In this article I want to explain what the difference is between British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus.
Like British Airways, Iberia Plus uses Avios as its reward currency. However, Iberia Plus and British Airways Executive Club are functionally and operationally different, with different elite status tiers, benefits and thresholds.
If you are familiar with British Airways Executive Club, you will know that it has three levels of elite status, each of which can be achieved by earning the threshold of tier points required. Iberia Plus operates along the same lines, although it calls its tier points ‘elite points’ and operates a slightly different valuation scheme.
Within British Airways Executive Club, there are three elite levels: Bronze (the lowest), Silver, and Gold (the highest).
The equivalent Iberia Plus tiers are Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Despite their different names, the levels are broadly the same since they are equivalent to the oneworld tiers of Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald respectively. When flying on another oneworld carrier, a British Airways Gold members gets exactly the same treatment as an Iberia Plus Platinum member.
The requirements for earning status are different between British Airways and Iberia. Each scheme gives different weight to short haul and long haul flights, and to flights on partners vs the home airline.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer as to which scheme is easiest to get status with, although it is fair to say that virtually no UK-based Head for Points readers have found Iberia Plus more attractive. Almost all of our readers credit their oneworld flights to British Airways Executive Club and earn status there.
How does the Avios programme differ between British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus?
When it comes to Avios redemptions, Iberia and British Airways also operate different pricing schemes, peak timetables and taxes and fees.
This leads to interesting quirks which you can exploit. British Airways prices UK school holidays weeks as ‘peak’ and charges more for Avios redemptions. Those same weeks are usually off-peak in the Iberia programme (Spanish children are in school during the UK’s October half term for example) so you can make big savings if you are happy to fly long-haul on Iberia from Madrid rather than British Airways from London.
Iberia also prices New York and other US East Coast destinations cheaply for marketing reasons. An off-peak business class flight between Madrid and New York costs 68,000 Avios on Iberia. An off-peak business class flight between London and New York costs 100,000 Avios on British Airways.
However, as it is possible to move Avios between the two programs (although, of course, your elite status will not follow you beyond what you are entitled to as a oneworld Ruby, Sapphire or Emerald member) you can take advantage of these sweet spots now that you know they exist. This article shows you how to move Avios between Iberia Plus and British Airways Executive Club.
When it comes to earning status, it makes the most sense to prioritise the frequent flyer program of whichever airline is the more practical – for example British Airways Executive Club if you are a UK resident.
Don’t worry that the wrong choice will restrict how you can spend Avios, because ‘Combine Your Avios’ lets you move them between the two programmes, instantly and for free.
(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works. You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )
(Head for Points is the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website with 2.0 million monthly page views. Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios? Click here to read our latest news stories, click here to join our email list and click here to read our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.)
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 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 with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
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.
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.
There are also good bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These are available to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.