Executive summary: post April 28th, you can make SUBSTANTIAL business class savings to certain cities, especially on some BA peak dates, by redeeming your Avios on Iberia via Iberia Plus rather than on British Airways
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Here are the other articles in this series you may have missed:
British Airways Executive Club and avios.com are not the only programmes undergoing substantial change. Iberia Plus, which also uses Avios as its currency, is changing too.
As usual with Iberia, it is doing things in a different way. This opens up some interesting arbitrage opportunities for you.
- the changes start on March 1st, two months before the BAEC changes take place, for miles earning and from April 1st for miles redeeming
- Iberia will move to a similar peak and off-peak redemption structure but with different peak dates
- Iberia will adopt a different reward chart to BAEC and avios.com
For tickets bought after March 1st and credited to Iberia Plus, Avios earning will have the same structure as British Airways Executive Club, eg 250% of miles flown for flexible Business Class ticket and a 50% bonus for a mid-tier member.
What we do NOT know yet is how many ‘Elite Points’ you will get for each flight. The table will not be published until March 1st. It might turn out that you can earn status more quickly by crediting British Airways flights to Iberia Plus. I will look into this further when we know more about their Elite Points structure.
Is it worth redeeming for British Airways flights via iberia.com?
No. This PDF document shows the redemption rates for BA flights booked via Iberia. The redemption rates and the table of peak dates are the same as those used by British Airways Executive Club.
Add in the fact that BA redemptions booked via Iberia are non-refundable and non-changeable and there is no reason at all to use Iberia Plus to redeem on British Airways.
PS. Here is a handy tip – the PDF document above shows the BA peak dates for January to March 2016. This information is not on ba.com.
If both BA and Iberia fly to the same long-haul city, is it worth redeeming on Iberia via iberia.com?
Oh yes. Big time.
Here is the Avios redemption table for Iberia:
Let’s take a look at New York as a typical Iberia long-haul route which is also served by British Airways. New York is Zone 5.
This is what a return business class redemption will cost:
British Airways flight: 120,000 Avios + £508 at peak, 100,000 Avios + £508 at off-peak
Iberia flight: 100,000 Avios + £137 (€183) at peak, 68,000 Avios + £137 (€183) at off-peak
Wow. Big difference. You can save 32,000 Avios and £371 in charges by getting yourself to Madrid (for cash or Avios) to connect.
It can be even crazier though. BA and Iberia have different definitions of ‘peak’ and ‘off peak’. Let’s say you want to fly to New York for October 15th – October 19th which is half-term for UK state schools. These are peak days with BA, requiring 120,000 Avios + £508. Iberia Plus treats those as off-peak days, however, so you only pay 68,000 Avios + £137. That is a huge difference – you save 52,000 Avios (43%) and £371 per person with Iberia!
Taking Los Angeles as another example, a business class Iberia reward will be 85,000 or 125,000 Avios depending on season. British Airways will charge 125,000 or 150,000 Avios – and the taxes will be £300 more expensive. Would you buy a ticket to Madrid in order to save £370 and 25,000 – 65,000 Avios per person?
A key feature of Head for Points after April 28th will be a calendar comparing peak and off-peak dates with BA and Iberia!
Remember that Iberia is starting flights from Manchester and Edinburgh to Madrid this year which will give those in the regions an easy option for connecting.
Booking partner airlines via Iberia Plus may also be cheaper – but will be non-refundable
British Airways will be using the ‘peak’ part of the BA reward chart for redemptions on partner airlines such as airberlin.
Iberia, to confuse matters, will be using a totally different chart which is in the PDF document above.