If you collect Avios points via your hotel stays, there are two hotel schemes which let you earn in Iberia Plus and British Airways, but where Iberia Plus is more lucrative.
The origins of this date back to when British Airways and Iberia had their own totally separate loyalty currencies. It made no difference if one scheme got a better deal than the other because you could not switch your points over. Since Avios became the currency for both schemes in 2011, most of these arbitrages have gone – but a couple still remain.
Here are the two chains you need to remember:
Hilton Group (Hilton, Conrad, Waldorf-Astoria, DoubleTree, Hampton etc)
You need to be a member of Hilton HHonors to collect Avios from your stays. You need to set your Hilton account to ‘Hilton HHonors points + airline miles’, which will give you 10 Hilton HHonors points per $1 plus some miles. The alternative earning option is to take 15 Hilton HHonors points per $1 and no miles.
When you choose to earn some Avios, as you can check here, you earn:
In British Airways Executive Club – 1 Avios per $1 spent
In Iberia Plus – 15 Avios per $10 spent
Subject to a small rounding error to get you to the nearest $10, you are 50% better off crediting your stay to Iberia Plus and moving your Avios points to avios.com or British Airways Executive Club using ‘Combine My Avios’.
(Note that Hilton caps the number of Iberia Plus Avios you can earn at 1,000 Avios points per stay as I discussed in this article. The BA cap is 10,000 Avios. If you are planning a stay costing more than $650 you should bear this in mind.)
You can beat both of these rates by crediting your stays to Virgin Atlantic and earning 2 miles per £1, but that is a different article!
Le Club Accorhotels (Novotel, Sofitel, Mercure, Ibis, M Gallery etc)
The arbitrage here only works when converting Le Club points into Avios points.
It is also easier to convert your points to Iberia Plus Avios points. The minimum conversion if you send them to BA is 4,000 Accor points whilst the minimum Iberia conversion is just 3,000 points.
But beware of promotions!
Before you unilaterally decide to send all of your Hilton and Accor points to Iberia, remember to account for promotions. Hilton runs a lot of special promotions with British Airways Executive Club – it does very little with Iberia.
The current Hilton offer, which runs until April 30th, gives you 1500 bonus Avios on your next stay and 2000 bonus Avios on your 2nd stay after registering. Unless you are spending a huge amount in the hotel, this will make the BA earning option (1 per $1) more lucrative overall than Iberia’s 15 per $10.
The other thing to remember about Iberia Plus is that your account needs to be open for 90 days before you can move your points across to British Airways. If you need the Avios points immediately and you do not already have an Iberia account, you would need to send them to BA and take the hit for the difference.
(Want to earn more hotel points? To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)