All The Best Uses of Iberia Avios
While British Airways Avios might be the currency with which more people are familiar, there are actually a few different flavors of Avios. Other IAG partner airlines Iberia and Aer Lingus also use Avios as their award currency. Following up on some of the best ways to use British Airways Avios, I want to explore the best uses of Iberia Avios.
You might think that all the Avios are the same. But it turns out that each currency is slightly different, with somewhat different award pricing and fees, depending on the partner.
Earning Iberia Avios
Iberia Avios can be earned in a few ways. Iberia is a transfer partner of both Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards. American Express is known to offer up to 40% transfer bonuses to Avios, which can really stretch the value of your points.
You could also pick up the Iberia Visa Signature Card, an airline co-branded credit card issued by Chase. The welcome offer is for an excellent 100,000 bonus Avios, but there is a high spending requirement.
Other features of the card include 10% off Iberia flights and a $1,000 voucher toward the purchase two tickets (on the same flight) if you spend $30,000 on the card in a year. You do need to pay the taxes and fees on the ticket, but this voucher has really intrigued me.
In all honesty, you could pick up any Avios-earning card, like the British Airways Visa, as you can also transfer Avios among the three programs.
Transferring Avios Between Programs
The ability to transfer Avios among Iberia, British Airways, and Aer Lingus is one of the coolest aspects of the currency. This allows you to choose whichever is best for your particular situation.
There is one thing to note about transferring to Iberia Avios: both accounts must have been open for at least 90 days to be able tor transfer. You also need to have some activity in your Iberia account. This is one reason I recommend that you transfer some bank points to Iberia Avios to make sure you’re ready in the future should you ever need to transfer between programs.
Iberia Avios have some sweet spots that are notably different than British Airways Avios, which is nice. Sometimes you can pay fewer Avios. Other times you can skirt BA’s egregious fees. The best uses of Iberia Avios I want to highlight are a mix of both.
Off-Peak East Coast Business Class to Spain
It can get a bit confusing to navigate which Avios are best for which IAG airline, but using Iberia Avios for off-peak business class flights on their own metal is a great option. The fuel surcharges are far less than booking business class on British Airways (but still not trivial).
For flights less than 4,000 miles, you can fly Iberia business class for just 34,000 Iberia Avios one-way. This is an amazing deal for transatlantic business class! Three destinations Iberia serves within this range are New York JFK, Boston Logan, and Washington Dulles.
The next band, which includes Chicago and Miami, is just 42,500 Iberia Avios for business class. Still a great deal.
Off-peak West Coast awards aren’t all that bad either, considering the prices that other carriers charge. You can fly business class from either Los Angeles or San Francisco to Madrid for just 51,000 Iberia Avios one-way off-peak.
Not sure what off-peak dates are? Here is the Iberia peak/off-peak calendar.
Short-Haul on American With Connections
Iberia has a specific award chart that applies to their Oneworld partners, including American, and the couple other partner airlines that they have. It is entirely different than their own award chart or the award chart they use for British Airways (aka British Airways’ award chart).
The sweet spot on the Oneworld chart is for short flights. Specifically, flights that are either less than 600 miles round-trip, or less than 1,000 miles round-trip. Even the third band of less than 2,000 might be useful at times. Here is the pricing:
- Flights of 600 miles or less – 11,000 Avios
- Between 601 and 1,000 miles – 12,000 Avios
- Between 1,001 and 2,000 miles – 17,000 Avios
You can only book round-trip awards on American Airlines, so keep that restriction in mind.
For someone like me on the West Coast, there really isn’t much within that range on American. For those in an AA hub or close to an AA hub, this is gold, as flights can include connections.
A few examples in the band less than 600 miles round-trip:
- New York LaGuardia to Boston
- Philadelphia to Pittsburgh
- Charlotte to Savannah
A few examples in the band less than 1,000 miles round-trip:
- Austin to Tulsa via Dallas-Fort Worth
- Charleston to Nashville via Charlotte
- Richmond to Hartford via Philadelphia
A few examples in the band less than 2,000 miles round-trip:
- Boston to Roanoke via Charlotte
- Memphis to Santa Fe via Dallas-Fort Worth
- Tucson to Santa Rosa via Phoenix
As Iberia doesn’t price per segment like British Airways, this gives them a leg up on Britain’s flag carrier.
A New Great Way to Fly Royal Air Maroc?
Etihad Guest Used to be an absolutely fantastic deal for booking awards on Royal Air Maroc from North America to Morocco, especially in business class. Well, many itineraries died a painful death, as a good number of awards doubled in price overnight. Anything with a connection now prices much higher.
Turns out that Iberia is also a partner of Royal Air Maroc and the carrier is subject to their distance-based round-trip award chart (same chart for AA and most other Oneworld bookings). In some cases, this is a better option than using Etihad Gues Miles.
The most talked about jumping off point is New York JFK, but the Moroccan flag carrier also flies from Casablanca to Boston, Washington D.C. and Montreal. If you’re just looking at flying to Morocco, Etihad is still potentially the better price at 44,000 miles one-way. Plus, you can book a one-way award.
Iberia leaves you the option of a connection. Nonstop routes to Morocco are all less than 8,000 miles round-trip, requiring 100,000 Iberia Avios round-trip. Anything that totals up to 12,400 miles round-trip is the next sweet spot, requiring 150,000 Iberia Avios round-trip in business class. Not sounding like a deal? It might be if you’re looking to get to Africa or the Middle East, as other carriers charge 75,000 miles or more.
Example itinerary: New York JFK – Casablanca – Cairo. Etihad would charge 176,000 miles in business class round-trip. Iberia Avios charges 150,000.
As always, factor in the potential for a 40% transfer bonus, and Iberia is a far better deal. You’re looking at just 108,000 Membership Rewards, which isn’t too much more than Etihad’s previous price, and entire reasonable for getting to the Middle East.
Transcontinental American Airlines A321T First Class
American Airlines is the only U.S. airline to offer both business and first class, and they do so even on select transcontinental flights. These are most often operated by Airbus A321T aircraft configured with all three cabins.
American charges quite the premium for their first class on these flights at 50,000 miles per person each way, a total of 100,000 round-trip. There are so many better ways you could burn 100,000 American miles that I would never consider this.
Using 96,000 Iberia Avios for a round-trip award Iberia Avios isn’t all that much of a discount. However, there are two factors that make this a much better redemption: transfer bonus and ability to earn the miles. If you can catch a 40% transfer bonus, you’re looking at just 69,000 Membership Rewards round-trip. Much better deal. Add in the fact that is is far easier to earn both Membership Rewards and Avios, and this is actually one of the best uses of Iberia Avios. If you’re looking for the first class experience.
However, there is still a better way (for now) for this redemption. You can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards to Etihad and book Flagship First transcontinetnal awards with American for just 25,000 miles each way. But American and Etihad will possibly cut ties in the fairly near future.
A Few Other Notes On Redeeming Iberia Avios
For both these best uses of Iberia Avios and other redemption options you’re considering, there are a few things of which you must be aware.
- Iberia Avios can only be used for round-trip bookings on partner awards. Iberia allows redemption one-way on their own metal, but not on partner bookings. The American Airlines awards above (as an example) must be round-trip.
- Only Iberia and British Airways awards are cancelable, based on everything I’ve read! I’ve not found this on the Iberia site, but I’ve seen it mentioned numerous times. For British Airways and Iberia flights, the fee is just 25 euros or $40.
- Iberia Avios are not a bad option for British Airways flights. The prices still aren’t fantastic in terms of the number of miles, but you’ll typically be charged lower fuel surcharges.
If you want to scour the charts for yourself, here is the best compilation of the handful of different pricing structures Iberia uses.
There are a few great best uses of Iberia Avios that make the currency well worth considering. With the recent British Airways Avios devaluation and the option to book shorter flights with connections within the U.S. at reasonable rates, make sure you have some in your pocket. If you haven’t opened an Iberia account, do so ASAP so that you can transfer your Avios between programs, should the need arise.