How to fly lie-flat business class to Europe for 17,000 points

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One of my favorite airline programs is tearing its award prices in half for a limited time. It’s amazing for flights to Europe — if ever America is again granted access to the continent. And while there’s one annoying restriction with the promo, it’s still one of the best we’ve seen in a long time.

I’ll tell you what you need to know about this deal, and how easy it is to take advantage of it. If you have any of the best travel credit cards, you almost certainly have the rewards necessary for flights to your favorite European destinations.

Photo courtesy of Caroline Lupini
Iberia business class seats between the U.S. and Madrid are a solid lie-flat option — and cheap as dirt with this latest promo. (Photo by Caroline Lupini / Million Mile Secrets)

Iberia 50% off promotion

Iberia is offering 50% off all award flights when booked by Aug. 30, 2020. Your travel dates must be between Sept. 1, 2020, and March 15, 2021. You’ll get the discount when you book coach, premium economy, or business class flights.

But here’s the catch — you must fly on Iberia, Iberia Express, or Air Nostrum to get the discount. In other words, you won’t get a discount when booking partner airlines like American Airlines with Iberia Avios. Huge bummer, but Iberia itself flies very helpful routes.

Iberia prices their award flights between Europe and the U.S better than just about anyone else as it is. Unfortunately, Iberia flies to just a few U.S. cities. And to get the best prices, you’ll have to fly directly to Madrid.

Flying to Madrid isn’t a problem. Once you’re in Europe, it’s unbelievably cheap to hop around from city to city. If you dream of visiting Paris, simply reserve a flight to Madrid, and buy a $50 round-trip to Paris. Seriously, it’s that cheap.

Below are the normal prices when booking a flight to Europe with Iberia Avios are between Madrid and:

  • Boston, Chicago, New York for 17,000 points in coach, 34,000 points in business class (one way)
  • Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco – 21,250 points in coach, 42,000 points in business class (one way)

Those are already solid deals, but with this 50% off promo, you’ll now only pay:

  • Boston, Chicago, New York to Madrid for 8,500 points in coach, 17,000 points in business class (one way)
  • Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco to Madrid for 10,625 points in coach, 21,000 points in business class (one way)

8,500 points to fly to Europe? That’s less than it costs to fly between the Midwest and the Northeastern U.S. in most cases. And 17,000 points for a lie-flat business class seat across the Atlantic is unheard of. Iberia sells that itinerary for nearly $4,000 normally, giving you a value of more than 23 cents per Iberia point.

Even better, taxes and fees are quite reasonable, like as little as $69 on this flight from New York to Madrid.

Traveling to destinations other than Madrid will cost a bit more, but can still be a fantastic deal. Fly business class from New York to Barcelona for 21,500 Avios and $97 or Boston to Paris for 24,500 Avios and $96.

Stack this deal with Iberia’s 50% bonus when buying points

Sweetening the pot, Iberia’s currently selling points with a 50% bonus, ending Aug. 27, 2020. You can buy points for as little as 1.4 cents — and then turn around and book a 50% off award sale. By doing this, you’ll effectively pay:

  • Between $119 and $148.75 for a one-way coach flight to Europe (not including taxes and fees)
  • Between $238 and $294 for a one-way lie-flat business class seat to Europe (not including taxes and fees)

That is madness. You could save $1,500+ each way with this method. Just remember to use Iberia’s Spanish site to buy your points. If you book in Euros instead of USD, you could save well over $1,000, depending on how many points you buy.

You probably have Iberia Avios points

Without even realizing it, you probably already have Iberia Avios. Iberia is a transfer partner of both Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards. If you have either of these points, you can transfer them to Iberia at a 1:1 ratio (you can also transfer Marriott points to Iberia, but the transfer rate isn’t quite as good — read our post on which points transfer to each airline for more details).

For example, if you opened the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you received 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. You could instantly transfer those points to Iberia and have enough points for three round-trip coach flights between Los Angeles and Europe. Or nearly two round-trip business class flights between Chicago and Europe.

Other travel credit cards that earn points you can transfer to Iberia include:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
  • American Express® Gold Card

Also, if you have British Airways Avios or Aer Lingus Avios, you can transfer them to Iberia at a 1:1 ratio.

Considerations before booking

When you book by Aug. 30, 2020, you’ll get 50% off your Iberia award flight — no registration required. Your travel dates must fall between Sept. 1, 2020, and March 15, 2021. It’s still unclear when Europe will reopen its borders to U.S. travelers, so it’s probably wise to book as far into the future as possible.

It’s possible leisure travel to Spain will still be restricted next year, so be prepared to not take this trip. If you do have to cancel your award flights, you’ll pay just $40 per ticket. That’s low enough to make a speculative booking, in my opinion!

Note that if you transfer Amex or Chase points to Iberia, those points will be stuck with the program. That’s not a completely horrible thing though, as you’ll still be able to use your Iberia Avios to book flights on Iberia as well as Oneworld partner airlines like American Airlines, British Airways and Qatar.

Bottom line

Under normal circumstances, you’d be crazy for missing this deal. However, there is the risk that American’s won’t be able to travel to Spain and other parts of Europe this fall or winter. If you’re feeling optimistic and comfortable traveling during a pandemic, then you should definitely give this deal serious consideration.

Let me know if you jump on this deal — and subscribe to our newsletter for more deal alerts like this delivered to your inbox whenever they appear.

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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