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Why you should NEVER book Avios flights on Iberia via the site

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If you are looking to redeem for Avios points for flights to South America, you may end up redeeming on BA’s sister airline Iberia.   With its flat bed seating now in place and new aircraft coming on stream, Iberia is a perfectly good option these days.  The only downside is that you cannot use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher on Iberia.

Iberia A330 350

Iberia – which has the same parent company as British Airways – also uses Avios as its loyalty currency. And, if you have an Iberia Plus account, you can freely transfer Avios back and forth from BA to Iberia using ‘Combine My Avios’.

When you book an Avios reward flight on Iberia, you have two options:

You can book it via – Iberia availability shows up alongside BA availability, as both airlines are in the oneworld alliance and you can use your Avios on all oneworld carriers


You can book it via

However, if you want to move your Avios to Iberia to book on, there are two conditions:

You can only transfer in or out of Iberia Plus accounts which are 90 days old

You can only transfer in or out of ‘active’ Iberia Plus accounts. This means that the account has ‘earned’ an Avios directly – ie you have credited a flight, hotel or car hire to it, or done some other activity to earn an Avios.  If you have an Amex card with Membership Rewards, transferring 1,000 points across may be the easiest way to ‘activate’ your account.

Why would want you want to mess about with all this? Very simple – you do not pay fuel surcharges on Iberia redemptions using Avios when booked via Iberia Plus.  You DO pay surcharges when booking via

Here is an example, looking at a return Avios redemption between Madrid and Montevideo:

Book Madrid – Montevideo – Madrid in Business on and pay 102,000 Avios and £462 of taxes on off-peak dates next February

Book Madrid – Montevideo – Madrid in Business on and pay 102,000 Avios plus £171 of taxes for the same dates

That is a ludicrous £291 saving per person!

Note that this ONLY applies to booking Iberia flights on If you book a British Airways flight on, you pay the same fuel surcharges as at  In any event, you should NEVER book a British Airways or oneworld Avios flight at, because it is non-refundable. Book at and you can cancel it for a £35 fee.

Be careful to ensure your luggage is checked through

My example flights are ticketed from Madrid without a London connection on the same ticket.  This is to save Air Passenger Duty.  If your flight was ticketed as London – Madrid – Montevideo then you would be charged an extra £150+ in UK Government Air Passenger Duty for long haul business class.  Booking London – Madrid on a separate ticket means that you only pay short haul Air Passenger Duty and even that is wrapped into the £35 Reward Flight Saver fee.

You should look to book your Heathrow to Madrid flight on Iberia if starting in London as that maximises your chances of the check-in staff at Heathrow checking through your baggage.  Under the new rules, BA will no longer check through baggage when flights are on separate tickets on different airlines.

Iberia also has better availability for its own members

There is one other reason why you should book Iberia redemptions at and not  As I showed in this article, Iberia Plus has far better business reward availability than is offered to BA and other partner airlines.

This is why, if you don’t have an Iberia Plus account, you should open one. It will start the 90 day clock ticking before you can transfer in or out of it. If you don’t, you won’t be able to get an Iberia account up and running and short notice if you need one.

(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 (60)

  • rams1981 says:

    OT balls! Virgin change their account numbers for you when your status changes it seems. So I’ve done an AMEX transfer to an old account number. Anyone done this before, will it matter?

    • Rob says:

      Doesn’t matter.

      • rams1981 says:


        • David2910 says:

          OT. Virgin credit cards: took out both black and white versions for myself and partner in recent deal. Hit the min spends for the 35k bonus combined each. Will can the white cards now. Question: is it worth cancelling the black cards (even with the sign up fee sunk)? Ie is there the six month grace like amex issued cards after which sign up bonus is available again? Or is this a one sign up bonus per lifetime card? Related query: is there seasonality for sign up bonuses? (So I shouldn’t can it until six months prior to likely bonus time). From reading all Raffles’ recent posts it looks like MBNA may be completely off the sign up bonus bandwagon.

          OT2: anyone see on IB recently the 20k avios sign up for swiss credit card ‘cornercard’? Couldn’t see anything on the t&c about domicile requirements. Noting that at 220CHF fee it’s marginal today anyway at something like 84ppa (despite seemingly no spend minimum) but I haven’t seen anything on here or FT about it. Just putting it out there? An easier, meaningful batch of avios perhaps then some of the other options at that rate. (And not many CC options generally available these days)

          • David2910 says:

            OK i just noticed that the cornercard Iberia 20k (double) bonus ended Friday, so I’m slightly behind the times. But there were other options on their website if I recall correctly for I think a BA card. And in any case the double bonus might come up again down the line

          • Rob says:

            Cornercard was for Swiss residents only

          • Genghis says:

            I’d keep the black cards open for remainder of year as sunk cost. You never know you might actually use them again. Unless it leaves too much unused credit or you’d like it elsewhere? There’s no real possibility of churning MBNA issued cards. There are reports of cancelling and getting a bonus a few years later on reapplication but these are few and far between.

          • Louise says:

            I cancelled a black and then reapplied two months later with a Gatwick clubhouse signup offer of 32,000 on first spend and got the points!

  • Guy says:

    OT – if you hold Amex Plat can you refer someone for Amex Gold?
    If so how? I thought I’d seen a link before, but can’t seem to find one. It’s driving me mad, I’m 95% sure I’d seen it – or am I imagining things?

    • Andrew* says:

      Pretty sure you can – but it comes through as plat recommendation and they can scroll down to select gold…

      • roberto says:

        This is correct.

        • Liz says:

          Yes just done it for a friend – we are platinum and he got a platinum referral – told him to apply for gold and we got the 9k pts at the weekend.

    • mark2 says:

      I have just done this the other way round.
      You used to be able to choose the card on the referral, but it has been improved.
      The email or link will go to the application for the same card that you hold. In the top right hand corner it says ‘Apply for a different card’ and gives them the choice,

  • Guy says:

    Thanks – that’s helpful

  • Paul L says:

    Hi, sligtly OT here but would appreciate so,e guidance.

    Took a return fllight LHR ORD in business on BA. However travel agent booked it under IB flight code thus using my iberia plus number they had stored. Didnt realise until after flight when points got credited to iberia plus. BA have been v helpful and will gladly reallocate when they receive confo floght has been removed from IB. BA rep said this is possible and have encountered this before when a flight has accidentally beem credited to another scheme. Here is the problem. Iberia are tough to communicate with. They say it is not possible to delete or remove a flight once i have flown it and points have posted. They gave me an email and had no response in 3 weeks. So i thought of closing my account. Again they say this must be through the email. Would appreciate if someone has encountered this before or simply closed their account. The IB reps couldnt even do this apparently. Thanks.

    • Aliks says:

      I made a similar mistake with a Qatar flight. The first leg had not credited a week after I had flown the outbound leg Oslo to Singapore. I logged on to investigate and noticed the Qatar flights had been credited to my Qatar Qmiles account. Disaster – as these were the tier points that would take me to Gold/Emerald status.

      I quickly corrected the details for the return leg from Sydney to Oslo and fired off an email to the Qatar people asking them to cancel the QMiles. I had read stories online about points being undeletable, but to my surprise Qatar zeroed my account almost immediately.

      Next step was to contact BA and make a “missing miles” request. They took a week or so, but came through with all the Avios and tier points correctly allocated.

  • harry says:

    nice story bro

    try using [email protected] (and no doubt ‘oro’) – people say they got better comms with facebook & twitter

    can’t see why you want to close your IB a/c, you surely just want the points in the right place

    email the bosses if all else fails

    • Paul L says:

      Appreciate quick reply. Yeah i thought closing as a last resort just simply to ‘cancel off’ the flights. Then reopen one. Will try that email and also put in a complaints where i can track it. Will give it a couple of weeks then will try again and persevere.

      • Genghis says:

        I don’t think closing the account would ‘cancel off’ the flight.

        • Paul L says:

          BA gold line also trying to assist and seeing if their back office can help. Keep you all posted. What they can do is transfer from ba to ib instantly and reverse (the avios) no need for middle man just need to ring up…

          • Paul L says:

            * reread above appears you cando this online anyhow.

          • harry says:

            I assumed you wanted the tier points

            not at all difficult to transfer the Avios for yourself

          • Paul L says:

            Correct! Tier year just reset…Avios was incorrect amount anyway due to no gold bonus etc.

  • Fenny says:

    Just looking at IB redemptions to Vancouver. This may well be the best way to use my Avios stash. Far better deal than on BA.

    • Jonny says:

      didn’t realise IB flew to Canada – or is this an IB redemption via LHR, for fewer Avios?!

      • Fenny says:

        They fly Madrid > Vancouver via LHR and do avios redemptions. I’m sure there are other routes, but that one works for what I want, because the taxes are lower. A business redemption is much cheaper than BA.

  • Ian says:

    Why are BA Avios bookings (or other oneworld Avios bookings, but BA especially) nonrefundable with Iberia? That seems like a crazy strict policy that is not in line with its partners or competitors…

    • Rob says:

      Why is New York 68k when BA charges 100k off peak? Why are there no fuel surcharges? Win some, lose some!