While I noted this in a recent post about the best ways to redeem British Airways Avios, I think this is also worth separately calling out, as it will make the process of redeeming Avios for travel on Iberia easier for many.
BA lowers award fuel surcharges on Iberia
While British Airways and Iberia both use Avios as their rewards currency, the two airlines have separate loyalty programs, as there’s British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus.
Historically one of the best ways to cross the Atlantic using Avios has been on Iberia, but there was a trick to getting the best value. Specifically, you had to book through Iberia Plus rather than British Airways Executive Club, since the latter added huge carrier imposed surcharges to these awards, while the former didn’t.
Fortunately that’s no longer the case — for awards on Iberia, British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus now have the same pricing, in terms of both Avios and money.
For example, take a one-way off-peak Chicago to Madrid Iberia business class award, for which Iberia Plus is charging 34,000 Avios plus $123.70.
That same pricing is now available through British Airways Executive Club, even though in the past that would have come with around $800 in surcharges.
And just for comparison’s sake, American AAdvantage also charges (roughly) the same.
Is this change a big deal?
It goes without saying that redeeming Avios on Iberia across the Atlantic can be a great value — 34,000 Avios one-way in business class off-peak between many points in the United States and Madrid is a pretty unbeatable redemption. That’s especially true when you consider that you can earn Avios with several transferable points currencies, and we often even see transfer bonuses.
So whether or not this change is a big deal depends on how you look at it. It has always been possible to transfer Avios between British Airways and Iberia at a 1:1 ratio, so if everything is working as it should, nothing here is really changing for savvy consumers. However:
- Linking accounts requires both accounts to be open for 90 days or to have some activity
- There are often tech glitches with transfers
- Actually servicing any reservation with Iberia Plus can be a huge pain
- Many people weren’t aware of how much better the opportunities were through Iberia Plus than through British Airways Executive Club
So I’d say this is an awesome change, as it makes redemptions on Iberia much more accessible and easier to book.
Redeeming British Airways Executive Club Avios directly on Iberia has become a much better value, as the surcharges have been lowered to match what you’d pay through Iberia Plus. While you could previously transfer Avios between programs, this makes redeeming on Iberia much easier, and I’d consider that to be good news.
What do you make of BA lowering surcharges when redeeming Avios on Iberia?
This is no longer the case. I found out that BA now again charges significantly higher surcharges on identical Iberia routes. Very disappointing.
I’ve been trying to get a refund for 2 months on award tickets that Iberia mistakenly canceled . After a dozen calls and several “case” numbers, hours on hold, disconnects and pure incompetence, I finally got my points and most of my fees refunded. They still owe me 50 Euro! Horrible experience!
Urgh - now demand will increase. I am sure the majority of "regular folks" never knew about the option to redeem on Iberia. Now all the millions of UK BA members will have Iberia come up as an option :-(
Too bad the BA Visa won't reimburse for Iberia award fees! Now that would make the card a keeper.
Transfers are instant all 3 ways on Avios.com using your Aer Lingus Aer Club sign-in and password. I move IB to AL to BA etc etc easily instantly. Nice BA has this same surcharge once. Not usually. IB can be a PITA to deal with.
57,500 is not "roughly" the same as 34K.
ok ok ok.....give or 23,500......happy now????
When one books award redemptions with Iberia Plus, one can select a seat. Not sure if one can do so with BA? Comes in very handy with economy redemptions. Otherwise I would much prefer to deal with BA when I have issues or need to cancel.
How many business class seats does Iberia release per flight? I only see 2 per flight...do they ever release 4?
We did 4 in Business class last Fall ORD-MAD.
Did you book last minute of a year in advance to lock them in? Looking for next summer
I locked them in 11 months out for late September with early October return.
Sometimes they do... but it's rare. In the 6 or so times I've redeemed over ~6 years, I've only ever seen an option for 4 come up once, and that was last year which may mean it was pandemic demand related. Though I am usually booking peak or near peak periods
The third point you make really should be highlighted more in your posts about Iberia:
** Actually servicing any reservation with Iberia Plus can be a huge pain. **
I had to cancel a reservation on Cathay made using Iberia Avios, and found it almost impossible to get the Avios restored to my account. After months of failing, I finally started emailing the Iberia and IAG c-suite, and while I didn't get a reply from them, my Avios were magically restored within days.
This isn't always true. While the flights cost the same amount of Avios, the carrier fees and taxes are still wildly different. For instance, an AA flight from NYC to BCN on Iberia is charging ~$50 in taxes and fees, while BA is charging ~$220.
Ben, this is a wonderful news and thank you for posting.
Currently, Amex MR points are NOT linking with "NEW Iberia accounts with 9 digits" and no immediate fix is on the way (2 months). Transferring MR points to British Avios for a subsequent internal transfer to Iberia Avios won't work for the new accounts due to the 90 day/activity rule. Now, anyone who has new Iberia accounts can simply use British Avios to...
Ben, this is a wonderful news and thank you for posting.
Currently, Amex MR points are NOT linking with "NEW Iberia accounts with 9 digits" and no immediate fix is on the way (2 months). Transferring MR points to British Avios for a subsequent internal transfer to Iberia Avios won't work for the new accounts due to the 90 day/activity rule. Now, anyone who has new Iberia accounts can simply use British Avios to book the same flights for the same amount of Avios/taxes.
Definitely not wonderful. Demand for redemption seats will increase significantly. And, as Iberia generally only releases 2 seats for award redemptions, that's not a lot of availability for the millions of additional folks (BA UK Exec Club member) who will now see it is an option.
Slightly off-topic remark: I don't book IB business class awards anymore.
Yeah, the hard product is fine. Soft product is acceptable, as are the lounges.
But IRROPS handling is just so terrible. Their staff couldn't care less. They don't care if you fly business and are OW Emerald. And yeah, I believe it's not my tone ore anything. The staff is just terrible.
So yeah, nice that awards become even more accessible. But I rather drop my avios for other OW carriers.
Unrelated but thought youd be interested: I just read on Bloomberg how Amex is using pieces of a retired 747 to produce their new Delta Reserve card
Noticed this low BA surcharge the other day on Iberia and was surprised (likewise for a BA return flight from IST to DFW via LHR).
Isn’t it worth the hassle to transfer and book directly with Iberia in case something goes wrong with your flight? No experience with Iberia CS but imagine being told to go work “my” issue with BA.
Trust me, it’s the other way round. The BA hotline is much better than the Iberia hotline.
Iberia customer service for refunds etc is not good; wait times are terrible and even worse if you have to speak with someone only in English
Ben, can you write an article about how one can transfer BA Avios TO Iberia Plus?
Ben - other than the lower cancel/redeposit fees with Iberia ($20 vs. $55 with BA) is there any reason now not to transfer all of one's Iberia's points back to BA for good?