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¡hola Madrid! Spain’s central capital is a city of elegant boulevards and expansive, manicured parks, serious cultural pedigree not to mention an array of culinary delights. With this expert tip, I will show you how you can take your city break travel to the next level and fly business class return in a large long haul jet with full lie flat beds for 12,750 Avios and only £55, or return for 25,500 Avios and £73!
Long haul planes to Spain?
Yep, but only at certain times and on Iberia from London. Iberia fly around eight times daily to and from Heathrow and Madrid but one flight each way in particular stands out from the rest. These flights are run on a mixture of aircraft, but crucially, long haul aircraft with full spacious business class seats – and that means lie flat seats while you drink Champagne after dinner!
How do I book it?
Iberia are an avios partner and their flights are fully searchable as reward bookings on britishairways.com or indeed iberia.com if you have (Avios) miles in either account.
Simply search for award availability for your chosen dates and look for the outbound to Madrid from Heathrow at 19:10 and inbound to Heathrow at 16:25. The aircraft involved are A330 and A340 types and are usually run for cargo reasons.
Personally, I would pick the A330-300 and A330-200 variants (which are searchable when booking) as these are guaranteed to have Iberia’s new business class hard product. Be careful of the A340-300 which operates on the route periodically as this aircraft has Iberia’s old business class product – still loads of space but not as nice a seat.
Off-peak prices are 12,750 Avios and £55 one way from London Madrid (12,750 Avios and £17.50 from Madrid to London) or 25,500 Avios and £73 return. Iberia and British Airways have different ‘off-peak’ and ‘peak’ charts so worth checking both sites for your chosen dates and see if one is cheaper (in terms of miles) than the other.
Are there any other benefits to this flight?
I really value flying business class from London Heathrow as you will receive two cabin bags, two checked bags, your own dedicated check-in desks, fast track security, access to the British Airways lounge (as Iberia are a One World airline partner), priority boarding and of course seats at the front of the plane.
That said, given that this is Iberia from Madrid, your lounge access is in Iberia’s Sala VIP lounge at Madrid at Terminal 4S. The lounge is large and airy and has a plentiful choice of hot food and beverage options, providing a relaxing sanctuary before the flight ahead. Those with a sweet tooth will particularly enjoy the opportunity to eat their own body weight in Häagen-Dazs.
You also get priority bag tickets on your check in luggage in both directions, but as yet I am not overly convinced this has any value as it appears to be a lottery as to when your bag will appear.
Any other tips?
Be mindful that the specific flight departures above land into Madrid’s Terminal 4S which the satellite terminal in Madrid. You will have to get an ‘in airport’, underground train to Terminal 4, much like the train linking Heathrow’s Terminal 5 to the respective satellite terminals.
Also sign up for Iberia’s loyalty club. Whilst it is not required to book or take these flights, it is a handy club to be a member of for reasons that I will go into in a future article. If hiring a car, arrange to have collection from Terminal 4 and not Terminal 1. A free bus is required to get to Terminal 1 and this will most likely add an extra 30 mins to your journey.
I will provide a full flight review of my very own return flight to London in Iberia’s business class on the A330-300 shortly.