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Easy (and cheap) Avios point 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.

If you want to learn more about how to redeem Avios points via Iberia Plus, to save a fortune on taxes and charges, take a look at this article in our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 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. 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 BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

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 BA Amex American Express card

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.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

American Express Amex Gold

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital on Tap Visa card

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 card

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

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.

(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.)

Comments (127)

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

  • Marcw says:

    Fact check: IB does not fly to Luanda, Malabo, Mauritania and Oran anymore.

    • AR says:

      Oran yes, the others no. But I agree – c’mon, Rhys, this is just lazy on your part…

      • Marcw says:

        I believe Oran is served by Air Nostrum – which is not Iberia. I might be wrong though.

        • AR says:

          Wholly owned subsidiary – I’d count it as IB.

          • Marcw says:

            Wrong. Air Nostrum is not owned by Iberia/IAG.

          • AR says:

            @Marcw you’re right, sorry – but it does operate exclusively as a franchisee for IB, right (similar to BA Cityflyer ex-LCY)? I’d count that as part of IB’s route network.

          • Marcw says:

            In the case of Iberia, Air Nostrum operates as a franchise for Iberia, but Air Nostrum also operates flights for Binter Canarias, Brussels Airlines and SAS. Some time ago there where plans to merge with CityJet but I’ve got not idea how that ended.

          • ChrisC says:

            BA City flyer is 100% owned by BA and thus IAG

          • Lady London says:

            @Marcw I’d be very wary of counting Air Nostrum as the same as IB. Having even one Air Nostrum sector in your ticket can drastically affect the whole ticket’s changeability/refundability and personally I would keep all my flights on an Iberia booking IB coded and operated avoiding Air Nostrum and Vueling unless I really needed them.

      • Marcw says:

        The problem is IBs website is not updated, in terms of destinations. anyway, IB website is a total disaster, to begin with.

      • BJ says:

        To be fair, Rhys probably took the info from Iberias own website so he could reasonably expect it to be reliable. If the website isn’t up to date then it’s hardly his fault.

      • Rob says:

        No, my part – I edited that in.

    • HAND SHANDY 🖐 says:

      Hola
      IB are the best.Last years promotion of 90,000 avios was the gift that keeps giving.
      Where else could you get 900,000 avios for under
      2K !!!
      But I don’t think we will see the like again.

      • Danksy says:

        I missed the £2k 900k avios promo, but did ok from their Avis Rental promo – 39000 for about £200 of car hires! (They didn’t do many miles)

        I’ve never flown on their A330 Business config, but am heading to Mexico City in December for a try!

      • Hugh says:

        I will be flying to Havana on Saturday courtesy of my 90,000 Avios. I think the deadline for flights booked through that promotion is almost upon us so suspect I might be one of the last beneficiaries!

        • The Original Nick says:

          Hugh, I’m doing the same in February. That reminds me I still need to book a hotel in Havana for our first 2 nights there.

          • Roberto says:

            We doing it in March and booked the first three nights (cancellable) at the Iberostar Parque Central in Havana @ £200 a night but waiting to see what Black friday brings. The Flight arrives about midnight so that gives us 2 days in the capital which should be enough.

            SWMBO looking at the Royalton Hicacos after Havana but again waiting for a deal before booking that or similar.

            Flights paid from the 90k promo.

        • HAND SHANDY 🖐 says:

          Would actually never travel on IB terrible third world airline just like BA.
          Much better value using the avios on CX F class although even they are going downhill with the cost cutting.No Krug really.What’s the world coming to.

  • Metty says:

    I spent a few hours last week trying to get Combine My Avios IB > Avios > BA to work for me; I’ve done it before with a bit of cookie clearing, different browser….none of which worked this time.

    I finally succeeded after changing my IB PIN from an alphanumeric 6 characters to a numeric 6 characters at which stage the Avios intermediary page showed my IB account. I have no idea whether this is the actual solution though. In the past IB required a PIN reset after a period of time but IIRC don’t actually tell you this (so your logon PIN is rejected for no apparent reason)….and then by telling you to choose a PIN with 6 ‘characters’ imply that alphanumerics and special characters may be required without telling you the criteria.

    All I can suggest is that if attempts to move Avios around don’t work first time, get a coffee, try to stay calm and ask for suggestions. Otherwise you may end up needing to fill in an IB ‘desbloque PIN’ form which has to be sent to IB with proof of ID, meaning you are locked out until someone deals with your paperwork.

    • Aliks says:

      Incompetent programming by Iberia. To get the Combine login to work, you need to type in your password in all UPPERCASE . So if your PIN is IBareMorons1 then you type IBMAREORONS1. If your PIN is all numeric, no change required.

      It looks like they have two separate programmes which do password checking. Their main web page login is one, but there must be a second programme for remote logins.

      They refer to the password as a PIN, and most likely expected it to be numeric PIN when they first set things up. I presume they subsequently decided to allow ordinary text, and then later to allow remote login from within BA.com and avios.com – at that point their password checking code became convoluted . . . .

      • Doug M says:

        This explains whilst trying to move Avios to Iberia I locked my account. It’s amazing that with all the talk of passwords and such they still only allow such primitive passwords, and don’t have proper checking of those. Are Amex still not case sensitive, certainly was true a few months ago.

    • Qfx says:

      I used to be able to login to Iberia on a Chrome browser, but on Safari it wouldn’t work – even after resetting password.

      • Bagoly says:

        I haven’t had any problems since I used the tip from someone here to uses Firefox for Iberia

  • Jessica says:

    I have tried so many times to book Avios flights on Iberia and given up. I now check availability on the American Airlines site, since this gives you the monthly calendar view which Iberia used to give but doesn’t any more. And I then book on BA and just pay double the taxes. In my case this costs me £150 extra, but it’s cheaper than having a heart attack with the stress of trying to do anything on Iberia.com

    • David says:

      Unfortunately have to echo the comments on here berating Iberia’s website, and frankly general customer service. It’s comedically terrible. Last time I cancelled an avios redemption it took 3 months, multiple emails and phone calls (in English and Spanish) to get the avios back. Each staff member at the call centre had a different explanation for the delay and came up with a finger in the air number of days that it would take to sort out. I’d virtually given up by the time they finally arrived.

      Maybe the reason the taxes and ‘charges’ are so low is because the whole business is run by interns?!

      I’m afraid that outside of another 90K avios giveaway (which I guess is the positive yang to all the frustrating ying) my advice on Iberia is AVOID!

      • Shoestring says:

        one tip to speed things up is use the gold or silver CS email address and only ever put your IB membership number (nothing else) in the subject line
        [email protected] or oro

      • Mikeact says:

        I meant to add earlier that the Iberia web site is not for persons of a nervous disposition….you have been warned.

  • Nick G says:

    One data point on Iberia I’ve found to my detriment is when booking BA on Iberia…..why would I do it…because I had to use the magic 30k avios from the Iberia promotion ages ago. Anyway booked two biz tickets went to my wife’s account to book a third….then found no more availability. Phoned Iberia who were next to useless and very unhelpful only to finally understand they only realease two biz tickets with BA.

    So helpfully I was stuck with two tickets booked and paid for needing a third but no availability . Luckily it worked out OK as it was only to FRA and despite a few hours between the outbound flight as it was a Sunday the inbound midweek was only an hour between us all. If it was a once or twice a day route it might have been an ussue. No where does it tell you the amount of seats left I just assumed 4 seats as there always is on BA….be warned!

    • Peter K says:

      BA only guarantee to release 2 business and 4 economy seats on each flight, not 4 business.

  • zebrum says:

    That high tax on BA.com looks like UK APD and if so, why is BA charging it on a flight departing from Spain?

  • Evan says:

    It’s a long schlep to fly to DC via Spain. O/H would never wear it in a million years. Come to think of it neither would I.

    • Shoestring says:

      long weekend on a tapas crawl for free, though

      • Evan says:

        No thanks. If I’m going to Spain I’d rather concentrate on that at the appropriate time. If I want to go to the Eastern US I’m going straight there. I might break a longer flight going east.

    • Rob says:

      Even if you waved in front of her £800 in £10 notes, to cover the tax saving, plus another £600 in £10 notes to cover the 64,000 Avios saved? (Before whipping away £200 to cover flights to MAD)

      • Mikeact says:

        Rob….you will never convince some people…… makes you wonder why they read HFP.

    • Hugh says:

      I wouldn’t risk a same day connection, so see it as effectively getting paid to have an extra nights Holiday in Madrid!

      • The Original Nick says:

        That’s exactly what we’re doing. Using Marriott points to stop in Madrid and have upgraded my flights with BA as it makes sense as we’re on a 777 inbound and outbound.

      • Mikeact says:

        Rubbish…first one out of Heathrow with a couple of backups so of after.

        • Doug M says:

          Exactly. After you’ve done a few of these you’ve saved so much who cares if one goes wrong. Whilst I’ve not done the Madrid thing for low IB taxes, I’ve done many ex-EU, and always try to book on the basis that so long as there’s a couple of alternates, you don’t need nights here and there.

    • Mikeact says:

      Total rubbish….. we’ve just booked this no brainer new route…savings in both Avios and £’s, (or € with Curve.) ……some people.

    • Anna says:

      There are no direct flights from MAN to IAD so Madrid would be as much of an option for us as London!

  • LewisB says:

    OT: Has anyone who participated in the IB 90k promo last year who moved their whole stash to BA had their -90k balance removed?

    • Shoestring says:

      Don’t think so!

      “Dear Mr. X:
      We would like to inform you that the 90.000 promotional Avios you received were not redeemed on the Iberia Plus program. Instead, you transferred them to a British Airways Executive Club account (*transferring Avios is not considered redemption). The promotional Avios had an expiration date of December 1st, 2018 and as you did not *use/redeem* them by that time, the same amount of Avios you initially received (90.000) were automatically deducted from your Iberia Plus account (according to the promotion terms and conditions, they were not used).
      By the time the system deducted the 90.000 Avios (December 1st, 2018), you only had 1.521 Avios (because you transferred most of your Avios including the promotional ones to the BAEC account). That is the reason you currently have a negative balance of -88.479 (1.521 ¿ 90.000).
      As we mentioned on our previous email, if you want the Avios balance on your Iberia Plus to be reinstated, you must transfer the Avios back (90.000) to your IB+ account from your BAEC account. Alternatively, you can accumulate Avios on your IB+ account by using our partners so the negative balance will progressively decrease and eventually the Avios balance will be 0 (or positive).
      We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, however, the conditions were clear about the deadline to redeem these Avios”

      GDPR—> erase all data —> new a/c, new passport no, new address, new email address should do it

      • LewisB says:

        I never had that email but I did request for them to delete my data. Looks like I’ll never be using Iberia’s own programme ever again!

      • Russ says:

        I don’t know why people didn’t use the promotion in the manner it was intended. It was an outstanding promotion, the likes of which we may not see again for a long time.

        • LewisB says:

          I wanted the avios for a 241 redemption. Didn’t want to go via Madrid. It wasn’t against the T&Cs.

        • Sam says:

          I wanted to use the points a few weeks after they were supposed to post (1st July?). They didn’t credit until October after many calls/faxes to Iberia. Terrible terrible customer service

        • Yorkieflyer says:

          Totally agree, I accepted the restrictions and used them in IB too

      • Doug M says:

        Lot of effort for 90K Avios, just leave the negative balance, or, wild thought on HfP I know, follow the rules. I booked about £700 worth of hotels for the £220 I spent getting them. I now have a -1500 balance, which I would have cleared recently had they not made it impossible to access my account because I was unaware of the all caps password thing mentioned above.

  • Mark says:

    Remember that a booking from the UK via Madrid attracts UK long haul APD, so it is much cheaper to split the outbound into two separate bookings.

    If you do remember also that you’ll have to pick up any checked luggage in Madrid so make sure you leave plenty of time to do that and allow for any delays. We spent a night at Madrid airport when flying to Chicago, though the Washington flight is later in the day so probably not necessary here.

    No such issue with the return flight so you can book destination to Madrid to UK for the same cash and miles as separately. However separate outbound legs and a through booking on the way back means 3 bookings in total, so bear in mind potentially 3 separate fees if you want to cancel.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Or a single ticket with more than 24 hours in the transit location ?

      • Andrew M says:

        I’ve often wondered about that but never seen it discussed.Would LHR-MAD-GRU (for example) on the same ticket but with more than 24 hours in MAD attract UK long haul APD or not?

        • Nick says:

          No. The APD rules are made VERY clear on the HMRC website if you want to read up yourself. In the airline industry up to 23h59m is a ‘connection’ and 24h+ is a ‘stopover’.

      • Mark says:

        So far as I’m aware it’s not possible to book Iberia redemptions with a stop-over though, at least through the Iberia Plus programme. Does anyone know for sure? The connection options offered on iberia.com all fall within the 24 hours.

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