at AA Caribbean flights from Miami where £100 equates to a 12k avios reduction which (to me) is probably worth doing. It make you wonder how these are calculated since the value varies considerably.

      • Shame that part cash part Avios for Business Class is so poor when compared to the Economy price. I agree that the redemption value is not particularly good for either when the cash fares are pretty good along with the TPs and Avios which would be generated.

        I’m thinking of booking the Business fare before the April changes to ensure I get a decent amount of TPs for my Silver renewal in Dec (and also to save paying an extra £500+ for the only other Business Class offering with VIR…albeit direct from LON rather than via MAD).

        -Mikee-

    • Yes it would. It would be the usual ba.com Iberia earnings rate for business class – 150%.

      Tier points would be 140 each way, I think.

      • So very nearly Bronze or half way to Silver in one trip then, especially if you buy a cash fare to Madrid as well.

  8. Blackberryaddict says:

    Don’t forget Air Berlin also flies to Cuba – although VRA rather than HAV. Going next month, and really looking forward to it.

    • Ah yes, forgot about Air Berlin although prefer HVA direct.

      There’s some reasonable Business fares from AMS for around £1,300 but no Avios earning opportunities unfortunately so looks like IB from MAD for me….still not a bad option which will generate 20k Avios and 280 TPs towards retaining my Silver.

      -Mikee-

  9. Why did I think that Iberia’s redemption changes come into effect on April 1?

  10. Completely unrelated… given that under the new rules an off-peak Club World redemption will usually require very nearly twice as many avios as an off-peak World Traveller Plus redemption the upgrade voucher offered as part of the Lloyds avios cards becomes rather more interesting. I think someone did mention that in a comment on one of the articles

    Rob, have you thought about covering the pros and cons for a couple who are aiming for an annual Club World redemption of focusing on earning one BAPP voucher vs two Lloyds upgrade vouchers per year?

    • 6. Companion tickets used for flights are available on selected routes with British Airways, Flybe, Aer Lingus, Monarch and Aurigny when used in conjunction with economy class bookings. Airline taxes, fees and charges or Reward Flight Saver (RFS) cost if applicable apply on all tickets booked including the Companion ticket. Routes and airlines are subject to change and availability.

      I can’t see anything in the t and c’s that the companion voucher has to start and end in the uk(might have over looked it … But if it’s the case then I wonder if you would be able to use it with aer lingus DUB to BOS?

      • I guess it all depends on the definition of ‘selected routes’. The upgrade vouchers are potentially more interesting given that the Lloyds 2for1 is restricted to economy only and you have to spend £12K on the premium card to get it, although if you’re likely to spend that much on it and can use both it could be well worth the £140 fee.

    • No, although I am running a recap on the Lloyds voucher tomorrow.

      As CW is now roughly twice WTP, two Lloyds vouchers will roughly equal 1 Amex 241. Lloyds requires £14k spend with £48 fees, Amex £10k but £150 fee. Lloyds voucher does NOT allow First and must be booked – but not flown – within 12 months. Lloyds allows non-Amex spend to count.

      It could work for some, I agree.

      • Yes Rob, but remember you don’t actually have to pay the full £150, if you can do the spend with advance spending, at least we can drop back to the free card, after earning our 241 this can then be better than Lloyds, because we can fly F and have 24 mths to book. We have looked closely at Lloyds, but stil think 241 is better, even if we take the tax hit. But looking forward to the discussion on this topic, as it could be useful say on Aer Lingus etc…

        • You can’t use the upgrade vouchers on Aer Lingus, only BA. In that respect the restriction is exactly the same as the BAPP 2for1.

          • Mark, you seem to know about this Lloyds voucher. Do you know if it’s possible to use it on BA for ex EU flights? Or do they have to originate in the UK. like you we use our 241 to fly F. It’s so great.

        • Agreed. It is a complex trade-off and it won’t be an easy comparison to write up.

      • One benefit of going down the Lloyds route would be flexibility. The upgrade vouchers could be used separately either to upgrade two one way redemptions when travelling together or return bookings when travelling separately.

        From our perspective the BAPP voucher still wins out, not least because we tend to use them in F when we can.

  11. Off-topic – do Silver members get free seat reservations on BA for all people named in the booking, or only for themselves? Thanks.