Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Iberia quietly drops flights from Madrid to Johannesburg

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

Iberia has suspended its Madrid to Johannesburg route from the end of August.

A Head for Points flagged in our comments yesterday that his booking – without him being notified – had been cancelled.  A search of the Iberia website shows no services after 31st August 2019.  I have found reference to the cancellation in the South African press, which cites substantial losses as the reason for the closure, but nothing published in Europe.

This is a big loss to Avios collectors as the route allowed you to reach South Africa with minimal taxes and charges (around £150 return in Business Class) compared to £570 on British Airways from London.

Unfortunately, Iberia is not (yet?) rebooking people.  Although, to be fair, they haven’t told anyone that they won’t be rebooked.  That said, they haven’t actually told the impacted passengers yet that they don’t have a flight!  ‘Manage My Booking’ does show the cancellation.

EDIT: The Iberia website for travel agents does mention the cancellation and includes this line: “The Commercial division will announce flexibility and relocation conditions for affected passengers.”  If you are ticketed on this route I would wait for Iberia to contact you.

PS. Our detailed guide on how to redeem Avios on Iberia is here – it is well worth a look as there are many ‘sweet spots’ and taxes are low.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2022)

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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

50,000 points bonus until 2nd October – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

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.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (98)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Eric says:

    Phoned Iberia re my JNB flight. V helpful chap, David I believe.

    Re-routed on to BA business.

    Only slight pain is no change of origin or destination, so I will now be flying LHR – MAD – LHR – JNB and then reverse on way back!

    Still, happy with the changes overall.

    • marcw says:

      yep. It´s doable – but depends how your wife/husband/kids take it.

      • Eric says:

        Just the wife this time. Not a great flyer, but happy-ish as we’ll still have a fab holiday in SA. Have previously flown BA business LHR – CPT in old 747, hoping the route to JNB in an A380 will be a better experience. Never flown in an A380 as yet.

      • callum says:

        They’re going to South Africa – if rerouting via London is so distressing then they’re going to be in for a big shock when they arrive!

        • David says:

          I dunno, it’s quite easy to persuade fellow passengers that you need to change planes in Madrid, without raising too many eyebrows. If they end up back at the airport they’ve just left, there might be some more intensive questioning about your itinerary…

        • callum says:

          I’d imagine a very simple “Iberia cancelled the flight so we’ve been rerouted back through London – yes it’s inconvenient and seems weird to be in the same airport twice, but it’s either that or we cancel and spend an extra £1000 each on direct flights” would suffice!

          I still maintain that if you consider that a hardship, Africa probably shouldn’t be the destination for you (unless they were planning to check into a luxury resort and never see the “real” South Africa I guess).

    • Ed says:

      Would it not have been worth trying for a LGW -MAD flight on the return necessitating claiming your luggage at LHR. Some unforeseen circumstance could then have resulted in you being unable to make this flight…

      • RIccatti says:

        That is a minor thing.

        He should have asked for re-routing on Qatar citing that he is not happy with backtracking.

  • Boi says:

    OT:
    I hear people talk about tesco mobile offer….I must have missed this when it started. Am I too late to the party?
    Those who have done it and got points….can you let me know what i need to do step by step to do it before closing?
    Thanks in advance

  • David says:

    I would hang up and try again. I had 4 separate bookings and all have been ‘reprotected’ on to flights wit BA via Heathrow by 2 different agents without any issues.

    Hope you get sorted out.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.