Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

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

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.

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.


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 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:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 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

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

We also 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

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 (173)

  • Matt says:

    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 🙂

      • Anna says:

        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.”

  • Matt says:

    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.

  • 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.

      • Rob says:

        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?

  • Luke says:

    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.

      • luke says:

        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 🙁

  • Matt says:

    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.

        • Anna says:

          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.

      • Anna says:

        +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.

    • Gill says:

      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.

  • Rolf says:

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

    • Anna says:

      They have said “yes” a few times so maybe…

      • the real harry1 says:

        definitely a yes, you will be able to book up until T-355 = c.20th November 2019

    • KevMc says:

      Yes – I have just booked for February

  • Tim says:

    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.

        • Anna says:

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

        • Tim says:

          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.

    • will says:

      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.

  • 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.

    • Matt says:

      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.

        • Matt says:

          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.

          • Rob says:

            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.

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