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Iberia quietly drops flights from Madrid to Johannesburg

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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 from UK credit cards (December 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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel 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.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – 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 £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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.

  • paul mcevoy says:

    I used the Iberia route Jnb to Mad in January this year. It was only worth the small amount of taxes we paid in J. Grumpy crew, mediocre food and the lights in the galley left on the whole flight. I thought I was back in Belfast at one stage in the middle of the 12th of July. The stewardess could not have made more noise if she tried.

  • MarkH says:

    OT – Lloyds upgrade voucher.
    This is my first time trying to use one and I’ve read previously in comments that it’s possible to book flights for other people but I’ve just called to book a flight for my wife using the voucher and the CS agent said it’s not possible as I have to be on the flight/s.

    Does anyone know if this has changed? The guy said he’d been there about a year and it’s never been possible… Called on 01925 848 693 if that makes any difference.

    • benj88 says:

      Should definitely be possible, should have hung up and tried again!

      • MarkH says:

        hmmm called again and same response. will give it another go later

    • Doug M says:

      I’ve never successfully used it for someone else, and have tried. Always told no you have to travel. Others have reported success, maybe it just takes a lot of HUCA retries.

    • Czechoslovakia says:

      Pretty sure the agents are correct as per terms and conditions. Didn’t stop me doing it online though, and ticketed without issue.

      • MarkH says:

        Was this recently you did it online?

        Thought since the Avios closure they could only be booked on the phone?

    • Alan says:

      From the voucher T&Cs:
      12. The cardholder must travel on any booking made using an upgrade voucher.

      Different to the BA GUVs where you can book for anyone you want as long as the voucher holder makes the booking.

      You might get lucky but I can see why not having much luck when speaking to the agents!

  • shoestring says:


    aped intoclub aspire t3 – 4 of us, lucky as filling up fast

    • Lady London says:

      Not No. 1?

      • shoestring says:

        lounong club

        • Darren says:

          Fat fingers Harry, or taking advantage of the facilities!?

        • Shoestring says:

          nah it was in the lounge – one of those tables with a built-in touchscreen monitor & internet, completely useless but better than nothing as I don’t carry a laptop

          [yep I had a few, finished up with several pints of Guinness with a single malt chaser (Spey) that was quite delicious and my charming Goanese server went heavy on the pour lol]

          back on the real deal desktop PC at our place in the sun now 🙂

        • Darren says:

          Excellent, good man.

          Have a great time.

  • Mike says:

    Will we still have the protection of EU 261 after BREXIT ?

    • ChrisC says:


      It is part of U.K. law and had been since 2005. It would require Parliament to repeal it.

      In any case it woukd still apply to EU based airlies whatever happens. And it would still apply to U.K. airlies on flights leaving the EU even if the U.K. repealed it.

    • Doug M says:

      Yes, no EU law as such. The EU determines what should happen and the individual countries write it into law.

    • marcw says:

      Are you leaving or just pretending to leave?

  • PAL says:

    OT my Hilton diamond expired March 31 but hotel still honoured diamond lounge access for stay earlier this week. *sighs when he sees Americans fill up the lounge by merely having a credit card*.

    • Rob says:

      …. which has a $450 fee.

      • Peter 64K says:

        … Which is less than UK amex platinum which gets you only gold.

        • Rob says:

          But Hilton Gold is a teeny tiny part of the Plat benefits.

          For $450 you could do 8 Hilton mattress runs to get yourself Diamond status via their status match / challenge.

        • RIccatti says:

          Alan made a case below, Rob.

          Its UK AMEX Platinum benefits which are weighting below the benefits for a specialised US card.

          In terms of hotels, Plat gives you Hilton Gold and Marriott Gold (Radisson/Shangri-la on the side), and Marriott Gold is now 2pm non-guaranteed checkout and that’s it.

      • Alan says:

        Although for that $450 you get
        – Hilton Diamond
        – 150k Hilton Honors points sign-up bonus (after spending $4k)
        – 14 points per USD on Hilton spend (approx 8% return), 7x on airlines, 3x all other spend
        – free weekend night every year plus 2nd free night after $60k spend
        – $250 Hilton resort credit
        – $250 airline credit
        – $100 on-property credit if you spend at least 2 paid nights at WA/Conrad properties
        – Priority Pass for you and 2 guests
        – secondary collision damage waiver, lost baggage insurance and travel accident insurance

        Overall looks like an amazing package for $450 – if I was in the USA I’d be snapping it up!

  • Bonglim says:


    Has anyone managed to successfully chase eu flight compensation through a lawyer?
    We were delayed through a lightning strike for the previous flight. Our flight back from Chicago was delayed because there was a lightning strike on the flight from Heathrow to Chicago.

    There has been some precedent with this, a judge awarded compensation in similar circumstances.

    But BA said now and the adjudicator said no.

    Is it worth going through a lawyer. Anyone have any recommendations as to who to go with?

    • shoestring says:

      bott and co highly recommended by others

    • Lady London says:

      Lightning strike = genuine weather issue (as compared to when airlines seem to try to sat its weather and yet same routing other airlines planes are not late). However problems with incoming aircraft due to be used for your flight do not count as valid reasons for airline not to compensate if your flight is delayed enough.

      So on the surface of it, it sounds like you should have a claim if other measures are met like length of delay in your arrival to final destination.

      I believe Bott & co are experts if you want to pay their % of your claim, I would go for this.

    • marcw says:

      You should be compensated, in some way or another. The problem is, they are I think 2 cases where it´s gone in favour of the passengers. But it´s not a precedent for others, since it´s not high enough in the system (because airlines did not appeal the decission).

      I once had a problem with easyJet, at the end we agreed a settlement through CEDR close to EC261, but not the same.

    • the_real_a says:

      I have also used bott and co with sucess

    • RIccatti says:

      As pointed, the issue with the inbound aircraft is not itself grounds for the airline.

      It’s different on bird strikes as there are protective measures that airlines should have taken.

      The divide is between what is inherent in the aircraft’s normal activity and normal operation of the airline. The relevant case here (which BA likes to throw in your face) is Marcela Peskova, Jiri Peska v Travel Service A.S.

      However, then you might request a proof from BA that measures were taken with regards to potential lightning strikes on that particular plane (and in general). If BA does not respond or refuses to, then you can go to court on these grounds — to compel the evidence will be in public interest.

  • Louise says:

    OT – Cancelling BA Amex, when do points go across to BA account? Just before statement produced?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Yes usually a couple days before. Don’t cancel before they hit your account

      • Rooster says:

        You will get the Avios even if you cancel Amex aren’t that much of a scam

        • john says:

          I cancelled last week and the US guy I spoke to implied they would be lost. I only had 30 avios on there.

      • Louise says:


  • VJ says:

    O/T – Amex Spending Target – Best way to spend on Forex (and/or Spending in Foreign) and avoiding (lessen) 2.99% charge


    • Rob says:

      No ways, now that Amex and Curve are not working together.

    • Grant says:

      The only way I can try and rationalise it to some degree is to spend on Gold where you get 2 MR points per £1 spent in FX so you are offsetting some of the 2.99% fee with extra points. Hitting spend targets for sign up or annual bonuses helps with the pain of the fee too.

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

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