Easy (and cheap!) Avios redemptions to Washington DC on new Iberia flights

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If you’ve ever looked at Iberia‘s international flight network you may have been struck by how odd it is.  Case in point: there are no nonstop flights between the Spanish capital and Washington DC whilst it seems to serve every corner of Latin and South America.

Interestingly, Iberia did serve Washington DC from Madrid until 2010, just before it merged into IAG with British Airways.

Iberia launching Washington DC

Iberia is now re-launching Washington DC, almost a decade since the last flight.

The route begins on 1st May 2020, five times a week. The timings are as follows:

IB6131 departs Madrid at 3:50pm and arrives in DC at 6:55pm

IB6132 departs DC at 8:30pm and arrives at 10:15am the next day.

The flight is to be operated by an A330-300 with 29 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration (pictured). You can see our review of the Iberia business class product on an A330 here. It is a good product in an alternating arrangement that lets you choose between a more private or more open seat.

There is very good Avios redemption availability

Redemption availability on this new route is very good which is unsurprising since it has just been launched.

A business class return costs 68,000 Avios off-peak, as you can see from Iberia’s own reward chart. Peak dates will cost 100,000 Avios return.

Yes, just 68,000 Avios return for Business Class.   Why does Iberia charge substantially fewer Avios for flights from Madrid to the US East Coast, compared to what BA charges from London?  We don’t know!

Bear in mind that Iberia also has a slightly different peak and off-peak table versus British Airways, which you can see on the Iberia website here.

Don’t forget that taxes and carrier surcharges are significantly less than British Airways, so a redemption is considerably cheaper than with BA.  However, YOU MUST BOOK ON THE IBERIA SITE TO GET THE LOWER TAXES.

Here is proof.  Madrid to Washington DC booked on iberia.com, with tax of £157:

Iberia low tax

Madrid to Washington DC booked on ba.com (exactly the same flight) for £385:

BA Avios pricing on Iberia

You save £228 per person by booking on the Iberia website using Iberia Plus Avios!

In order to get your Avios into Iberia Plus from British Airways Executive Club, you will need an Iberia Plus account which can be opened quickly at iberia.com.  To do the transfer, your account will also need to fulfil the following two conditions:

your Iberia Plus account must be 90 days

your Iberia Plus account must have ‘earned’ 1 Avios – the easiest way to do this is to transfer in some Amex Membership Rewards points or credit a flight, hotel stay or car hire

You can then use ‘Combine My Avios’ on ba.com to move your points to Iberia Plus.  If you get an error message, the workaround is to move your points from ba.com to avios.com and then from avios.com to iberia.com – this will work 95% of the time.  In order to log in at avios.com, you will need to open a free account at Aer Lingus Aer Club or Vueling Club.

And don’t forget Guayaquil!

In June we reported that Iberia was also launching a direct flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador, which is a great place to start if you want to fly to the Galapagos.

The route starts next month on 13th December, operating three times a week. A redemption in Business Class is 102,000 Avios off-peak or 150,000 Avios peak, return. You can book now on the Iberia website.

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Comments

  1. OT: I missed the chat on Amex self referrals. I have made 1 of those in my current stash. I currently have 102600 MR ( plat card not cancelled). What is the current thinking…should I leave them there or transfer out?
    I have no immediate need/use for them.

    • I’m in exactly the same position. Wisdom from the US suggests that they allow points transfers even after they close down the account, so I’m leaving them (for now at least). To be honest I’m in the ‘bring it on’ camp and really don’t think they’ll come after me – all that would happen is it makes the continual deliberation as to whether I can justify the huge annual fee much easier, so they’d just be shooting themselves in the foot given I’ve only ever done one or two self-referrals and have paid it twice. Plus they never paid me the points when I did refer someone else (my mum) and I kept quiet…

      • Why didn’t you chase the referral for you mum. No reason not to. The thing with Amex is that the agents get a lot wrong, they’re polite and helpful, but often say stuff that isn’t supported by what follows.

    • You have to balance the risk of the loss of 18K, 12K whatever the referral was against the flexibility of keeping them as MR. I needed 75K Marriott so transferred out 50K right before they announced the 50% bonus, annoyed much. On a 100K I think I’d transfer out the lot to either Marriott and get the bonus, or to Avios. But who knows what’s the right answer.

      • I transferred mine out to Bonvoy for the bonus. But this was influenced by wanting to diversify my points collecting (more diverse airline partner transfers from Bonvoy than Amex MR) and my plans to probably cancel my MR cards in a few months.

        I am sceptical that the US style culls will come over here in the same way. People in the US are capable of both earning more points and achieving much higher levels of manufactured spend and referrals on Amex cards. Though I may well be wrong and we are all shafted. Depends on your attitude to risk and if you are naturally cautious or risk averse.

        • I think you may well be right. Any google of self-referral always brings up US results. I’d have thought after all the changes Amex needed a period of not culling their customer base any further, but who knows. If logic was a factor then Amex would have made some changes long ago to shift focus from new customers to retain customers, and Curve wouldn’t exist.

          • Rob reckons the reprisals for self referrals will come here and he is smarter and more knowledgeable than me. So perhaps the apocalypse is coming.

            But Amex points earnings are so awful these days anyway that referrals are one of the ways to make significant headway unless you spend six figures on Amex. So you have to weigh up risk vs reward. Could gain a lot of points from referrals now and transfer them out – if Amex ban you or not, you’ve got those points. Whereas, if you played it safe, you would perhaps earn more in the very long term but earnings/bonuses from UK cards look like they are going down anyway and schemes are being devalued… It’s a choice of play the very long game or make hay whilst the sun shines.

            The alternatives to Amex in the UK are awful, though, which is something to think about. One of the main reasons I haven’t switched entirely to my Virgin card is that they are an awful company and offer essentially no useful benefits aside from a high earnings rate for a relatively niche air miles currency (fingers crossed for KLM/AF). No [email protected], average at best customer service, no referral bonuses, ridiculous habit of rejecting everyone remotely affluent who applies.

          • *one of the only ways

          • Does anybody have the link to this amex self referral chat. Missed it completely too, as am only reading hfp intermittently. Tnx..

          • Shoestring says:
          • Shoestring says:
          • Shoestring says:

            in particular see post #104 in the FT thread

          • Riccatti says:

            The world (AMEX US) gone crazy.

            If financial institutions put hook up offers, and then explicitly, abruptly and no-appeal, no-consideration cancel accounts (and accumulated points) en masse — there will be a backlash.

            AMEX stock has been lagging, clearly they are trying to whip profitability HOWEVER the public relationship disaster make one a lesser buyer (of AMEX stock).

  2. OT: Amex, I’ve just transferred point from Amex MR to BA & Nectar. Do I need to wait for the points to arrive before I cancel?

    • I’d personally wait for them to land. Shouldn’t take more than a handful of days, so wouldn’t add much to the fee/cut much off your pro rata refund.

    • Definitely. For a few days worth of fee you’d be looking at a right pain trying to resolve it if something does go wrong.

  3. OT Last held an SPG in June 2019 and BA Sept 2018. I currently hold a Platinum Business. I assume I apply for a BA Premium Plus Sept 2020 and receive the full bonus?

  4. Scallder says:

    Anyone happen to know at what time Iberia releases their flights each day?

  5. OT – Apologies if everyone knows this already but I popped into LIDL for the first time in ages today (Aldi only seems to have their expensive smoked salmon at the moment!) and discovered it now accepts Amex! There were very nice looking Christmas goodies.

  6. Booked my outbound EDI – KUL in Business using the 241 voucher and will add the return later this month.

    Can someone confirm my numbers for the taxes/fees?

    It looks to me like taxes/fees for 2 pax on a business return are £1389.62.

    Booking it as two one-ways, it looks like £873.70 outbound and then £569.72 inbound, so a total of £1443.42.

    Any better way of checking this than dummy bookings?

    Based on those numbers, I’m best getting on the phone at midnight GMT T-355 rather than booking the return online and then calling the next say to get them to link it to the 241 booking?

    • Looks about right, you would have made substantial saving exINV.

      • But if you are within 24h you could call and have them change the domestic sector for free.

        • Thanks for helping me sense check it.

          I did consider going from INV but decided that I couldn’t be bothered with the additional hassle.

      • Not sure- just had a look at NYC off peak and the tax saving was ~£130 per person. £663 vs £537.

        • …. which is what you’d expect, as that is the APD. It’s really not worth it in my opinion given the cost of getting to Inverness and the risk of misconnects.

          That said, when the airport hotel opens next month we’ll go and see for ourselves.

    • I always check the taxes using ITA Matrix. Way faster and much more flexible (i.e. you can often price open jaw tickets etc.)

  7. O/T: A possible 500 Nectar points on any spend at Vodafone. Cheapest thing I saw was a basic phone at £6. Might be worth bagging if anybody needs one of those. I doubt a free sim will do it as this wouldn’t credit Nectar accounts.

  8. OT – When will the next Amex Travel offer likely come out (i.e. £50 off a £200 spend, £200 off a £600 spend or £400 off a £1000 spend)? Last years’ expired in November and yet here we are in mid November with no offer as of yet. Anyone have any ideas or is it not being offered this year?

  9. KBuffett says:

    Do Marriott allow lounge access to Titanium members if booked through Expedia?

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