On Saturday I ran an article on how and why you should book long-haul Avios Business Class redemptions on Iberia via Madrid.
I used New York as an example of how you can get great deals with Iberia (on some days, you’re comparing 68,000 Avios + £155 of taxes on Iberia from Madrid vs 120,000 Avios + £667 of taxes on BA from London!).
A reader recommended I take a look at Santiago in Chile as another example of huge pricing disparities. This route is especially interesting because it also lets you compare a partner airline (LATAM) with very low taxes.
Let’s assume that you want to go to Chile. Even if you DON’T want to go Chile, keep reading because the same principles apply to other Iberia routes such as the six in the USA, Tokyo, Shanghai, Johannesburg etc.
Option 1: Fly British Airways direct from London to Santiago
Santiago is in Zone 8 on the British Airways Avios reward chart. British Airways is being generous here, because the flight is 7,228 miles and it should technically be in Zone 9 and priced the same as Sydney! You pay:
175,000 Avios + £588 of taxes off-peak (see screenshot below)
210,000 Avios + £588 of taxes peak
Option 2: Fly Iberia direct from Madrid to Santiago, booked on ba.com
Even though we are booking this flight on ba.com, it still prices off the Iberia Avios reward chart because it is an Iberia flight. Santiago is in Zone 7 on the Iberia Avios reward chart. Iberia is also being generous here, because the flight is 6,649 miles and it should technically be in Zone 8.
102,000 Avios + £604 of taxes off-peak (see screenshot below)
150,000 Avios + £604 of taxes peak
You also need to add in the cost of getting to/from Madrid on a separate ticket. You won’t save anything in taxes but the Avios saving is chunky. However, don’t book this, because …..
Option 3: Fly Iberia direct from Madrid to Santiago, booked on iberia.com
Let’s be clear here. This is the IDENTICAL flight I just priced above in Option 2, except that I am booking it on the Iberia website instead of the British Airways one.
102,000 Avios + £162 of taxes off-peak (see screenshot below)
150,000 Avios + £162 of taxes peak
Option 4: Fly LATAM direct from Madrid to Santiago, booked on iberia.com
This is what you pay to fly with LATAM. Remember that, as a partner airline, all dates are priced as peak dates:
175,000 Avios + £42 (see screenshot below)
You also need to add in the cost of getting to/from Madrid on a separate ticket. You also need to remember that this ticket is non-refundable because Iberia does not allow changes to redemptions on partner airlines outside BA and Iberia.
Which option is best?
As I said earlier, this article isn’t really about Santiago. It is more about highlighting the huge differences in taxes and charges if you can fly with Iberia instead.
Of course, you can’t use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher on Iberia, LATAM or any other partners. You will need to pay BA’s taxes and charges.
Even then …..
On a peak British Airways day, two people using a 2-4-1 voucher will be paying 210,000 Avios + £1,176 in taxes and charges to fly from Heathrow to Santiago.
If you DON’T use the voucher, you could either pay 350,000 Avios + £83 on the LATAM flight from Madrid to Santiago, or 300,000 Avios + £324 on the Iberia flight from Madrid.
I would see all three of those options are roughly equal, but of course you’d still have your 2-4-1 voucher for another BA trip.
PS. How do you move Avios from British Airways Executive Club to Iberia Plus?
Here is a quick reminder of how it works:
You need an Iberia Plus account, which you can open at the Iberia website
Your Iberia Plus account MUST be 90 days before it will accept transfers
Your Iberia Plus account MUST have earned 1 Avios before it will accept transfers – the easiest option is moving 1,000 American Express points into it, but you could also credit a hotel stay or a BA or other partner flight or a car rental etc
In theory you can then use ‘Combine My Avios’ on ba.com to do the transfer
If you get error messages, you need to use avios.com as an intermediary. Log in at avios.com, go to ‘Combine My Avios’, pull the Avios from BA and then push them to Iberia
If you no longer have an active avios.com account, go to this page of the Aer Lingus website and open an AerClub account. You can log in to avios.com using those details.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2021)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
There are two official British Airways American Express cards:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)