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  The table will not be published until March 1st.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

  • Nick says:

    but what are the Long Haul Iberian planes like??

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    IB long-haul is excellent. They replaced sloping seats with flat years ago, and have now just about completed replacing the lie-flat with brand new (mainly by buying brand-new aircraft A330s and getting rid of/refurbishing the A340s)
    Food is good, and wine is outstanding. Try the Predro Ximenez Old Particular sweet sherry – it is not a sweet sherry, an ambrosia of a dessert wine!
    Madrid is a quiet airport!
    ps IB crews can be pretty grumpy, but I seem to hear that a lot now about BA! Must be IAG standardising across the company!

  • mark2 says:

    At first glance the lower Avios/charges flights look like a good idea (assuming that Iberia fly to where you want to go e.g. no flights to Canada). In practice, however, there are other factors to consider. In the discussion of free connecting flights from the far corners of this country it was pointed out that they rarely connect easily with the long haul flight. And what if the flight to Madrid is delayed/cancelled, although your travel insurance may cover the cost but not the inconvenience. So you may well end up with a night in Madrid at each end; which could be enjoyable but will eat into the saving. On our last long haul holiday we stayed in four hotels and two friends’ homes; I would not consider suggesting two more hotels to unpack/pack.
    Also, if you use even part of your luggage allowance for Business let alone First your case can be up to 32kg. I cannot understand the rules for European flights on Iberia, but on a low cost airline you would pay a lot in luggage charges.
    It needs careful consideration in each set of circumstances.

    • richie says:

      You should probably be looking to fly a one world airline to Madrid. Eg ba Iberia or the budget one- cant remember the name. That way they should honour your connecting flight? At least that was my understanding???. However if you were to fly Ryanair its best to arrive the day before

      • mark2 says:

        Surely one of the bases of this strategy is to split the journey and so avoid APD and charges at Heathrow, so you want to keep the flights separate. How could they honour your connecting flight if you are not there? They could give you another flight, but you may lose a day of your holiday.

        • richie says:

          Doesn’t have to be same ticket. But if you miss a one world flight because your oneworld flight was delayed you should be covered

      • Rob says:

        Vueling is not part of oneworld but is owned by IAG so I’m sure you would be OK.

  • richie says:

    Can anyone recommend a decent (avios) value Iberia long haul destination.

    • Rob says:

      Cuba, starts soon. Article next week. Costa Rica? They do all the ex Spanish colonies.

      • richie says:

        Done Cuba with tc , first and last time we flew with them. Left Gatwick and 10h later emergency landing back at Gatwick. But the country we liked. Would go back so its good to hear there’s an avios option to get there. Also lots of decent places in south America that have to be explored in sure. Lower taxes and fewer avios are always a good thing

      • Edd M says:

        Iberia have good coverage to every Spanish speaking country in South and Central America and OK coverage to Hispanic centres in the USA (eg Miami). Their short haul is poor, and I don’t trust them not to lose my luggage, but their product has improved significantly in the past years (whereas sadly BA’s appears to be declining)….

  • Luke says:

    Looking forward to the partner flights option. I could pick up a RJ flight for my April needs and hopefully be better off.

  • Mikeact says:

    Despite some great savings, maybe worth pointing out that all of July and August is Iberia Peak Period. (At least BA don’t include Tuesdays and Wednesdays)

  • Choons says:

    Is there a way of transferring points from a household account with BA to Iberia. I have a BA HH account but I can only transfer the points that are in my name to Iberia, rather than all of the other members. I could set up separate accounts for them at Iberia to transfer to but there is then the issue of all tickets being on separate PNRs and some of those would be under 14s booking separate tickets for themselves, not too mention being a bit of a faff too.

    • JQ says:

      You’ll have to set up separate accounts. I think you can book for other people from your Iberia.

      • Choons says:

        thanks, you can book for other people but the problem is that if earning from flying as a family then the earnings on Avios go to individual accounts. Was thinking about Cuba too and IB is an option but can use AB for the HHA from BA.com I guess

  • David says:

    Good value from Iberia redemptions …but slightly less attractive if you’re not going to be flying from London..more Avios and expense once the changes kick it.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, you have to factor in the cost of getting to Madrid vs a free BA connection.

      On the upside, if you are in the regions you are facing a plane change in Heathrow anyway so going via Madrid is less of an inconvenience. If you are in London it is more of a mental shift to agree to two flights when you could do it in one.

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