Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

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Most Head for Points readers will have an 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 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 or

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

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

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

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, 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

So, here is your task for the day.  If you don’t have an Iberia Plus account, nip over to 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.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 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 BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

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 BA Amex American Express card

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 Amex Gold

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

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

10,500 points bonus – 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 card

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (119)

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

  • 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!

  • Kier says:

    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 using the pull and push method?

      • Kier says:

        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.

        • Kier says:

          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 account, break that up then all the avios go to you? Not done it myself though.

          • Alan says:

            No you can only transfer your own points. Workaround would be to form 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.

  • 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.


    • Rob says:

      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 due to the very generous Rewards programme.

    • Rob says:

      I use my HSBC prem at Expedia but using the click-through from 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.

  • 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.

          • Joe says:

            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?)

          • Joe says:

            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!

          • Joe says:

            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.

  • 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+.

  • 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.

  • Paul says:

    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

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

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