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. krys_k says:

    Lots of folk saying that according to the Iberia offer T&C it’s unfair that Avios now can’t be transferred to BAEC. But isn’t there a catch all term in the Avios T&C (as opposed to Iberia offer) that allows Avios carte blanche – so in effect they are at liberty to introduce these changes.

  2. Roberto says:

    I am no angel and happy to ride on the back of pet insurance “deals” and the like but am a little taken aback by some of the comments on here and other sites about the Iberia situation.

    I did it. I knew it would not be plain sailing and have already redeemed on Iberia.

    All the comments about running negative balances and opening multiple accounts are IMHO taking things too far. I feel its a little bit like opening another bank account with a free overdraft , taking the money out and walking away with no intention to pay it ever.

    If you were smart you would have already opened an Iberia account for you and your significant other(s) and you could have made 90k avios for a few hundred pounds quite legitimately. You could have had them by now and spent them as you see fit on Iberia or other codeshares or indeed hotels and the like.

    It was a free money deal, with strings attached grant you but intrinsically simple and easy to follow.

    All the people complaining ( bar the odd few I grant you ) seem to be short cut merchants looking for a quick scam..

    I apologise if this upsets some of you but the truth hurts I guess.

    For those sitting pretty with miles , a booking or a plan I salute you and hipe you enjoy the benefits of not cutting corners and getting ypur ducks in a row.

    All the best …

    • Roberto

      I agree totally, we have 2 accounts and I intend to use the Avis for Iberia flights. We fly to Mallorca every month so it will not be difficult to use the Avios. I would have liked to have bought more but i thought it was pretty obvious that was risky and having opened our Iberia accounts a few years ago, opening new accounts to take advantage of this offer were always going to be high risk.

  3. If the complainers were doing the points game back when Tesco Direct cancelled my 2 copies of that Dan Brown book (cant even remember its name) they would have been livid. I genuinely needed 2 copies, one for each hand / one to give to my dog to read etc.

    But, on reflection, i have 90,000 bonus avios i never planned on having in my account, for ~£185, regardless of conditions, that’s still a great result and folks need to use a bit of imagination as to to spend them. For me, it now means a trip to Vegas in CW out, return in First. A 4 or 5 star hotel in Vegas paid on Avios points, followed by San Francisco which will be paid for using IHG points.

    Hey, if anyone gets the 1p Level flight, use the avios to book a hotel room!

  4. I think all the whingers on here who are stating

    “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.

    Should take it up with ROB as he said a few times that you DEFINITELY COULD transfer the miles to BAEC.

    I’m (not) surprised he has not got back to the source of his information to give them a b*****ng and demand they stay true to their word.

    Unless of course that was never the case and it was just a way of generating click throughs on Hfp’s…

    BTW
    Got 90K Avios for both of us and have booked the outbound from MAD, need to wait for the inbound to come within T-355. to use the other 90K.
    “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”

    • Nick G says:

      So rob tries to help and when people win they’re his best friend, then when he gets misled then people think it’s his personal fault instead of using common sense. It’s obvious the moaners are overtaken by greed pure and simple.

      If Iberia ever repeat this promotion I bet the same people still buy dummy flights, just better informed the Avios have to stay in Iberia.

      The point is no one has withdrawn the Avios they’re still there and still able to be used. For the meagre price paid and the very generous use by date I still don’t get why people aren’t grateful. If people still think rob has somehow misled them then don’t come back to the site quite simple! My guess is though people will because it’s all about the points chase…

      ROB – Ignore the moaners I’m grateful for your article today, I did wonder why I couldn’t see Qatar flights booking as two singles now I know the restrictions on partner airlines…thanks!

  5. Simon Parker says:

    OK – I had to send proof of ID, so I sent passport details and scan.

    This is their reply:
    “Dear customer,

    Thank you for your interest in the Iberia Plus programme.

    It is a standard requirement of our programme to check the registration details for your Iberia Plus account. To help us do this, please email a copy of the official identity document you used for registration to [email protected]. The subject line of the email must include your Iberia Plus number in order for us to process it and you must send it to us by 31 July (GMT+2). If the documentation is not received before this date, we will be unable to register you for the Iberia Plus programme and you will not have access to any of the associated benefits.

    If you took part in our recent 9,000 extra Avios promotion for the purchase of tickets at Iberia.com, please attach a copy of any tickets purchased during the period and send it to us by 31 July 2018 in order to collect your Avios.

    Once we have verified your identification and proof of ticket purchase we will award the Avios due—as per the campaign terms and conditions—to your account.

    Kind regards and we hope to see you on board again soon.

    The Iberia Plus team”

    OK – when I registered for this account,I couldn’t add my passport number as they said the number was invalid (I assumed they could only ‘recognise’ Spanish passport numbers).
    The only other option given was a ‘local national identity card’, so I input my NI number.

    OK – they are now asking for this, but they also need all the ticket IDs as well. Plus a cutoff of 31 July?

    Is this happening to others here?

    TIA – Simon

    • Mark Wheeler says:

      Wouldn’t it have been easier to send the stuff to Iberia rather than writing that?

  6. O/T – given the train disruption, for this evening what the best way to get from Gatwick to Colliers Wood / Wimbledon?

    National Express bus as the backup? Do i need to prebook it?

    Ta!

    • Rob MC says:

      Get to East Croydon somehow (taxi/bus) then the tram to Wimbledon

  7. Has anyone been able to book Level long haul flights with IB? It says you can but I can’t see any dates? Does it have to be a return or is one way ok?

  8. Receiving a payment error on multiple cards when trying to book BA flights from TXL – LON and advising I contact my local centre to make the booking. Would a difffent platform help (currently using safari)

    • I got this when booking flights on Monday. I used the back tab to take me to the last page so my flights were still in my basket, so to speak, then forward again to the payment page, and it accepted my Amex then. Huge relief as it also gained me 3500 avios plus over £1k towards my next 2 4 1 which wouldn’t have been possible with another Amex.

      • Sorry – should have said “previous” page not “last”, that’s a bit ambiguous. Go back to the previous page, then forward to the payment page and try again!

  9. Shepthedog17 says:

    I bought flights to get 90k points for myself and my wife.

    I opened new IB plus accounts to do so and intend to use bookings with IB, rather than (try and) transfer them out.

    Have had the standard request from IB for ID and flights proof which was emailed yesterday. Does anyone know how long it will take for the account to be unlocked and points credited?

    Also, will I get an email confirming that, or just keep randomly trying until I can get in?

    Thanks

    • Claire says:

      Exactly the same here, both accounts blocked, filled in the forms, one account unblocked, the other still blocked, then got the emails asking for the passports again along with ticket info, so sent off an email with all the ticket numbers yesterday, not even had an acknowledgement. Still got access to one account but not the other.

  10. Rob MC says:

    Quick OT.

    Does anyone know if I can use the escape lounge at Stansted if flying to Glasgow with my PP? Or is it international departures only?

  11. xcalx says:

    First off, thanks to TRH I had totally forgot about the Amex to Iberia plus route. I was able to transfer the 6500 needed to book a couple of flights. Took less than 24 hours for a first time transfer.

    I was able to book the flights from MAD-MIA Business for next April I kept an eye on them for the last 24 hrs as I thought some IB+ newbe was gonna snatch them and as part of the 9k gold rush I had taken a chance on 2 x MAN-MAD flights ( + 8 x SDR-MAD) of which 7/8 delivered) for the day before so all worked out well.

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