Iberia, BA’s sister airline, has announced a new route between Madrid and San Francisco for Summer 2018.
This is an opportunity to redeem Avios on a route where it can be tricky to find seats, and where you will often need fewer Avios and pay lower taxes than if you flew from London on British Airways.
Here are the details:
Flights launch on 25th April and end on 28th September
Flights depart on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
Iberia’s business class is good ….
A couple of weeks ago I reviewed Iberia’s long-haul business class seat, albeit on the short hop from London to Madrid. (Iberia occasionally runs a long-haul plane on this route for cargo reasons.)
Suffice it to say that the 1-2-1 seating, all with direct aisle access, is very impressive and far better than British Airways Club World.
Of course, you need to get yourself to Madrid to connect. However, if you live outside London this is no more difficult than connecting in Heathrow for the British Airways service. The only snag is the 12.25 departure time from Madrid which may make it a tight connection unless you want to stay in Spain the night before.
Redeeming Avios for this route
Business class redemptions on Iberia to the US are better value, off peak, than redemptions on British Airways.
New York is the prime example of this. Off peak – and Iberia’s off-peak dates are here (click), they are different to BA’s off-peak dates – Madrid to New York in Business Class is only 68,000 Avios return!
San Francisco is not that cheap, but it is good value.
Off peak, an Avios redemption is 102,000 Avios plus £370 of taxes and charges.
On peak dates, you will pay 150,000 Avios plus £370 of taxes and charges.
This compares with 125,000 Avios off-peak and 150,000 Avios peak, plus £574 of taxes, with BA from London.
You must book your connecting flight between the UK and Madrid separately. Adding it to your Iberia booking will cause the taxes to shoot up as you will be paying long-haul premium class UK Air Passenger Duty.
Something weird is happening with taxes though
Historically, Iberia redemptions were substantially cheaper – in terms of taxes and charges – when booked at iberia.com using Iberia Plus Avios.
This is not the case here.
This is not normal. For example, I checked the taxes on Iberia’s Madrid to New York route and they came out at €179 return, in business class, when booked at iberia.com. The identical flight, booked on ba.com, was £369.
I would have expected the taxes on Iberia San Francisco flight to be similar to New York, at around £150 – £175. £369 is high.
So …. it is possible that either:
Iberia has made a mistake and is charging too much in taxes on its own website, or
This is a new strategy, equalising taxes across the Iberia and BA websites, and we will see all other routes brought in line
We can only wait to see which it is.
Business Class Avios redemptions seem to be limited to one seat on most dates although I did see two here and there. More seats may open up when Iberia gets a feel for how the flights are selling.
This new Iberia route offers a good way to get to San Francisco in a good quality business class seat for fewer Avios and lower taxes than flying British Airways.
Although, of course, you need to get to Madrid first.
The taxes currently being charged on the Iberia website appear to be wrong and will hopefully drop even further, to the expected £175 or so.
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