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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.

  • Hugh says:

    OT: When booking AirBnb through the BA AirBnB link is it possible to see anywhere that the booking has registered. It does not show up on the BA Shopping Portal so is it just a question of keeping your fingers crossed and hoping? I read someone somewhere say theirs turned up after a month but mine have been much longer than that so starting to think they are not going to arrive!

  • Harry T says:

    Does buying Avios from Iberia Plus count as earning Avios in your Iberia account?

    Iberia business class to Washington looks like a nice holiday for next summer!

    • Doug M says:

      Washington in the summer, think Sauna. Spring and Fall best.

      • Anna says:

        +1. And when we went in August last year the queue for immigration was 2.5 hours.

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks, Doug and Anna. I’ve actually never been to the States! I appreciate the insight from more well-travelled readers.

  • lgflyer says:

    I wouldn’t say IB’s network is odd. Their business model is flying to most destinations in Latin America, which have strong ties to Spain, and not necessarely to many airports in the US

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      I find it odd that BA is fixated on flying to the most obscure cities in the US while ignoring large parts of the globe

  • boi says:

    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.

    • Nick says:

      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…

      • Doug M says:

        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.

    • Doug M says:

      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.

      • Harry T says:

        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.

        • Doug M says:

          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.

          • Harry T says:

            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.

          • Harry T says:

            *one of the only ways

          • Polly says:

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

          • 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).

  • Craig says:

    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?

    • Harry T says:

      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.

    • Doug M says:

      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.

  • Munch says:

    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?

  • Scallder says:

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

  • Anna says:

    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.

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

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