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

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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
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Comments

  1. Goran says:

    I have booked few flights on Saturday and other few day after, so far only got Avios for Saturdays flights. Anybody else still waiting for Avios (if booked on two separate days?) plus got some random 500 Avios too (and my Iberia account is few years old so couldn’t be some kind of opening account bonus)??

  2. Big Red says:

    Trying to book LCY to DUB on Iberia.com but getting an error message that it is not a valid route. Anyway around this or must call to book?

  3. Stephen Cockroft says:

    Hello All, I’m not well-versed in obtaining the best in flight deals, I rarely fly But I was an Iberia Plus member from flying with them previously. I did have a balance with them but transferred them to the BAEC before Iberia e-mailed me with the offer. I ignored the mail, thinking it would be complicated and that I would have to take any flights I booked. But when the internet lit up and explained one did not have to take the flights I bit the bullet. I booked 10 one-ways for a total of about £240. I now have had my zero-balance topped up with 90K Iberia Plus Avios points!
    Now where to go Off-Peak ? I’d like to fly from Madrid, business class, two tickets for the best deal possible. I have 30K of BAEC Avios I could move to Iberia. I’d be happy to consider points plus money. So any seasoned air-travel value experts out there : I’d appreciate some suggestions! Thanks in advance. Steve

    Now I

    • the real harry1 says:

      The world’s your oyster – you can use the IB Avios on most Oneworld flight redemptions, so you don’t have to think IB-only or must-start-in-Madrid (though no harm in that to save on taxes). Start with https://www.headforpoints.com/2018/01/30/how-to-book-avios-redemptions-on-iberia/ maybe – but all the HFP Avios University series will give you some decent ideas.

      Starting from Oslo or Stockholm can also often give great value and you might want to tag on a couple of nights for your positioning flight to a place you actually fancy visiting in its own right.

  4. the real harry1 says:

    Anybody who fancies flogging a dead horse a bit more, see https://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2018/07/07/iberia-avios-inconsistencies/

    Might cheer you up if you lost your 90K points as they’re banging on about bringing a class action vs IB now lol 🙂

  5. How can I book tours using Avios? Only options I saw were hotels and cars.

  6. capecam says:

    Hi

    Can someone reconfirm that provided I spend the Aviosby December 31st that is fine. I do not have to travel by December 31st, just make the purchase ?

    • the real harry1 says:

      100% correct except it’s Dec 1st.

      So get your skates on 🙂

  7. Trying to book tickets from LAX to Madrid from 11/19 – 11/28/2018 for economy seat for two and it is costing a lot. 110,000 + $400 in fees. This doesn’t seem like a good redemption. this is on iberia.com. Help!

    • the real harry1 says:

      yep that sounds a bit rubbish, all right

      nothing to recommend except shop around

      you might be better off finding a cheap cash Economy ticket & saving your Avios for something else?

      • I looked on the AA website and there for 90Kaa miles for two economy from SNA-MAdrid same week and they only cost 90K miles +$115 taxes/fees. Do I then just call AA to book using my iberia avios? Help! a little confused here.

        • You need to book on the IB site or by phone. It will price off the Iberia oneworld chart so will NOT be 90k.

  8. Chicarg says:

    Is there an easier way to search in IB by booking class? Trying to find availability for biz class is super time consuming having to open availability day by day to see this… the monthly view doesn’t account for class. Is there a trick? Thank you…

    • Straighten Up says:

      Not in my experience. Best I’ve been able to do is search on BA redemption finder and find them there which is slightly quicker then take that info to Iberia. That’s what I’ve just done to find 2 x Biz TYO – MAD for May which priced up at 119000 plus £160 using up my 90k from the promo. I’ll get there using a 241 from LHR to Shanghai in 1st at 102000 plus £730 then JAL between the 2.

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