Save 4,000 British Airways Avios Points for Short Flights With This Trick!

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I wrote that British Airways will be eliminating 1 of their best award deals by increasing the cost of short-haul (under 650 miles) partner flights in North America.

Currently it costs 4,500 British Airways Avios points for a 1-way, short-haul coach award flight on Alaska Airlines and American Airlines in the US.

After February 2, 2016, this will increase to 7,500 British Airways Avios points each way. Many folks are looking for an affordable substitute for award travel on flights under 650 miles.

While British Airways Avios points are still a good deal, there’s an alternative!  By transferring British Airways Avios points to their partner, Iberia, you can book short-haul, round-trip coach award flights in the US for fewer points!

Save 4,000 British Airways Avios Points For Short Flights With This Trick

Hooray! There’s Still a Way to Get a Cheaper Deal on Short-Haul Award Flights in the US Using British Airways Avios Points!

I’ll show you how to move your British Airways Avios points to Iberia to book cheaper award flights!

How Can You Save Points?

British Airways and Iberia are owned by the same company, and refer to their points as “Avios.”

But each airline has separate award charts and transfer partners.  You can transfer points between British Airways & Iberia.  That’s how you get a better deal!

Save 4,000 British Airways Avios Points For Short Flights With This Trick

British Airways and Iberia Are Like Sister Airlines – and You Can Transfer Avios Points Between the Two

A disadvantage of booking award tickets using Iberia Avios points is that they do NOT allow 1-way award bookings, like British Airways does.

But if you’re booking a round-trip, short-haul coach flight, you’ll save by transferring your British Airways Avios points to Iberia.

Save 4,000 British Airways Avios Points For Short Flights With This Trick

You’ll Pay Less for Your Short-Haul, Round-Trip Flight Between the US and Caribbean When You Move Your Avios Points to Iberia

It will cost fewer miles for a round-trip, short-haul US partner flight using Iberia Avios points after February 2, 2016.  Here’s an example:

Currently, a round-trip flight from St. Louis to Chicago costs 9,000 British Airways Avios points.

After February 2, 2016, this same flight will cost 15,000 British Airways Avios points .

Using Iberia’s award chart, this flight from St. Louis to Chicago would only cost 11,000 Iberia Avios points.  This will save you 4,000 Avios points on a round-trip award ticket! 

 British Airways Avios PointsIberia Avios Points
St. Louis to Chicago Round-Trip (Present)9,00011,000
St. Louis to Chicago Round-Trip (After February 2, 2016)15,00011,000

How Do You Transfer Avios Points Between British Airways and Iberia?

It’s important to note that before you begin the transfer process, you will NOT be able to transfer Avios points from British Airways to Iberia unless you have had both a British Airways and Iberia account for at least 3 months and have some sort of activity. 

Activity could include transferring points from American Express Membership Rewards or crediting a paid flight to Iberia

You can always transfer your Avios points back to British Airways if the seats you would like are not available with Iberia. 

But it is important to check Iberia’s site 1st to make sure the seats are available. 

1.   Sign-Up for an Iberia Account

Let’s start with how to sign-up for an Iberia frequent flyer account.  Because I suspect many (if not most) readers don’t have one.

If you don’t have an Iberia frequent flyer account, you can register for free online

2.   Connect Your Accounts

Log into the British Airways website.

Select the pull down menu for Executive Club and click “Manage My Account.”  Then click “Combine my Avios.”

Save 4,000 British Airways Avios Points For Short Flights With This Trick

Select “Combine my Avios” to Move Your British Airways Avios Points to Iberia Avios Points

3.   Transfer Your Points

After selecting “Combine my Avios,” enter your Iberia account information.

Save 4,000 British Airways Avios Points For Short Flights With This Trick

Enter Your Iberia Frequent Flyer Account Details to Transfer Your British Airways Avios Points

You’ll be asked to enter your details.  When you confirm, your Avios points should transfer almost instantly.

Once you’ve transferred your British Airways Avios points to Iberia, you can book partner airline award tickets on the Iberia website.

How Do You Book Trips with Iberia Avios  Points?

1.    Log Into Your Iberia Account

Go to the Iberia website and log into your account. 

Save 4,000 British Airways Avios Points For Short Flights With This Trick

Enter Your Information to Sign-In to Your Iberia Account

Select the drop down tab for “Iberia Plus,” click “Avios,” then click “Using My Avios.”

Search for Award Flights

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Go to book flights with Avios.”

Save 4,000 British Airways Avios Points For Short Flights With This Trick

Scroll to the Bottom of the Page to Book Flights With Iberia Avios Points

Enter your departure and arrival city, and click “Flight Search.”

Save 4,000 British Airways Avios Points For Short Flights With This Trick

Add Your Flight Details to Search for Available Award Seats

3.   Find Low-Level Award Seats

The goal should be to always aim for low-level award seats, which are referred to as “Blue Class” by Iberia.  Look for these seats specifically when you are searching for award seats.

Looking at several routes, “Blue Class” generally shows anywhere from 1 to 5 available award seats through Iberia.  Award space is usually released ~1 year in advance and is available for most times of the year with the exception of major holidays.

Save 4,000 British Airways Avios Points For Short Flights With This Trick

The Iberia Website Will Show You Available Award Seats

4.   Choose Your Flights

Choose the flights that work for you, scroll to the bottom of the page, and select “View.” You’ll see the price at the bottom of the screen.

This is a remarkable opportunity!  Because you’ll only pay between 11,000 and 12,000 Iberia Avios points for a round-trip ticket, depending on the distance of the flight.

Save 4,000 British Airways Avios Points For Short Flights With This Trick

The Final Cost of an American Airlines Flight Using Iberia Avios Points

The fees for this flight are slightly higher than what you’d pay using British Airways Avios points.   You’ll pay ~$20 for a round-trip flight in the US.

Both British Airways and Iberia should show the same available award seats as the American Airlines and Alaska Airlines websites.

Bottom Line

You’ll pay more British Airways Avios points for short-haul partner award flights in the US after February 2, 2016.

British Airways Avios points are still a great option for short coach flights in the US compared to most other award programs.  But you could get a better deal by transferring your British Airways Avios points to Iberia!

You can only book round-trip partner award tickets with Iberia Avios points.  And you’ll have to move your British Airways Avios points to Iberia.  But it could be a better option if you don’t mind taking a few extra steps to book your award flight!

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20 responses to “Save 4,000 British Airways Avios Points for Short Flights With This Trick!

  1. Once I link my Iberia and BA account together can I choose how many points I want to “transfer”? Or is it going to move ALL my BA points over to Iberia once I combine/link the accounts?

  2. Very useful post since it addresses one of the key issues of the BA devaluation. I’ve been actively transferring points between BA and Iberia for a while now as I check comparative mileage and fees for given trips, and it looks like that will be happening more now. It’s beyond the scope of this article, but at some point I’d welcome a comprehensive presentation comparing AAdvantage miles, BA and Iberia Avios across a spectrum of redemption possibilities.

  3. @Brandon, it doesn’t matter since you can transfer points back and forth freely whenever you wish. It isn’t a one way only event. However you can at any time transfer the number of points you want to in 1,000 Avios increments.

  4. You really, really should highlight the drastically different cancellation rules for BA vs Iberia. My understanding is Iberia won’t allow cancellations or changes whereas obvious BA makes cancellations super cheap and easy and hence changes are also the same.

  5. Does the Iberia chart list it as 11,000 Avios for 1-650 miles EACH WAY of a roundtrip, or 1-650 miles TOTAL for the trip? I’m seeing conflicting info from other sites…

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  7. Pardon me if I misunderstood. Iberia’s low level tier points is 5500? And will stay there after February 2 when British Airways goes to 7500?

    What I’m thinking is to plan and book trips BEFORE February 2 to take advantage of the 4500 point tier. And then your recommendation is to book through Iberia after that?

  8. My understanding is that Iberia is not an Alaska partner.

  9. Why does Iberia charge more in taxes? Surely the taxes don’t vary from airline to airline, and there are no carrier-imposed surcharges on domestic flights like this.

  10. Also iberia doesn’t charge per leg so a connecting flight is charged the same as a direct flight (I’ve read).

  11. Good article.
    Could this also be used to refresh the 3-yr expiration date on Avios?
    Are the Iberia Avios expiration rules the same as BA’s?

  12. IBERIA customer service is one of the worst!
    1. Their Email communication skill is the lowest. You will have to write 20 emails to correct their mistakes. My 10yr old can do better email communication.
    2. Their English phone conversation is very poor as they barely speak/understand English.
    3. They don’t allow pts from Iberia to British Airways. Only one-way transfer (BA->Iberia) is allowed.
    4. If you cancel and re-book at another flight, they sometime will not credit the points from the previous booking. In the meantime, the flights might be gone by the time the points are back into your account.
    5. Their website is very poorly designed.

    Given that Spain/Iberia is part of the Western Europe, their communication and customer service is not upto par on other Western European countries, not even close..

  13. Not all flights under 650 miles cost 11k miles with iberia. Some are 12k and some are 17k. Do they have a chart?

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  15. What to do about the Second Last Name? When I enrolled on the Iberia site I was confused by the “Second Last Name” field (being unfamiliar with Spanish naming conventions) and left that field blank. When I got my enrollment confirmation, my single last name had been automatically assigned to both fields, so I ended up with an account name in the form of “Jane Doe Doe.” The doubled last name isn’t going to match my US passport. Is this a problem? I can’t be the only person who has run into this, but I can’t find any discussion of this issue online.

  16. I followed these instructions. It has now been 3 months – when I went to combine, it would not let me. BA told me to call Iberia. Iberia said it is because you have to have miles in your Iberia account in addition to Avios. So I am going to try and transfer 1K miles into my new Iberia Plus account and then combine. Wish me luck.

  17. why can’t i find the active link to BOOK with Avios?

  18. I have the same problem. When I go to Iberia Plus -> book with avios, the cities that I used, WAS (DC) to Chicago (CHI) results in saying that they have no direct connections there. I cannot find a way to check and book tickets through Iberia. Any help? Do I need more than 1200 miles in there to check their partners?

  19. Have you tried to book American flights on Iberia’s website recently? I can’t seem to get it to pull up award space. For example, I’m currently searching SLC to DFW roundtrip 9/2/17 to 9/4/17. I see both Economy and Business MileSAAver availability but when I search on Iberia I keep getting a message saying “No availability has been found for the selected journey.” I tried some other routes as well and as far as I can tell it won’t pull up any American flights. Any thoughts?