Yes, in a dose of Brexit inspired madness, BA’s sister airline Iberia has made a surprising revelation: it is not actually a subsidiary of a major international aviation group.
It is, in fact, part of Spanish department store group El Corte Ingles. Which, admittedly, could explain a lot but came as a bit of a surprise none the less.
It turns out that the corporate equivalent of a recent DNA test has proved that Iberia and British Airways are not actually brother and sister. Iberia’s sister companies actually include a small chain of Spanish opticians.
Whilst we thought Iberia was related to Aer Lingus, it actually spent Christmas with BriCor, which appears to be the Spanish version of B&Q (they are doing 20% off sheds at the moment).
Why does Iberia claim to be a department store subsidiary?
Here’s the thing. Only airlines which have 50.1% EU ownership have ‘flying rights’ to operate between two airports within the EU.
Iberia is owned by BA’s parent, International Airlines Group. Whilst IAG is based in Madrid, it does NOT have 50.1% EU ownership if you look at the shareholder register. Qatar Airways, for example, has a 21% shareholding in IAG.
If the UK leaves the EU without an aviation treaty being agreed, as would happen in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, Iberia could be grounded. Iberia has thought of this and actually put this bizarre structure in place back in 2011 when IAG was created, except that no-one took any notice at the time.
Whilst 100% of the ‘economic rights’ to Iberia’s revenue and profitability are owned by IAG, it turns out that 50.01% of Iberia’s ‘political rights’ are owned by the El Corte Ingles department store chain.
It is now up to the European Commission to decide if Iberia is actually:
owned by a multinational airline business with over 50.1% of its shareholders outside the ‘ex UK’ EU, in which case it could be grounded at the end of March, or
a sister company to a handful of department stores, an opticians and a DIY chain
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.