Don’t panic, we are not switching to clickbait headlines for 2017! However I was struggling to find something more suitable to describe the article today.
I was updating the ‘Welcome’ page on Head for Points over Christmas. This is a page which 80% of regular readers have probably never even seen, although it is popular with first-time visitors.
Part of this page features a number of ‘Did you know?’ statements about Avios points. As I was updating it, I thought to myself that it was worth sharing in a main article, and that a Bank Holiday was as good a day as any.
(If you have read every HFP article for the last couple of years and have a good memory then nothing below will be new to you. Feel free to move on!)
Click through the links in the headlines if you want to know more about any particular statement.
So …. did you know …..?
… that the tax on Iberia redemptions is 60% lower if you transfer your Avios to Iberia Plus and book via their website?
Iberia Plus does not charge the full range of airport taxes and fuel surcharges imposed by ba.com.
Let’s look at Madrid to New York in Business Class, return. Iberia, when you book on iberia.com, will charge £159.
A BA redemption from London to New York (via ba.com on a BA plane) on the same route in Club World costs £502 in taxes and charges! That is, by any stretch, a big difference. It makes it well worth heading to Madrid to start your trip if you are price conscious.
More interestingly, if you try to book the Iberia Madrid to New York flight on ba.com using BA Avios, it will charge you £361 of taxes! This is for the SAME Iberia flight which costs only £159 of tax on iberia.com using Iberia Avios.
The Iberia Plus chart is in this article. It is ALMOST the same as the BA chart, but not quite.
The difference is most pronounced in Band 5. Business Class flights on Iberia to Band 5 (which includes New York) are 68,000 Avios return off-peak and 100,000 Avios peak. British Airways redemptions in Band 5 are 100,000 Avios return off-peak and 120,000 Avios peak.
Would you buy a separate ticket to Madrid if you could use 68,000 Avios and £159 of tax to fly to New York on Iberia compared with 100,000 Avios and £502 on tax with BA from London?
… that British Airways and Iberia have different off-peak dates which leads to arbitrage opportunities?
British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus do NOT share the same table of peak and off-peak dates, especially around half-term school holidays in the UK.
This means that New York in Business Class can be as low as 68,000 Avios return from Madrid (on an off-peak date) on the same day that BA wants 120,000 Avios return from London (because BA treats it as a peak day).
… that you can earn Avios when you fly on Emirates as long as you book a Qantas codeshare service?
I got my wife to test this out and it works fine as the article shows.
… that you can earn Avios when you fly United Airlines – even though it is a Star Alliance member – by crediting your flights to Aer Lingus AerClub?
I genuinely expected this feature to go away when AerClub was launched a few weeks ago but, for now, it is still there.
… that there is more Avios availability on Iberia flights if you move your points to Iberia Plus and book from there?
It isn’t clear why this is the case, but it is. Don’t rely on what ba.com shows you if you want seats on Iberia.
… that you can fly to the US or Middle East on airberlin in Business, with free chauffeur transfers on Middle East routes, for 75,000 Avios and £75 tax return?
The end appears to be nigh for airberlin, as I will discuss in an article later this week. For now, however, it is a great low cost redemption if you are Avios rich and cash poor. Here is Anika’s review of New York to Berlin in Business Class last Summer. The Middle East route is so cheap because the flight is just under 3,000 miles and so falls into a cheaper Avios pricing zone than a flight from London.
As of last month, you can finally book Aer Lingus redemptions online via avios.com. There is some jiggery pokery going on with the taxes, however. If you keep your Avios in British Airways Executive Club and ring them to book – it can’t be done online – you will pay a lot less.
Make sure you read Head for Points regularly if you want to keep up to speed with tips like these.