Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

You can book VERY low-tax American Airlines redemptions with Avios from Spain

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We have written many times about the financial benefits of booking long-haul Avios redemptions on Iberia, and via Iberia Plus and not British Airways Executive Club.

Taxes are a fraction of what you would pay to fly a similar route on BA direct from London, and comparing like with like the Iberia flights have lower taxes when booked on their own website.  This HfP article is a good introduction to redeeming Avios on Iberia.

There is an extra tweak to this topic that I never knew, however.

You can also get very low-tax American Airlines business class redemptions out of Spain.

Avios to book American Airlines

How low?  How about £73 return in Business Class?

Here are your options, based on booking the flight on the Iberia website for a return Business Class flight on American Airlines:

Madrid to Miami – 150,000 Avios + £77.20

Madrid to Dallas-Fort Worth – 150,000 Avios + £77.20

Madrid to Philadelphia – 100,000 Avios + £77.20

Madrid to New York – 100,000 Avios + £77.20

Barcelona to Charlotte (Summer only) – 150,000 Avios + £72.50

Barcelona to Chicago (Summer only) – 150,000 Avios + £73.60 

Barcelona to Philadelphia (Summer only) – 100,000 Avios + £73.60

Barcelona to Miami – 150,000 Avios + £73.60

Barcelona to New York – 100,000 Avios + £73.60

The best way to find days with availability is to use the American Airlines website.  You don’t need to log in or even have an account.

Go to the booking page, select ‘Redeem Miles’ and then click ‘Advanced Search’

Under ‘Options’ make sure you select ‘MilesAAver’ / ‘Business’ / ‘American Airlines’

On the results page, toggle ‘Number of Stops’ to ‘Non-Stop only’

Select ‘Show full calendar’

Look for days where the mileage is priced in blue.  If you don’t see any dates in Blue, there are no dates with Business Class MileSAAver seats.

When you find dates with availability, plug them into the Avios search engine and it will show the seats as bookable.

Here are a few things to remember before you book.  The first one is the most important:

American Airlines redemptions booked via Iberia Plus are non-refundable and non-changeable.  I cannot stress this enough.  You will lose all of your Avios.  The only Avios redemptions that can be changed if booked via are those on Iberia, British Airways, Air Nostrum and Iberia Express.  The only exception is if you are on a multi-leg flight and one leg is on Iberia with an IB flight code.  If there is any risk that you might need to cancel then book via instead and swallow the higher taxes.

There are no off-peak dates when you book with American Airlines.  Iberia has an off-peak / peak chart for its own aircraft (see here) so, on off-peak dates, you might get a better overall deal booking on Iberia if they fly the same route.  Madrid to New York on Iberia is only 68,000 Avios in Business Class off-peak, for example.

American Airlines uses a very broad fleet on aircraft, seats and configurations.  Be clear about what you are getting before you book.

In order to move your Avios from BA to Iberia Plus, your Iberia Plus account must be 90 days old and have earned 1 Avios (an Amex Membership Rewards transfer for 1000 points will do it).  If you have trouble getting ‘Combine My Avios’ to work, read this HfP article.

Don’t waste your time trying to book these flights on  British Airways will add substantial surcharges.

Overall, though, there are some great deals here if you are prepared to take the time to travel via Spain in order to save.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

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

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points 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 – 30,000 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

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

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 (86)

  • ChrisC says:

    When you wrote ‘taxes’ you really meant ‘fees’ like carrier surcharge and international surcharge which aren’t taxes at all.

    Because accuracy matters.

    • Rob says:

      The industry uses ‘taxes’ irrespective of what they actually are.

  • Hilary Robinson says:

    I would appreciate advice on two business class rewards flights one way
    New York to either Birmingham uk or Heathrow UK in September
    Have a considerable amounts of points for platinum Amex
    Moderate amount on Iberia plus ,British airways .various avios pockets etc.
    Mid comfort upwards
    Thank you
    Will appreciate your advice

    • Mark2 says:

      suggest that you consider Aer Lingus BHX via Dublin for low tax and pre customs and immigration approval

      • Hilary Robinson says:

        Thanks .Appreiate your advice
        Kind Regards

  • Ian says:

    Iberia has the most restrictive partner award booking policies I’ve ever heard of. Not only do they only allow return trips, the return trips are non-changeable and non-refundable, not even within 24 hours of booking, which is a violation of U.S. law.

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