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Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club Iberia ex-MAD redemptions – optimal approach to London connections

  • SandsofEss 38 posts

    I’m planning an open jaw trip next year – London to Santiago, then Montevideo to London.

    Flying via Iberia from Madrid because of the substantial savings on taxes and fees, for five people in total, using two companion vouchers.

    I’m trying to get my head around the most cost-effective way to book our connecting flights between London and Madrid.

    1) I understand if we book the Avios tickets to depart from London, even via Madrid, we’ll be charged taxes & fees at BA rather than Iberia rates. Is this correct?

    2) Does the same apply for the return leg? Or, is there scope to book MAD – SCL, then MVD – LON (via MAD), charged at Iberia rates instead?

    Any advice gratefully received.

    Aston100 1,496 posts

    Just gonna sneak my related question in here:
    If booking an Iberia or BA flight from London to Madrid, on a separate ticket, are Iberia (or BA as the case may be) likely to through-check your luggage to your Iberia longhaul destination?

    Thanks.

    Gagravarr 75 posts

    If your ticket starts in London, you’ll be hit with UK APD taxes, which are significant. You need to book the flight to Spain on a different ticket.

    BA won’t check bags across two bookings. It’s BA staff running the Iberia checkin in Heathrow T5, so I suspect they’ll apply the same rule. Given that you need to allow quite a bit of time for the connection on two bookings (in case of problems/delays/etc which are your problem/risk not Iberia’s), you should be fine to collect bags and re-check. For extra safety, fly to Madrid the day before your onward flight.

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,368 posts

    Whoever staffs the IB desks they will refuse as it’s also IB policy not to check through on separate tickers.

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,368 posts

    @SandsofEss (interesting name and evocative of some remote Scottish or Irish island but you’ll tell me it’s actually somewhere like Essex)

    If you book via BA you’ll be charged the BA surcharges

    If you want to pay the IB rates then you need to book via them. But note IB don’t have the same generous cancellation policies as BA. I’m sure Rob has written articles on this.

    There should be no issue (other than availability) to book the routing you list in your point 2 above.

    Edit not sure you can use companion vouchers when booking via IB though.

    Super Secret Stuff 372 posts

    Number 2, you can get reward tickets back to LHR with only a minor increase in taxes if on IB metal

    yonasl 987 posts

    Just book:
    MAD-Somehwere
    Somehwere-MAD-UK

    This will avoid UK taxes and get you back to the UK under the same booking (so you are protected if there are delays).

    So technically you just “lose” one day as you need to fly to Madrid the day before and book a hotel. (Moving Avios to Iberia will open up many more options to fly from the UK to MAD)

    Many South American flight also take off at midnight so it is possible to flight in the morning and wait in Madrid/Airport. (This depends on your level of stress from anything going wrong).

    Also remember you can check your luggage in MAD the day before.

    SandsofEss 38 posts

    Thanks @yonasl.

    I’m keen to cost that return leg so I have a better idea of the uplift for booking straight through to London.

    Can I get a sense for this by doing a dummy one-way booking on BA.com?

    I’m not sure how taxes and fees are calculated, but if they’re essentially ‘added together’ for each leg, then that would work.

    @BAFlyerIHGStayer:

    I believe I can use a 241, and benefit from Iberia pricing, even booking via BA. Dummy bookings online confirm this, though I imagine I’ll have fun and games booking on the phone.

    Re: the name. I’m afraid it’s far more prosaic than that, but I don’t want to shatter the illusion so I’ll pretend it’s an undiscovered part of the outermost Hebrides…

    NorthernLass 8,443 posts

    Does IB even release 5 avios seats in any cabin though?

    SandsofEss 38 posts

    @NorthernLass

    No they don’t – I’m having to book across a variety of cabins (OUT: 2 biz, 2 PE, 1 Eco, BACK: 2 biz, 3 eco).

    Then a game of musical chairs to ensure everyone gets a decent nap.

    yonasl 987 posts

    Go to BA and check a one way from Somewhere-MAD and then try the same for somewhere-LON (it may show you a direct flight but also the IB combinations).

    I did the test a while ago for Argentina and Mexico and I believe sticking to IB flights was cheaper than mixing MAD-LHR with BA.

    The main issue is that you need business class tickets on the short MAD-LHR flight, not always possible.

    The good thing is to time your return so you can fly at 3:50pm on the 330/350 on a real business class seat.

    Michael C 731 posts

    So if I want to do, say,
    MAD-EZE / GRU-LHR with a 241, should I:
    a) do the whole thing over the phone?
    b) book MAD-EZE with the 241 then phone to have the return added?
    b) book both flights 1-way then phone to ask for the Avios to be returned?

    Thanks!!

    yonasl 987 posts

    Indeed, your options are:

    1) call BA and get it all done inbound and outbound

    2)
    A. book on the BA web MAD-Somewhere (using the 241)
    B. book later the somewhere-MAD-UK return paying the full avios amount (make sure you select the same avios + cash as you did for the inbound)
    C. call BA so they put them together and refund the extra avios you spent on B.

    Remember you need to use the same avios + cash tier. You cannot book one leg with max avios min cash and the second with min avios max cash.

    SandsofEss 38 posts

    Thanks for all your help @Yonasl

    I’m trying to do dummy bookings, but the BA website doesn’t want to present costs for journeys to London (“Sorry, there’s a problem with booking this journey online.”).

    I’m hoping it’s just BA IT gremlins – I’ll keep trying over the coming days.

    Michael C 731 posts

    Indeed, your options are:

    1) call BA and get it all done inbound and outbound

    2)
    A. book on the BA web MAD-Somewhere (using the 241)
    B. book later the somewhere-MAD-UK return paying the full avios amount (make sure you select the same avios + cash as you did for the inbound)
    C. call BA so they put them together and refund the extra avios you spent on B.

    Remember you need to use the same avios + cash tier. You cannot book one leg with max avios min cash and the second with min avios max cash.

    Cheers!

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