Nutmeg Avios

How to open up extra Avios economy reward seats via Iberia Plus

Most of us – including myself, as I will explain – forget that Iberia Plus members have access to substantially more Economy Avios seats on Iberia flights than shows.

For the last couple of weeks I have been pondering a problem.  I had to get two people back from Lisbon within a 4-5 hour window on a fixed day.  My usual options had come to nothing:

no Avios reward seats on BA via

no Avios reward seats on Iberia via Madrid on

no well-priced low-cost airline cash tickets

no economy reward seats on BA or Iberia available via BA On Business (I don’t have enough OB points for Club Europe)

TAP Portugal did have seats but the times were not great and I don’t have many Star Alliance miles – I am protective of my Miles & More balance!  Star Alliance redemptions inside Europe are also notoriously bad value.

I had been juggling these and various other options, including using some spare Emirates Skywards miles for easyJet seats!

And then, yesterday afternoon, I suddenly remembered about Iberia Plus ‘Blue Class’ and ‘Economy Class’.

Iberia A330 350

What is the difference beween Iberia’s Blue Class and Economy Class?

Iberia splits its allocation of Avios reward seats in Economy into two buckets – ‘Blue Class’ and ‘Economy Class’.

Blue Class is an allocation of discounted Economy redemption seats, the equivalent of ‘Saver’ level seats on other airlines.  This is the availability that shows if you try to book Iberia flights on there.

What shows as ‘Economy Class’ reward availability on Iberia flights is NOT available via  You can only book them via for a 50% premium to the usual Avios price.

You must have an Iberia Plus account and using ‘Combine My Avios’ to move your points across from BA or to Iberia.

I logged into my Iberia Plus account and, voila, I could do it.  By booking ‘Economy Class’ seats I could book an Iberia flight, via Madrid, from Lisbon that was not available via

What did it cost me?

The standard price of a one-way flight from Lisbon to London via Madrid, one way in Economy, is 11,000 Avios in ‘Blue Class’ which gets you an economy seat.

If you book both legs in ‘Economy Class’ then you pay a 50% premium.  In this case it would be 16,500 Avios one way.

For the seats I wanted, only the Lisbon to Madrid leg was in ‘Economy Class’.  The longer leg was available in ‘Blue Class’.  This meant that the total cost was 13,250 Avios per person – just 2,250 more than if ‘Blue Class’ had been available all the way.

The one-way taxes were £28 per person because Iberia does not have Reward Flight Saver.

It would obviously have been a lot cheaper if I could have booked the British Airways direct flight.  That would have cost just 7,500 Avios each way plus £17.50 of tax.  Those seats were not available however.

How can this benefit you?

There are a few cases where Iberia Plus Blue Class seats could help you:

if you are looking to fly Iberia from the UK to Spain in Economy and cannot see availability on, look at as well

if you are looking to fly Iberia long-haul from Madrid and cannot see availability on, look at as well (in any case, you should ALWAYS book long-haul Iberia redemptions on instead of because you do not pay fuel surcharges)

if you are looking to fly somewhere on BA where a diversion via Madrid would not be totally stupid, and you cannot find Economy BA availability, look at Iberia Plus instead.  There are plenty of routes where this may make sense – Morocco, Portugal, Turkey, Greece, potentially Italy.  Your trip will take longer than flying direct but if you are keen to use points it may be your only option.

In this case, Iberia’s extra Economy Class availability allowed me to solve a tricky problem and saved me at least £175 in cash.

In summary ….

If you cannot find reward availability on for an economy flight which you could sensibly route via Madrid if necessary, remember to check out as well.   Those extra ‘Economy Class’ seats may be just what you need.

PS.  Remember that, in order to move Avios into an Iberia Plus account, it must be at least 90 days old.  It must also have some ‘activity’ on it.  You can get this by crediting a oneworld flight, hotel stay or car rental, moving some hotel points across, using e-rewards, moving some American Express Membership Rewards points etc.

(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.)

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  1. Are you no longer gold? A Gold Priority Reward may have been a better option.

    • I seem to remember that Raffles dropped to Silver??

      • Yes, Silver – I simply have no need to book cash tickets these days. I don’t think I earned a single tier point last year!

        • signol says:

          Apart from the LAN flight – unless that was the year before!

        • Alex W says:

          I’ll get my tiny violin out!!

        • I’ve found the HNL sale too appealing! On Maui just now, 600TP balance just a few days into new BAEC year. Will end up with 1200TP and about 45k Avios for £1,234 plus travel in biz to JFK then F thereafter 🙂

  2. Would a Gold Priority Reward not have worked?

    15,000 Avios + £17.50, which would have used an extra 1,750 Avios but saved £11 and the connection.

    Was it within 30 days?

  3. Neat trick thanks for posting, but depending on when you needed the seats a cash ticket would have been reasonably cheap and direct?

    I’m surprised no availability used it several times no issue from Lisbon always get the dates and times I want. What about Porto isn’t there a new service from there (granted means travelling from Lisbon)

    • It would have been around £280 for 2 x one-way on easyJet including a case. This was one of those instances where there was no flexibility on dates or times unfortunately.

  4. Corrine says:

    sorry OT, I’ve lost my Iberia Membership No 🙁 I have sent them 2 emails asking for them to help by sending or emailing me my number and they haven’t replied to either email. Any have any ideas what else I can do ? thank you !

    • [email protected] ?

      always gets a quick response for me

    • avidsaver says:

      Have you not received any promotional emails from Iberia recently? I’ve had several and they all carry my membership no on them. Worth a look.

    • Can’t you just use the search facility on your email provider?

    • idrive says:

      Corrine, it usually takes them a few days to reply: [email protected] if you are basic.
      I would say 7-10 days it what you have to wait.
      They will probably ask you to send a copy of your passport via fax or email together with a form with all your details!
      Otherwise try calling the UK phone line 02036843774

      • Corrine says:

        Thanks for your help! I have re-emailed both emails addresses. I’ll wait 10 days then try calling. Sadly I lost all my emails and word/excel documents, lesson learnt to back up regularly !! Slowly recovering missing bits n pieces – good way for a clearout tho lol !

        • Genghis says:

          That’s certainly an extreme way of clearing things out! Depending on what operating system you’re using, have a look at Time Machine for Mac or Windows Back up for Windows (along with use of something like DropBox).

    • If you have an awardwallet account you can find the info needed there.

  5. Mikeact says:

    Is the ‘Combine Avios’ counted as activity with Iberia Plus ?

  6. Worth pointing out that while Blue Class tickets incur a Euro 25 fee for any refunds or changes, there are no such charges for Economy Class tickets so you do get more flexibility.
    Also, if someone uses Cash+Avios regularly while booking reward ickets, Iberia offers much better value in Economy than BA site. However, because of no RFS, this does not work from London or airports with high taxes.
    For ex: for Off peak
    OSL – LHR: BA site: 2150+£44 (cost of avios – 0.80p)
    Iberia: 1950+£39.5 (cost of Avios – 0.66p)

    • how are you calculating ‘cost’ of avios?

      do you mean ‘value/ point’ vs cash airfare? – in which case, airfares are not fixed, so you might get far better value than 0.8p

      • well in this case the Off peak OSL-LHR price is 6500 Avios + £9.5 so the avios cost on this route is fixed. Ofcourse, if you take some other route then the values may change again but the point is if the taxes are less than RFS limit of £17.5, then Avios+Cash gives better deal via Iberia than BA

  7. in my case it was because I was trying to send from IB to a household a/c @ both & BAEC – you can’t do that.

    Once I split the HH a/c into singles – which only takes a couple of days – I could transfer to

    If you can’t transfer TO IB, and IB is a single a/c, this probably means your details don’t match.

    Or you’re maybe getting the IB a/c number wrong – you don’t need the ‘IB’ bit.

    • Harry-do you know if the HH had the same 6 months between changes rule as with BAEC HH accs?

      • No, sorry – only changed the HH a/c once.

        However – I do know the BAEC doesn’t really enforce the 6 month rule. I dissolved ours then set up another one a few days later.

      • Avios HH account is different to BAEC one. you can make changes (eg add or remove individuals) to BAEC HH accounts but Avios HH account is a simple in/out.

        ie individuals don’t join/leave an Avios HH account. The Household (as a whole) IS the account.

        • Thanks. Specifically my query was whether I would need to wait 6 months after opening the HH acc to dissolve it?
          I guess will give it a go and find out.

        • Don’t think so. There are notes on on how to dissolve the a/c,

          the form is not brilliant & you don’t need to fill in different a/c numbers for different members, you can give 100% to 1 member

        • That is my plan to be honest. Good way of transferring between accs but don’t want to have them tied up for 6 months…do you remember how long it took from sending in the form to the avios being reallocated?

  8. Another quirk when booking with IB is the varying award availability.

    EG last night I was looking to book some flights from MIA-MAD-LHR-LBA doing the usual check longest route first. MIA-MAD showed no IB availability in business on the date I required, however when I checked MIA-LBA business seats opened up for the MIA-MAD IB flight.

    Booked 2 x MIA-MAD business MAD-LHR-LBA econ for 53000 avios and £102 each. off peak

    • Good to know. Thanks.

    • zsalya says:

      I have had the same the other way round.
      MEX-MAD showed availability in Business (on but not
      MAD-TXL showed availability.
      But MEX-MAD-TXL showed no availability.
      I used Avios for the longhaul and paid cash for the shorthaul.

  9. george says:

    Thanks, Raffles. Where were you with this great piece last year when I ended up using double avios, flying norwegian to gatwick (yak!) and paying an arm and a leg for a BA HBO fare (only to pay more for a bag I needed to bring the last minute) when I was doing my weekly commute to Spain last summer…))

    • Genghis says:

      Is that “yak” for LGW or Norwegian? I’ve flown with Norwegian a few times and as a budget airline I think they’re rather good.

  10. Simon Schus says:

    Hi all,

    I know that cancellation rules for IB reward tickets are mentioned above. I also thought I’d chime in that the 24 hour fee/penalty-free cooling off period on reward tickets is implemented differently with IB, at least according to the Serviberia agents I spoke to last year.

    They told me that you can’t use a penalty-free 24 hour cooling period to cancel a reward seat booking after having paid for the ticket. Instead, apparently, you can phone up Iberia to hold a reward ticket for 24 hours in advance. So, if that is correct, it is a 24 hour fee-free hold rather than a 24 hour fee-free cooling off period.

    Obviously, this might differ in reality but it certainly chimed true with how I had to deal with a ticket last August.

  11. great timing as I was just looking for Avios availability for October to the Canaries and struggling. Now I just need their website to stop being down so I can actually search.

  12. Are these only available for Iberia flight numbers? I’m looking at a flight back from Athens – it’s showing cash fares on IB (for BA flight numbers), but no results for an Avios search.

  13. Chocci says:

    Slightly off track, but are the redemption seats booked on BA and Iberia Plus the same redemption seats, e.g. if we were looking for 4 seats, and booked 2 via BA (which is showing only 2 seats remaining), would there will be seats available on Iberia Plus?

    • It is the same availability for everything except Iberia Economy, where you will see a few more seats on