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Iberia launches Johannesburg for low tax South Africa redemptions

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For anyone bemoaning the lack of Avios availability on British Airways flights to South Africa, there is some good news.

Iberia has announced a new ‘three flights per week’ service from Madrid to Johannesburg from August 2016.

It will depart on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, using a new Airbus A330-300 with a two class configuration.

The 23.45 departure time is convenient if you are travelling down from London after work, with the return landing into Madrid at 6.35am – meaning you still have a chance of getting back to your desk in London before lunch!

Iberia A330 350

A return flight in Business Class is a bargain 85,000 Avios plus just €182 (£132) of tax.  Economy (blue class, ie Iberia’s cheaper redemption bucket) is 42,500 Avios plus €162.  This is off-peak pricing, which covers most of the last third of the calendar year under the Iberia Plus scheme (you can see the Iberia peak and off-peak calendar here).

You MUST book through Iberia Plus to get this pricing.  If you book via you will get a large fuel surcharge added to your ticket.  As long as your Iberia Plus account is 90 days old and has earned 1 Avios point (a transfer from Amex Membership Rewards would do it) you can use ‘Combine My Avios’ on to send them across for free.

To put this in context, a flight from London to Johannesburg on BA using Avios on an off-peak date will cost you a whopping 125,000 Avios + £523 – although, with Iberia, you need to factor in the cost of getting to Madrid.

Iberia availability is also very good – the standard two business class flights per seat are there – so you may be able to find seats for dates in early Autumn 2016 where British Airways is currently sold out.

Once in South Africa, you can book connecting flights around the region, including down to Cape Town, using Avios points on Comair, a British Airways franchise partner.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Comments (21)

  • Elan says:

    OMG! This is the best news ever. I am based in Johannesburg and have been so frustrated regarding the exorbitant taxes to fly to London on BA. This is HUGE for us – I can now plan an amazing trip to NYC through Madrid next year. Thank you so much Robin and Raffles!

  • Aliks says:

    I am looking for MAD-JNB availability on – nothing showing.
    Is this because takes some time to load the new flights?

    If you can book using, will it be possible to use the Lloyds upgrade vouchers?

    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      Don’t know about seeing availability, but to save the “fees” you’ll need to go through IB, as Rob says.

      If anyone doesn’t have an IB acount, OPEN ONE NOW!

      • Rob says:

        They are definitely bookable on (from next August, on the days of the week listed above). But, yes, you will pay £500 in tax if you book on so I don’t recommend that!

  • Colin MacKinnon says:


    Fantastic news. The end of going for a 241 next year, which I was planning because I wanted a direct-ish flight to SA. EDI-LHR-SA was better than Qatar EDI-DOH-SA, so BA was the only OW option.

    Here are the calcs.

    With BA 241 ex LHR:
    £150 for card fee
    £1196 for two “taxes and fees”
    125,000 Avios

    With IB ex-Madrid
    £246 “taxes and fees” for two
    170,000 Avios (85k x 2)

    So the differences mean:

    IB saves one £950 cash, but
    BA 241 saves 45,000 Avios

    That comes to a cost of 2.1p per saved Avios!

    Far cheaper to buy the extra through BA – or even today’s IB Groupon deal – and go IB.

    ps. For me in Scotland, the Easyjet (or even Iberia Express) flights to Madrid are far far better than going through LHR. And while you don’t spend any more Avios going BA via LHR, you still have another £30 or £40 each way for LHR fees! Almost the price of an Easyjet flight to Madrid!

  • Mikeact says:

    Excellent news at long last. I could never really get a grip on why getting to Cape Town is always pretty expensive. it just the whole world and his dog wants, or needs to go there ? It is though, a terrific holiday destination.

  • BigAl says:

    Slightly OT – Does anyone know the chances of Iberia having a Christmas/New Year redemption sale? I’m looking to book redemption flights from Madrid to Bogota for end of February. BA’s 25% redemption discount at around this time a couple of years ago was very well received but wondered if Iberia ever do the same?

  • Andy says:

    What other ways are there to earn that 1 bonus point needed?

    • Peter K says:

      Join the IB frequent flyer club and you can find partners to the airline. Wine seems to be a popular option. Car hire is another but hit and miss with bonus points being added. Have a look 🙂

    • signol says:

      Points and Miles on a Hilton booking

  • […] a lower fuel surcharges route to get Europe. [ Found tnx to head for point's announcement today:…a-redemptions/ […]

  • JamesW says:

    This seems a great deal. Its such a shame I can’t use my Avios 2-for1 voucher with Iberia. I hope this changes soon but I doubt it 🙁

    Totally off topic and jumping the gun as Raffles is bound to do an excellent article about this soon;

    A new IHG Accelerate Promotion has started. Running from Jan 1st – April 30th.

    I have platinum status (via credit card) and have only been a member for less than 1 year. Had 4 stays over the past 2 months (my only stays at IHG this year) (leisure user only) and those 4 nights earned me 2 free nights in any IHG property via the previous accelerate promotion.

    The promotion will be different depending upon your past use of the chain I would suggest.

    In summary it seems the minimum I need to do is download their app then stay twice for a combined total of three nights at two different brands of hotel to earn 31,500 points. Shouldn’t be too tricky but then I would usually choose to stay in cheaper hotels so this will encourage me to stay at IHG properties when I really wouldn’t have in the past – I still won’t pay over the odds mind you, I will be sensible about it ! I will do a bit of number crunching to decide if it’s worth it but it probably is at this low level for a decent amount of points. If things were harder or with fewer points I really wouldn’t bother.
    So…. They are achieving their goal of encouraging me to use their properties and send my business their way. As I use mostly for leisure I find my Gold status Club Carlson perks of 2-for-1 & 4-for-2 nights better value than IHG at the moment.

    Offer Details:

    Earn 31,500 total bonus points.

    Complete all of your Accelerate 2016 offers and earn 31,500 total bonus points.

    500Download the IHG® App
    Earn 500 bonus points when you download and sign in to the IHG® App. You’ll get mobile-exclusive rates, access your virtual membership card & find more ways to go further, faster. TermsDOWNLOAD THE APP

    2,000 Stay More, Earn More
    Get closer to the rewards you want when you stay 3 night(s) and earn 2,000 bonus points. TermsBOOK NOW

    2,000Book with IHG
    Book 2 stays directly through IHG and earn 2,000 bonus points. From our website, your mobile device or through our Central Reservations Office, book with us for the best rate. TermsBOOK NOW

    2,000Discover Our Brands
    Stay at 2 number of brands and get 2,000 bonus points. TermsBOOK NOW

    10,000Your Achievement Bonus
    Complete 3 of the 4 offers above and earn (an additional) 10,000 bonus points. Terms

    15,000Your Achievement Bonus
    Complete 4 of the 4 offers above and earn (an additional) 15,000 bonus points (excluding the January Bonus Offer). Terms

    • signol says:

      Often, a night in a HIX isn’t that different in price from a Travelodge.

      • JamesW says:

        That’s certainly true. One of my stays to qualify in the last accelerate promo was at a HIX for peanuts (out of town, nearish an airport !!) and I just added that on the end of a nice weekend away staying on a 2-for-1 with Club Carlson. Did it to qualify essentially but meant an extra 24hrs ‘holiday’, had a car so inconvenient location wasn’t a problem at all.