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.
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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|
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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