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.
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.
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 (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:
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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
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.
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 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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.