Though it’s not as widely known and publicized as the Air France-KLM partnership, British Airways and Iberia merged back in 2011. They are technically one airline, even though they operate under separate brands.
This means that Avios, British Airways distance-based frequent flyer currency loved by travelers for short domestic hops, is used by Iberia as well. Though it’s not quite as straightforward as you’d expect, you can transfer Avios from one airline account to the other if both accounts have been open for at least three months.
There’s no credit card in North America associated with Iberia, but you can easily get points or Avios through Chase Ultimate Rewards or the British Airways credit card in the U.S. and funnel them over to Iberia. American Express Membership Rewards also transfers directly to Iberia.
When Should You Use Iberia Plus Awards?
If using Avios through British Airways distance-based program is so great, why move them over to Iberia at all? Well, British Airways program has one big flaw, it charges huge fuel surcharges on many of its longer flights. Even if you book through a partner airline, you’ll get stuck paying.
On top of that, airport taxes make it expensive to fly through London, and that’s British Airways main hub. Fuel surcharges and airport taxes add up to a hefty co-pay with your miles.
For instance, if you fly on American Airlines between the U.S. and London you’ll pay nearly $200 in fees, but if you use those same AAdvantage miles to fly with British Airways, you’ll have to fork over another $350 in surcharges.
When you use British Airways Avios to fly from North America to Europe or even for short flights between many locations within Europe, you’ll often be routed through London and you’ll get hit with London airport fees.
Using Avios with Iberia, you can route through Madrid and pay hundreds less in fuel surcharges and airport fees.
Partners bookable online:
- American Airlines
- Binter Canarias
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Iberia Express
- Iberia Regional Air Nostrum
- Qantas Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Jordanian
- S7 Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines
Partners bookable by phone:
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Royal Air Maroc
When to Book by Phone
- Award flights for children under 2 years old
- Flights on partners that cannot be booked online
- If you see partner award availability on British Airways website but not on Iberia’s
See below for our phone booking tips.
How to Search for Iberia Plus Award Seats Online
To search for award flights, you’ll need to log into your Iberia Plus account. Click on Iberia Plus in the upper right corner of Iberia’s homepage and sign in.
Once you’ve logged in, mouse over the Iberia Plus section of the homepage header to see the link to “book flights with Avios.”
Iberia uses a distance-based award system, so you cannot search for multi-city itineraries. If you want to add stopovers, open-jaws or do anything more complicated than a one way or round-trip flight, you’ll need to search for each leg of your flight separately.
There is no award calendar option, so if you want to check for additional flights or availability on different days, you’ll need to search other dates manually.
Iberia’s search results offer three fare types. Blue Class are restricted tickets that carry change and cancellation fees and less baggage than the flexible Ecomony Class tickets. There’s limited availability for those seats. In Business, travelers only have one type of fare available, which charges for changes and cancellations.
If you are booking flights with a partner airline or British Airways, you will see additional options such as BAs World Traveller Plus fare.
How to Confirm and Book Iberia Plus Award Flights Online
If you are purchasing an award ticket completely operated by Iberia or British Airways, you have the option to pay with a combination of Avios and cash, which is like purchasing Avios at a rate of around 1.4 cents per mile.
If your payment options are displaying in Euros, go back to the homepage and make sure you have “U.S.-English” selected as your language and country setting in the upper left hand corner. Some fares will display with higher prices if Iberia believes you are located in Europe.
On the following page, you can review your flights and choose an Avios & Money option:
You can hover your mouse over the red-highlighted “taxes, fees and carrier charges” to see the breakdown of additional charges on your awards. If there are high fees or taxes for your connecting airports, like London, you may want to choose a new itinerary.
Click the red button “continue with the ticket reservation” at the bottom of the page when you’re ready to proceed with your itinerary and fare. Enter your credit card information on the next page.
Iberia Plus award booking phone numbers:
- For the U.S.: 1-800-772-4642
- For Spain: (34) 91 374 24 42
Though Iberia now has a U.S. call center, users often find the representatives in Spain more knowledgeable. It can be worth calling Spain and choosing the option for an English-speaking representative.
If you have an itinerary that has already been ticketed in dollars, the Spanish call center will not be able to process any changes involving the taxes and fees on your ticket. They can process new tickets and calculate taxes, fees, and any additional payments in Euros.
Depending on what type of inquiry you have, there may be a fee for using the call center. Partner flights that cannot be booked online do not carry a fee.
Important Award Booking Considerations
- Blue Class and Business awards have 25 Euro (currently about $27) change and cancellation fees
- Awards must be cancelled more than 24 hours before departure
- Economy Class awards have unlimited free changes before departure on flights operated by Iberia
- No stopovers
- No changes to tickets with a leg on an oneworld partner
- Mileage upgrades are not available online
- Mixed-cabin awards are available
- No one-way awards on oneworld partner airlines