Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Avios changes 7: big Avios savings (up to 43%) on long-haul when you redeem on Iberia

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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

Key link: ‘Club Changes’ page on ba.com, ‘Club Changes’ page on iberia.com

Here are the other articles in this series you may have missed:

1. Understanding the new tier point rules

2. Understanding the new earning rates

3. Understanding the new spending rates

4. What is an Avios point worth now?

5. Exploiting the ‘no repricing on date changes’ rule

6. Why are off-peak upgrades now more expensive than peak?

8. Partner redemptions may be cheaper if booked on iberia.com

9. What will happen to airline partner earning rates?

10. Are you a winner or a loser overall?

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.

Full details of the changes to the Iberia scheme can be found here.  In summary:

  • 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  The table will not be published until March 1st.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.  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.

If BA and Iberia fly to the same long-haul city, is it worth redeeming on Iberia via iberia.com?

Oh yes. 

Here is the Avios redemption table for Iberia:

Iberia chart PNG 2

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.

Click for the next article – Partner redemptions may be cheaper if booked on iberia.com


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

30,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital on Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (76)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • john says:

    Time to activate an Iberia account!

  • avidsaver says:

    Do we know if Iberia will also be opening up a minimum number of redemption seats like BA?

    • avidsaver says:

      Answer is yes! Just found the info!

      • Rob says:

        I saw a reference to ‘1 million more seats’ but I couldn’t find any ‘we promise x seats per flight’ guarantee.

        • avidsaver says:

          Under FAQ (“Using Avios” last question) they confirm that all flights both peak and off peak will have redemption seats. By the way, thanks Rob for covering all these changes so well -very much appreciated!

    • Phillip says:

      Iberia currently releases a good 4 seats on many of its US routes.

  • Danksy says:

    If the difference remains it’s hardly worthwhile holding 241 vouchers on BA!

  • erico1875 says:

    Brilliant info Raffles.
    I dont think the sky is falling in on point collecting as first thought. We may just need to shift strategies slightly.
    RFS availability for July is excellent at the moment too.

  • JQ says:

    Any household account or similar with Iberia?

    • Rob says:

      No.

      • Mark says:

        Perhaps not as big an issue if transferring what you need from BA for occasional iberia bookings… Just need enough in one person’s account for that particular booking. Strategic balance moves prior to booking anything with BA may help to distribute your avios in a way that makes it easier.

  • xcalx says:

    “Some partner flights will be a better deal if booked via iberia.com. I will return to this topic in another article”

    Apart from the main drawback of Partner bookings being non refundable another drawback with booking partner flights with IB is that you must book return flights.
    as per the TCs

    “Tickets that contain a journey on any oneworld company should be return flights with the same origin/final destination”

    Still a great deal if you do require return flights.

    • Rob says:

      All true. But most of us do come back to the same destination. Whether or not you consider the saving (20%-ish) to be worth losing the ability to cancel is a different matter as I will show tomorrow.

    • Jason says:

      Can you fly to the same one world destinations?
      Also, calendars seem to be playing up on my iPad since latest software update. Almost as if it’s using the US way of showing the date. Had the different problem on Kaligo yesterday trying to book, 28 feb 15 to 1st March 15, which kept coming up 29th feb 2016, although the booking went through on the correct dates at the end of this month.

    • Mark says:

      That wording doesn’t necessarily exclude open jaw bookings, though such a technicality is meaningless if you can’t actually book them.

      Can you?

  • James67 says:

    Rob, any thoughts as to the likelihood of IAG scrapping the ability to transfer avios between programs, and implications of an AGL sell off? Even if they did, presumably we would have some notice anyway. Also, any idea how long MBNAs contract with BA has yet to run?

    • Rob says:

      Not impossible but I doubt it is a top priority, if at all. I think the MBNA deal lasts as long as the massive pile of BMI miles they bought takes to be used up!

      • Waribai says:

        Did MBNA buy the remaining BMI miles? I thought that BA acquired all liabilities as part of the deal?

        • Rob says:

          My understanding is that MBNA had committed to buying a huge slug of miles and is still working through them. This is the norm for these sort of deals in the airline industry.

  • Daniel says:

    I’m struggling to find what the new bands align to – looking at http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/1527161-selecting-redemption-destinations-edges-pricing-bands.html doesn’t seem to match up e.g. goes up to band 9, whereas the new pricing goes up to band 7

    • Mikeact says:

      I see what you mean…Iberia only shows Zones 1-7 , but flights taken on BA show Zones 1-9, (on Iberias site).
      Where is Iberias missing 8 and 9 ?
      Do you have to call for a special Avios redemption if you want to go ‘Down Under’ ?
      Bit strange.

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