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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.