Bits: 45% bonus buying IB Avios, 10 most lucrative air routes, BA ‘Upgrade to First’ is back

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

News in brief:

Up to 45% bonus when you buy Avios via Iberia Plus

Until 15th July, Iberia Plus is offering a bonus when you buy Avios.  These can be transfered across to British Airways Executive Club via ‘Combine My Avios’.   (Read this article for how to use Aer Club to get around any issues you have getting CMA to work.)

  • Between 2,000 and 15,000 Avios, you will get a bonus of 20%
  • Between 20,000 and 35,000 Avios, you will get a bonus of 30%
  • Between 40,000 and 90,000 Avios, you will get a bonus of 35%
  • Between 100,000 and 200,000 Avios, you will get a bonus of 45%

At the very top end, you’re looking at €3601 for 290,000 Avios which is, in Sterling, £3188 and so exactly 1.1p per AviosI am not a buyer at this level on a speculative basis and I would only buy if you have a definite plan for where to redeem.

The ‘buy points’ page on is here.  You need to be logged in to see the offer.

Iberia buy Avios bonus

The 10 most lucrative global airline routes

OAG (ex Official Airline Guide, for those of us old enough to remember the fat paperback books) has published this interesting table which estimates the 10 highest yielding flights in the world (click to enlarge):

Top 10 airline routes by revenue

The richest route is the British Airways service from Heathrow to New York JFK which OAG estimates as being worth over $1 billion per year.

Intriguingly, based on OAG’s pricing date, this is not the most lucrative by hour of flying time.  That award goes to the Emirates service from Heathrow to Dubai which generates $25,000 per hour.  This is an ‘all A380’ route which is why the average revenue is so high.

There are three other Heathrow routes on the top 10 list – the Singapore Airlines service to Singapore ($700m per year), Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong ($631m) and Qatar Airways to Doha ($552m).  Singapore Airlines is the only airline to feature twice on the list, with Sydney coming in at 10th place.

You can find out more on the OAG website here.

British Airways free first class upgrade

British Airways ‘upgrade to First’ offer returns

British Airways has brought back its regular ‘upgrade to First’ offer.

Until 7th October, any Club World flight you purchase which is ticketed in semi-flexible R, D, or C class, or a fully flexible J class, will receive a free one-way upgrade to First.

This is subject to availability and requires A class cash tickets to still be available for sale in First.

The deal is also available on American Airlines services to the US, Canada and Mexico when you book under a British Airways codeshare.

You need to book by 7th October for outbound travel before 23rd October.

Participating destinations are:

United States, Mexico and Canada – Albuquerque (ABQ), Anchorage (ANC), Atlanta (ATL), Austin (AUS), Bradley International (BDL), Birmingham (BHM), Nashville (BNA), Boston (BOS), Baltimore (BWI), Chicago (CHI), Cleveland (CLE), Charlotte (CLT), Cincinnati (CVG), Denver (DEN), Dallas Fort Worth (DFW), Detroit (DTT), Fort Wayne (FWA), Honolulu (HNL), Houston (HOU), Indianapolis (IND), Memphis (MEM), Mexico City (MEX), Miami (MIA), Minneapolis St Pauls (MSP), New Orleans (MSY), New York (NYC), Omaha (OMA), Philadelphia (PHL)), Pittsburgh (PIT), Raleigh Durham (RDU), Richmond (RIC), San Diego (SAN), San Juan (SJU), Salt Lake City (SLC), St Louis (STL), Washington (WAS), Montreal (YMQ), Toronto (YTO), Vancouver (YVR), Calgary (YYC).

Rest of the World – Abu Dhabi (AUH), Abuja (ABV), Accra (ACC), Bahrain (BAH), Beijing (BJS), Cape Town (CPT), Dubai (DXB), Durban (DUR), Hong Kong (HKG), Jeddah (JED), Johannesburg (JNB), Kuala Lumpur (KUL), Kuwait (KWI), Lagos (LOS), Moscow (MOW), Nairobi (NBO), Riyadh (RUH), Seychelles (SEZ), Shanghai (SHA), Singapore (SIN)

Full details are on 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.)

Important dates for your diary - offers about to close which you shouldn't miss
Comparing UK lounge networks of Priority Pass, Lounge Club and LoungeKey
Click here to join the 13,000 people on our email list and receive the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

IHG 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.


  1. Just got the new Ts and Cs from Lloyds. Had a quick scan but not seen anything about avios or upgrade vouchers yet.

  2. Also – HH! I booked a Hilton Garden Inn in the US for 3 of us for our stay in August but didn’t add my OH as a guest at the time. When I realised he had to be registered as a guest to get the 2 x free breakfasts I contacted Hilton using the online form – their response is that as the booking is non-changeable, I can’t add him as a guest! Can this possibly right? I am HH Gold and the booking states that it’s for 2 adults and a child. Will they refuse the 2nd breakfast because my OH is not actually named?

    • This sounds nonsense Anna, I’ve never had a problem with this. You booked for three, I woukd expect you and your husband will get the free breakfast and a good chance there will be kids eat free offer too. Might be wrong but as I understand it the registered guests are the three people who check in, I don’t think names on booking are important, I often don’t even bother adding my partners name. Even when travelling solo I always reserve a room for 2; I’ve had friends or colleagues join me for breakfast only and never had a problem with that either, probably because I am on the list as two guests.

      • Well, one of named guests needs to turn up. Apart from that not important except in a few countries such as Spain (I seem to recall Rob saying) where the lead guest must turn up in person.

        • Thanks BJ, yes it would make sense that if they have a booking for 2 adults, those adults would be entitled to HH benefits even if only one is actually named on the booking! Sometimes I think they don’t even read the question properly and just reply with the first thing that comes into their heads!

        • Lady London says:

          Of course they don’t need to know the name of the second guest in a room How else would people get away with bringing other people’s wives and maintaining discretion?

    • I’ve never had this problem – in the US or elsewhere. They just “know” there are two of you if you have a double/twin room.

    • Derek says:

      I had exactly the same issue with Hilton and HH. I ended up contacting the hotel direct and they added my membership details to my booking no problem, but not before I explained the idiotic rules of the situation with HH Centre

    • If you book a Hilton Garden (or any other HIlton Hotel) in the US via a 3rd party site, do you still get the HH perks?

      Just curious as I have booked a Hilton Garden in New York for our family via

      Also, if you do still get the perks how do you inform them that you are a HH Gold member?

  3. Hi Rob
    It seems IB are backing out of paying up the 90k for those with recently opened accounts (see Flyertalk thread), even after getting valid id’s sent in. Have you heard anything from IB about this?

    • Be interested to hear about this too. I have an account that was created in 2015 and not heard a peep from Iberia about where my 90k is…..this is despite the fact that my partner received hers on Monday. Anyone got Iberia’s comms department contact details?

      • Same here, my account was opened months ago and still no avios nor replies to emails. Dreadful. Calling their UK ‘Iberia Plus’ number just goes through to sales who say they are unable to transfer and give the same number to call again.. Rob, would appreciate if you can give Iberia a nudge as plenty of us are yet to receive these avios and getting no where with them. Thanks

    • No

  4. OT but I booked a flight with 2 people the first day of the iberia promo and then cancelled it because of the risk of both accounts getting into minus. Next day I booked 2 flights from my account and only one batch of 9000 points have posted. I called iberia and they said to send the booking confirmation…my account is couple of years old so I don’t think I count as the new accounts that require a copy of passport…

    • the real harry1 says:

      Just send the booking confirmation, + screenshot showing your IB number was included

  5. I got an 11k offer for the white card 3 weeks ago, nothing yet for the black – hope I’m somewhere on the list.

    • ColinJE says:

      Is the Virgin MBNA? What was was your offer please? I stupidly cancelled my white card and retained my black as I was a few hundred points away from another upgrade voucher. Managed to hit the spend target but it’s strange not to have heard anything when we are a few days away from earning no further points on the cards!

      • Mr dee says:

        Assume signup for new virgin card. Got 45k extra for spending 1.5k each month for 3 months.

        • When |I followed my link for teh new black card, I coudl select the white card offer instead if I wished. I imagined that this worked the other way around for those only offered the white?
          Have you tried following the link (on a PC) and had a good look around the landing page?

  6. O/T staying at my first Waldorf Astoria tomorrow (Versailles) and have HH Gold through Amex Plat…any tips for making the most of it?

  7. james says:

    Re; the Iberia promotion: I can’t believe people are still moaning because they haven’t managed to rip a company off. I saw the ‘offer’ on so many sites like this and didn’t touch it with a barge pole, even though I’ve had an active iberia account for several years.

    Well, actually maybe I can believe it 🙂

    • Brian W says:

      Absolute Hero 🙂

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      “I can’t believe people are still moaning because they haven’t managed to rip a company off.”

      Perspective has gone out the window. Entitlement walked in the door.

      • Doug M says:

        I think you have a very subjective view here. Company makes an offer, seems to good to be true, bloggers and travel journalists contact company and are given confirmation it’s as good as it seems. People take advantage of the offer.

        I don’t get the remarks about perspective and entitlement.

        We’ll see how this plays out. But I think Iberia are knowingly now backtracking and creating rules on the fly to deny what they clearly initially offered.

        On Flyertalk there are now stories of people that have held accounts for several years having the flights refunded and the points cancelled. At face value this is very very poor, and will turn a positive marketing move into a PR disaster.

        • Exactly this.

        • Ultimately Iberia are at fault and only have themselves to blame, they should have insisted on the flights being flown or restricted it to existing members. It is true that they are now playing games but most suspected they would do and went ahead with the promotion anyway. In this respect thousands appeared to have played games with Iberia too, and frankly I think they are getting off lightly by being offered refunds. I don’t count longstanding Iberia plus members who booked 10 flights in this category, I refer to those setting up multiple accounts and purchases of many 10s of tickets. For them, I have no sympathy.

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          PR disaster? There is that perspective again.

          I’m yet to see this anywhere in the mainstream media. I’m aware of it but dont consider it a disaster. My spouse, who flys regularly for work including Iberia, has no idea but she doesnt follow a handful of blogs.

          It will have no impact on her, or my, choice of airline moving forward. It may impact yours but how many times have you flown Iberia in the past decade? Just because it impacts you does not make it a PR disastor for the company.

          Fixing emissions on hundreds of thousands of cars. Bad. Refunding flights priced by own admission “to good to be true”. Who cares.

      • Doug M says:

        A further point. How is this really any different to people that continually churn credit cards? The comments section on this site alone are a ‘how to’ exploit Amex’s generous rules for churn. Is that a rip-off, are all those people entitled?

        • Churning credit cards does not deprive genuine travellers of seats they will use or inflate their fares. To date, churning appears to have had little to no impact on availability of credit or bonuses to nonchurners. If it ever does amex can deal with that simply by targeting churners in the same way as Iberia is targeting those it believed abused their promotion.. Unlike the Iberia promotion, churning does not create chaos on amex websites or in the services they offer.

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          Difference is minor. It’s not the offer that is amusing. It’s peoples up-in-arms reaction.

        • Doug M says:

          I get some of the reaction has been OTT. But underpinning all this is Iberia made a dumb offer, but now have to honour that. You can’t have a system of offers whereby companies rescind them subsequently if they’ll be too expensive to honour. When this offer was made anyone reading the endless online comments could see the problems, why couldn’t Iberia?
          I’ve no problem with them cancelling the multiple fake accounts, that’s just fraud. But we shouldn’t have to apply our own value judgments to an offer that a company has gone to the effort of clarifying, it should be their responsibility to get it right or suck up the cost.

        • Doug M says:

          BJ. Because it’s not immediate and simple to quantify doesn’t mean that churning doesn’t have an effect on others. Broadly speaking it’s like those that think insurance fraud is a victimless crime. Churned points pay for seats and rooms which means a reduction unavailability, this has an inflationary effect for others.
          As for web issues maybe that’s because Amex is a better run organisation than Iberia.
          My ultimate point remains that Iberia made this offer, it’s not up to the customer to apply judgment has to the logic of the offer, or the knock on effects of it. The fault entirely remains with Iberia.

  8. Derek says:

    Doesn’t make sense that Calgary is an eligible route for the Upgrade to First.. it uses a 787, with no First…!

  9. Hi,

    I have an IB account which is around 6 months old; I successfully signed up for the 90k avios which are now in my account, but need to buy some avios at the discounted rate so I can transfer them to BA for a redemption to take advantage of a Amex 2-4-1.
    I obviously can’t transfer the 90k; will I definitely be okay to purchase the 15k I need to transfer to BA?

    • the real harry1 says:

      Sure, that should be absolutely fine. I transferred IB—>BAEC successfully just now – they’re only ring-fencing the 90K

  10. Talking BA, Ive booked the ” dream deal companion fare” for January 2019 to CPT. Paid £3601 including a car I might just use! If I now book Y flights from NCL to LHR , will BA merge this booking with the F booking? Or is this just hoping……? Any help appreciated

    • In theory no but if you call You First they are more flexible than the main call centre.

      • Thanks for that, and thanks for flagging up this deal Rob, great deal as for once no multiple positioning flights needed!!

  11. Jessie says:

    If I already have a club world ticket booked in an eligible class, can this be somehow upgraded to first? Thanks!

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