Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

A clever Avios trick to unlock extra Iberia business class seats

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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):

iberia-married-segments-1

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

iberia-married-segments-2

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.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

50,000 points bonus until 2nd October – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (35)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • 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?

    • xcalx says:

      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.

  • James says:

    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

        • Doug says:

          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!

    • @mkcol says:

      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 (iberiaiberia.clientes@avis.es)

      • 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 …

  • Matt J says:

    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?

    • Rob says:

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

    • Polly says:

      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.

  • Matt J says:

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

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.