Use Iberia Avios to Book American Airlines Award Flights for Less

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A few days ago I wrote a bit about using Iberia Avios to fly from certain cities in the US to Madrid in business class for as low as 25,500 Iberia Avios + taxes/fees via a promotion that is going on through April 11th. That deal is related to flying Iberia operated flights, but Iberia Avios can be used very wisely to fly on partner airlines, such as American Airlines, much closer to home.

 

Use Iberia Avios to Book American Airlines Award Flights

If you aren’t familiar with Iberia Avios, they are pretty similar to British Airways Avios, if that helps give some context. Like British Airways, Iberia also utilizes Avios and a distance based award chart, however unlike the British Airways Avios chart, the Iberia chart calculates the distance based on the sum of all flights instead of essentially pricing each segment individually. This can be very beneficial if you don’t live in a hub city for American, and thus have to connect to get almost anywhere.

Iberia Avios awards start at 11,000 Avios per round trip for very short trips of up to 600 total miles such as Houston – Dallas – Houston. Prices only go up slightly to 12,000 Avios for round trips totaling 601 – 1,000 miles such as Miami – Grand Cayman – Miami.

Iberia Avios to Fly American.jpg

For 17,000 total Iberia Avios you can fly up to 2,000 total miles such as Houston – Dallas – Vail/Eagle – Dallas – Houston….which I’ll add is a total steal at that price! For 23,000 Avios you can fly up to 4,000 total miles, which would be something like Charlotte – Aruba – Charlotte.

Iberia Award Chart

How to Book Iberia Award Flights on American Airlines 

You can book these awards online, though I don’t love the Iberia website and I think it is easier to find what you want at the saver level on the American Airlines website first then come over to Iberia to hope it duplicates what the American site displayed. As shown below you will simply look for Blue Class (economy) award availability on the American operated flights you desire. Iberia does not charge a close-in booking fee, but they also do not refund your Avios if you cancel a partner award, so buyer beware. Iberia does not permit one-way awards on partner airlines like American.

Iberia Avios to Fly American Airlines.jpg

It is possible to transfer your British Airways Avios to Iberia Avios, but both accounts have to be at least 90 days old and have some activity in them such as a transfer from a credit card program like Amex Membership Rewards. I outlined these caveats a bit more in this post if you need more information. Because of the 90 day requirement, I strongly encourage you to open an Iberia account account now, even if you aren’t sure if you will need it in the future in case you want to move some of your British Airways Avios into Iberia as British Airways has more transfer partners than Iberia.

Maximizing mileage redemptions is the harder part of the earning and burning equation, so being able to book round trip awards on American Airlines starting at just 11,000 Iberia Avios is absolutely an award chart sweet spot you want to file away in case you need it at some point. You are dependent upon saver level American Airlines award availability to book with Iberia Avios, but when you can find that availability and the flights you need are short to mid-range distance flight that requires connections, Iberia may end up having the most favorable award chart…even if they don’t have the most favorable cancellation penalties.

Do you ever use Iberia Avios to book American Airlines award flights?

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Comments

  1. What does “full fare economy” mean in the context of this table? Does it mean AA Anytime inventory rather than Saver, in other words last seat availability? If so, that’s amazing value – for instance, ORD-LHR-ORD (under 8000 miles round trip) for 63,000 Avios instead of 130,000 AA miles on the same basis.

  2. I have an Iberia account, but didn’t actually realize the mile costs for using it were cumulative by distance rather than segment by segment like with BA. This is useful information for me, since to go anywhere but DFW or ORD on American I need to connect, which after devaluation makes BA pretty useless to me domestically (since AA miles themselves will always be a better deal after summing up segments). Getting better value by transferring them to Iberia has appeal – now the only problem is the miserable award space AA makes available these days in the first place.

    • Good reminder to compare – if you are going nonstop sounds like BA is the winner on that one. For anyone within a few hundred miles of CLT that needs to connect there, go with Iberia. Actually started that example from the DC area, but that went just over the distance for that band so just switched it to CLT.

  3. Hi Summer – I can’t get any AA flights to show on the Iberia site. For example, there is an AA saver seat on July 8 from SAN to PHX. Iberia says that no flights exist. (Even paid fares, which I assume you can book through Iberia on oneworld partners.) I’ve great luck finding BA/Iberia flights on the site, but nothing on AA. Any help is appreciated.

    • Mark, yuck! I know that Iberia was having issues with this a while back (and it lasted a LONG time), but the issue seemed resolved and flights were displaying again. I wonder if that has returned? It is not letting me log in at all right now for some reason to test it out….

  4. I’ve been able to see some but not all. For example, I can see four availble flights from BNA to ATL on AS.com via AA but IB.com insists there are no flights on 8/1.

  5. Data point from a US based Iberia Plus member…I called into Iberia Plus/Avios today at 1:45P ET to look into booking award travel on AA. I made sure prior to calling that all flights that I enquired about were all available via both AA.com and BA.com at the saver level. The rep I spoke with seemed very knowledgeable/motivated etc. Yes, I made sure to only ask about RT as I knew One way was a no go. We went through several RT scenarios (Mia to LAS…MIA to EYW) that were available at saver levels on AA/BA. Unfortunately absolutely zero availability via Iberia Plus. The rep hinted that this might be due to me being based in the US. Then we tried a LATAM flight from MIA to BOG (absolutely available at saver level on BA with 4 seats). Again, no availability for me to book via Iberia Plus currency. Lastly I tried a Bogota to Rio flight on partner Avianca.. (yes, definitely available at saver level on United). That was wide open. It appears to me that us US based Iberia Plus people are being blocked from any partner flights that depart or land in the US.. The exception being Iberia themselves. You can book Mia or Ord to Madrid w same availability you’d find on BA Avios site. Would anyone reading this kindly confirm whether they’ve been able to book Iberia Plus partner airline award travel over the past few weeks inside the US on AA (or from US to somewhere other than Spain)? It’s looking more & more like the only use for Iberia Plus points for us US based people would be either flying Iberia anywhere….or using partners like Avianca to fly routes not touching the US.

  6. Thank you for this. I’m a Spain-based US resident and have always used whatever is cheapest. I know this makes the accumulation of mileage totally headache-producing! I’ve recently discovered that since my husband and I (and 2 kids) fly back and forth at least once annually (sometimes up to 4 times) that AA mileage only gives a small portion if flying partners like Iberia and BA. I’m wondering if it would be more beneficial to have mileage in all accounts? MAD to LAX is a haul and feels like it would be the best under the Iberia miles program. Thanks for your thoughts.

  7. Could you please confirm that it is NOT possible to book one way AA flight via Iberia (phone or the website)? I was told on the phone that they cannot do it, but website should work. I am getting the “Unable to connect to the system Scorer” error and am now wondering if it’s because I am trying to get a one way. Thank you!

  8. Given the announcement today of a new Iberia card, it would be great for you to update this post — with select recent examples of searches using iberia avios miles to book AA or Alaska flights…. (especially given all the buzz over the new card…. )

    • Hi Escot. Happy to expand on the post – any suggestions for exactly what you would want from an update since not much has changed in terms of using your Iberia Avios?

      • Be soooo great to see you update your past good work on this…. (and I can help you via p.m.)

        I’ve been testing the interface today — soooo many bugs on the Avios side (beginning with simple name registration…. their system automatically assigns you a second last name — which in turn gives you a double last name — idiotic computers! As such, I’m still unable to transfer BA to Iberia Avios, until Avios gets my name exactly the same)

        On the positive side, transfers of Chase UR to Iberia are indeed INSTANT (!) — wow. (and they could care less if there’s a funky name quirk at the Iberia end)

        Even better, I’m so far in multiple tests seeing that IBERIA is showing me MUCH better award availability on american (for round trip travel) than through American and British Air…. even more so for close-in flights. (and with no close-in booking fees!)

        One hesitation…. how will the Iberia “Blue Fare” reservations (on Avios) translate to American’s economy rules for baggage…. The reservation (before I pulled the trigger) seems to suggest I’ll get two carry on items — include one in bin above seat. (but then just before I bought ticket saw a warning that partner airlines may not honor Iberia’s baggage allowances — THAT’s up to a $100 difference (if AA “basic” economy rules take over….)

        • To be my own data point — happy to report that reservations using Iberia Avios points on AA, “Blue Class,” do translate into AA (regular) economy seats (not the “basic” economy nonsense). Key then is that such reservations do come with one standard carry-on plus (for the overhead bin — if there is one) plus a personal item….

          • oh, and one other critical headline data point — NO CLOSE-IN BOOKING fee rip-offs using Iberia Avios on AA. (that’s uuuuge)

  9. I want to fly from Denver (DEN) to Paris (CDG). I found a flight operated by American Airlines (AA) on the Iberia website. By the way, I am not trying to use Avios or any other type of points. I’ll purchase it with a credit card. The question is, would I be able to get miles with AA or Iberia? Which Loyalty Program should I use if I have the option to choose? I live in the USA.
    I know Iberia let you choose the Loyalty Program of your preference while you’re booking your flight but I am not 100% sure if the miles will actually be posted in my AA account.

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