Do This Today to Save Avios in the Future

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As the sun rose this morning the world is thankfully still rotating just as it was before, but the British Airways Avios 4,500 point shortest distance based awards for flights within/to/from the United States are no more. I know, I felt a pang of sadness, too, literally because I was too tired yesterday to firm up one final booking.

But, since the world still turns just as it did before, and most of us will still want to fly around it for as few points as possible, it is time to take one easy but important action if you haven’t already. If you do nothing else miles and points related today, you must do this one thing…

Open an Iberia Plus Account

Iberia Plus utilizes Avios as the currency for their award flights via a distance based award chart similar to British Airways, but with some key differences. You can also transfer Avios between your British Airways and Iberia Plus accounts if (and only if) both accounts are 3 months old, and both have had some type of activity in them (including transfers from Amex Membership Rewards).

Most of us probably have an open and active British Airways Avios account (or else today’s changes don’t impact you anyway), but I’m guessing not all of us have an open and active Iberia Plus Avios account. Since it needs to also be 90 days old to transfer Avios from British Airways, you need to open it today and let it start aging.

At some point you will also need to have some activity in it such as transferring a few Membership Reward points into the Iberia Plus account.

You want an Iberia Plus account because they now have the more favorable award chart for some short-haul bookings, especially those that involve connections on partners such as American Airlines. Iberia charges Avios based on the total mileage of the journey, and not per segment as the British Airways award chart does.

The cheapest award flights that involve a connection using British Airways Avios will now ring in at 30,000 points (7,500 Avios per segment) round trip while round trips with connections could start as low as 11,000 Avios via Iberia Plus if the entire journey is less than 600 miles total. For trips up to 1,000 total miles the price for economy flights only goes up 1,000 Avios to 12,000 total Avios via Iberia Plus.

Iberia Award Chart

As an example, we have commonly used Avios to fly my in-laws from Wichita, Kansas to Houston. On American operated flights this means Wichita – Dallas – Houston, which will now cost 15,000 British Airways Avios each way instead if the 9,000 points it used to cost.

However, via Iberia Plus we can book the same round trip journey for 17,000 Avios + $29.20 in taxes/fees. That is actually fewer Avios than it used to cost via British Airways, but there are a few trade-offs (in addition to slightly higher fees).

Iberia Plus.jpg

Some caveats to booking with Iberia Plus Avios are that they do not partner with Alaska, there are no changes/refunds permitted for OneWorld parter awards such as American, and you cannot book one-way awards. That said, booking a round trip (even if you don’t need the return) for very short hauls that involve connections may still be cheaper via Iberia than with British Airways. I’m not saying I highly recommend that strategy, but theoretically it would save you some Avios in certain situations.

I’ll get more into Iberia Plus in the coming weeks, but for now get those accounts open so they can start aging like a nice bottle of port, or something like that.

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  1. Marvelously timely post. Thank you! Ironically, I looked at my empty, lonely Iberia account just this AM and wondered why I had it … now I have a good reason! 🙂 I used BA Avios for AA only once — yesterday would you believe? — and can appreciate how Iberia’s Avios may be useful for my family and me in the future.

  2. This is incredibly useful advice, thank you.
    Serious question, not trying to start a flamewar: do you think Iberia receives so little blog coverage because it doesn’t have a credit card that pays out via affiliate links?

    • Nah bc you can transfer avois from Amex membership rewards. It’s just a somewhat complex foreign program that was often inferior to BA.

  3. Q1 – If I xfer to Iberia and somehow I need to xfer them back to BA, can I?

    Q2 – I’m hearing chatter about Aer Lingus also using Avios. Any news on that or if we can xfer to Aer Lingus at some future time?


  4. For those of you looking for the link, here is the flow chart:

    Log in
    Go to “executive club” tab
    Go to “manage my account” on dropdown box
    scroll down to bottom
    click on “combine my avios”

  5. And here is how to doit from Iberia’s side: Log In > My Avios > Buying or transferring Avios >
    Don’t forget you can combine your Avios with those of other customer loyalty programmes (at the very bottom in small print) > Combine my Avios.

  6. Are there other ways to get activity in the Iberia account besides transferring Membership Reward points for those of us without an AmEx account?

  7. I do not have any Avios points or Iberia Plus points…can I still open an Iberia Plus account? I am hoping to get the British Airways credit card soon, so once I do that, can I transfer my British Airways points to the Iberia Plus account? Also, am I understanding correctly, that the Iberia Plus points would transfer to American Airlines? We fly out of New Orleans so we usually fly American. Thanks!

  8. @mommy
    Just for clarification, the Iberia award chart is based on round trip, not distance or segments? (So 11,000 avios is the total avios for a round trip flight when the flight is less than 600 miles each way?)

  9. Summer,

    One of the users in the comments asked for an alternative to AmEx points, and Chase Ultimate Rewards works just as well. Just for fun, and the education, I transferred 1000 points (both the minimum and the unit increment) from Chase to BA, and then onward from BA to Iberia Plus. Both transfers posted immediately.

    My question is as to whether you would from time to time making seeding transfers like this, both for keeping the accounts open and just to have available if you want to pull the trigger? Not sure if that’s even necessary. Is it possible to address these issues in follow up posts?

    Broc Hite

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