Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly business class to Europe from 34,000 Avios each way
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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
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:
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.
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.”
On the next page, you’ll hopefully see business class award availability as I did. If not, click on surrounding dates to check availability.
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.
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.
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.
How to earn Avios for this award
There are three primary ways for U.S.-based travelers to earn Iberia Avios:
- Transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards or Marriott Bonvoy
- Transfer Avios from British Airways or Aer Lingus
- Sign-up for a new (or use an existing) British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus card
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.
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 of Iberia A350 business class by Christian Kramer/The Points Guy.
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