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Avios collectors here in the UK are usually pretty familiar with British Airways Executive Club (BAEC)/Avios.com, but tend to know a little less about Iberia Plus.
This is a shame because, even without a sale, Iberia Plus is almost always a better deal for long-haul business class redemptions than BAEC these days.
The current sale reduces the number of Avios required by 40% on fifty Iberia routes, and could be a genuinely fantastic deal – if it suits your travel plans. You can book up until 29th February, for dates all the way through to 19th June.
Before getting into the details, the first thing to note is that you can transfer Avios Points between BAEC, Avios.com, and Iberia Plus freely, so long as your Iberia Plus account is at least 90 days old and has some earning activity on it (just transfer some Amex Membership Rewards/SPG Starpoints etc, or buy a few Avios if you need to).
The offer lists a wide range of short-haul destinations to/from Madrid. Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and London are all included, and require 3,900-4,500 Avios each way rather than the usual 7,500 in Economy (Blue Class).
The real value though is the handful of long-haul routes to South America, particularly in Business Class. The options are Lima, Panama City, and Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), all to/from Madrid. Mexico City is also listed, but the Iberia website doesn’t seem to be applying the discount properly (yet?).
Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are possible too, but the 40% discount only applies to Economy redemptions.
Even without a discount, one of the real sweetspots on the Iberia Plus award chart is off-peak Business Class on their routes to South America, which require just 34,000-42,500 Avios each way (with a couple of exceptions), and relatively minor taxes/surcharges. Off-peak with Iberia is about two thirds of the year, as you can see on their calendar.
With the discount, you can now book a RETURN flight from Madrid to South America, for just 25,500 in Economy or 51,000 in Business and about £160-£180 in taxes/surcharges.
To put that into context, to book the same flights through BAEC, the price is more like 42,500 + £400 in Economy, or 85,000 Avios + £520 in Business.
If you’re a bit tight on Avios at the moment and are willing to slum it in Economy, you can make ‘Cash+Points’ bookings for as little as 7,700 Avios and £245 for a Return between Madrid and Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo. Book it as two one-ways because the taxes work out a bit cheaper.
Obviously you’ve got to factor in getting to/from Madrid as well, but personally, the savings on offer here (at least in Business Class) would make it more than worthwhile. You could book a swanky hotel in Madrid and have a great dinner the night before, and still save cash as well as Avios.
One last question – is Iberia Business Class any good?
I might be biased because my first long-haul Business Class experience was with Iberia, but they provide a genuinely competitive transatlantic product and I’d pick them over BA’s ‘Club World’ any day of the week! Iberia’s Business Class lounge at Madrid Airport is surprisingly good too – well worth checking out.