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Iberia joins the British Airways / Qatar Airways joint venture

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The existing Joint Business Agreement between British Airways and Qatar Airways is the biggest of its type globally, swamping the transatlantic JVs. It effectively lets BA and Qatar Airways co-ordinate prices and schedules on flights to a whopping 60 countries.

Iberia will now join the joint venture. Whilst a major upheaval for the airline, it is unlikely to have much impact on UK members of British Airways Executive Club, except for the fact that Iberia Plus members will find it far easier to grab Qatar Airways Avios availability.

This is what will happen:

Iberia joins the British Airways / Qatar Airways joint venture
  • Iberia will launch a flight to Doha from Madrid in December 2023, replacing one of the existing three daily Qatar Airways services
  • This service will connect with Qatar Airways services from Doha, with no difference in pricing or frequent flyer benefits from an ‘all Qatar’ routing
  • Iberia will fix prices and schedules, and presumably share revenue, for the 60 countries in the joint venture in conjunction with Qatar Airways and British Airways
  • Iberia Plus accounts will (it appears, this is not spelt out clearly) be linkable to Qatar Airways Privilege Club accounts in the same way that British Airways Executive Club accounts are at present

We may see Iberia use this opportunity to walk away from Tokyo and other routes which can be served by Qatar Airways via a Doha stop, allowing it to reallocate aircraft to westbound routes from Madrid. This is effectively what British Airways has done with many of its Asia routes.

It’s not clear why Iberia is taking one of the existing Doha frequencies. I suspect that evidence shows some Spanish flyers are more likely to book if half the trip to Bangkok etc is on Iberia and not 100% Qatar. It also frees up an aircraft for Qatar Airways to use elsewhere.

The deal does not appear to need any additional regulatory approvals.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)

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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable 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 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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.

Comments (84)

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

  • andrew bernard says:

    WE have just been bumped from Qatar to Iberia for our Jan 24 flights from Madrid to Manila.
    We booked business ages ago and I’m furious. From the best to the worst business in one swoop.
    To cancel = 500 Euros each. To rebook onto a true Qatar flight, 500 Euros each.
    Zero consideration, zero compensation, I think it’s pretty outrageous.

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

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