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Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club British Airways vs Iberia Comparison – long haul to Buenos Aires

  • PaulAllen 23 posts

    I was inspired by the recent articles on Iberia to save some avios and fly via Madrid long haul to Buenos Aires / EZE over Easter 2025, using my 241 voucher. I was wondering if there were any recent experiences in the community on flying IB ultra-long haul vs BA and if I could get your views on whether the extra cost + avios is worth it to go direct with BA, or whether Iberia is worth the saving in £ + avios? Any views greatly appreciated – I’ve flown BA J and happy with the product – some of the negative reviews of IB make me concerned whether it’s worth saving the avios for something better…

    Option 1:
    Out – Iberia from LHR via MAD to EZE (IB off-peak)
    Return – Iberia from EZE via MAD to LHR (IB peak)
    – total cost 133,600 avios + £1398.33
    – never travelled Iberia, some concerns around lost luggage, EC261, service standards
    – return departs at a good time for sleep, 19:05

    Option 2:
    Same flight out (making use of favourable IB off-peak easter dates vs BA peak)
    Return – BA semi-direct from EZE via GIG (Peak)
    – total cost 166,100 avios + £1,686.98
    – direct with BA return easier
    – departure time of BA flight not great for sleep – departs midday
    – circa 30k additional avios + £300

    Dave likes planes 23 posts

    I recently flew out to Bogota and back with Iberia in Business and I have to say I found the whole experience much better than that provided by BA.

    I would not hesitate.

    Reeferman 38 posts

    We flew Iberia to Buenos Aires last month – via Madrid. Flight was great – food pleasant enough and service too BUT only up until the main food service was finished. Thereafter, the crew were congregating to chat and didn’t reappear for hours.
    Flight back (Iberia too) was from Sao Paulo – overnight. The seat/bed itself was comfortable, but quite narrow where your feet go – not much room to manoeuvre.
    We arrived Madrid very early in the morning – and had to wait for lounge to open (it was accessed through the duty free shop which had the shutters down until the allotted hour!). Connection to LHR all great too – same plane, in fact!
    No problems with luggage I’m pleased to say

    JDB 4,536 posts

    @PaulAllen – the service on both BA and IB can be somewhat affected by the particular crew, but in general, having flown both to EZE many times, Iberia is vastly superior at all stages – service, food, wine, cleanliness and more flight time options.

    Transferring in Madrid inside T4S is very quick and easy + the Velásquez lounge is pretty good. It’s quite a bit cheaper in Avios and cash to have a separate ticket starting in Madrid but you can’t check your bags through and the transit from T4S to T4 to collect your bags after going through immigration, check in again and return to T4S via security and immigration is a real pain. Splitting your ticket also means that you have EC261 rights for the long haul MAD-EZE but not UK261 so you can’t go to ADR or MCOL in the UK if IB refuses a valid claim which is standard operating procedure.

    On the return, you can transfer back to London with your bags with minimal extra cost and that gives you UK261.

    meta 1,451 posts

    It’s not a pain to transfer on separate tickets because most of the time you’ll need to stay the night in Madrid. If not, then just leave 5+ hours and it won’t be stressful. If you are travelling on EU passport it’s even less stressful.

    PaulAllen 23 posts

    Many thanks all the insight and responses – it is reassuring! We are very tight with our timeline, so we are chancing the last flight to Madrid arriving 22:35 for the 23:59 EZE flight as we don’t have the luxury of time to go early. The booking will be all on one PNR, so that worst case we can be booked onto the early morning flight if we miss the transfer, as good as the lower avios and fees direct from Madrid look. That’s partly why the direct BA flight after 10pm was so appealing – the gulf in peak BA to off-peak Iberia cost is just too large to ignore.

    Only concern now is around Iberia not losing the bags on the 1.5 hr transfer window…

    JDB 4,536 posts

    Many thanks all the insight and responses – it is reassuring! We are very tight with our timeline, so we are chancing the last flight to Madrid arriving 22:35 for the 23:59 EZE flight as we don’t have the luxury of time to go early. The booking will be all on one PNR, so that worst case we can be booked onto the early morning flight if we miss the transfer, as good as the lower avios and fees direct from Madrid look. That’s partly why the direct BA flight after 10pm was so appealing – the gulf in peak BA to off-peak Iberia cost is just too large to ignore.

    Only concern now is around Iberia not losing the bags on the 1.5 hr transfer window…

    Famous last words, but IB is very efficient on the bags front – the baggage is pre-sorted in London to improve speed/efficiency of transfer in Madrid and 1h30 is well over the MCT – they have quite a few tight domestic connections to the various midnight departures.

    Matt 343 posts

    I would take Iberia over BA for this route, especially if it saves you a significant quantity of money and avios. The food is good, the seat is better than the old CW seat and comparable to club suite, service is no worse than BA (lights out and hide in the galley after the meal) and the lounge is better than the BA club equivalents.

    After a couple of previous episodes of missing bags I’m less sure of their baggage handling skills than @JDB is, but not to the point that I would avoid them (I would make sure that I’ve got my essentials in my carry on though)

    HSV 32 posts

    The savings are massive. I booked MAD to EZE a couple of weeks ago using 2-4-1 voucher one way. It was 51,000 Avios + £196 for two. I booked the return today but EZE-MAD-LHR on Iberia so luggage checked all the way to London for 132,000 + £313. Then phoned up BA to link the two bookings and refund half the avious on the return – which they very quickly. So, in total MAD to EZE and EZE-MAD-MHR (all Business) for £509 + 117,000 for two people. Plus the cash flights to Madird on Iberia which are around £150 for two in economy. Don’t understand why your numbers are so high.

    PaulAllen 23 posts

    The numbers will be higher because 1) I’m booking ex LHR which has the ADP, so higher cash on the outbound, 2) the return is peak on Iberia, so higher avios on the return and 3) I’ve chosen the second combination of avios + cash. Still save massively when compared to a peak BA return of circa 200k avios with a 241

    kelliea1 92 posts

    Just flown business return to San Jose, Costa Rica and was happy with flight. No delays, luggage checked through and food very good. Service good but agree after meal time the crew stay in the galley. Lounge in Madrid also very good.

    zio 257 posts

    I flew IB to Lima and was very impressed. The lounge and F&B on board were better than BA. On board service was also great, but that depends on the crew you get, both with IB and BA.

    zapato1060 699 posts

    Flew MAD-BOG rtn. I was more worried about surly crew but I do not know if they been briefed as they were all wonderful. My crew was readily available and upbeat. The Velasquez lounge was incredible imo. Shower and a nap in their sleeping cabins sorted me out just fine.

    PeteM 737 posts

    The only thing to bear in mind is that, as with LCCs, when things go wrong with Iberia, they are a right pain / impossible to deal with. Whether it’s EU261 or more basic service failure rectification you may as well not bother.

    AlanUK 4 posts

    Whilst I appreciate the sentiments regarding savings etc by using IB but having flown the route over 20 years using every conceivable route out of Europe including IB on 4 occasions, I’m amazed to read about positive experiences.
    No mention of the rudeness or couldn’t careless attitude of cabin crew which embarrasses my Spanish partner who passionately endores BA whilst I’m a fan of AF KLM or Lufthansa at any cost.

    PeteM 737 posts

    I think it’s fair to say service has improved a lot since I started flying them in 1992 😀

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