This is Part 2 of my article on how to spend your 90,000 Avios from the recent Iberia promotion. Part 1 is here.
A word about peak and off peak dates
Just to make life even more complex, Iberia has its own list of peak and off-peak dates. This is different from the British Airways list. Here is the Iberia peak dates chart for 2019 (click to enlarge, green is peak):
You can compare it with the British Airways peak and off-peak chart in this HFP article.
October half-term, for example, is a peak week for British Airways redemptions and peak pricing is in force. Iberia does not treat this week as a peak week. During such periods the price differences can be stark:
- London to New York, BA Club World, is 120,000 Avios during October half term
- Madrid to New York, Iberia Business Class, is 68,000 Avios during October half term
And that’s before you factor in the massive difference in taxes ….
Iberia is the home of low taxes
Iberia Plus does not charge the full range of airport taxes and fuel surcharges imposed by ba.com. This is a BIG thing and the real reason (apart from the better seat and potentially lower number of Avios needed) to consider Iberia seriously.
Let’s look at Madrid to New York in Business Class, return. Iberia, when you book on iberia.com, will charge 68,000 Avios plus £159 return on an off-peak date.
A BA redemption from London to New York (via ba.com on a BA plane) on the same route in Club World costs 100,000 Avios plus £538 on an off-peak date! That is, by any stretch, a big difference.
More interestingly, if you try to book the Iberia Madrid to New York flight on ba.com using BA Avios, it will charge you £368 of taxes! This is for the SAME Iberia flight which costs only £159 of tax on iberia.com using Iberia Avios.
Now, of course all is not plain sailing:
- From the UK, you need to fly to Madrid. However, if you are not based in London you will be taking a connecting flight anyway. And the saving probably justifies not flying direct from London.
- The London to Madrid flight cannot be booked on the same itinerary as the Madrid to New York flight or you will be obliged to pay UK Air Passenger Duty at the long-haul rate. Since you will have separate tickets, IB is not obliged to look after you if you miss your long-haul flight – although if you fly IB from London, it is very unlikely they would abandon you if the delay was down to them. (EDIT: a reader dropped me a note to say that Iberia DID leave his stranded in Madrid after he booked on separate tickets to avoid APD and his inbound Iberia flight from London was delayed and he missed the connection, so be warned.)
- A flight from London to Madrid, return, costs 15,000 Avios and £35 in Economy – but that is hardly making a great dent in your £379 per person saving.
PS. You can also use Avios to upgrade Iberia and Air Nostrum cash flights to Business Class. This is unlikely to be attractive as only the more expensive Y, B and H booking classes can be upgraded.
Redeeming Avios on other oneworld airlines
You can also redeem Avios on oneworld partner airlines such as American Airlines and Qatar Airways.
For clarity, you need to be very careful before booking these because such redemptions are non-changeable and non-cancelable. You also need to book return flights – availability will not even show if you only look for a one-way redemption.
Here is the distance-based pricing chart for oneworld partners (click to enlarge). Technically there is a separate chart for redeeming on American Airlines but it is the same as this one:
There clearly are some deals here. If you transfer over 10,000 Avios from BA, or move 10,000 American Express Membership Rewards points into Iberia Plus, you will be at 100,000 Avios.
Using the chart above, that is good for a redemption – using as many oneworld airlines as you wish – of up 8,000 miles.
Redeeming for a cash discount on an Iberia, Iberia Express or Air Nostrum flight
You can use your 90,000 Avios for a cash discount against an Iberia, Iberia Express or Air Nostrum flight booked on iberia.com. This will get you around 0.55p of value depending on how many you use. Not being able to use this against a discount on a BA flight does, of course, make this less useful for UK residents.
Redeeming for hotels, tours and attractions
You can book 20,000 hotels and 30,000 tours and attractions via this page of the Iberia website.
We usually don’t recommend using your Avios for non-flight redemptions. This is because the value you receive is generally poor – around 0.55p per Avios compared with 1p+ for flights.
In this case, however, you may think differently. If you redeem your 90,000 Iberia Plus Avios for a hotel redemption, you will still be doubling your money compared to what you paid for the points.
There are also tours and attractions which can be booked. I wouldn’t normally book these via an airport portal but, again, in this scenario it would be a decent result.
The hotels and attractions home page says that bookings using Avios are NOT changeable. However, for hotels this is contradicted by people who have bookings who say that – if the room itself was advertised as a refundable one – you can cancel up to 72 hours before arrival for a £25 fee.
I hope this has given you some ideas for how to use your 90,000 Avios via Iberia Plus.
Do remember that Iberia Plus is not an area where I spend a lot of time so keep an eye out for any errors and omissions in what I wrote above and do not treat it as gospel.
At the end of the day, even if you end up using your 90,000 Avios for something sub-optimal – such as a hotel redemption – you will still have got an excellent return on the money you spent.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 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:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:
(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.)