BA Sale

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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):

2018

2019

Iberia Avios off peak calendar 2019

Iberia Avios off peak calendar 2019

Iberia Avios off peak calendar 2019

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.

OPTION FOUR:

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:

Iberia oneworld redemption chart

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.

OPTION FIVE:

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.

OPTION SIX:

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.

Conclusion

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.

(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.)

How to spend your 90,000 Iberia Plus Avios - as you can't move them to BA (Part 1)
Bits: 90000 Iberia Avios starting to arrrive, five UK Marriott hotels leaving, more Dubai services cut
Click here to join the 14,000 people on our email list and receive the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

BA Sale
Amazon ad
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. Cristian rivera says:

    I booked a reward return flight on iberia, would I be able to cancel the outbound flight and keep the inbound? Thank you

    • ParselT says:

      If they are on the same ticket then almost certainly the return would be cancelled as you didn’t take the first “leg” i.e. the outound.

  2. Simon says:

    Is the deadline to spend these bonus Avios December 1?

  3. Simon says:

    Also I thought availability was the same as on BAEC? Trying to book a LON-AMS return in September gives the error ‘We regret to inform you that there are no connecting flights between the cities selected’

    • i’m trying to book LON-DUB and IB+ has zero availability – glad DUB isn’t the only destination they refuse to let you visit !

      • Yes, I tried LHR-DUB return in Sep as well and got the same message and whatever dates you put it in it says there is nothing whereas it is a route with good Avios availability on BA. Also couldn’t book the car hire I was looking for in December – no availability.

    • koroleon says:

      I am also finding that is impossible to choose some BA destinations (e.g CHQ, EFL) – i.e. the site simply won’t accept them in the From or To fields.

      • Hi

        You need to input these destinations in the SECOND page that comes up.

        So At the first USe AVIOS input LON-MAD

        Second page comes up with all the same details, CX to CHQ and it accepts Chania.

      • guesswho2000 says:

        Try booking flights from Australia…my god it’s a nightmare. But I’ll find a way to use them, 90k is 90k!

  4. Mark2 says:

    Re CMA
    I have just received an email from BAEC welcoming me to my new account.
    I have not opened an account and assume that this is to receive my Avios when that platform closes.
    I have in fact been transferring them as received; always, not just after the announcement of the merger. So they had a couple of hundred transfers from which to see that I already had a BAEC account.
    I have got two Avios accounts so shall probably end up with three BAEC accounts. I have inadvertently triggered a Lloyds upgrade voucher and one of my Avios accounts receives Avios from Rewards for Thoughts and Lloyds credit cards. This is pretty much as I expected; fortunately Iberia is not involved.
    I can probably merge the three BAEC accounts eventually but it looks like mayhem will ensue. Best to wait before triggering 241.

  5. Charlie says:

    A fantastic 90K Avios in my account history, and the previous entry to that was the 18K from the Avis car rental promotion! Brilliant!

  6. Given Iberia’s “unreliability” (I won’t use the term “Spanish practices” as i’m half Spanish and find it quite offensive), I am still not convinced that anyone who doesn’t turn up for their flights won’t suddenly find themselves with a negative Avios balance on their IB account, in accordance with some more some newly-minted Ts and Cs. This was one of my reasons for not taking part. Anyone got one of these flights coming up soon (or not, as the case may be)?

    • Already had one that I missed on the 1st July. No clawback or anything so far!

      • Mikeact says:

        Anna, you’ve been around here for a long time, and I am really surprised that you decided not to take part after all the positive advice you’ve been given !

        • Already said – I wouldn’t have been able to use the avios by December 1st. Keep the positive advice coming though!

  7. Receiving a payment error on Iberia.com w/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)?

    • G00NFACE says:

      I have seen in the past that Iberia website does not work well with Safari. Try Chrome.

      • it’s worse on chrome for me usually. can barely log in let alone do anything else. Iberia IT is terrible. When I try and log in via their app it tells me access denied as well.

        • the real harry1 says:

          I’ve been giving Opera a good old testing these past few months and IB works well on this one. Got fed up with some of the others.

          I can recommend Opera overall, actually.

  8. CA GUY says:

    So I actually thought about using these for attractions tickets, but it seems that that option is no longer available, or at least I cannot find it on the webpage. On the equivalent page on the avios site, there is a 4th tab for attractions, but I can’t see that on the Iberia site. Any ideas how to find attractions?

  9. Is there a reason JAL doesnt show up via IB? trying to book flights which are avail on BA.com but want to use the iberia points.

    • Charlie says:

      I’ve read elsewere that JAL cannot be booked online, you can use BA.com to search, and then call Iberia.

  10. Matt H says:

    OT (although brought on by the hotel spend from the 90k avios…)

    Can someone please help me with the maths to work out the pence per point I get if:
    – I have 1,169 Starpoints
    – I have ~20,000 Amex Rewards

    The SPG room I want to book is:
    – Cash price 1 night = 223 USD + charges and taxes (= 243 USD)
    or 10,000 points
    or 5,000 points + 75 USD + charges and taxes (??)

    Do I convert Amex Rewards to reach 10,000 Starpoints or is it better value to convert enough for 5,000 Starpoints and pay 75 USD + tax?

    My brain has stopped working,

    Thanks
    Matt

    • Genghis says:

      Just worth through the maths:
      Cash is baseline of $243 = £183.87
      MRs = notional 1p and SPG 1.5p
      So converting 18k MRs and using 1k SPG is notional £195
      Do you get charged taxes and charges on the cash and points option? It would affect the maths:
      If £75 + £56.74 + taxes < £183.87, do that.

      • Matt H says:

        Thanks Genghis – I will transfer enough to make it 5,000 Starpoints and check the taxes quote. I’ll definitely make the redemption regardless, either 5 or 10k, even if the value is slightly less than notional, as I’m making a “double your money” on 3 nights 95k avios with Iberia on the same trip.

        • Matt H says:

          Genghis – It came to 5,000 SPG + $81.75 including taxes, effectively to buy 5k SPGs at checkout – so the “cheaper” option was to save the MR’s and pay $81.75 –

          SPG are doing 35% off buying points for cash (which I know isn’t the best way to do things) but even with that offer it would be $113 to purchase separately.

          Motel reservation ($125) cancelled and location is better. A decent result.

          Cheers

  11. the real harry1 says:

    Just transferred 1000 Avios out of IB—>BAEC

    not the promo points, though

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.