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.)