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British Airways and Iberia Avios
Avios is the currency of British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus. Think of Avios as miles or points.
British Airways and Iberia have a unique partnership. Some of the general principles I’ve written about award travel do not apply if you use British Airways Avios or Iberia Avios to book flights operated by Iberia or British Airways. Everything I’ve taught you about partner award flights goes out the window with these two programs*.
*To be clear, this is only for flights operated by these 2 airlines. British Airways and Iberia are both Oneworld alliance members. This means you can use their loyalty programs, Executive Club and Iberia Plus, to book their own flights plus you can redeem Avios for flights operated by Oneworld airlines such as American Airlines.
You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards to British Airways or Iberia at a 1:1 ratio
There are co-branded credit cards for both British Airways and Iberia, but I suggest using a card that earns a transferable currency. The two credit card rewards currencies I mostly collect areChase Ultimate Rewards points and American Express Membership Rewards points. Both of these transfer to British Airways or Iberia at a 1:1 ratio. You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards to several other airline and hotel programs. Multiple transfer partners means more redemption options.
Earn your first 100,000 points!
The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is the card I suggest opening first. No matter what your travel goals are, the welcome bonus of 60,000 is worth $750 at the very least. But you can potentially get even more value out of those points by using transfer partners such as British Airways! Click here for 25 great ways to get amazing value out of Chase Ultimate Rewards by using transfer partners.
Current offer: Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
As of August 16, bonus categories have been added and/or improved!
- Earn 5 points per dollar on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Earn 2 points per dollar on other travel purchases
- Instead of the old earn rate of 2, you can now earn 3 points per dollar on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout)
- 3 points per dollar on online grocery purchases (this excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 3 points per dollar on select streaming services
- Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
Also, receive credit of up to $50 annually on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards. New cardmembers will receive this credit immediately and existing cardmembers will start earning after the next anniversary.
Each anniversary, you’ll receive bonus points equal to 10% of total purchases made the previous year. This excludes any sign up bonus points, so it’s only on points earned from spending.
The annual fee is $95, but the welcome offer alone is worth a lot more than that. Also, you’ll receive a year of DashPass (normally $9.99 per month) for free if you enroll by 12/31/21.
British Airways and Iberia have a unique partnership with each other
These airlines are under the same parent company. There are certain conditions that apply, but you can actually transfer Avios between the 2 airline programs. This isn’t really relevant if you’re transferring from Chase or from Amex since you can transfer Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards to either of the 2 programs. It is something that I wanted to point out, though.
I want to reiterate that this is not the norm. Generally, you cannot transfer airline currencies to other airlines, including partners. Instead, you can use one program’s currency (such as British Airways avios) to book an award flight operated by a partner airline (such as American Airlines), subject to the rules of the program which which you are booking (British Airways in this example). That’s where this British Airways and Iberia partnership is unique, though. You can actually transfer British Airways avios to Iberia and vice versa.
British Airways and Iberia have distance-based award ticket pricing
A distance based program means that the redemption price is calculated based on the distance between the departure city and the destination city. Distance ranges are divided into tiers and each distance range has an amount of Avios required for a redemption. The best routes with these progams are city pairs that are just under the max distance of a tier.
Every distance based program has different distance ranges and different rules. Also, each program has a different way of calculating distances. For instance, an American Airlines flight booked with British Airways Avios may have a different redemption cost than if you use Iberia to book the same American Airlines flight. Update May 2021: it appears that Iberia has updated its pricing model for AA flights to match that of British Airways for AA flights. I’ll discuss that more below.
You can read more about different types of award ticket pricing here.
Award pricing for each program
Most frequent flyer programs have an award chart for redemptions on their own flights and then another chart for partner flights. For example, Iberia has a chart for flights operated by Iberia. It has different charts if you are using your Avios to book partner flights.
You can use Iberia Avios to book an American Airlines flight. The program with which you are booking (Iberia Plus) determines the redemption cost, not the program of the airline operating the flight (AAdvantage).
That’s where the British Airways and Iberia partnership is different. Redemption costs are the same on flights operated by either program regardless of the program you use to book.
British Airways Executive Club
British Airways doesn’t officially post a chart, but there has been enough data to establish how they price tickets.
Redeeming British Airways Avios to book British Airways or Iberia flights:
These redemption amounts are per segment.
Redeeming British Airways Avios to book partner flights except Iberia:
It is important to note that zone 1 pricing on flights within the US appear to be 7500 instead of 6000.
For nonstop economy award tickets British Airways has better pricing than American Airlines AAdvantage on most routes.
Redeeming British Airways Avios to book flights operated by Iberia:
Iberia’s table applies:
Iberia does post its charts, and there are several of them. Iberia has a chart for flights operated by Iberia and then there is a chart for each of its partners, including British Airways. You’ll notice that the chart for flights operated by British Airways is the same as the pricing British Airways uses.
I’ll also include Iberia’s chart for American Airlines, but each partner has its own. It does appear that other partner charts are the same as AA.
If you are redeeming Iberia Avios to book an Iberia flight:
If you are redeeming Iberia Avios to book British Airways flights, this table applies:
If you are redeeming Iberia Avios to book American Airlines flights, this table applies:
Update May 2021: It appears that Iberia has updated its award chart and redemption pricing to match that of British Airways for American Airlines and for other partner flights. This is unfortunate as the old Iberia pricing for AA flights was a good alternative to booking AA flights when your itinerary has a connection. Now, it appears that each segment requires a redemption just like British Airways. The only difference that may make British Airways or Iberia better for any given flight is taxes/fees/fuel surcharges (when applicable). In other words, the amount of avios required for a redemption is the same, but the out of pocket total may be different.
According to the new table and rules, you should be able to use Iberia Avios to book one-ways operated by AA, but every time I try to search I am unsuccessful unless I search for roundtrip. This is probably just a glitch and booking a one-way may require a phone call until this is sorted out.
When redeeming Avios to book an Iberia or British Airways flight, peak and off-peak dates are determined by the operating airline
Not every airline program will have peak and off-peak dates for partner flights, but when they do, the dates are determined by the frequent flyer program with which you are booking. British Airways and Iberia do not have off peak pricing for partner operated flights. But other AA redemption partners might. For example, Etihad Guest has off-peak dates for select American Airlines routes. If you are using Etihad miles to book an American Airlines flight, peak and off peak dates are determined by Etihad, not the American Airlines AAdvantage program.
Once again, British Airways and Iberia are an exception. British Airways and Iberia each have their own calendars for off-peak dates. When using either program to book flights operated by the other, the airline operating the flight determines the peak and off peak dates. This goes against what I’ve said about partner award tickets with other airline programs.
Off-peak dates for Iberia:
- May 18-24, 2021
- May 27-28, 2021
- May 30-June 9, 2021
- June 12-17, 2021
- September 13-October 7, 2021
- October 10-11, 2021
- October 13-21, 2021
- October 24-28, 2021
- November 2-4, 2021
- November 8, 2021
- November 10-December 2, 2021
- December 5-7, 2021
- December 9-11, 2021
- December 13-15, 2021
- December 21-22, 2021
- December 27-29, 2021
- January 11-April 7, 2022
- April 10-12, 2022
- April 19-28, 2022
- May 1, 2022
- May 4-12, 2022
- May 15, 2022
- May 17-June 14, 2022
- September 12-October 27, 2022
Off-peak dates for British Airways
- June 1-3, 2021
- June 7-9, 2021
- June 13-19, 2021
- June 21, 22, and 24, 2021
- June 27-29, 2021
- July 1-3, 2021
- July 6, 2021
- August 10 and 17, 2021
- September 7-October 14, 2021
- October 19-21, 2021
- October 26-28, 2021
- November 1-December 11, 2021
- December 14, 2021
- January 12-February 4, 2022
- February 6-10, 2022
- February 15-17, 2022
- February 22-25, 2022
- February 27-March 25, 2022
- March 28-30, 2022
- April 4-6, 2022
- April 11-13, 2022
- April 20-May 6, 2022
Using British Airways Executive Club Avios for British Airways or Iberia flights:
- If you are using British Airways Avios to book a British Airways flight, peak and off peak pricing is determined by British Airways
- If you are using British Airways Avios to book an Iberia flight, peak and off peak pricing is determined by Iberia
The same applies to Iberia:
- If you are using Iberia Avios to book an Iberia flight, peak and off peak pricing is determined by Iberia
- If you are using Iberia Avios to book a British Airways flight, peak and off peak pricing is determined by British Airways
If you redeem British Airways or Iberia to book other partner flights, there are no off-peak dates
When using British Airways or Iberia Avios to book an award ticket, peak and off peak pricing is not available for Oneworld partners. In other words, there are no off-peak dates if you are using British Airways Avios or Iberia to book an American Airlines flight.
So if the redemption cost and peak dates are determined by the operating flight, does it matter which program you use to book?
As far as redemption costs, booking a British Airways flight or an Iberia flight with either program will result in the same amount of Avios required. There is one other factor that may make a difference in your total, though, so make sure you use the right program! That factor is fuel surcharges. Also sometimes known as carrier charges.
British Airways is notorious for fuel surcharges on transatlantic routes (US-Europe). Iberia also collects fuel surcharges, but sometimes they are significantly more reasonable than British Airways on transatlantic routes.
Fuel surcharges are different than taxes and fees
Some taxes and fees are collected regardless of which airline issues your ticket. Certain cities in Europe are notorious for these fees. The flight from the US-Europe is not the problem, it’s the return flight. London is the worst. A flight out of London is nearly $200. Try to avoid London. For more information about fuel surcharges and other fees, read this post.
Advertiser disclosure: The Miles Genie has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. The Miles Genie and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
Comments below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. The comments have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
5 best ways to redeem 100,000 Iberia Avios
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If you’re reading this post, chances are you’re sitting on a large stash of Iberia Avios and want to put them to good use. Or maybe you’re looking at the 100,000-Avios sign-up bonus for the Iberia Visa Signature Card after meeting minimum spend requirements and wondering what you can do with the bonus.
Since Iberia is a member of the Oneworld alliance, you have lots of options when it comes time to redeem, especially on American Airlines flights.
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In This Post
Iberia-operated transatlantic flights to/from Madrid
Here’s an overview of how many Avios you’d need for one-way, nonstop flights to Iberia’s hub in Madrid. Note that Blue-class fares allow you to book economy awards for fewer Avios, but you’ll incur a fee if you need to change or refund a Blue-class fare.
|New York (JFK)||17,000/22,000||20,000/28,000||25,000||35,000||34,000||50,000|
|Los Angeles (LAX)||21,250/27,750||25,000/35,000||31,750||43,750||42,500||62,500|
|San Francisco (SFO)||21,250/27,750||25,000/35,000||31,750||43,750||42,500||62,500|
Related: Fly business class to Europe from 34,000 Avios each way
At these rates, you can get a ton of travel out of 100,000 Iberia Avios. Here are just a few examples:
- Five one-way Blue-class, off-peak awards from the East Coast to Madrid. The total for five legs would be 85,000 Avios, with each leg costing 17,000 Avios. Taxes and fees on a single outbound flight to Madrid will cost $86, while the outbound flight from Madrid will run you $122.
- Two to four one-way premium economy awards from the U.S. to Madrid.
- One round-trip business-class award from the U.S. to Madrid during off-peak dates. Availability for business-class awards is tightening but is still possible to find.
Not interested in visiting Madrid? You can easily tack on a connecting flight to another European city, starting at 4,500 Avios one-way in economy class. More importantly, Iberia lets you create mixed-class awards online. So you can fly economy on short legs and save some Avios when booking transatlantic business-class awards.
Related: How to transfer British Airways Avios to Iberia
Using Avios for American Airlines-operated flights
Despite being devalued in May 2021, Iberia’s distance-based chart for American-operated flights still has a few sweet spots. One-way domestic AAdvantage MileSAAver awards typically cost 12,500 American miles, while flights under 500 miles require 7,500 AAdvantage miles. However, Iberia lets you book AAdvantage awards for as little as 6,000 Avios each way.
Note that AAdvantage might offer a lower award price through its Web Specials. However, short- and medium-haul domestic award flights typically cost less through Iberia than AAdvantage.
Although Iberia should now allow one-way awards on American Airlines, they don’t show up on iberia.com yet, even if the space is available. So, if you want to redeem your Iberia Avios for American awards online, you must search for and book a round-trip.
I recommend checking aa.com or ExpertFlyer (owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures) to find MileSAAver space and then popping your round-trip dates into Iberia’s Avios search engine to book. That said, even when searching round-trip, it might not always show up on Iberia’s website due to frequent technical glitches. If American has saver-level award space available and it’s not showing on Iberia’s site, you can also try to book it through Iberia over the phone.
Here’s how Iberia’s award chart for one-way American Airlines redemptions breaks down. As you can see, it’s practically identical to British Airways’ partner award chart.
Now, here are a few of the best sweet spots when using Iberia Avios for American Airlines-operated flights:
Economy itineraries less than 650 miles
You’ll need 6,000 Avios for itineraries with a one-way flying distance of up to 650 miles on American Airlines. For example, a round-trip from Washington Reagan (DCA) to Charleston, South Carolina (CHS), for 12,000 Avios is a heck of a steal.
Business-class itineraries less than 2,000 miles
Iberia charges just 12,500 to 22,000 Avios each way for business-class awards less than 2,000 miles. That’s great considering American normally charges 25,000 miles for most domestic business-class awards. Even better, Iberia doesn’t charge more Avios for flights that offer lie-flat seats, such as the daily 777 flights between New York-JFK and Miami (MIA).
Related: Fly lie-flat domestic business class for the price of coach
Economy class between the West Coast and Hawaii
Another sweet spot you’ll find is the ability to fly from West Coast cities like Los Angeles (LAX) and Phoenix (PHX) to Hawaii for just 13,000 Avios each way in economy. That’s much better than what any of the major U.S. airlines charge for these awards.
Economy itineraries between 3,001 and 4,000 miles
With 41,500 Avios, you can also book a round-trip economy ticket on American Airlines. Eligible routes include flights to Europe from the East Coast or Central/South America from Los Angeles (LAX), Dallas (DFW) or Miami (MIA).
Using Avios for Royal Air Maroc-operated flights to Casablanca
Since it’s a Oneworld partner, you can also book flights operated by Royal Air Maroc using Iberia Avios. However, you must call to book the flights.
Royal Air Maroc offers a daily flight from New York (JFK) to Casablanca, Morocco (CMN), which will cost you 124,000 Avios round-trip in business class. Economy class, on the other hand, only costs 41,500 Avios. Carrier surcharges are less than $200 for the round-trip flight.
Related: American Airlines adds online award booking for Royal Air Maroc
Upgrading with Iberia Avios
There are also some useful opportunities to upgrade Iberia-operated flights using your Avios. However, you must have a revenue ticket in an eligible fare class. Also, keep in mind upgrade prices depend on your travel dates. The Iberia award chart mentions the following fare classes as upgrade-eligible to business class: flexible economy fares (Y, B and H fare classes) and premium (W fare class).
In terms of upgrades to premium economy, Iberia doesn’t specify eligible economy fares. A phone agent also could not tell me which economy fare classes were eligible for premium economy upgrades. However, she could check on a flight-by-flight basis once I had my revenue itinerary booked.
|Destination||Economy to premium economy (off-peak/peak)||Economy to business (off-peak/peak)|
Premium economy to business (off-peak/peak)
|New York, Boston, Chicago||8,500/15,000||17,000/30,000||8,500/15,000|
|Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco||10,500/18,750||21,250/37,500||10,500/18,750|
* Prices are one-way.
Upgrading to premium economy from the East Coast during off-peak dates is a steal. And suppose I were flying for work and could get my company or client to pay for an upgrade-eligible economy ticket. In that case, I’d certainly consider 17,000 or 21,250 Avios to upgrade to business class for a long-haul flight. Similarly, upgrades from premium economy (W) tickets to business are fantastically priced during the off-season (and even peak dates).
Iberia Avios promotions
Iberia sometimes has promotions on award flights. For instance, it has offered lie-flat business class across the Atlantic for 25,500 Avios. Under another sale, Iberia offered 25% off the Avios required for Iberia Express-operated flights, resulting in intra-Europe flights from Spain pricing out for just 7,500 Avios.
When it comes to topping off your Iberia balance, there are also somewhat frequent transfer bonuses from American Express Membership Rewards.
Things to keep in mind when redeeming Iberia Avios
Here are a few things to remember about redeeming Iberia Avios:
- Iberia has a distance-based award chart for flights operated by the Iberia Group and you can book one-way award flights. However, Iberia partners each have their own distance-based award charts (most are identical), some of which require round-trip bookings. To combine one or more Oneworld partners on an award itinerary, use the Oneworld award chart.
- Awards are priced per segment, not the distance between your departure and arrival airports.
- Carrier surcharges for transatlantic award flights are the most reasonable of all the Oneworld programs (though try to avoid London).
- To keep your Avios from expiring, you must have activity in your account at least once every 36 months.
- Since you have to pay taxes and fees on Avios awards, be sure to use a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or The Platinum Card® from American Express. Both cards offer generous rewards on airline purchases and great trip insurance.
How to earn Iberia Avios
Here are three of the easiest ways to earn more Iberia Avios for your next redemption.
Iberia Visa Signature Card
The easiest would be to pick up the Iberia Visa Signature Card. The card currently offers a generous welcome bonus of 100,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
It also comes with some valuable perks like a 10% discount on paid Iberia flights and a $1,000 discount voucher to use toward two tickets on the same flight each year you spend $30,000.
Related: 100,000 Avios now for travel later: A review of the Iberia Visa Signature card
Alternatively, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points (1:1), Chase Ultimate Rewards points (1:1) or Marriott points (3:1 with a 5,000-Avios bonus for transferring 60,000 points). As such, you can transfer points from cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or American Express® Gold Card directly to Iberia.
Transfers from Chase are usually instant, while it takes around a day from Marriott and up to 48 hours from Amex. In addition, you may be able to take advantage of one of Amex’s or Chase’s routine transfer bonuses and get up to 40% bonus Avios.
Related:The top credit cards from international airlines
Transfer British Airways Avios to Iberia
Similarly, you can transfer British Airways Avios to Iberia Avios so long as both accounts have been open for at least 90 days and have previous activity. This is particularly useful if you have a haul of Avios that you earned with the British Airways Visa Signature Card — which is currently offering the same welcome bonus of 100,000 Avios after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Even better, you could earn the 100,000-Avios bonus on both the British Airways and Iberia cards (keep Chase’s 5/24 rule in mind, though). This is also useful if you want to transfer Amex points to Iberia but don’t want to wait 48 hours. Transfers from Amex to British Airways are instantaneous, as are transfers from British Airways to Iberia.
Finally, if you don’t have any points that you can transfer to Iberia — or you want to save them for higher-value redemptions — you can often buy Iberia Avios for cheap. For instance, Iberia has sold Avios for as little as 1.33 cents each. Sometimes you can even find discounts on Avios via Groupon.
Related: Three versions of Avios: When to use Aer Lingus, Iberia and British Airways
There’s a lot of value to be found in the Iberia Plus program. If I had 100,000 Avios, I’d put my attention squarely on booking Iberia-operated, off-peak transatlantic award flights. I’d also look for great revenue fares and then attempt to upgrade to either premium economy or business class. That said, there are also some good deals to be had with American-operated short- and medium-haul economy awards and Royal Air Maroc flights to North Africa.
However, you should probably avoid redeeming Avios for Oneworld-operated long-haul business class on itineraries over 5,000 miles as these partner awards balloon to 100,000 Avios and higher.
Additional reporting by Richard Kerr.
Featured photo of Iberia business class by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.
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2021 Avios Peak and Off Peak Calendar
British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus use the same Avios, but they have different Peak and Off-Peak dates.
Don't forget that it is possible to transfer your Avios from 1 of those 3 airlines to another one.
- British Airways Executive Club – Part 1, Overview of the program and the different tiers
- British Airways Executive Club – Part 2, Other Avios Partners and why you should register at all of them
- British Airways Executive Club – Part 3, Alternative ways to earn extra avios
- British Airways Executive Club – Part 4, Why the Silver status might be one of the best mid tier statuses out there
- British Airways Executive Club – Part 5, Top 5 Tier point runs out of Europe
- British Airways Executive Club – Part 6, Tier point runs in the rest of the world
- British Airways Executive Club – Part 7, Top 6 Avios redemptions you can make
- British Airways Executive Club – Part 8, More ways to use your Avios efficiently
- British Airways Executive Club – Part 9, BA Redemption Finder
- 2020 Avios peak and off-peak calendar
- 2021 Avios peak and off-peak calendar
- Transferring AVIOS from Iberia Plus to British Airways Executive Club within Household Account
2021 Avios peak and off-peak calendar
British Airways released their 2021 peak and off-peak calendar already some time ago.
Update: Finally, Iberia has released their avios peak/off-peak calendar, only Aer Lingus hasn't released the avios peak calendar yet. It seems that they are a bit slower this year, probably due to the Covid-19 situation.
We will add it when they release it here below.
Use your Avios to book your flights. All flights have a minimum number of guaranteed seats for purchase with Avios.
Or use them on Iberia flights to upgrade from Flexible Economy (fares Y, B or H) to Business class.
You can even use your Avios for hotel nights, car hires and leisure options, and when you shop at the more than 90 partners you have at your disposal.
Besides, with Avios&Money you can pay part in cash and part in Avios, and you get up to a 50 percent discount on the amount in Avios to spend on flight, hotel, car and experience bookings.Join Iberia Plus
Your Avios take you a long way
You can spend your Avios on flights for yourself or for anyone you choose.
We guarantee a minimum number of seats that can be exchanged for Avios on all Iberia Group flights (operated by Iberia, Iberia Express and Iberia Regional/Air Nostrum) to make it easier for you to enjoy your Avios on the flights and dates that suit you best.
We've divided the year into peak and off-peak, with different prices in Avios, so that you can plan your flights and get the most out of your Avios.Peak dates for using your Avios on flights operated by Iberia are shown in red. The rest of the year is off-peak. Find the best time to fly and get more out of your Avios.
The best offers just for you
You're eligible for exclusive special offers on flights, hotels, car hires, purchases, leisure, services and more.
Over 90 partners associated with the Iberia Plus programme and lots of great deals to meet your health, financial, leisure and travel needs.
Avios & Money: Your money goes further with Avios
You can pay for your flights with a combination of Avios and cash, whether you book through iberia.com or your Iberia Plus Service Centre.
This combined payment option is valid on flights operated by Iberia, Iberia Express, Air Nostrum and Vueling (British Airways only available via Call Centres).
Transfer your Avios to whoever you want
From the My Avios section on your profile page, you can transfer your Avios to anyone else who has an Iberia Plus card.
Turn your flight into a soaring experience
You can use your Avios to swap your economy booking (fares Y, B and H) for business class.
This service is subject to the availability of certain classes in the business cabin. For more information, please check with your Iberia Plus Service Centre.
*Option valid for tickets issued for Iberia Group* (Iberia and Iberia Regional/Air Nostrum) direct flights, except the Air Shuttle service and flights IB4XXX, IB5XXX and IB7XXX.
All your Avios count and now they also discount
Besides, now you can use your Avios to get discounts of up to 70% on the total fare and up to €300 when you buy your tickets through iberia.com. You'll also collect Avios for the total amount and miles flown.
This option is available on Iberia, Iberia Regional/Air Nostrum and Iberia Express flights and codeshare flights with Vueling for Iberia Plus members resident in Spain, France, Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Israel, USA, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Russia and Switzerland.
2021 peak iberia off calendar
Credit card sign-up bonuses are one of the best ways to earn lots of miles or points fast. But in their efforts to convince you to sign up, some miles & points websites don’t provide the “whole story”. This issue is especially relevant with Iberia Plus. Although it offers some interesting sweetspots – such as 34,000 Avios (miles) each way for reward flights in Business Class between certain US cities and Madrid, Spain – there are many downsides that you might not be aware of.
Iberia’s award chart has peak and off-peak pricing
Iberia charges a higher number of Avios to travel on “peak dates”. However, it doesn’t publish a calendar of peak and off-peak dates. Moreover, the Iberia award booking engine sometimes mistakenly shows off-peak pricing, only to revert to the correct “peak” pricing during the booking process.
So that “34,000 Avios each way in Business Class”? Not a problem if you are flying in February. Forget about Easter, July, August or Christmas though…
You cannot really “change” an award booking – you usually must cancel and rebook later
If your plans change – perhaps you want to fly via Madrid to Paris instead of Rome – you might think that a simple call to Iberia Plus would be sufficient.
Unfortunately not… the only “change” that agents can make is a date change, keeping the origin, destination and transit point the same. Anything else requires a cancellation and subsequent re-booking. Why is that a problem? Well… it can take several days for Iberia’s back office to process the cancellation. Meaning that the award space might be gone before your Avios have been returned to your account. If you wanted to rebook the same international flight to/from Madrid, that award space might NEVER come back…
Business Class award space isn’t likely to appear later (if you can’t see it now)
Some people like to book an award flight, then check regularly to see whether award availability appears in a premium cabin.
First of all, Iberia agents cannot “upgrade” your award ticket for you. So that strategy relies on having a healthy enough Avios balance to cancel one ticket and immediately rebook another (without your original Avios having been refunded).
But secondly, Iberia is not known for releasing additional Business Class award space leading up to a flight. Iberia would rather Business Class seats fly empty… than allow people to strategically book Economy or Premium Economy with a view to upgrading pre-flight.
You might sometimes get lucky. If another Iberia Plus member cancels their reward on the flight you desire, that award space sometimes becomes available again.
Partner awards are completely unchangeable / non-refundable
Plans change… but not if you have booked an Iberia Plus reward flight on a partner airline. Only reward flights booked on Iberia or British Airways can be cancelled for a refund.
A Vueling flight booked as an Iberia flight code? NON-refundable! An American Airlines flight booked using Iberia Avios? NON-refundable.
So even if the Oneworld partner award chart looks tempting – and it sometimes does – you should book elsewhere if you have even the slightest doubt about your plans.
Customer service is the WORST, if you can even get through…
Iberia’s call centers are swamped. Unless you are really lucky, most calls will disconnect after three minutes on hold. Spanish speakers have a slightly better chance of getting through.
Once you manage to speak to an agent, you will soon find out that they are not empowered to make any important decisions. Ask to speak to a supervisor? You are just as likely to be hung up on, as to be transferred to somebody who can fix your problem.
Don’t think it matters? Well, you can book award flights online, but you cannot change or cancel them online. Sometimes an airline cancellation can be managed online – often it can’t. So… chances are that you will actually need to call Iberia Plus when you book using your Avios…
You don’t have to book each reward flight separately
Some people have become confused by Iberia’s award pricing methodology. Yes you pay a certain number of Avios to fly to/from Madrid, and an additional number of Avios to fly beyond Madrid to another other Iberia destination.
But you can almost always book them together on the same ticket, meaning that you are protected in the event of delayed flights, etc.
There are, of course, situations where you might want to book your flights separately. Just be aware of the pitfalls of attempting to “connect” on separate tickets…
You must “activate” your account before using it
Several readers have reported problems buying Avios, or transferring them to British Airways Executive Club. This is often due to having an unused, “unactivated” Iberia Plus account.
To avoid fraud, etc. Iberia Plus requires that your Iberia Plus account be at least 90 days old, and to have had some earning activity. That can usually be a credit card point transfer, but crediting a flight, hotel or car rental to your Iberia Plus account is definitely the best.
And please don’t make your first reward booking in somebody else’s name, unless you want an account block and audit…
The bottom line
Iberia Plus has many appealing features – low cost Business Class rewards for starters – but before you sign up for that credit card or convert some Chase points, you should also be aware of some of its downsides. These are easy enough to avoid, as long as you are aware of them in the first place…
However, our newly acquired happiness turned out to be short-lived: by the time the sun went down, a rescue ship arrived for. Us. Parents hugged Alice, tears touchingly, thanked heaven for the fact that everything worked out ( and in the best way, as it seems to me personally), covered with. The last words of the captain of the yacht and a sudden storm.
Her father, a sturdy stocky mustachioed man in his 50s, shook my hand, excitedly shouting out gratitude.
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I pull the laptop up to me again. In a cloud storage closed from friends, I find photographs that would probably drive Sergey crazy. Here is my mother sitting in a sun lounger somewhere on the sea. There is a half-smile on her lips, an innocent look.