A substantial number of Tricks of the Trade readers took advantage of Iberia’s amazing 90,000 Avios promotion that I wrote about back in June.
As a quick recap: Iberia offered 9,000 Avios for each ticket that you booked. You could earn a maximum of 90,000 Avios per person, with the Avios awarded regardless of whether you intend to take the flights!
People were easily able to find flights for £20-£25 each – meaning a cost of just 0.25p per Avios.
The one caveat was the requirement to spend any bonus Avios by 1st December 2018. With that date fast approaching, today I’m revisiting the best options for spending your bonus Iberia Avios before they expire.
You CAN move them to British Airways, but should you?
Many people now have a large pile of Avios sitting in their Iberia Plus account. Your initial thinking may have been to use Combine my Avios to move them to your British Airways Executive Club account and use them that way.
Initially, Iberia put a restriction in place to ensure these Avios couldn’t be moved out of your Iberia Plus account.
Then they had a change of heart and allowed transfers to British Airways Executive Club accounts again. However, they have said that any bonus Avios not spent by 1st December will be removed – meaning you risk your Iberia account having a negative balance if you do decide to transfer them out.
You may decide an Iberia account with a negative balance is something you can live with, that’s up to you. But it’s worth being aware of.
What are your options for using these Avios apart from transferring them to BA?
There is some tremendous value to be had by booking long-haul flights via Iberia Plus for travel on Iberia – particularly for business class redemptions.
At the beginning of May, I took a closer look at how you can save cash and Avios by booking flights through Iberia Plus.
Some of the advantages of booking Iberia (business class) redemptions include:
- Much lower taxes on redemptions
- Fewer Avios required
- Direct aisle access from every seat (1-2-1 seating layout v British Airways’ 2-4-2 layout)
- Different peak/off-peak charts to BA
Here are a few examples of what you can book:
All examples are per person and based on off-peak cost
Iberia cost: 118,000 Avios + £168 return in business class
BA cost (from London): 150,000 Avios + £548
Iberia cost: A huge bargain at 85,000 Avios + £150 return in business class.
BA cost: 125,000 Avios + £556
Iberia cost: 85k Avios + £200 return in business class.
BA cost: 125,000 Avios + £591
A full list of the destinations that Iberia fly to can be found on this page of the Iberia website.
Watch out for…
- Flight redemptions on partner airlines (other than BA) must be booked as a return journey.
- Redemptions on partner airlines (apart from BA) are non-cancellable and cannot be changed.
- No Reward Flight Saver when booking BA short-haul flights via Iberia. You can still get good value from short-haul flights but be aware that taxes aren’t capped at £35/£50.
You can find more info on other flight-related redemption options on the ‘Using my Avios’ page of the Iberia website.
Hotels & Car Hire
Generally speaking, I don’t recommend using airline miles for non-flight redemptions. By and large, these don’t offer great value for your miles.
Avios earned in this Iberia promo might be an exception though. Say you paid £25 per flight, you’ve effectively bought Avios at 0.27p each. That gives you a little more flexibility in terms of redemption options that still allow you to come out ahead. Especially bearing in mind the looming ‘spend by 1st December’ requirement.
You can expect to get approximately 0.5p to 0.6p per Avios when redeeming for hotels – effectively giving you double what you paid for them.
To use your Avios for hotels or car hire, you need to find and use (no easy feat on the Iberia site) the dedicated Hotels & Car Hire section of the Iberia website.
The Iberia website mentions access to 30,000 tours and attractions that you can redeem your Avios on. For the life of me, I can’t work out where this is located within the site – if you’ve had more success than me, please let me know in the comments section below.
At some point between now and 1st December, you have a decision to make. You might see transferring the Avios to BA as the easy way out but you need to be prepared that your Iberia account may go ‘into the red’.
In terms of redeeming them before 1st December, you’ll usually get the best value from Iberia Avios by using them for long-haul business class redemptions on Iberia. You really can’t argue with 85,000 Avios + £150 for a business class return to Johannesburg for example.
Even if you end up redeeming your Avios for a hotel stay or car rental you should still be looking at a very good return on your initial outlay.