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Iberia’s A350 test flights from London Heathrow are now bookable

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A few weeks we wrote about the new A350-900 long-haul aircraft, with an improved business class seat, that are coming into service with Iberia this year.

To get the crew familiar with the aircraft before they start long-haul operation, the new aircraft are going to be tested on the Heathrow to Madrid route.

From 20th July to 3rd August and from 17th August to 31st August, an A350 is due to fly IB3166 and IB3167:

Iberia A350 thumbnail

IB3167 (BA522 as a codeshare) leaves Heathrow at 18.50, landing in Madrid at 22.15

IB3166 (BA7058 as a codeshare) leaves Madrid at 15.55, landing in Heathrow at 17.20 

Oddly, only the Madrid outbound flight has been updated to an A350-900 so far.  The return flight from London still shows a long-haul A340 but that must change because it is the same plane.  On ba.com, both flights still show as an A340.

You clearly need an element of faith if you are going to book one of these!  I would be very wary of booking one for non-refundable cash rather than refundable Avios.

I have booked myself on one to give it a go.  Remember that, whilst you will get a flat bed business class seat, you only pay the standard Avios cost of 30,000 Avios return.

Here is a handy tip which I have covered before – Iberia has better Avios availability for its own flights on iberia.com than can be booked via ba.com.  If there are no Avios seats in business class on IB3166 or IB3167 showing on ba.com, use Combine My Avios to send your points over to an Iberia Plus account and book from there.

Remember that you can only use Combine My Avios with Iberia Plus if your Iberia account is 90 days old and has earned at least one Avios.

PS.  If you book your return flight on Iberia Plus with Avios you will be offered an interesting ‘part cash, part Avios’ deal.  I was offered the chance to pay 15,000 Avios or 3,000 Avios + £105.  This means I was basically ‘buying’ 12,000 Avios for £105, which is just 0.875p each.


British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2021)

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

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

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

Nectar American Express

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 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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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 (80)

  • Anna says:

    A reader posted about issues with Viator yesterday or the day before. I had a great experience with them last year and today used them to book a tour of Boston for 3 of us at the end of our summer US/Caribbean holiday. Totally different experience. The voucher they sent had no departure time on it, only an instruction to call a US number to arrange it myself (kind of misses the point of “organised tour”.) I had to trawl Tripadvisor to find a phone number for Viator, which they don’t answer. They don’t now seem to have an email address for enquiries, however they do seem to communicate via Facebook if anyone else needs to contact them. Fortunately the tour company in the US responded very quickly to an email and sorted my booking out. My 14 avios per £1 had better appear on time!

  • Liz says:

    OT I have just received my first free night cert from Creation and was going to just use it for our Helsinki trip later in the year as we didn’t have any other hotel trips planned for this year but we have just booked a concert at the London Pallium in Oct – staying with friends near Banbury on other nights so just need the one night booking. I normally gloss over the comments when others ask about the best hotels in London for free nights as I never need them. Does the IC at Park Lane have a lounge that we would get access to? I have Spire status. What about any of the Crowne Plazas – we will have friends with us that will need to pay cash! Thanks!

    • Rob says:

      Has a decent lounge but no access unless you have a club room (not sure if you can pay separately like Paris).

  • ADS says:

    you caution against booking the IB a350 flights for non-refundable cash … but you then go on to talk about the great part cash / part Avios payment option … but wouldn’t that result in the cheap Avios refund option disappearing ?

    at the very least, surely you should issue the warning !

    • Rob says:

      I meant using Avios but adding cash to reduce the Avios part. I shouldn’t have used the PPWA words, sorry.

      • Genghis says:

        But still, how does that affect the flexibility of the booking?

  • JamesB says:

    OT: I’m tempted to redeem my Marriott Travel Package with a *A airline in the interests of diversiying my miles portfolio. Does anyone know which *A partner generally offers the best value when redeeming on other *A partners?

  • Roger says:

    Depends, but UA will give you 132K miles.

    • JamesB says:

      UA is the one I was thinking about as their change fees/rules are not too bad. Was jusg wondering if I might be missing a gem elsewhere.

  • rams1981 says:

    OT Virgin upgrade vouchers. When do they tend to deduct the miles from your account for such flights? I’m flying tomorrow and still not had the miles deducted, is that normal?

  • Tilly says:

    OT but Bits: Malaysian Airlines have a 3 day sale starting tomorrow at 9am. Don’t know if the fares advertised are good or not for HFP readers ………

    Asia from £464 Economy and £1559 biz

    Australia from £619 economy and £2249 biz

    New Zealand from £669 economy and £2299 biz

    • Rob says:

      Not as good as the Qatar £1360 from Manchester to New Zealand two weeks ago. £2249 is, given recent pricing, looking toppy for Australia amazingly – although if Christmas was covered it would be different.

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