Amex Avios 40% Bonus Sweet Spot: US to Spain in Business From 49,000 Points Round-Trip

Sep 17, 2018

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This weekend, American Express launched a 40% bonus when transferring Membership Rewards points to either British Airways Executive Club or Iberia Avios.

While we dove into how to book an economy award to Ireland for just 10,000 Amex points one-way, there’s another great way you can maximize this promotion. Iberia has fantastic award rates for business class flights during its off-peak dates when flying between a handful of its destinations in the US.

You can fly from New York (JFK), Boston (BOS) or Chicago (ORD) to Madrid (MAD) for just 34,000 Iberia Avios one-way or 68,000 round-trip. With the current transfer bonus, you’d only need to transfer 49,000 Amex points to Iberia for a round-trip flight on the listed routes. That’s an absolutely incredible deal and will value your Amex points at about 6 cents apiece on Iberia’s cheapest dates (where cash prices are about $2,800 round-trip).

We reviewed Iberia’s A340-600 last year and it received solid marks for its comfortable lie-flat seats and friendly service. The carrier recently launched service between New York and Madrid on its brand new A350. Even better, Iberia charges very reasonable taxes and fees for a business class flight — on average you’ll pay about $220 for a round-trip itinerary.

Just note that these off-peak prices only apply when flying on Iberia metal and specifically between New York, Boston and Chicago to Madrid. However, you can pay a bit more on off-peak dates from Iberia’s other destinations like Miami (MIA), Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO). It’ll run you 84,000 Iberia Avios round-trip, or just 60,000 Amex points with the transfer bonus.

I found a solid amount of availability on off-peak dates from both New York and Chicago, but nothing from Boston. Just remember that award availability can disappear (and reappear) quickly. You can use American’s award calendar to search for available dates quickly by filtering for non-stop only flights and clicking on the “Business/First MileSAAver” button.

It can take up to 48 hours for points to transfer from Amex to Iberia, so beware that your preferred award may not be there when your points are in your account. You can see Iberia’s off-peak calendar here.

Airlines: Iberia
Routes: ORD/JFK/BOS/MIA/LAX/SFO to MAD
Cost: 49,000 Amex Membership Rewards points/68,000 Iberia Avios + ~ $220 in taxes and fees round-trip in business
Travel Dates: September 2018 through June 2019, transfer Amex points by November 15
Pay Taxes and Fees With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline),  Citi Premier® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve,  Citi Prestige (3x on airfare plus excellent trip delay insurance) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel)
Booking Link: Iberia

Here are a few examples of what you can book:

New York Kennedy (JFK) to Madrid (MAD) for 49,000 Amex/68,000 Avios + $210 round-trip nonstop in business:

Chicago (ORD) to Madrid (MAD) for 49,000 Amex/68,000 Avios +$232 round-trip nonstop in business:

Maximize Your Purchase

Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Premier, Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

You can earn American Express Membership Rewards through these cards (in addition to others):

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: 60,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first three months of Card Membership
  • American Express® Gold Card: 35,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first three months of Card Membership
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn up to 75,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 bonus points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.

Featured image by Getty Images

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