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How to spend your 90,000 Iberia Plus Avios – as you can’t move them to BA (Part 1)

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If you took part in what was (effectively) Iberia’s “buy 90,000 Avios for £200” promotion two weeks ago, you should now have 90,000 Avios sitting in your Iberia Plus account.

Now comes the snag.  Despite what Iberia told me and other frequent flyer writers, you cannot transfer these Avios to British Airways Executive Club.  After the promotion is over, they have mailed the rules to everyone who took part – which happen to be different to what was told to us.  A lot of people won’t be entirely surprised by this.

I expect this situation to develop and I will return to it when the dust has settled a little.  Is it worth a long fight with Iberia over this?  Probably not.  You can EASILY use these Avios via Iberia Plus for more than twice what you paid for them.  If you can get 1p or more per point via flight redemptions, which is my usual target, you should be getting 4-5x what you paid.  The only things you can’t do, as you can’t move them to BAEC, is combine them with an existing balance at BA (but you can move BA Avios into Iberia to top-up) or use them with a BA American Express 241 or Lloyds Avios Rewards upgrade voucher.

The very worst case – which is actually a pretty good case – is that you redeem for hotel rooms at well over 2x your money.  Here are your options.

How to redeem Avios via Iberia Plus

This article is a long one, so let’s quickly summarise what you need to know:

When booking Iberia flights via Iberia Plus, taxes are lower and availability is better than if you book the same flights via BAEC

BA short-haul flights booked via Iberia Plus do not qualify for Reward Flight Saver, so taxes are likely to be higher

You cannot use a British Airways American Express 241 voucher or Lloyds Avios Rewards upgrade voucher when you book a BA redemption via Iberia Plus

Whilst Iberia has its own peak and off-peak calendar (see below), BA redemptions booked via Iberia Plus use the BA peak and off-peak calendar

Partner flights – except on BA – MUST be booked as a return flight when booked via Iberia Plus

VERY IMPORTANT:  partner flights – except on BA – CANNOT BE CANCELLED OR CHANGED WHEN BOOKED VIA IBERIA PLUS

OPTION ONE:

Redeeming Avios on British Airways via Iberia Plus

To be honest, there is very little to add beyond what I summarised above.  You will see the same British Airways availability as you would on ba.com and the same peak and off-peak dates apply.  You cannot use a BA Amex 241 voucher or a Lloyds Avios Rewards upgrade voucher.

You can book one-way rewards and you can cancel them for a refund if needed.

Your Iberia Plus number will automatically drop into the booking so you will not be able to select a seat for free if you have British Airways Executive Club status.  You will need to call BA or Iberia to change this over.  At one point you could, oddly, use ‘Manage My Booking’ on the Finnair or Qatar Airways sites to switch over frequent flyer numbers on oneworld bookings – I’m not sure if this still works.

If you want to use ‘Avios & Money’ to pay for your BA Avios flights with a combination of Avios and cash, you need to call the Iberia call centre.  You can only use ‘Avios & Money’ online on flights operated by Iberia, Iberia Express, Air Nostrum and Vueling.

Avios on Vueling

OPTION TWO:

Redeeming Avios on Vueling (and other non alliance partners) via Iberia Plus

Whilst I don’t want to focus on this, you can redeem Avios for Vueling low-cost flights around Europe via Iberia Plus.  This may not be a good deal due to the taxes and charges.

Iberia also has other airline partners that are not part of oneworld, such as Royal Air Maroc for flights to and around Morocco.   Avianca, Binter (Canaries), InterJet and Air Italy are also partners.  I don’t have any experience on redeeming for these airlines, and remember that your booking will be non-refundable and non-changeable.

OPTION THREE:

Redeeming Avios on Iberia via Iberia Plus

When an Avios collector in the UK looks for a long-haul redemption, British Airways is the obvious choice of airline. However, the taxes and charges can often be very high – up to £500 per Club World seat.  Taxes on Iberia flights are often a fraction of those charged by British Airways – although Air Passenger Duty will be added if your connecting flight from the UK is on the same ticket.

Iberia has been through a substantial restructuring since being bought by IAG, the parent company of British Airways.  16 new long-haul aircraft – 8 x A330’s and 8 x A350’s – have been delivered or are on order for delivery by 2021.  The first A350 was delivered just last week.

The Iberia route network used to be, erm, ‘eclectic’.  The good news is that the new destinations being added are places you would actually wants to visit such as Tokyo, Havana and San Francisco.  Avios demand for Iberia’s historical routes to places like Medellin, San Salvador and Managua was probably lower.

These are the non-European Iberia destinations (correct as of January 2018):

  • Africa – Algiers, Casablanca, Dakar, Malabo (Equatorial Guinea), Marrakech, Oran, Tangier, Johannesburg
  • USA – Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco
  • Americas exc USA – Bogota, Buenos Aires, Cali, Caracas, Guayaquil (Ecuador), Lima, Mexico City, Montevideo, Quito, Rio do Janeiro, San Jose (Costa Rica), Santiago, Sao Paulo, Asucion, Medellin, Guatemala, Panama, San Salvador, Managua (outbound via Guatemala, inbound direct)
  • Asia – Tokyo, Shanghai
  • Caribbean – Havana, Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic)
  • Middle East – Tel Aviv

All of these are flown from Madrid.  Note that some of the African routes are served with short-haul aircraft.

Iberia has no First Class.  The great news is that, over the last five years, Iberia has installed new fully flat seating across its long-haul fleet:

Iberia business class seat

I was lucky enough to fly it on a Madrid to London flight as you can read (and see) here.  Iberia runs a few London to Madrid services a week with long-haul aircraft and flat beds in business class because it needs the cargo capacity offered by the bigger aircraft.

How to price Iberia rewards on Iberia aircraft

Iberia has its own reward pricing chart with its own peak and off-peak dates (click to enlarge):

Iberia redemption chart

and

Iberia redemption Avios chart

This chart is NOT the same as the British Airways chart:

The charts are nearly the same, but not quite.

Let’s take New York as an example. Both British Airways and Iberia price New York as a Zone 5 redemption. However:

British Airways charges 100,000 Avios off-peak and 120,000 Avios peak for a Club World flight to New York

Iberia, as you can see above, charges 68,000 Avios off-peak and 100,000 Avios peak for a Business Class flight to New York

There are not many destinations which are served by both BA and Iberia so the opportunities for arbitrage are limited.  You also need to factor in the cost and time of getting to Madrid, although if you live outside London it is not massively more complex than changing planes at Heathrow.

I have split this article into two parts due to length.  Part 2 of our guide to redeeming Avios on Iberia Plus is here.

(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.)

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How to spend your 90,000 Iberia Plus Avios - as you can't move them to BA (Part 2)

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Comments

  1. Matthew says:

    OT. Is it possible to book AA redemptions over the phone with BA. the site is still showing an error message. I looked on the AA website and there is availability for an AA flight – ORD-LAS one way. So should BA have the same availability? Is there any update on when tb h would get the website fixed?

    • Stu N says:

      I did tried calling to book something I could see sAAver award space on AA and also partner awards via Qantas but the agent couldn’t get it to work either.

      Just keep trying online, it should work eventually. Took me probably 20 – 30 goes but once it found the trip the booking process was fine. And I got really good at recaptchas. If you need storefronts recognised I’m your man.

  2. I am not talking about a contract with Iberia, I am addressing the OP comment to Rob. Are you suggesting Rob is guilty of “fraudulent” misrepresentation. I hope not.

  3. krys_k says:

    Morning. Is there a drill if one hasn’t been awarded the full complement of Avios? In my case 7 out of 10 were credited. Just a case of emailing customer service with all the ticket numbers?

    • the real harry1 says:

      yes but first check all your email ticket confirmations – it seems a few people did indeed buy [some] non-qualifying tickets, ie forgot to include IB FF details. If they’re on your email confirmations, you know you will eventually get the promo Avios, if not, you won’t

      • krys_k says:

        Thanks. Each of confirmation emails has the IB number stated and I made sure to click through from HfP each time I booked a ticket to make sure I started on the correct landing page for this promotion.

        • londonsteve says:

          At the moment CS has refused my Avios on the basis that an IT error made it impossible to include my long standing IB Plus account number on the booking. They e-mailed me back some Ts&Cs I don’t recognise, which includes text to the effect that the IB Plus number must be in the correct field before the ticket is issued. I don’t recognise these Ts&Cs, don’t remember reading words to this effect. I recall some fairly breezy standard wording about anyone who is recognised as being a member of IB Plus during the booking process, etc. I booked my tickets while logged in to IB Plus, so they could recognise me that way…..

          Unfortunately (or rather, very deliberately, I’m sure), they’ve taken down the webpage used to market the promotion with the relevant Tc&Cs. Does anyone know how to get a screen capture of this page and can at the same time confirm the specific wording used regarding the IB Plus number being on the booking confirmation?

  4. Andrew MS says:

    Iberia are offering up to 45 percent bonus if you want to buy Avios via their website. Offer ends 15 July

    • the real harry1 says:

      BUY OR GIFT:
      Between 2,000 and 15,000 Avios, you will get a bonus of 20%
      Between 20,000 and 35,000 Avios, you will get a bonus of 30%
      Between 40,000 and 90,000 Avios, you will get a bonus of 35%
      Between 100,000 and 200,000 Avios, you will get a bonus of 45%

      145,000 = EUR 1800 = GBP 1591 so 1.1p

      • the real harry1 says:

        They’re going to add a hidden T&C later, if you don’t redeem them by Xmas, Father Christmas will come & steal them back because you’ve been a bad boy 🙂

  5. Marcw says:

    You can still change FF number in Qatar Airways (did so 2 days ago).
    IbPlus also offers you Avios&Money when redeeming Avios of BA flights. Usually it’s a better deal than in BAEC, specially becuase you are able to choose mixed cabins: economy for short haul but business/first long haul.

  6. I am not happy I think Iberia have broken the law by changing T’&C’s after the promise finished not allowing to you to transfer BAEC. I know BAFC won’t be happy with this or Avios.com

    I won’t be using my Avios by 1st December and probably will have lost 45000 (£125)

    How I spent and when I spent my Avios and which account in the Avios program
    should be up to me.

    I am going to look at legality of all this.

    • the real harry1 says:

      First step: take a screenshot of the cached original T&Cs.

      You are 100% correct – they have blatantly broken UK consumer law – you can’t make such detrimental changes to the T&Cs after a promotion has ended.

      Don’t expect HFP to bite he hand that feeds it, though 🙂

      • Whatever the nature of Rob’s relationship with Iberia (or any other company), why on earth would anyone hold him responsible for anything they do? I could post something they’ve written on my Facebook page but it wouldn’t make me liable for the truthfulness of it. Whatever offers Rob puts on HFP, I would always check the Ts and Cs with the originator, that’s just a basic precaution!

    • marcw says:

      “Combine my Avios” T&Cs: “12. We reserve the right to stop, suspend or limit ‘Combine my Avios’ at any time without notice. We may refuse to allow use of ‘Combine my Avios’ by any Member in relation to any or all transactions at our sole and absolute discretion.”

  7. the real harry1 says:

    To get the cached T&Cs, google https://www.iberia.com/gb/offer/iberia-plus/win-a-trip-with-avios

    Ie don’t use it as a link but google it, this means opening google and dropping the address into the google search box and searching – use the green arrow on the search return item in question to go back in time to see cached content

    That will be my first line of defence if they try and get back the 40K I manage to transfer to BAEC yesterday 🙂

  8. I jalso ust discovered l can’t transfer from my AERClub account on Combine my Avios does not work either it was working yesterday as l transferred 4000 Avios to BAEC yesterday.

    This is not right that it now seems to affecting all combine my account page ????????

    • the real harry1 says:

      yep they’re clearly still working on CMA behind the scenes at the moment

      it’ll start working again later for legit transfers (ie not for the IB 90K ring-fenced Avios)

    • Margaret says:

      I added 20000 Avios to my Iberia account yesterday from my Aer Club Avios one and it went through, email sent and amount taken from Avios, though initially didn’t show up in Iberia until I logged in again. I’ve just checked and it’s still in the Iberia account.

  9. Sharon says:

    So I booked my 10 one way flights (not returns) across two reservations (one with six flights, the other with four) within 30 minutes of each other and only 27000 Avios have posted. I was hoping to get the full 90k then transfer some of my BA Avios into Iberia (which I assume you can still do?) and book some flights to Shanghai.

    Really angry as every time there’s an Iberia promotion (such as Groupin) it goes wrong and I’m not paying £300 for 27k Avios!
    Will be sending my email with my proof of tickets and will see what happens. If I don’t get any joy then I’ll be cancelling the tickets and not going near Iberia ever again.

    • pauldb says:

      I think the promo was 9k per ticket, not 9k per flight (normally I would therefore expect you have 2 tickets, maybe for some reason 3, but not 10). Whether they are “one ways” is not relevant. To be safe you should have booked the ten separately.

      • No, IB said (in writing) to me that you can book for numerous pax on the same ticket and all would get 9k.

    • pauldb says:

      Hang on, did you book yourself 6 flights, on 6 people on one flight. If the latter, the promo goes to the passenger: were all 6 registered IB+ members?

  10. My points still haven’t arrived yet. Should I be worried? How can I chase this up?

    • the real harry1 says:

      There are many reports that the CS team have been very helpful on this, even if the promotion had a cheating devious twist in it, the CS people are being good at dealing with queries.

      So I’d speak to them & I imagine you’ll be asked to provide evidence of ID, ticket reference etc. If you enclose screenshots showing your IB number on the email confirmations, you’ll surely get the promo points.

      I think the points were added manually, which is why I got 90K in one lump instead of 10x 9000 – so mistakes have crept in.

      • Brilliant thanks so much Harry. What is the best number to call them on? The number I have in my IB app doesn’t seem to work? +34 91 374 24 42 🙁

  11. Thanks Harry,

    Iberia being part the Avios program and stooping transfers to other Avios members in the scheme is a breach of membership quide lines.

    I am sure there will senior members of BAEC and AerClub or Avios.com won’t be happy with his either.

    Also the people buying after reading HFP original article won’t be happy either and some will blame
    HFP even that is NOT HFP fault.

    Now Iberia have my money I should be able to use my Avios when and where l see fit and anywhere in the Avios program ????????

    • Oh Matron! says:

      If it smells like a duck, waddles like a duck and leaves duck cr4p everywhere, it’s a duck

      Seemed too good to be true, so I held back. Caveat Emptor.

      • Margaret says:

        Well my duck laid a 90,000 Avios egg bang on the 10 days stated, so it’s good and true in my case. I already had a real account though. The people who seem be bitterly complaining are those who opened an account (or 10 ) to take advantage of the offer, with no intention of using the Avios as they were meant to be used.

        • the real harry1 says:

          yep I can use the 140K I have left with IB, no complaints here

          Works out about £80 for European business class fares, I go from T3 so will get the run of all the much-vaunted lounges (the best ones in the UK apart from Virgin Clubhhouse!), noodle bar etc!

          140,000/ 15,000 = only 9 tickets so some of the kids will have to slum it in cattle lol

          Surprised you wouldn’t be interested in that, Anna, Oh Matron! et al!

          DYKWIA, I’m a business class passenger paying LCC money 🙂

        • pauldb says:

          Or you could fly a 9k CE route from T3. Not a bad offering: BIO, LUX, LYS, MRS, PRG; maybe more.

        • Lol Harry, my OH would think I was completely insane if he found out that I had booked 10 flights we weren’t going to take! Also I have already crammed in as many trips as humanly possible for 2019, so would probably end up not being able to get any value out of the Iberia Avios.

      • +1. It’s great if you have the flexibility to make it work for you but I suspected there would be restrictions which wouldn’t suit me.

    • But you nearly can! You can book on OneWorld partners and BA. There might be more restrictions (return trip only on OW), and taxes on short haul BA can be £10 more, but you’re 90,000 Avios up.

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