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What is the difference between British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus?

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In this article I want to explain what the difference is between British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus.

Like British Airways, Iberia Plus uses Avios as its reward currency. However, Iberia Plus and British Airways Executive Club are functionally and operationally different, with different elite status tiers, benefits and thresholds.

What is the difference between British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus?

If you are familiar with British Airways Executive Club, you will know that it has three levels of elite status, each of which can be achieved when crossing the threshold of tier points required. Iberia Plus operates along the same lines, although it calls its tier points ‘elite points’ and operates a slightly different valuation scheme.

With British Airways Executive Club, there are three elite levels: Bronze (the lowest), Silver, and Gold (the highest). The equivalent Iberia Plus tiers are Silver, Gold and Platinum. Despite their different names, the levels are broadly the same since they are also equivalent to the oneworld tiers of Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald.

The requirements for earning status are different between British Airways and Iberia.  Each scheme gives different weight to short haul and long haul flights, and to flights on partners vs the home airline.  There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer as to which scheme is easiest to get status with, although it is fair to say that virtually no UK-based Head for Points readers have found Iberia Plus more attractive.  Almost all of our readers credit their oneworld flights to British Airways Executive Club and earn status there.

When it comes to Avios redemptions, Iberia and British Airways also operate different pricing schemes, peak timetables and taxes and fees.

This leads to interesting quirks which you can exploit.  British Airways prices UK school holidays weeks as ‘peak’ and charges more for Avios redemptions.  Those same weeks are usually off-peak in the Iberia programme (Spanish children are in school during the UK’s October half term for example) so you can make big savings if you are happy to fly long-haul on Iberia from Madrid rather than British Airways from London.

Iberia also prices New York and other US East Coast destinations cheaply for marketing reasons.  An off-peak business class flight between Madrid and New York costs 68,000 Avios on Iberia.  An off-peak business class flight between London and New York costs 100,000 Avios on British Airways.

However, as it is possible to move Avios between the two programs (although, of course, your elite status will not follow you beyond what you are entitled to as a oneworld Ruby, Sapphire or Emerald member) you can take advantage of these sweet spots now that you know they exist.  This article shows you how to move Avios between Iberia Plus and British Airways Executive Club.

In practice, it makes the most sense to prioritise the frequent flyer program of whichever airline is the more practical – for example Executive Club if you are a UK resident.

(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works.  You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )

(Head for Points is the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website with 1.5 million monthly page views.  Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios?  Click here to read our latest news storiesclick here to join our email list and click here to read our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.  Read this article to learn how you can get 10,000 FREE Avios by signing up for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card.)