Iberia Plus has launched a genuinely impressive promotion.
Until 30th August, you will receive 50% off all Iberia Plus Avios redemptions, in all classes.
Yes, ALL Iberia Avios flights in ALL classes are half price!
You must fly between 1st September 2020 and 15th March 2021.
These deals are only valid for flights on Iberia, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum.
There are some great deals to be had here. The best deals are to the US, most spectacularly to New York, Boston and other East Coast US cities.
Of course, there is no guarantee that you can fly to these cities before 15th March but your Avios ticket is refundable as usual.
Is there a catch?
Yes. The deal is only available to Spanish residents, although this is arguably illegal under EU law.
You will need to change the country of your address on your Iberia Plus account to ‘Spain’ in order to see these deals.
Before you do this – assuming you are happy to do so – you should add a payment card to your Iberia Plus profile. You may struggle afterwards as the website expects a Spanish-registered card for Spanish-registered users.
How low are taxes on Avios redemptions on Iberia?
The taxes are also peanuts compared to British Airways.
Even without a 50% discount on the mileage, redeeming Avios on Iberia is a bargain.
The tax savings can be huge. A return Business Class Avios flight to New York costs just £130 in taxes and charges with Iberia. British Airways wants £666.
It is also easy to connect in Madrid if you live outside London. Iberia has extended its UK connections network. Pre coronavirus, you could fly from Manchester and Edinburgh to Madrid with Iberia Express. There are also plenty of budget airline options.
Where can I go in the Iberia ‘50% off’ Avios sale?
The Iberia network is clearly in flux at the moment due to coronavirus. However, at the beginnng of 2020 it was operating the following long haul routes:
- Africa: Algiers, Cairo, Casablanca, Dakar, Fez, Marrakech, Melilla, Oran, Tangier
- USA: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC
- South America: Bogota, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Guayaquil, Lima, Medellin, Mexico City, Montevideo, Quito, Rio do Janeiro, Santiago, Sao Paulo
- Central America and Caribbean: Guatemala, Havana, Panama City, San Salvador, Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), San Jose (Costa Rica), San Juan
- Asia: Tokyo, Shanghai
- Middle East: Tel Aviv
All of these are flown from Madrid. Note that some of the African routes are served with short-haul aircraft.
What is Iberia’s business class seating like?
Iberia has no First Class.
The great news is that, over the last five years, Iberia has installed new fully flat seating across its long-haul fleet. This is the A330 version:
I flew this on a Madrid to London flight as you can read (and see) here in my Iberia A340 business class review. The new Iberia A350 business class seat has a few tweaks as our review shows.
We didn’t cover the announcement much on HFP, but Iberia has recently launched a Premium Economy product which is included in this sale:
How much will I pay for my half-price Avios redemption?
This isn’t as simple as it could be. Iberia has its own Avios reward pricing chart with its own peak and off-peak dates (click to enlarge):
This chart is NOT the same as the British Airways chart:
The charts are nearly the same, but not quite.
Let’s take New York as an example. Both British Airways and Iberia price New York as a Zone 5 redemption. However:
British Airways charges 100,000 Avios off-peak and 120,000 Avios peak for a Club World flight to New York
Iberia, as you can see above, charges 68,000 Avios off-peak and 100,000 Avios peak for a Business Class flight to New York
There are not many destinations which are served by both BA and Iberia, of course, so the opportunities for arbitrage are limited. You also need to factor in the cost and time of getting to Madrid, although if you live outside London it is not massively more complex than changing planes at Heathrow.
Iberia has different peak and off-peak dates too
Just to make life even more complex, Iberia has its own list of peak and off-peak dates. This is different from the British Airways list.
October half-term, for example, is a peak week for British Airways redemptions and peak pricing is in force. Iberia does not treat this week as a peak week.
How low are Iberia’s taxes on Avios redemptions?
Iberia Plus does not charge the full range of airport taxes and fuel surcharges imposed by ba.com. This is a BIG thing and the main reason – as well as the better seat and potentially lower number of Avios needed – to consider Iberia seriously.
Let’s look at Madrid to New York in Business Class, return. Iberia, when you book on iberia.com, will charge 68,000 Avios (34,000 Avios in this sale) plus £133 return on an off-peak date. See here:
A BA redemption from London to New York (via ba.com on a BA plane) on the same route in Club World costs 100,000 Avios plus £666 on an off-peak date! 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.
Now, of course all is not plain sailing:
- From the UK, you need to fly to Madrid. However, if you are not based in London you will be taking a connecting flight anyway. And the saving probably justifies not flying direct from London.
- The London to Madrid flight cannot be booked on the same itinerary as the Madrid to New York flight or you will be obliged to pay UK Air Passenger Duty at the long-haul rate. Since you will have separate tickets, IB is not obliged to look after you if you miss your long-haul flight – although if you fly IB from London, it is very unlikely they would abandon you if the delay was down to them.
- A flight from London to Madrid, return, costs 13,000 Avios and £35 in Economy (offpeak) – but that is hardly making a great dent in your £533 taxes and charges saving (£666 – £133)
- Iberia reward availability is not great as they fly far fewer seats to New York than British Airways
And to prove the sale discount works …..
I showed a New York business class return example above, which priced at 68,000 Avios + £133 of taxes:
I then changed the address on my Iberia account to Spain and did the same search:
As you can see, the price dropped to 34,000 Avios + €147. This is a crazy price for a business class trip to New York.
I should add that it took a lot of fiddling around to get Iberia to quote the correct price. I ended up setting the site to Spanish (Spanish domicile and language) but I don’t know if that is what finally triggered it.
Please note ….
When you switch your country of address to Spain, you need to select a province. Once you’ve done so, you need to select a post code.
If you set province to Madrid, the post code you make up must be a five digit number starting 28.
How do you move Avios to Iberia Plus?
To get your Avios from British Airways Executive Club to Iberia Plus, you need to use ‘Combine My Avios’.
This is a bug-ridden feature. The best way to get it working properly is to use avios.com as a conduit.
This HfP article explains how ‘Combine My Avios’ works.
You’re stuffed if you don’t already have an Iberia Plus account
To get these deals, you must book on the Iberia website and use Iberia Avios.
Unfortunately, you need to open it 90 days before you want to book.
For absolute clarity – if you do not already have an Iberia Plus account open, you cannot take part in the ‘50% off’ Avios sale.
This is because you cannot transfer British Airways Executive Club Avios or avios.com points into Iberia Plus Avios if the Iberia account is under 90 days old. (And this little wheeze is probably why.)
Your Iberia account also needs to have had an Avios earning transaction put through it.
You cannot move your BA Avios into an Iberia account, even if it is 90 days old, if the Iberia account has never had any activity on it.
You need to credit a flight segment or a car hire or a hotel stay to class it as ‘active’ and thus qualifying to receive incoming Avios transfers. If you cannot put a flight or hotel stay through it, you could transfer some existing hotel points or American Express Membership Rewards points.
This is, clearly, a great deal. It is also, clearly, a bit of a punt. It is actually two punts:
you need to be certain that your final destination will let you in when you come to fly, and
you need to be certain that Spain will not be on the UK quarantine list, since the transit required in Madrid would be enought to trigger it even if you never leave the airport
Given that Iberia Avios redemptions are refundable, of course, the risk is arguably manageable. What I don’t know is it Iberia is letting you cancel Avios flights online or, if not, how easy it is to reach their call centre.
Remember that you must book by 30th August.