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. Is it possible to book reward flights for 2019 (as long as you book the flights by 1 December 2018)?

  2. On Iberia.com, “you will see the same British Airways availability as you would on ba.com”

    Not so. The direct BA Cityflyer flights Spain to Manchester are not showing on Iberia but are on BA. This is what I was hoping to redeem for. They are not even available for cash on Iberia. Perhaps someone forgot to load them?

    • marcw says:

      BA Cityflyer is not an IBPlus partner (weirdly).

      • marcw says:

        But then, they´re suposed to be ow partners… I think there´s some IT glitch somewhere.

      • marcw says:

        I´ve just did a simulation: BA Cityflyer needs to be rtrn. Could find availability on rtrn but not one way.

        • Is that one of Iberia’s own Ts and Cs? I booked Cityflyer outbound and return separately on RFS last year at T-355.

        • I just tried to book. I didn’t want to do the return as I don’t like the outward timing from Manchester – however to redeem my Iberia Avios, I was prepared. there was still no availability MAN-AGP on the direct Cityflyer services, though there was on the return and both ways available on BA.com.

          I have abandoned the idea for now and booked on BA instead.

          MAN-AGP is one of the very rare ‘just over-the-edge of the pricing bands’ Avios redemptions. It is 7 miles over the 1150 miles limit for band 2. In Club Europe it was a bargainous 12 750 Avios plus £9.50 fees/taxes each.

          I am using the last of my Avios to maximum use. Other than the direct Cityflyer flights out of Manchester, Avios is of little value to me.

    • There are a few strange anomalies.
      I can’t find any weekend availability in business LHR-GLA on Iberia but I can see it on BA.

    • Lady London says:

      Try phoning them. They may well have access to them even if they’re not yet loaded on the website.

  3. Nick G says:

    For about the fourth time of me saying this on here it seems like I was one of the few who adopted the spirit of this promotion.

    For my own security I only booked two flights each for me and the wife in our accounts we’ve had for a few years thanks to rob. I only ever viewed it as if it works and I get 18k avios each that’s enough for club Europe in zone 1 return. For £42 each plus taxes I’ll need to pay (£70ish) per ticket I’m chuffed to bits and if it didn’t work wouldn’t come on here and play the blame game. I’m probably going to use to fly to our yearly Christmas market break in Brussels. All to be booked via Iberia. I never had any intention otherwise.

    I think those that are wrongly blaming rob, you need to look at your own motives. You clearly saw dirt cheap BA avios and now looking to blame/sue/cry/whinge. Well may be this is a lesson in don’t be greedy, have a plan, and don’t abuse loyalty promotions. 90k in an Iberia account is amazing value if you use it correctly so stop whining and get on with booking before the 1st December.

    • Nick that not the point.

      Iberia being part of Avios scheme you should be able to transfer to other schemes members. There was no manage of this in the original T&C’s. Also now that Iberia have people money you should be able to do want you want.

      I never used Iberia before and never intended to in the future as I always BAEC.

      I DONT BLAME ROB OR HFP but feel we were all misinformed by Iberia plus at the beginning of the promotion.

      • Nick G says:

        That’s the point exactly. It was an Iberia promotion that specifically stated it had to be used by the 1st December. You and everyone who had the same automatic assumption it can be transferred to BAEC was never given as a condition that would be granted. Then again I never, like you and others saw it as, which is well if it’s in my Iberia account I can do what I want with it. That’s where everyone went into this blindly. I personally excercised restraint and caution thought even if i never receive the points wouldn’t come on here and blame rob (maybe not you but others have). In hindsight I may have bought more but I’m more than happy with 18k avios for £42, 90k avios is bargain of the century so look at like that.

        I refer to my previous reply collection is to supposed to be fun like when thousands of us, me included, hired cars from Avis for them to drive a few miles. I think people need to get a reality check. Have they withdrawn all your avios? No. Can you use them in Iberia on BA? Yes. Can you still get loads of value out of them? Yes.

        It’s not the end of the world people it’s about collecting but being cautious.

        • Thanks you for your reply Nick,

          45000 cost me £125.

          I saw it as a cheap way to boost my BAEC account and have a -minus Iberia plus Avios account.

          I have to look at other options now or kiss goodbye 45000 Avios or £125.

          • As you have until 1st December to – in the worst case scenario – book a £250 hotel room with those Avios, for a stay until 1st December 2019, I doubt you’re going to lose out. I’m also sure you could find a reader willing to pay you £125 for you to book a £250 hotel room for them.

  4. Ray Townshend says:

    This is very disappointing news as the only reason I booked the flights ( which I cannot use ) was to get the 90,000 Avios onto my BA Executive Account where I will and do make good use of Avios. Being retired and mainly travelling long haul to holiday homes, I very rarely have need for hotels, so it would seem I wasted a few hundred pounds. Incidentally, the very low cost flights that were mentioned had gone when I was booking flights, most of the ones I booked were on the order of £30+.

    Ray

    • Roberto says:

      But you can book Ba flights on Iberia. You can also book Iberia flights on Iberia. Where do you want to go?

      The only difference is you cant use a 241

      • Doug M says:

        Exactly this, Roberto is spot on.

        IB has a few things like no Lloyds or 2-4-1 vouchers, but mostly easy to book BA flights.

      • Aer Lingus is not a partner airline – not listed on their site, and i double checked on the phone to IB the other day.

    • Ray I understand your Frustration.

      I going to take it up with Iberia Plus

      Being disabled myself I don’t know what dates I will travel in the future so can’t commit to the 1st December deadline of Iberia regarding my Avios.

      Like you l saw it a way to boost my BAEC cheaply.

      As they have our money we should be able to transfer the Avios within the scheme as we see fit.

      • Doug M says:

        Matt. The promo clearly said use by 1st Dec are they’ll be cancelled. If you couldn’t commit to use by then why did you take part?

        • Because I was going to transfer to BAEC like a lot of people on here.

          I never use Iberia before.

          Always BAEC.

        • I can’t understand why people thought that they would avoid having to use them by Dec 1st by transferring them to another account, why on earth would Iberia permit that? They are there to make money, they are not going to deliberately give anyone 90,000 avios to use via another platform (though clearly some people have been able to sneak them through at an early stage!).

          I agree that it’s unacceptable for Iberia to change their Ts and Cs after the event, however I suspect that it’s going to be a lot more aggro to challenge this than to just use the 90k for whatever gets you the best deal before Dec 1st.

      • londonsteve says:

        The 1st December deadline was always going to apply to these bonus Avios, even if you managed to transfer to BAEC. So the question above still stands – why participate if you cannot commit to a travel plan before 1st December? Or were you planning to leave a negative balance in IB Plus and do a runner, like ostensibly so many others?

        • As I never use Iberia before and won’t in the future .

          I was going to run negative balance on Iberia plus account.

          I saw it a cheaper way to boost my BAEC account.

          I always used only BAEC.

          Maybe I lost £125 (45000 Avios)

          I speak to Iberia plus later today .

        • There was always the potential that Iberia would close that route as it was widely discussed when the promo was on.
          Having an Iberia account is handy for promotions like this one, buying with the intention of abusing the rules and then coming unstuck when they block the abuse I don’t really see as justified criticism. If you abide by the rules then there isn’t an issue. Thinking you could just transfer the Avios out and run a negative balance always seemed a bit optimistic to me…..

    • If you’re retired you presumably have some flexibility with your travel dates. (One of the reasons I didn’t take part in this is that currently we can only travel in school holidays and that’s assuming we can get annual leave approved). What’s stopping you transferring some avios from BA and making your booking? If you need 2 seats, you can make 2 separate bookings on different platforms. Our holiday flights for this summer were booked using avios.com for 2 of us and BA for my OH on the same flights, no issues.

  5. Rob,

    Iberia never sent me an email with their new rules.

    I going to take it up with Iberia Plus

    Being disabled myself I don’t know what dates I will travel in the future so can’t commit to the 1st December deadline of Iberia regarding my Avios.

    l saw it a way to boost my BAEC cheaply.

    As they have our money we should be able to transfer the Avios within the scheme as we see fit.

    • Keith says:

      As a recent in-flight video demonstration keeps on saying: ‘you muppet’. Please do take it up with Iberia Plus. Geez. You’ve just won 4 numbers on the lottery and still you moan. The quicker we can get rid of EU ‘blue badges’ the better…..

  6. luckyjim says:

    So what if Iberia said ” Ok, you can transfer these avios to avios.com, BAEC etc but you must still redeem them by 1 December. If you don’t redeem them by 1 December we will arrange for them to be clawed back from whichever ever account you transferred them to and cancelled.”

    Would everybody be happy with that?

    Seems to me it would be 100% compliant with the original Ts and Cs.

    • the real harry1 says:

      yes, I’d be happy with that

      RFS cheaper

      others would agree – 2-4-1 & Lloyds

  7. londonsteve says:

    It’s outrageous that IB have stopped CMA for those points that have nothing to do with this promotion. I can see that reward flight availability will shortly dry up for 2018, since so many Avios are being awarded, hence I wanted to get my existing balance out of IB Plus and into BAEC. No point looking for a reward flight in a month’s time, there won’t be any…. Now my balance is stuck in IB. The way things are going IB are going to have a torrent of legal claims on their hands soon.

    • the real harry1 says:

      you could transfer non-promo Avios out of IB yesterday until 4.30pm, I imagine that facility will come back soon

      • londonsteve says:

        Having played around with Iberia’s website over the years, particularly so in the past few days and now trying to book a flight with Level to Austria, I feel confident in saying that the IT infrastructure of the Spanish side of IAG is of a third world in standard. Reminds me of the time a friend asked me to book him a flight to Minsk with Belavia, dealing with their clunky interface that failed multiple times and ended up necessitating a phone call to my card company to establish if the payment was successful or not, followed by a physical trip to their London rep office to get the ticket issued. This was perhaps a decade ago.

  8. Graeme says:

    I did 6 flights and got 54k.
    Yesterday I was able to transfer them out of Iberia and into baec.
    Initially I could not but I transferred 20k from baec into Iberia then transferred in lots of 15k back from Iberia into baec until they where all transferred.
    Was relatively simple. Have they stopped that method?

  9. Anyone find themselves with only partial credit (and managed to get it topped up)? I have a lump-sum of 45K despite 6 bookings. However, the final flight was booked during a rough patch for the iberia site, when it would only quote in euros instead of sterling, so perhaps it didn’t register in some key place.

  10. Thank you Rob for this amazing offer . Unsure I am reading correctly and would appreciate the advice. Should I use my IB miles to book a flight before 1 December AND cancel before, would I be able to cancel and receive Avios and monies ( minus €25 ) ..t & c ‘s don’t seem that clear

    • If you cancel before 1st December the Avios come back, but must be reused by 1st December. Cancelling after 1st December means they don’t come back.

      • Which I think will be the main risk for a lot of people who intend to book flights within the spirit of the offer (which is really what Iberia is now trying to enforce by changing the T&Cs after the fact, wrongly in my view… they really should have planned for the inevitable response to this kind of deal, and the risks of people trying to use it in ways that were not intended). There will be a lot of people booking some way in advance – circumstances change and I’d imagine that few travel insurance policies would pay out for lost miles.

        It will be interesting to see how this develops as it seems that people who have booked using the promotional avios so far are still being told the ticketed Iberia and BA flights are cancellable/ amendable for a fee with no mention (so far as I’m aware) of a 1st December cut-off. In practice I’m not sure how they would enforce it, even if they could get the IT to support it. What happens if you already had avios in your IB+ account and book two redemptions. Which one uses the promotional avios?

      • RIccatti says:

        That is not “the updated” Iberia promo T&C state:

        3-Any purchases charged to Avios from this promotion (redemptions) may be exchanged and reissued, if applicable, up until December 1st 2018, as per the particular terms and conditions of the products purchased. Keep in mind that cancellation or refund requests made by the customer for tickets purchased during the promotion implies withdrawal or cancellation of the promotional Avios, regardless of the refund date.

        It reads that you can have dates changed and reissue the Avios ticket, but you cannot simply refund and book another itinerary (from that pool of 90,000 Avios).

  11. Calum says:

    Does anyone know what IB charge for infants (under 2) on an Avios booking? I know BA charge 10% of avios and 10% fees and charges but that other airlines often charge based on cash cost of fare. I can’t see anything on the IB website other than bookings including an infant need to be booked by phone. Many thanks.

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