A clever Avios trick to unlock extra Iberia business class seats

I wrote an article last year pointing out that Iberia has better business class reward availability via its own website than you can book via ba.com.

Coupled with the fact that you pay lower taxes on Iberia redemptions when booked via iberia.com vs ba.com, it is a no-brainer to book your Iberia redemptions on their own website.

Luckily it is fairly easy to do this:

You need to have an ACTIVE Iberia Plus account.  This means that it must be 90 days old and have ‘earned’ 1 Avios point.  Transferring 1,000 Amex points, or crediting a BA flight, hotel stay, car rental etc is the easiest way to do this.

You can then use ‘Combine My Avios’ on ba.com to move your Avios points over to Iberia to book.  The transfer is free and instant.

If you get an error message on ba.com, do the transfer from avios.com.  Log into your avios.com account, do ‘Combine My Avios’ from ba.com to avios.com and then do a second transaction from avios.com to iberia.com.  This will work 99% of the time.

As I said, Iberia has better business class availability on its own website than it makes available via ba.com.  However, there is a little trick you can use to make Iberia’s business class availability even better.


Unlike BA, Iberia applies ‘married segment’ logic to its reward availability.  This means that it holds back a proportion of its reward seats for people who are connecting via Madrid and not starting their trip there.

In simple English:

You will often see better Iberia reward availability if you search for a city beyond Madrid.

Here is an example:

New York to Madrid on 25th April – there is no reward availability in Business Class on the two daily Iberia flights (click to enlarge):


However, let’s search for New York to Jerez, via Madrid, on 25th April.  Business Class reward seats are suddenly available!


Taking advantage of this is not easy, of course:

It only makes sense when travelling TO Europe.  I doubt anyone would want to fly UK to Jerez to Madrid to New York.

It only works if you are travelling with hand baggage since you will probably be getting off the plane in Madrid and picking up a flight back to the UK.  If you had checked bags, they would be sent through to Jerez (or wherever) which is not what you want.

You will be paying a few extra Avios for the trip because you need to pay for the leg to Jerez or wherever you choose – although the Iberia website lets you book this into Economy which keeps the cost down.

That said, this is still a clever little trick to keep up your sleeve if award availability looks tight.

(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.)

Great business deals (Avios earning) with Qatar - eg Auckland £1440, Tokyo £1193, Bangkok £874
Bits: Caffe Nero rewards double dip, bargain redemptions at the DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur
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  1. Matthew says:

    I had the same with UIO-MAD no business availability but as soon as I added London to connect it showed up two for UIO-MAD-LHR which was perfect!

  2. won’t you get into trouble for not taking the final flight ?

    • Mikeact says:

      This is an old chestnut that has been discussed for years, the short answer is no.

      • Generally I wouldn’t advise it on paid tickets but this is a redemption so lower risk.

  3. “It only works if you are travelling with hand baggage since you will probably be getting off the plane in Madrid and picking up a flight back to the UK.”

    Or just book to the UK. I have done this a few times. added MAD-LHR-LBA to the MIA-MAD flight bags checked through to LBA

  4. Gibbooo says:


    Morning Rob, morning all, wife and I have tried to claim the 1000 avios compensation (BOB change) through the link you provided. Both have had a reply : sorry we are unable to help you. Please contact you executive club number.

    Any clues??

    Thanks 🙂

  5. BrianDT says:

    Two more OT’s, same subject.

  6. “It only works if you are travelling with hand baggage since you will probably be getting off the plane in Madrid and picking up a flight back to the UK.”
    You could just ask for your luggage to be checked throughout to Madrid only.

    • Too risky. I had a massive fight with Thai years ago about short checking bags and BA has told agents not to do it.

      • Got caught on this last year, flying BOS-LHR-MAN (an AA award flight, thanks Rob 🙂
        I wanted to skip the last leg to try the new AA Arrivals lounge in T3 but staff in BOS absolutely refused to short check the bags. I was devastated!

        • PalCsaky says:

          What would happen if you just asked in the arrivals for your bag because you decided not to fly onwards to Manchester?

        • It would already be on the other plane. Would take a long time to get it back.

  7. Or choose to start & finish somewhere not too far out the way which has good connectivity to many UK airports, such as BCN?

  8. Interesting. I’m actually looking to book Boston to Malaga via Madrid in May, so this could make it easier to get the business redemption I want. There’s availability now on the flight I want but I need to wait for the next Tesco points to come through.

  9. Harebell says:

    Was on Iberia site the am and discovered the forward booking date is only 11 months not the 355 days at BA. So you have to wait till almost Feb to book seat to LATAM. Irritating when you can see availability on the BA site- is there any way round this?

    • No, It’s a matter of watch and wait until the flight becomes available on IB. I was watching for a LAX-MAD award flight for a certain date, kept seeing the awards around my date vanish meaning someone had booked through BA unbelievable given the huge tax difference ( obviously not HfP readers) thankfully my date survived till available on IB.

  10. OT. Speaking of Iberia has anyone who did the Avis rentals for the Iberia bonus seen their points credit their IB Plus account yet? Mine has seen the base points credited but not the bonus.

    • Harebell says:

      Mine Posted base only too so I moaned and got the rest 24 hrs later

      • BigDave says:

        who did you moan to? please let me know as I tried the online request for and it does not recognise my rental contract number

        • bump! this is a problem of HFP, gotta chase this subject daily in comments haha, need to write a script to check for “avis” in all comments now…

        • Harebell says:

          Just the uk Avis help desk – I had all my data and they were- eventually-after a bit of assertive conversation- prepared to dig on the Spanish site- I think it helped we both could read Spanish tho…

      • the real harry1 says:

        you’re the first one here who managed it

        did you pay with Amex?

        • the real harry1 says:

          can’t see the rest of you getting them 🙂

          no double dipping allowed, you got 5% discount with your Amex card & should be happy with that – you had a lovely wee rental car for the weekend, only cost you £50!

        • Genghis says:

          That sat on the drive? 🙂

        • the real harry1 says:

          I hope they all get’em!

          can’t see it happening, though

        • Harebell says:

          I don’t think online support is much good- try to speak to someone European !

    • Yep had them all come through last week.

    • BigDave says:

      I tried the avis uk customer service email, and have sent the same email in spanish to the spanish one ([email protected])

      • BigDave says:

        Can confirm that my 18,700 fully posted ok today! woo-hoo!
        best car hire experience ever… Rob I promise to stop hijacking your posts with my referral codes …

  11. OT: over at the Guardian, another example of exemplary BA CS:

  12. O/T re BA PP

    How many Companion Vouchers is it possible to earn in a year? I assumed only one, but it looks as though I’m going to earn a second one:

    10th Feb 2016: was referred and received for BAPP
    30th July 2016: earned Companion Voucher having spent £10k (quicker than usual, thanks to Curve….) Downgraded to BA blue, received c.£80 of the pro-rate fee back.
    Dec 2016: redeemed CV (2 seats in J to KIN for October 2017 (half term))

    I’ve continued to spend a reasonable amount on the BA blue, however my account promises me a further CV if I will have spent £20k by 10th Feb 2017 – but that seems to include the Feb – July £10k which already spent to earnt the first CV ! Is this normal, or some kind of glitch?

    • IT error, you are NOT getting a 2nd voucher.

    • Hi Matt,

      We thought the same two yrs ago. Doesn’t happen! Quite misleading as it does say,,keep spending to earn your voucher. So best you refer your OH today to get both bonus and repeat process, to earn your new qualifying 241 voucher.

  13. ok, thanks both for confirming. thought it might be too good to be true!