I wrote an article last year pointing out that Iberia has better business class reward availability via its own website than you can book via ba.com.
Coupled with the fact that you pay lower taxes on Iberia redemptions when booked via iberia.com vs ba.com, it is a no-brainer to book your Iberia redemptions on their own website.
Luckily it is fairly easy to do this:
You need to have an ACTIVE Iberia Plus account. This means that it must be 90 days old and have ‘earned’ 1 Avios point. Transferring 1,000 Amex points, or crediting a BA flight, hotel stay, car rental etc is the easiest way to do this.
You can then use ‘Combine My Avios’ on ba.com to move your Avios points over to Iberia to book. The transfer is free and instant.
If you get an error message on ba.com, do the transfer from avios.com. Log into your avios.com account, do ‘Combine My Avios’ from ba.com to avios.com and then do a second transaction from avios.com to iberia.com. This will work 99% of the time.
As I said, Iberia has better business class availability on its own website than it makes available via ba.com. However, there is a little trick you can use to make Iberia’s business class availability even better.
Unlike BA, Iberia applies ‘married segment’ logic to its reward availability. This means that it holds back a proportion of its reward seats for people who are connecting via Madrid and not starting their trip there.
In simple English:
You will often see better Iberia reward availability if you search for a city beyond Madrid.
Here is an example:
New York to Madrid on 25th April – there is no reward availability in Business Class on the two daily Iberia flights (click to enlarge):
However, let’s search for New York to Jerez, via Madrid, on 25th April. Business Class reward seats are suddenly available!
Taking advantage of this is not easy, of course:
It only makes sense when travelling TO Europe. I doubt anyone would want to fly UK to Jerez to Madrid to New York.
It only works if you are travelling with hand baggage since you will probably be getting off the plane in Madrid and picking up a flight back to the UK. If you had checked bags, they would be sent through to Jerez (or wherever) which is not what you want.
You will be paying a few extra Avios for the trip because you need to pay for the leg to Jerez or wherever you choose – although the Iberia website lets you book this into Economy which keeps the cost down.
That said, this is still a clever little trick to keep up your sleeve if award availability looks tight.