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A new Avios option to Tokyo as Iberia restarts flights in 2024

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For anyone looking for a route to Tokyo on Avios, and frustrated with the lack of availability via British Airways, a new option has emerged.

Iberia will relaunch flights to Tokyo in October 2024.

Other Avios routings are available of course, via Finnair and Qatar Airways for a start, but the Iberia flights will allow you to use a British Airways American Express Premium Plus 2-4-1 companion voucher.

Iberia to restart flights to Tokyo

As an extra quirk, you will genuinely get to ‘fly around the world’ during your trip due to the route being flown.

Don’t expect great deals for cash. Iberia has a joint business agreement with Japan Airlines, British Airways and Finnair, known as Siberian Joint Business, to operate routes between Europe and Japan. Revenues are pooled between all carriers.

When does Iberia restart flights to Tokyo?

Flights will start on 27th October 2024.

Flights will operate three times per week. Outbound flights from Madrid will operate on Thursday, Saturday and Monday, with the return flight operating the next day.

It will be the only direct flight between Spain and Japan. Due to the closure of Russian airspace, and presumably to benefit from prevailing winds, the entire trip will be done in the same direction. The outbound flight will be relatively direct whilst the return will head across the Pacific Ocean and the Artic.

Iberia will use one of its new A350 aircraft. These have 31 business class seats, 24 Premium Economy seats and 293 economy seats.

A new Avios option to Tokyo as Iberia restarts flights in 2024

Avios seats will be available

Avios seats will be available. At present, only a handful of flights are available to book because the service doesn’t start until late October next year. Iberia does guarantee two Business Class seats per flight.

I couldn’t see any Business Class or Premium Economy availability when I checked but it could have been snapped up quickly, or alternatively will drop in later. It was a bit suspicious that I couldn’t find a single non-Economy seat, even on the latest available flight. Economy seats are available now on Avios.

The Avios cost will be:

  • Economy (off-peak) – 38,750 Avios one way
  • Economy (peak) – 49,000 Avios one way
  • Premium Economy (off-peak) – 44,250 Avios one way
  • Premium Economy (peak) – 61,250 Avios one way
  • Business (off-peak) – 59,500 Avios one way
  • Business (peak) – 87,500 Avios one way

Economy tickets (Madrid to Tokyo) have £146 in taxes and charges, return. You can always rely on Iberia for low taxes and charges. I can’t give any further examples as I couldn’t find any Premium Economy or Business Class seats yesterday.

Remember that, as long as you book via ba.com and not Iberia Plus, you can use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher on Iberia services. A solo traveller can use the voucher for a 50% discount on the Avios required.

A tip / word of warning: Avios seats becoming bookable on the Iberia website five days before they appear on ba.com (ie 360 days before departure vs 355 days). If you are NOT using a BA Amex 2-4-1 voucher then your best chance of getting seats is to move your Avios to Iberia Plus (instructions here) and redeem from there at 360 days out.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2024)

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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

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

40,000 bonus 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.

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

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) 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 (85)

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

  • Kwab says:

    How does Seatspy let you know 3-4 days ahead?

    • Rob says:

      Seats appear 3-4 days ahead of when he wants to fly.

      Forget this if you can’t book a holiday at that short notice.

      • Ronster says:

        Hi Kwab

        Depending on what level of product you have signed up with Seatspy and depending on your chosen dates that you have set up wit them to notify you, you are messaged the availability, only when BA releases them

        However remember, so far over the last 6 months the notification of availability on certain days of travel has only been with 3-4 days notice. In other words if your planning 3-6-9 months ahead there has been absolutely no appearance of availability in F on the LHR-HND route for 2 people.

        Good luck everyone!

        • Alex G says:

          And if you are setting up an alert for (J on the) the IB flight, be aware it goes to NRT, not HND.

    • Kwab says:

      Apologies. I thought he meant 3-4 days ahead of the avios seats actually being released!

  • Alex G says:

    I don’t quite get to do Round The World on my next trip, as I’m flying back with Finnair via Helsinki. But I do get to fly over the North Pole. For any other avgeeks booked on Finnair, there is an interesting YouTube video from Flight Radar 24 with cockpit coverage.

    https://youtu.be/qmX0_-9Ggmw?si=ZfKARPQIi5rUt2ZI

    There is a lovely comment from the pilot about 18 minutes in. Looking at the compass, he says “at the top of the North Pole, every single one is south. Now we need to know which south we are going!”

  • RLS says:

    Just as an FYI to give something back to the community…

    I have been travelling to Japan for years, and usually manage to snag a 2-4-1 Avios booking most of the time by phoning at midnight 355 days before the flight. This is the only way to do it during holiday periods (I have booked for October 2024 half term by doing this)… and, frankly, this is the only way to get decent Avios seats almost any time given the reduction in flights.

    On the occasion where I have not been able to get Avios flights, I would strongly recommend looking at Beijing or Shanghai. Both are wide open for Business (and some First) reward flights for the whole year ahead. A few years ago, China began allowing transit with 2/3 days layover without needing a visa… so it’s a great opportunity to see some major sights if you haven’t had the opportunity before. The only issue now is checking which airport you are flying to – BA now fly to the southern Beijing airport, but most flights to Japan go from the north airport. No an issue if you plan to stopover, rather than flying straight through.

    Hope that is helpful to someone!

    • Alex G says:

      Another option is to go via SIN and use the multiple airline award pricing.

    • Mark says:

      I was considering Shanghai as a stop-off point to Japan as a way of using Virgin Atlantic miles and upgrade/241 vouchers. It wasn’t clear though whether two separate bookings (as opposed to a connection) qualified for the 144 hour visa-free scheme and I then read a thread on the HFP forum indicating that Chinese immigration didn’t understand it and some people had been refused entry (the suggestion being that might have been something to do with stamps in their passport). So I’m not sure I’d want to trust it.

      You can, of course, apply for a regular visa with sufficient planning, but that will add £150 pp to the travel costs.

      • Rhys says:

        I don’t think China cares how you book your flights as long as you have a confirmed booking leaving within the time. I’ve used the visa-free transit 3 times in the past 4 months and it’s been easy every time.

        • Mark says:

          Thanks Rob. That’s good to know. After touring China in 2013, Shanghai is the one place we’d like to go back to (and didn’t get enough time in), so could work out well. Ideally, I’d like to do the other direction via Seoul, if the Korean/Asiana merger gets the go-ahead.

        • Rob says:

          Two separate bookings is fine – just remember you can’t backtrack so you can’t go back to where you came from.

          When we did this five years ago the officials were a bit confused (they let us in after about half an hour) but everyone is far more familiar with it these days.

        • BJ says:

          Reports are mixed, it’s always fine until it isn’t.

      • BJ says:

        @Mark, you might also want to consider India and Japan all on Virgin miles. Regional ANA availability is good so I’m guessing this includes India.

        • Mark says:

          Thank you. I couldn’t find any ANA redemption availability at all from London (expected) or Frankfurt, checking via Air Canada’s site, and India is a bit out of a detour. Will continue to weight up options for the Virgin points and vouchers – might do something else with them and save Asia for Avios redemptions.

    • Rob says:

      This is exactly what we did pre-covid. Flew down to HKG (did a few days there, got an Avios connection on Cathay to Tokyo) and flew back via Beijing (did JAL to Beijing) and used the 72 (?) hour ‘no visa required’ deal. There’s a review of Waldorf Astoria Bejing on here if you search. We only did this route due to the lack of four J seats direct to Tokyo but actually it was a far better holiday overall this way.

  • fedemenni says:

    How do we book this ? I tried madrid to tokyo on ba but all shows are connections in london

    • Rob says:

      As noted in the article, only a handful of flights are bookable due to it being at the edge of the 355 day window. Iberia had a lot of economy seats last night via Iberia Plus but these are often not shared with BA for BAEC members.

      14-24 November bookable in Economy on Iberia Plus for eg but not via BA.

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