Why you should never book Avios flights on Iberia via ba.com

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Because you can book redemption flights on Iberia via ba.com, the vast majority (99%?) of British Airways Executive Club members who want an Iberia long-haul flight do it that way.  They are making an expensive mistake.

When you book a long-haul Avios redemption flight on Iberia, you actually have two options:

You can book it via ba.com – Iberia availability shows up alongside BA availability, as both airlines are in the oneworld alliance and you can use your Avios on all oneworld carriers


You can book it via iberia.com

Iberia – which has the same parent company as British Airways – also uses Avios as its loyalty currency. And, if you have an Iberia Plus account, you can freely transfer Avios back and forth from BA to Iberia using ‘Combine My Avios’.

However, there are two conditions:

You can only transfer in or out of Iberia Plus accounts which are 90 days old

You can only transfer in or out of ‘active’ Iberia Plus accounts. This means that the account has ‘earned’ an Avios directly – ie you have credited a flight, hotel or car hire to it, or done some other activity to earn an Avios. If you have an Amex card with Membership Rewards, transferring 1,000 points across may be the easiest way to ‘activate’ your account.  Buying Avios via Iberia also counts.

Why would want you want to mess about with all this? Very simple – you do not pay BA’s surcharges on Iberia redemptions when booked via Iberia Plus.

Here is an example, looking at 25th February for a one-way flight from Madrid to Santiago in Chile, a non-BA destination:

Book IB6833 from Madrid to Santiago in Business on ba.com and pay 60,000 Avios and £294 of taxes and charges

Book IB6833 from Madrid to Santiago in Business on iberia.com and pay 60,000 Avios plus £77 of taxes and charges

That is a ludicrous £217 saving – per person!  And that is just for a one-way flight.

On ba.com, the charge is mistakenly shown as £156 but when you click through to the payment page it adjusts to £294.

Note that this ONLY applies to booking Iberia flights on iberia.com. If you book a British Airways flight on iberia.com you pay the same fuel surcharges as at ba.com.

(In any event, you should NEVER book a British Airways or oneworld Avios flight at iberia.com, because it is non-refundable. Book at ba.com and you can cancel it for a £35 fee.)

This is why, if you don’t have an Iberia Plus account, you should open one. It will start the 90 day clock ticking before you can transfer in or out of it.  You can sign up to e-rewards via Iberia to earn 750 Avios in order to ‘activate’ the account.  If you don’t, you won’t be able to get an Iberia account up and running and short notice if you need one.

(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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  1. Slightly off topic but on the subject of Iberia / BA, I upgraded an economy ticket by using Iberia’s bidding system. I won the “bid” but unlike BA, was not credited with business class tier points, or additional Avios. So let that serve as a warning for anyone trying to achieve a tier point target!

  2. Iberia e-rewards link has been inactive for at least a week

  3. Paul osborn says:

    Slightly OT but, I have a points balance on IB via the economist promo and am struggling to post those back to my Avios as this option is never shown. I can transfer into IB but not away and have attempted via IB and Avios. Admittedly I haven’t tried the 1000 points mentioned above – is that the key to unlocking the account ? Any advice please as I’ve contacted IB several times with no joy.

  4. Or just contact avios live help using chat and they can do the transfer for you.

    • Paul osborn says:

      Thanks Adam. It turns out that I cannot transfer / combine IB+ with my Avios account as my Avios is a household account. I have used the Avios live chat and they were mist helpful , unlike Iberia who were useless. Fingers crossed that the firm they asked for will delete the hh account.
      Thanks again.

      • I have this problem sometimes, so what I have done is to open an account on avios.com, and transfer from IB to Avios.com to BA. It’s pretty quick and within 5/10 mins the avios are updated in your BAEC account.

  5. exitcontrol says:

    Bit of a geeky one here (and I suspect Rob has done this on purpose) , that is a mocked up picture of an Iberia plane. It’s got 3 engines!

  6. Well, that is not completely true. I am spanish and I book some Iberia mainland flights (i.e. Jerez de la Frontera – Madrid) sometimes through BA.com cause taxes and charges are cheaper than Iberia.com. That’s quite strange but it’s all about the system, sometimes it is cheaper to buy BA flights through Iberia.com too. The great thing is that we can combine our Avios through our Iberia Plus and Executive Club accounts for free.

    And by the way: what an awful picture… the correct one is –> http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/10/DC-_10_Iberia.jpg

  7. James H says:

    So, I’m looking at booking MAD-LIM-MAD in business using avios.

    On BA.com it’s 100k points and £156, and on iberia.com it’s 100k points and £160.30. Am I doing something wrong?

    • James H says:

      Ignore me.

      Note to self: read article in full next time. It increases to £516 when you go to pay! Just transferred some amex points to get my Iberia account active. Thanks!

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