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Iberia, you guys. I’m convinced it’s one of the absolute best airline programs out there.
They’ve got great award prices for domestic flights and fabulous award prices to Europe. There are some tricks you need to keep in mind when you’re booking, but I’ll touch on those later.
I’ve only recently come to the realization that Iberia should be shown more love. I’ve used their points a few times, and I already know the airline will be a frequent destination for my Chase Ultimate Rewards points (transferring them to Iberia is effortless, after all).
With Iberia, I booked a lie-flat Business Class seat across the Atlantic for the equivalent of 34,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. I’ll show you how you can do it, too.
The Cheapest Award Flights to Europe With Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Is Through Iberia
Iberia is a member of Oneworld, so its partners are airlines like American Airlines, British Airways, and Qatar Airways. Because you can use Iberia Avios points to fly on their partners, Iberia comes in very handy for domestic flights on American Airlines flights.
The best part is that booking an award ticket on American Airlines through Iberia often cost LESS than American Airlines charges!
For example, I flew from Cincinnati to Oklahoma City for 17,000 Iberia Avios points. That same trip would have cost 25,000+ miles with American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines. Even Southwest tickets aren’t that low!
Iberia has a distance-based award chart. The farther you fly, the more miles it will cost you. Here’s the award chart for reserving American Airlines flights with Iberia Avios points.
Quirk #1 – You Must Buy Round-Trip Flights When You Book With American Airlines
When you’re booking partner airlines through Iberia, you’ll need to book round-trip flights (the exception is British Airways). If you choose one-way on the Iberia site, you will find NO availability.
When you’re looking at the above award chart, you’ll need to figure out how far you’ll fly to determine the price. I find Great Circle Mapper to be the easiest tool to do this.
For example, I can fly from Cincinnati to Chicago round-trip for just 11,000 Iberia Avios points. Because it’s a nonstop flight that only totals 528 miles. But a round-trip flight to Wichita would cost 23,000 Iberia Avios points if I have to route through Dallas. Because my total trip is farther than 2,000 miles.
Note: If you are booking Iberia flights (NOT partner airlines), you can book one-way flights.
Quirk #2 – Peak and Off-Peak Travel Dates
Some airlines charge extra miles for dates that are more desirable for travel. Iberia is one of those airlines.
They publish a super easy to read calendar of all the days you’ll be charged more miles. Dates in red are peak (more expensive) travel days.
Note: You dont’t have to worry about peak dates if you’re booking a domestic award flight.
Summer vacation, Labor Day weekend, Christmas, and New Year are all in red. Everything else is a good deal.
In fact, booking a transatlantic flight to Madrid on Iberia is quite possibly the cheapest way to get to Europe, so long as you fly from one of the cities Iberia serves. Check it out!
If you depart from these cities, here’s what you’ll pay for off-peak award flights to Madrid:
- Boston, Chicago, New York – 17,000 points in coach, 34,000 points in Business Class
- Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco – 21,250 points in coach, 42,000 points in Business Class
Even if you don’t live near one of these cities, it could be worth flying there just for these inexpensive award seats. 34,000 points for a Business Class flight to Europe?? That’s WAY cheaper than other airlines:
- American Airlines charges 57,500 miles one-way in Business Class to Europe
- United Airlines charges 60,000 miles one-way in Business Class to Europe
- Delta (usually) charges 70,000 miles one-way in Business Class to Europe
So the trade-off for Iberia’s cheap awards is that you have to fly nonstop on Iberia to Madrid from either Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, or San Francisco. With the other airlines, you can fly from just about anywhere to just about anywhere.
For me, Iberia is a no-brainer. I can fly to cities like Boston and Chicago for very little (often ~5,000 points one-way with Southwest). And once I get to Madrid, I can hop to the cities I actually want to see for practically nothing with cheap European airlines. For example, a flight from Madrid to Paris can cost as little as $80 round-trip.
I Reserved a Transatlantic Business Class Flight for 34,000 Iberia Avios points
I had a ton of Iberia Avios points that were set to expire last week, and I chose to reserve a transatlantic one-way Business Class seat for 34,000 points each.
To get the cheapest award prices on Iberia, you’ll want to look for available seats at the very top of the results page. This is where the nonstop flights live. If it’s not nonstop, it’s going to cost more than 17,000 points in coach or 34,000 points in Business Class.
I didn’t have a trip planned, so I decided to reserve flights from Madrid to Boston for late September 2019. That way I have time to figure something out! And if it turns out that travel date or route is no good, Iberia charges just $40 to change an award ticket’s date or destination.
The exact seat I reserved costs ~$5,500 on Google Flights (though you can get it for WAY less if you’re willing to forego the nonstop flight and hurdle a 12-hour overnight connection).
I have yet to book a flight to Europe, but I think I’ll hold off for a few months to see if any amazing sale pops up (if you subscribe to our newsletter, we’ll tell you when we find crazy cheap fares to Europe). Otherwise, I’ll just book an award flight to a city I want to visit, and then hop to Madrid on a budget European airline for a few bucks to catch my Business Class ride back to the US.
Earning Iberia Avios Points Is SO EASY
Fortunately, Iberia Avios points are just about the easiest points to earn. Here’s how to get them:
- You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly to Iberia at a 1:1 ratio from cards like the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, and Chase Sapphire Reserve
- You can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to Iberia at a 1:1 ratio from cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- You can transfer British Airways Avios points and Aer Lingus Avios points to Iberia at a 1:1 ratio
- You can transfer Marriott points to Iberia at a 3:1 ratio. Plus, you’ll get 5,000 bonus Iberia Avios points for every increment of 60,000 Marriott points you transfer!
You can head to our Hot Deals page to earn hundreds of thousands of these points with very little effort, just by earning big credit card bonuses.
Iberia is the best way to reach Europe with miles & points, in my opinion. 34,000 Iberia Avios points for a one-way Business Class flight across the Atlantic is tough to beat. Other airlines like Delta and United Airlines charge 30,000 miles just for a one-way coach seat to Europe!
It looks like there aren’t many available Business Class award seats at the moment (though it’s certainly possible to find them if you have the patience). But even if you find none, you can book one-way coach seats for as little as 17,000 miles one-way. That’s a steal, folks.
For example, you’ll have more than enough points for 2 round-trip coach flights from the East Coast to Madrid simply by opening the Ink Business Preferred and earning its welcome bonus!
Let me know what you think of Iberia. Is there a better deal out there?