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 from UK credit cards (October 2023)

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

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable 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 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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.

Comments (86)

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

  • 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.

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

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