Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

  • rooster

    Looking to book CW/biz companion voucher flights to Mexico City with wife and infant.

    Iberia from Madrid is half points/half tax vs direct from London (93,500 + £593).

    However, when factoring in getting to Madrid, we’re looking at another £300 for economy tickets, bringing ££ spend up to nearly what it would be with a direct redemption from London.

    The question is, it worth doing an economy redemption LHR-MAD, either with full points (50,000 + £3) or points/pounds, say 19,500 + £148 to bring the overall cash cost down?
    Is this a waste of points, even though would still use considerably less than the direct option?

    Opinions welcome!


    Doesn’t it depend on how many points you have overall in your pot, your luggage allowance (for lon-mad, if you take the economy you’ll have much less luggage), “joys” of traveling with an infant in a transfer flight or whether or not you’d burn some hotel redemptions in Madrid to ease the burden.

    I’d simply compare the products here. Does the BA metal directly to MEX offer a superior business product than Iberia for your circumstances — seats, food, lounges etc?


    I was weighing up similar for a trip to Mexico, in our case for two of us. There are definitely worthwhile savings to be had by travelling with Iberia, especially now you can use an Amex 2for1 and even if you book a connection from London.

    Booking the redemption starting in Madrid offers further savings due to APD, but bear in mind that you will have to self connect in Madrid if you do that, and collect and recheck your luggage

    We have done it once before and stayed at night at the Air Rooms in the airport, but that of course eats into the saving.

    Even if you book the redemption starting in Madrid, you can still book the return leg with a connection through to the UK. If you’re not using a 2for1 voucher, the easiest way is to book one ways, in this case MAD-MEX and MEX-MAD-LHR.

    Iberia offers the better business class product in my view, with direct aisle access seating on the A350 as opposed to the old CW seats on the 787-9 that BA currently uses on the route. Iberia also operates 3 flights/day compared to BA’s one, so more choice of flight times.

    Given the comparison you’ve stated above on the LHR-MAD flights I’d probably pay cash if that includes checked luggage. Otherwise 19,500+£148 isn’t bad and definitely better than 50,000+£3. Worth noting that redemption pricing is different for BA and Iberia, so may be worth checking both. Iberia also offers the A330/A350 on some flights between LHR and MAD.


    If you are travelling with a baby, it’s just so much easier to travel directly from LHR where on the winter timetable the BA flight leaves at lunch time and arrives early evening, 12hr flight. Even on the best via Madrid connection (which is not doable on two tickets) the travel time will be 17hrs. MAD-MEX is a slightly further distance/flying time than LHR-MEX unlike many SAm flights where you do get a bit nearer.


    Thanks all for the feedback. Without baby, seems a no brainer to book the redemption from Madrid based on the savings – it’s whether or not we can stomach the connections! The new IB A350 biz cabin sounds mint as well.

    I’ve got 200K Avios in the satchel so an LHR redemption would burn through the lot.


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