How Santiago shows up the crazy disparities in Avios pricing – with taxes from £42 to £604!

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

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

How to book Santiago with Avios

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 …..

How to book Santiago with Avios

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

This is an astonishing saving of £442 per person in taxes and charges!  The ONLY difference is that you are booking the Iberia flight on iberia.com instead of ba.com.

How to book Santiago with Avios

Option 4:  Fly LATAM direct from Madrid to Santiago, booked on iberia.com

Finally, here is an option with a partner airline.  LATAM is a very respected airline and a oneworld alliance member, with a good business class product.  You can check out its website here.

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.

How to book Santiago with Avios

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.

(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.)

New Etihad discount codes and a points transfer bonus launched
IHG Rewards Club extends registration for its Spring promotion
Click here to join the 13,000 people on our email list and receive the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

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.

Comments

  1. *Taxes, fees and charges (TFCs).

  2. Prins Polo says:

    170k +£42 on LATAM is more though than 150k+£162 on Iberia (assuming 1p Avios valuation), not to mention off-peak pricing.

    • Indeed, but some people have a different cash v miles valuation view. And LATAM availability is really good, I saw 6 business class seats on some flights.

  3. Have I gone bonkers is does the Iberia website not show any flights from MAD / BCN to anywhere in the USA at the moment? Trying to search for LAX/SFO routes and nothing in the US comes up at all.

  4. OT: Recently took a flight with Iberia Express, booked via iberia.com. I had put our BA executive club numbers on the booking, but didn’t get the Avios or the Tier Points and now I’ve got what appears to be automatic rejections when claiming through both routes.

    Is this worth arguing either way? I’d prefer them to be credited to our BA accounts just in case the Tier points end up making a difference. Looking back at a post that Rob did in January I can see that flights booked through Iberia Express won’t credit to BA, but these were booked through Iberia.com.

    • Use the relevant FlyerTalk thread – there”s a BA contact on there who will help you out. Used to be BAMissingAvios or something like that. I’ve had Iberia Express pay out TPs when booked via Iberia. While back though.

  5. Octopus says:

    Really? The first 1 didn’t work so I cancelled and wondered whether to try again. It seems that the T&C might have changed?

  6. Also even if you go RFS on BA to T4s you will have to go get your bags landslide then check in again with IB for PVG. Thats what BA don’t do for Oneworld and now even for the same company !

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