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Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly business class to Europe from 34,000 Avios each way

Sept. 05, 2021
6 min read
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The European Union recently recommended that member states reimplement travel restrictions for U.S. visitors. So, now may seem like a strange time to write about one of the best ways to redeem points and miles for flights to Europe.

It's unclear if and how entry requirements for U.S. passport holders to European Union member states will change due to the change. That said, the European Union has said fully vaccinated travelers should still be allowed entry. So, it's likely still reasonable to plan European travel if you're fully vaccinated.

Whether you want to fly to Europe this fall or you're planning a trip for 2022, you should consider redeeming Iberia Avios for select routes. Today, I'll discuss a specific sweet spot that allows you to fly Iberia business class one-way non-stop between select U.S. east coast cities and select western European cities for 34,000 Iberia Avios, plus modest taxes and fees, on off-peak dates.

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Why it's special

Iberia A350 business class (Photo by Christian Kramer/The Points Guy)

TPG has written many times about the best ways to travel to Europe using points and miles. For example, you can book American Airlines off-peak awards to Europe for 45,000 miles round-trip in economy. And, you can fly from the U.S. to Europe and North Africa from 21,500 Flying Blue miles each way in economy.

There are plenty of business class sweet spots too. For example, you can book nonstop Delta flights from the U.S. to Europe for just 50,000 Virgin Atlantic points one-way in business class. And you can book Star Alliance business-class flights to Europe for 45,000 Turkish miles each way. You could also fly round-trip to Europe in business class for 88,000 ANA miles.

But you can redeem even fewer rewards to fly business class to Europe. The key is to fly a direct Iberia-operated flight of 3,001 to 4,000 miles on off-peak dates (check Iberia's peak and off-peak calendar here). This is because Iberia uses a distance-based award chart for its flights. Here's the off-peak award chart for Iberia flights:

(Screenshot courtesy of iberia.com)

The following Iberia-operated transatlantic flights fall into the 3,001 to 4,000-mile distance band. As such, you can book these flights for 34,000 Avios plus modest taxes and fees on off-peak dates.

  • Boston (BOS) -- Madrid (MAD)
  • Boston (BOS) -- Barcelona (BCN)
  • New York (JFK) -- Madrid (MAD)
  • New York (JFK) -- Barcelona (BCN)

While flights from Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) to Madrid are slightly outside of this range, they still price at 34,000 Avios one-way in business class.

Granted, Iberia isn't currently operating some of these routes due to the coronavirus pandemic. Regardless, these are the routes to keep in mind if you want to utilize this sweet spot.

Related: Don’t panic: Iberia devalues some off-peak awards, still a great deal

How to book this award

To book this award, start on Iberia's website. Enter your origin, destination, desired dates and check the "Pay with Avios" box. I also recommend checking the "My dates are flexible" box when selecting your preferred dates. Select "Premium cabins" from the drop-down and then click "Search."

(Screenshot courtesy of iberia.com)

On the next page, you'll hopefully see business class award availability as I did. If not, click on surrounding dates to check availability.

(Screenshot courtesy of iberia.com)

Once you find a date you want to book, click on the purple business class box. Then, if you searched for a round-trip award, select your return flight.

(Screenshot courtesy of iberia.com)

If you don't have enough Iberia Avios in your account, you'll get a message at this point telling you to buy more Avios or consider booking a fare without Avios.

(Screenshot courtesy of iberia.com)

As you can see, the taxes and fees (which you can't pay with Avios) for this round-trip award from New York to Madrid are $283.36. These taxes are fees are higher than you'll see with some programs, but the award still provides excellent value compared to the paid rates you'll often see for these flights.

Related: The good, the bad and the impossible: Booking first-class flight awards to Europe

How to earn Avios for this award

Iberia business class (Photo by Christian Kramer/The Points Guy)

There are three primary ways for U.S.-based travelers to earn Iberia Avios:

Most travelers will likely use transferrable points. And, if you're ready to book your award within the next month or so, consider transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Amex Membership Rewards points. After all, you'll get a 30% transfer bonus when you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Iberia Avios through Sept. 26, 2021. Plus, you'll get a 40% transfer bonus when you transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to Iberia through Sept. 30, 2021.

Related: Three versions of Avios: When to use Aer Lingus, Iberia and British Airways

Bottom line

This sweet spot only applies to a few Iberia-operated transatlantic flights that are between 3,001 and 4,000 miles. So, travelers often overlook this inexpensive business class sweet spot. But, redeeming 34,000 Avios to fly transatlantic in business class shouldn't be ignored.

If you don't live in Boston or New York -- or want to visit a European city other than Madrid or Barcelona -- you'll need to book separate positioning flights to utilize this sweet spot. Luckily, there are plenty of domestic sweet spots for positioning within the U.S. And, it's usually easy to find inexpensive flights or trains to position within Europe.

Featured image by (Photo by Christian Kramer/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
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  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases