In my introductory article to the Avios scheme, I mentioned the four programs that use Avios as their mileage currency of choice. They are:
- British Airways Executive Club (BAEC)
- Iberia Plus
- Aer Lingus (Aer Club)
Of those four, three of those allow you to move your Avios freely and instantly between the programs. This a very useful feature known as ‘Combine My Avios’.
First off, let me clarify. As a relatively ‘new’ adopter of the Avios currency, you can’t currently use ‘Combine My Avios’ within Aer Club. I am fairly certain this feature will eventually be rolled out. It makes little sense to match up to the other schemes in so many ways yet omit this particular function. But, for the time being, you can only ‘Combine My Avios’ within BAEC, avios.com and Iberia Plus.
Why would I want to ‘Combine My Avios’?
There are numerous reasons why you would have collected Avios in multiple programs and may want to move your Avios from one to another. These include:
- Oneworld partner flights on the likes of American Airlines and Cathay Pacific using Avios cannot be booked online via avios.com.
- BA and Iberia have different peak/off-peak charts – opening up some sweet-spots for reducing the amount of Avios required for your flights.
- You will often pay much lower taxes if booking Iberia Avios flights on iberia.com rather than through BA.
- Iberia’s Customer Services department has a reputation for being (slightly) difficult to get to/concrete answers from.
- They run separate promotions leading to accumulation of Avios in multiple places – e.g. Iberia ran an amazing promotion last winter that allowed me to accrue 18,000 Avios from a single Avis car rental.
The above are just a few reasons that give you an indication of why the ability to transfer Avios between the programs quickly and most importantly, freely, is prized.
How it works
I am going to set out the theory. Occasionally though, you may need to get a little creative in order to get the function to behave itself.
There are 2 important things to note first:
- To transfer in/out of Iberia Plus, your account must have been open for at least 90 days. You must also have earned at least 1 Avios to ‘activate’ your account.
- The details on your Iberia Plus and BAEC/avios.com should be identical to avoid any potential issues.
You can push or pull
All three of the programs allow you to both push your Avios from their program to another or pull your Avios from another program to your program of choice.
To use ‘Combine My Avios’ via BAEC you need to:
- Visit ba.com and log in to your BAEC account
- Click on ‘Manage my account’ – found in the Executive Club tab at the top of the homepage.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see an option to ‘Combine My Avios’
- Click on that and input your Iberia/avios.com login details, depending on where you are moving Avios to/from.
- You will then see a screen which displays your balances in both your BAEC account and Iberia Plus account. It will prompt you to either transfer from BAEC to Iberia Plus or vice versa.
- Enter the transfer amount and confirm.
- You should then receive two emails, one from each program stating that ‘Combine My Avios’ was successful.
To ‘Combine My Avios via avios.com:
- Visit avios.com and log in to your account
- Click on the far right tab, ‘Your account’.
- On the bottom left of the drop-down menu, you will see an option to “Transfer Avios to/from British Airways or Iberia”.
- Repeat the steps from the BAEC instructions above
Using ‘Combine My Avios’ via Iberia Plus:
This is by far the most fiddly to locate and get right.
- Visit Iberia.com and log in to your Iberia Plus account
- Hover over the Iberia Plus tab (far right) and click on “My Avios” in the ‘middle’ section.
- Click on “Buying or transferring Avios” (left-hand side of screen, last option).
- Scroll to the very bottom of the screen where you will see in small writing: “Don’t forget you can combine your Avios with those of other customer loyalty programmes”. Click on that line of text.
- NOTE: This line of text will NOT appear if your account does not meet the 90-day and active account requirements described above.
- Repeat the steps described in the BAEC and avios.com methods
This is a really useful option to know how to use. I have used it many times but finding the relevant sections of each website can be tricky. Personally, I find the avios.com version to have the highest success rate in terms of both ‘pushing and pulling’ and will tend to use that one. The Iberia Plus version is the one I have had the least success with and where possible I would try and use an alternative.