Why not joining Iberia Plus cost a reader £417 – and could cost you too

Most Head for Points readers will have an avios.com account and a British Airways Executive Club account.  You really don’t have much choice, since some Avios offers (such as the generous insurance promotion currently being run by Alan Boswell) can only be credited to avios.com accounts.

Having two accounts is fine.  It isn’t much extra admin (and you should be using Award Wallet to keep track of your points balances anyway) and you can move Avios back and forth, for free, instantly, as many times as you like, using the ‘Combine My Avios’ tool on either ba.com or avios.com.

Not all HFP readers, however, will have an Iberia Plus account.

This is a mistake.

There are three reasons why:

You cannot open an Iberia Plus account at your leisure.  Well, you can, but you cannot use it.  An Iberia Plus account must be 90 days old and must have ‘earned’ 1 Avios point before you can transfer Avios points in and out.  The 1 point can come from an Amex Membership Rewards transfer, crediting a BA or oneworld flight, crediting a hotel stay etc.

Taxes and charges on Iberia redemptions are substantially lower when booked via Iberia Plus compared to British Airways Executive Club because the Iberia website does not add the same level of fuel surcharges

Availability for Iberia redemptions is better when booked via Iberia Plus compared to British Airways Executive Club

Why did a HFP reader just lose £417 because of this?

A reader contacted me this week because he and his partner had decided to visit Colombia later this year.  Whilst British Airways does not fly this route, Iberia does have a direct flight to Bogota from Madrid.

Booked via ba.com, two business class tickets on the Iberia flight cost 210,000 Avios plus £760 in taxes and charges.

Booked via iberia.com, exactly the same flights cost 210,000 Avios plus $434 (£343)

That is a saving of £417 if the reader books via iberia.com.

Except ….. he can’t.

He had never got around to opening an Iberia Plus account.  If he opens one now, he still won’t be able to transfer his Avios points across from BA for 90 days, which is September.  As he is hoping to fly in November, the chance of the seats still being available is not great.

The only advice I could give him was this:

Bite the bullet and book now via ba.com, paying the £760

Open an Iberia Plus account and work out a way of earning 1 Avios point

In 90 days, check to see if there are still business class Avios seats showing on your dates.  If there are – which is not hugely likely – he can cancel for a £70 charge and rebook via iberia.com

So, here is your task for the day.  If you don’t have an Iberia Plus account, nip over to iberia.com and open one.  At some point, work out a way of getting one Avios point into it.  By mid September, your account will be able to make transfers back and forth and you will be perfectly placed if you ever find yourself in a similar position to our reader.

Whilst Bogota may not be on your bucket list, there are plenty of other Iberia routes not served by BA.  And, on routes which both airlines serve, you can make huge savings flying Iberia. Madrid to New York in Business, for example, is just 68,000 Avios return off peak plus around £150 of taxes.

(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. TGLoyalty says:

    Also never know when another Avis deal will pop up 😉

  2. Hi, Am I right in that you can only use 241 vouchers on ba?

  3. Jason says:

    Hi, Im trying to transfer avios points directly from AVIOS to my Iberia Plus account (its been open for about 6 months..). Currently no points in my Iberia account, just trying to get the minimum 1 point into it. Avios replies `You cant use combine my avios with this account`- any thoughts? Many thanks Jason

    • I get same message also. Didn’t try to call or fix so just transferred 1,000 MR points to Iberia instead.

    • Lumma says:

      That’s the point of this article, you can’t transfer from avios or BA unless you’ve had some activity credited to Iberia from elsewhere first

      • That’s the problem, I just emptied my MR points into BAEC and I don’t drink wine so that £50 500 points is no good for me. I found some old articles from Rob about free 50 Iberia points but that ship has long sailed.

        • the real harry1 says:

          check out IB Plustore

          quite recently you could just have bought some Avios on Spanish Groupon

          plus there are other store opps to earn points from time to time

    • BigDave says:

      try an avis car rental credited to iberia…. ?

  4. George says:

    I’m trying to convert my MR points to Iberia and I get the following message: “A minimum of 1000 points is required to transfer to this Partner”. Can you not convert 1 point anymore?

    • Peter K says:

      You never could. Nectar was the only partner (I think) which allowed you to drain to the last point.

  5. Lumma says:

    I think it’s worth pointing out that if you book an Iberia express flight from the Iberia express website you don’t get avios if you credit them to BA, but you do if you credit to Iberia.

    • Julian says:

      What are you saying does not seem to be true. My BA Exec Club account is currently quite clearly showing 5 Tier points and 209 Avios earned on my Iberia Express flight (although this was also booked through ba.com) from LHR to PMI on 10/9/2016.

      However may be this is because I also booked the Iberia Express flight through ba.com using its Codeshare flight number of BA534 and not through the Iberia or Iberia Express websites using an IB flight number? The main anomaly with Iberia Express flights with BA flight number codeshares is that you can only check in for legs from Spain to the UK on the iberia. com website and not the BA one. However there is no problem checking in for Iberia Express flights from Heathrow T5 (which used to also then avoid paying for an allocated seat but probably doesn’t any more after BA also began charging extra for this benefit) on ba.com

  6. Andy S says:

    Sorry I’ve read through the comments but still can’t see how to gain just a few points. I don’t have 1000MR yet and even if I did I wouldn’t want to blow them all on iberia so what other options are there? take a flight I guess? anything less drastic? I’ve done TP runs in the past but that was to get status, not just some measley points to activate an account!

  7. I am trying to transfer points to Iberia at the moment and I get an error when I try to Log in to Iberia on the “combine my avios” section of the BA website. It says that my details dont match. However I am able to use the same details to log in directly to the Iberia website. Has this happened anybody else?

    • the real harry1 says:

      try going to Iberia and pulling the points across from BA

      • Genghis says:

        Or onto avios.com using the pull and push method?

      • I figured it out. The email address in the two accounts were different. I changed the email address in Iberia to match BA and now it works.

        • I now have another question! Am I able to transfer everything in my Family account in BA to my Iberia account? I have a specific redemption in mind but its only possible if I take all the avios in the family account?

        • Genghis says:

          IIRC you can only transfer your individual balance. A work around might be to create a household avios.com account, break that up then all the avios go to you? Not done it myself though.

        • No you can only transfer your own points. Workaround would be to form Avios.com HHA then break it up with 100% going to you, but would take a week or so to sort I’d imagine…

        • RussellH says:


          I have never had any problem sending avios from Iberia to BAEC and I use different e-mail addresses for each and every airline ([email protected] for Iberia and [email protected] for BAEC). It makes filtering e-mails into the right place so much simpler.

  8. Jonathan says:

    OT: Has anyone got any experience of the HSBC Premier travel perks (and specifically whether they view these as having any value?):

    1. Expedia Savings. Receive a 10% discount on selected hotels when booked through the HSBC Premier Card
    2. Agoda Discount. 10% discount on over 180,000 hotels booked with your HSBC Premier Credit Card.


    • As they are unlikely to stack with any other discount code or promotion, I would value them at nil – especially as bookings via Expedia and Agoda won’t earn you hotel loyalty points and you won’t get any status benefits. If you really do want to book via a third party site, use hotels.com due to the very generous Hotels.com Rewards programme.

    • I use my HSBC prem at Expedia but using the click-through from avios.com. The standard rate is 6 per £ but there was a double offer earlier in the year at 12 for £ spend. Needed to book some hotels for Japan. Think got around 80k avios.

  9. Clarence says:

    Sorry but O/T we made a 241 booking 4 months ago but will now have to cancel it. Can someone tell me What it will cost and do we get the Avios returned

    • Genghis says:

      Cancellation cost is 2 x £35 = £70. Avios, 241 and total taxes and charges – £70 refunded

      • Clarence says:

        Thanks Genghis. At least we still have the Avios to make another booking

        • JamesB says:

          Just to add, if your reservation is far out and you do not require those refunded avios in the near future you could just leave booking in place for a while in the hope a schedule change allows you to cancel free of charge. I’m doing exacgly that on a redemltion involving the 18XX connection from LHR-EDI because it almost always gets the chop in winter. This strategy might also help if you paid the flight in connection with hitting a credit card spend target because you might not want the refund going back onto a card and messing up your bonus.

        • How much of an actual schedule change allows cancellation; 10 mins / 30mins? (any other benefits if you don’t want to cancel?)

          PS I happen to be returning on a BA long haul connecting18:XX from LHR to EDI later this winter, so am curious to understand all my options – thanks

          (and why do they sell this flight if as you say it gets axed?)

        • Oh…and when is this schedule change likely to occur? Thanks!

        • Alex W says:

          That got to be PhD level points knowledge! Well done Sir!

        • Eh….no Alex. I’m assuming BA undertake schedule changes at (relatively) fixed intervals, e.g. summer/winter scheduling windows.

        • JamesB says:

          @Joe, it doesn’t get rescheduled it gets cancelled leaving a big hole in evening services from around half five until around nine IIRC. I don’t think it happened last winter but I got caught out with it the two previous winters. It might have been down to lack of competition last winter with the demise of Virgin Little Red. This winter they will have competion again but from much smaller flybe aircraft so who knows. I might be barking up the wrong tree here, perhaps they just wanted the early evening slot for something more lucrative. There seems to be no hard and fast rules about schedule changes and cancellations, 20 minutes is unlikely to do it but 30 minutes on last flight of the day, you have a train to catch etc, make your case and try your luck. I believe BA knowingly sell the 18XX LHR-EDI flight in tbe full knowledge they are likely to cancel it in winter, it’s very frustrating, nothing worse than coming off a 12h+ flight and waiting 3h at LHR for another 1h flight.

  10. JamesB says:

    Thanks for the timely reminder Rob, I’ve been procrastinating on this for years! Just signed up without a hitch and old accor business also went smoothly so far. I will report back tomorrow if my accor account zeroes out, and sometime later with an OT if the transfer was successfully completed.

    • JamesB says:

      Accor account has zeroed and I received an email from them confirming points transfer request was confirmed. As yet points have not arrived at IB+.

  11. Mummy55 says:

    You can collect points using Iberia plus card at certain petrol stations in Spain. If your not going there on holiday you could always ask someone you know who is,to help you get the 1 point to activate your account.

  12. i read this article on Saturday moments after making an avios booking with iberia. however i just couldn’t for the life of me work out how to book with avios on the iberia app… and so for ease of convenience i went via the ba app. turns out if you fly short haul in europe then it is cheaper to book via than ba than iberia for an iberia flight