There is a lot more – a heck of a lot more – to the Avios frequent flyer scheme than most people think.
This article quickly runs through seven interesting quirks in the scheme which you may not know about. To find out more, click on the relevant link to be taken to a full article on the topic.
So …. did you know …..?
… that the tax on Iberia redemptions is 60% lower if you transfer your Avios to Iberia Plus and book via their website?
Iberia Plus does not charge the full range of airport taxes and fuel surcharges imposed by ba.com.
Let’s look at Madrid to New York in Business Class, return, on Avios. Iberia, when you book on iberia.com, will charge £156 in taxes and charges.
A BA redemption from London to New York (via ba.com on a BA plane) on the same route in Club World costs £681 in taxes and charges! That is, by any stretch, a big difference. It makes it well worth heading to Madrid to start your trip if you are price conscious.
More interestingly, if you try to book the Iberia Madrid to New York flight on ba.com using BA Avios, it will charge you £383 of taxes! This is for the SAME Iberia flight which costs only £156 of tax on iberia.com using Iberia Avios.
You can save a lot of money by moving your Avios to Iberia Plus and booking Avios redemptions on Iberia from there.
The Iberia Plus chart is in this article. It is ALMOST the same as the BA chart, but not quite.
The difference is most pronounced in Band 5. Business Class flights on Iberia to Band 5 (which includes New York) are 68,000 Avios return off-peak and 100,000 Avios peak. British Airways redemptions in Band 5 are 100,000 Avios return off-peak and 120,000 Avios peak.
Would you buy a separate ticket to Madrid if you could use 68,000 Avios and £156 of tax to fly to New York on Iberia compared with 100,000 Avios and £681 on tax with BA from London?
… that British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia have different off-peak dates which leads to arbitrage opportunities?
British Airways Executive Club, Aer Lingus AerClub and Iberia Plus do NOT share the same table of peak and off-peak dates, especially around half-term school holidays in the UK.
Aer Lingus, for example, doesn’t have an October and February peak season during the UK half terms. The April peak season is also one week shorter and there’s also no peak season towards the end of May / early June.
This means that New York in Business Class can be as low as 68,000 Avios return on Iberia from Madrid (on an off-peak date) on the same day that British Airways wants 120,000 Avios return from London (because BA treats it as a peak day). And that is before you factor in the difference in taxes between Madrid-NYC (£156) and London-NYC (£681) …..
… that you can earn Avios when you fly on Emirates as long as you book a Qantas codeshare service?
I got my wife to test this out and it works fine as this article shows.
The same trick also lets you earn Avios when you fly KLM between Amsterdam and Singapore on the Qantas codeshare. Whilst not covered in that article, the same applies to Air France services between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Singapore or Hong Kong on Qantas codeshare services (ie your ticket has a Qantas flight number on it).
… that you can earn Avios when you fly United Airlines – even though it is a Star Alliance member – by crediting your flights to Aer Lingus AerClub?
I genuinely expected this feature to go away when Aer Lingus AerClub was launched but, for now, it is still there.
… that there is more Avios Economy availability on Iberia flights if you move your points to Iberia Plus and book from there?
There is always better Economy availability for Avios flights on Iberia if you book via iberia.com. This is because Iberia Plus has two levels of Economy reward pricing and ba.com only shows the cheapest level. Don’t rely on what ba.com shows you if you want seats on Iberia.
You can book Aer Lingus redemptions online via avios.com (avios.com is still ‘open’ for anyone who opens an Avios account via AerClub or Vueling Club). There is some jiggery pokery going on with the taxes, however. If you keep your Avios in British Airways Executive Club and ring them to book – it can’t be done online – you will pay a lot less. Anecdotally, avios.com does seem to have better availability though.
Make sure you read Head for Points regularly if you want to keep up to speed with tips like these.
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)