So yesterday you heard of that “Deal of the Year”, the crazy Iberia promotion that you could get 90,000 Avios for less than $350. Like me, you quickly turned on your computer and booked 10 one-way trips on Iberia. But after all the craziness settled down, you started to wonder, how you are going to spend those 90,000 Avios, assuming they will post in 10 days?
To be honest, Iberia is a program that I don’t know much about, well at least until now. So yesterday before I started booking my $28 one-way flights for next June, I spent a lot of time studying Iberia’s program and pricing routes on the website. Iberia’s website was so buggy that at one point I almost gave up, adding to the frustration I realized that I accidentally missed one letter of my last name when I opened my Iberia Plus account at the beginning of the year. Oops! But I went ahead and booked flights anyway, knowing that the website would allow me to book flights for someone else. To book award flights using Iberia Avios, log into your account here. While doing your research, four things to keep in mind:
- Iberia’s award charts are all distance-based;
- Flights on almost all partners (including OneWorld partner) require roundtrip booking;
- Both directions must have award availabilities or you will get an error message. For AA flights, look up award availabilities on AA website first before trying to match on Iberia website.
- You can mix and match class of services even in one direction. For example, SFO to JFK in coach but JFK to Barcelona in business class.
3 Iberia award charts
Iberia has three distanced-based award charts – two for flights on Iberia, Iberia express and regional, and one for OneWorld Partners.
3 great uses of Iberia Avios from or within North America
I am sure there are many awesome uses of Iberia Avios outside of North America. But I focused my effort yesterday mainly on routes from or within North America and the Caribbean.
Iberia’s award charts count total distance travelled and do not count segments the way British Airways’ program does. This means, the best redemptions on American Airlines within North America and the Caribbean are probably within the following range:
- 1,001-2,000 flown miles for 17,000 Avios
- 2,001-4,000 flown miles for 23,000 Avios
- 4,001-5,000 flown miles for 28,000 Avios
For example, SFO to Puerto Vallarta via Phoenix would cost 30,000 AA miles or British Airways Avios, compared to just 23,000 Iberia Avios. One tip here, to avoid frustration, look up award seats on AA website first before you go on Iberia website, so you don’t keep getting error messages of no seats available!
Iberia’s distance-based award chart offers some great sweet spots for business class redemption to Europe. For example, between Chicago to Madrid during off-peak season, you can fly Iberia roundtrip for just 68,000 Avios, compared to 115,000 AAdvantge miles! Iberia flies year-round from Madrid to Boston, New York JFK, Chicago, Los Angelas, and seasonally San Francisco, although LAX and SFO would not be as great redemptions.
If flying first class on American Airlines’ transcontinental route is your thing, the roundtrip flight would cost 96,000 Avios plus $14.60. Considering I paid about $270 for 90,000 Avios, that is a pretty sweet deal!
My plans for those 90,000 Avios
I have no need to fly first class from SFO to New York and spend all my 90,000 Avios in one shot. I would rather stretch it further. However, living in the SF Bay Area, our choices of direct flights on American Airlines are limited, and redemption on flights to Europe is not necessarily cheaper than using AA miles. I did come up with a few ideas of how to use my 90,000 Avios:
- Fly my entire family of 5 from SFO to Phoneix for 17,000 Avios roundtrip per person, and spend a weekend at the Arizona Biltmore using my free Hilton weekend night certificates before they expire next April.
- Fly the family to Cabo or Puerto Vallarta for 23,000 Avios roundtrip per person, and use my Hyatt points to stay at the all-inclusive Hyatt Ziva.
- Spend 63,500 Avios plus $203.94 in Premium Economy on Level‘s nonstop flight between SFO and Barcelona during our ski week in February, compare to cash fare of $1,334.
But before I make up my mind, I want to figure out how to book Cathay or Japan Airline flights using Iberia Avios, as I would prefer heading to Japan more than anywhere else. But somehow Cathay and JAL flights are not showing up on Iberia website.
What about you? How many people did you book flights for to take advantage of this promotion? and how do you plan to spend those 90,000 Avios? Whatever your plans are, be sure to redeem the Avios by December 1, 2018.
Points With a Crew has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points With a Crew and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Other links on this page may also pay me a commission - as always, thanks for your support if you use them
I’ve seen the NY/LAX example used in many posts but have no clue how any flights are being found. I’ve done day by day searches on the Iberia site and have only ever gotten the message, “We regret to inform you that there are no connecting flights between the cities selected.” Where/how the heck is everyone finding flights?! Am I missing something super obvious?
You need to search AA awards on AA website first before matching them on Iberia website. AA releases very few award seats on its transcontinental flights, so making it impossible and super frustrating if you try to match on Iberia website without knowing when award seats are available in both directions.
Great post Sharon. I took advantage of this offer and also live in the Bay Area. I am a newbie to this whole miles & points game. I thought this would be a great exercise for me to learn some of the ins-and-outs. My first thought after buying the tickets was “ok, now how am I going to use these points?”
Yesterday I found the same Puerto Vallarta route on AA’s Award Map for spring 2019 but could not find the same on the Iberia site. Is there a trick to matching these up?
Thanks Chris. For AA flights, look them up on AA website first and do roundtrip using the flexible calendar. If it shows availability there, it should show in Iberia website. Being in the bay area, AA awards to Mexico will route us through LAX or PHX. I think either way it will be 23K to Puerto Vallarta. Let me know if you have specific dates you need help with.
It must have been the Iberia link I was using. I used the one you included above and I was able to find the saver flights I found on the AA award map. Thanks for your help. Looking forward to booking these for real when the Avios points are in my account (assuming they’ll still be there). I will let you know how it goes.
I’m afraid this is going to burn the newbies, bad.
I agree. They should only award points for flights taken, and/or only 1+ 9K bonus per account after 10 days. Besides initially upsetting customer service and IT departments, their entire company and customers have to deal with fictitious demand. Their existing, european-based customers should be upset because of the lesser value of their points. Someone should be fired for this fiasco. Unless someone is lying, in which case they should be promoted for getting away with it.
I see wide open award space in J from JFK to Madrid next spring. Two one ways for $277 plus about $500 in fees seems reasonable. plus Two roundtrip positioning flights from DC to NYC at 11,000 each should be 90 k on the dot. the hardest thing seems to be finding one way space on AA at the Saver level.
* round trip space, not one way space on AA
Yep AA is pretty bad at releasing saver awards. But what I learned is, it is important to know where AA flies nonstop from/to, in this case to Europe. So my first step is always googling “wiki JFK airport” or CLT, PHL, MIA, DFW, ORD all other AA hubs. Then go to “Airlines and Destinations” to look under “American Airlines”. After I know the nonstop routes (and by now I have many remembered), I go to AA website to look for my desired dates. Once you get to Europe, you can fly anywhere within Europe really cheap.
Like Santander to Madrid. 😉
Funny you mentioned trying to figure out how to use Iberia Avios to fly Cathay or JAL, I’ve been trying to figure out the exact same thing!!! Please let us know once you do–I couldn’t find any Cathay flights using the BA search engine and nothing for JAL using Alaska’s search engine as I wanted to see if they would show on Iberia. I wanted to book a flight using these Iberia Avios for a flight to Asia sometime next summer. I’d obviously have to book it before December 1st this year so as not to lose the 90K Iberia Avios.
I am pretty sure by now that you have to call Iberia to book flights with Cathay and JAL. 🙁 Cathay is changing its award chart this week and award flights aren’t showing up on BA.com. JAL is showing on Alaska website though. You can use gcmap.com to figure out the total distances of flights you want to book before calling Iberia.
Wait, Sharon, you WHAT??!! You spend precious time *researching* the program before booking your tickets?!
I did, just a couple hours of my time! I wanted to know whether I should take the risk and do this deal. If there is no good way of redeeming Iberia Avios I wouldn’t have gone for the deal.
I cannot get their system to show any US flights unless they are Iberia flights to Europe. Am I doing something wrong.
me either, I’ve tried lots of different trips I want to take and the only results I get are from US to Spain
As I mentioned in the post, first thing to do is to go to AA website to look up AA saver award flights (and Iberia flights too). Once you find available dates, go to Iberia website to duplicate the same flights. The reason you are not getting any US flights to show on Iberia website is because either the outbound or return dates do not have award flights available. Both directions need to be available or you will get an error message from Iberia.
Booked 2 biz from jfk to mad in May nxt yr for 136 k Avios and $419 .. and booked the tickets to earn the 2 90 k bonus points for $270 each.. I just used my Avios points for this Madrid trip.. I’m waiting for hubbys to post so we can also book that one. Then I got him double Avios promotion for shopping this week to net him another 20k Avios.. in case we need more for another biz trip I will transfer from my UR..pls also keep us posted how to do it Asia.. thanks
It’s now possible for these promotional points to be transferred to your British Airways Executive Club Account. However, Iberia confirmed yesterday that “any Avios not redeemed in the Iberia Plus account by 1st December will be deducted, potentially resulting in a negative balance.”