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Iberia cuts long-haul routes and your low-tax redemption options

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Many people forget that Iberia also has Avios as its reward currency (since BA and Iberia have the same parent) and that you can transfer your Avios into Iberia Plus.

(Transfers of Avios to Iberia Plus can only be done on Iberia Plus accounts which are 90 days old and which have earned 1 Avios.)

This post looks at Reward Flight Saver options from Madrid.  This post looks at Iberia’s long haul network.

Iberia is very attractive to Avios collectors because it charges very low taxes.  As my July post pointed out, a business class ticket on Iberia from Madrid to New York is 80,000 Avios plus £89 of tax (when booked on the Iberia website).  A BA flight from London to New York in business is 80,000 Avios plus £520!  If you don’t mind buying a separate flight to Madrid, you can save a lot of money.

Iberia Plus

Unfortunately, Iberia is a financial basket-case, losing €1.7m per day.  In an attempt to restore profitability, it is taking a knife to certain routes for 2013.

Athens, Istanbul, Cairo, Santo Domingo, San Juan, Montevideo and – annoyingly – Havana are to go.

The remaining long-haul (non Europe) destinations are, I think:

  • Africa – Accra, Algiers, Casablanca, Dakar, Luanda, Malabo (Equatorial Guinea), Oran
  • North America – Chicago, Miami, New York, Boston, Los Angeles
  • South America – Bogota, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Guatemala City, Guayaquil (Ecuador), Lagos, Lima, Mexico City, Mauritania, Panama City, Quito, Rio do Janeiro, San Jose (Costa Rica), San Salvador, Santiago, Sao Paulo
  • Asia – none
  • Middle East – Tel Aviv

The better news from Iberia is that it will be rolling out its new business class seat across its A340-600 fleet and the A330’s due for delivery in 2013.  They will be a variant of the EADS Solstys seat, so will look similar to the image below:

Solstys seatThis is a massive improvement on the current seat:

Iberia Business Plus seat

(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.)

Comments (8)

  • Britbronco says:

    I have a reward booking to/from Cuba, falling either side of the date the route stops. Two separate one way bookings actually. Do you think they will just cancel the return booking or would they book me on another flight?
    I would actually prefer to fly back with Air Berlin, but have been waiting for availability. I haven’t contacted Iberia yet as I’m trying to keep my options open. The return leg is in economy and I’d rather redeem business if available.

    • Raffles says:

      IB will rebook you, hopefully. If you are lucky, it will be on a revenue ticket so should be miles earning. You might even get the direct Cuba to UK Virgin service, if that still operates. If you don’t like what they offer, there is AB as the fall back.

  • Britbronco says:

    The press release said the standard rebooking is with air Europa. My booking is just HAV – MAD, so I expect they would try to offer me this, but maybe they would allow me Air Berlin instead as an alliance partner. (I want get to either LGW or DUS)
    However I’m worried any rebooking would compromise my flexibility to cancel if two business award seats become available.

  • Mr Bridge says:

    Raffles this is a great tip.
    Are there any earn free avios promtions for iberia avios, should i transfer some amex MR, or wait for a transfer promo??

    • Raffles says:

      Havr a search through the Iberia Plus articles (see Categories on the right). Some options for crediting hotels and car rentals you don’t get with BAEC. Signing up for newsletters from online retailer gets you 125 IB Avios and ‘activates’ your account so you can, after 90 days, do transfers in and out – there is a post on if you search.

    • Britbronco22 says:

      Don’t forget you can transfer Avios held with BAEC or to Iberia using ‘combine my avios’. However your Iberia account must be open 3 months before you can use combine my avios.
      I haven’t seen a transfer promo from MR to Iberia, but there have been promos from MR to BAEC, which can then be transfered using combine my avios.

  • Raffles says:

    You can form a BA Household Account to pool your Avios. However, 2 snags. If you book the Iberia flight via BA Avios then you pay far higher taxes. You can’t use a 241 either as that can only be used on BA planes.

    Iberia allows miles and money redemptions – do a dummy booking on their site and see if you have enough Avios each for a miles and money ticket.

  • Raffles says:

    I post in the travel bit of paidtoshop. I don’t use v-flyer although I may focus on it more when VS launches its domestic services.