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Iberia is Spain’s flagship airline. Based out of Madrid, its main hub is located within the same city and operates from the Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD).

The loyalty program of Iberia is called Iberia Plus and the currency you can earn is known as Avios. If the name Avios sounds familiar, that’s because it’s also the currency of British Airways and Aer Lingus—each a member of the IAG group—and more recently, Qatar Airways.

Iberia flies to around 120 destinations worldwide. Iberia’s reach, however, is nearly limitless thanks to its unique position within IAG and as a member of the Oneworld Alliance.

Here is everything you need to know about Iberia and the Iberia Plus program.

History

Rohrbach R-VIII Roland

Founded in 1927, Iberia Líneas Aéreas de España, S.A., or more commonly called by just its first name, Iberia, started out by flying commercial connections between Madrid and Barcelona.

In 2011, Iberia Airlines joined with British Airways and the newly merged company formed IAG (International Airlines Group). IAG grew again in 2015 when it purchased the Irish carrier, Aer Lingus.

Each individual entity continues to operate under its original brand, despite the purchase and renaming, and each continues to use its own loyalty program. Collectively, these three airlines use Avios as their award currency and these Avios can be transferred from one IAG loyalty program to the other.

Understanding each program is key to maximizing your Avios earnings and redemptions, but for now we will focus on the Iberia Plus loyalty program.

Earn Iberia Avios

Iberia’s frequent flyer loyalty program is called Iberia Plus. The currency used is known as Avios, which are the same miles used for several other frequent-flyer programs.

There are lots of ways you can earn Avios. From flying to using a co-branded credit card to earning while you shop, the ways to load up on Avios seems almost endless.

Flying Iberia

Each time you hop on an Iberia flight, you can earn Avios. How many Avios you earn when flying will depend on the following criteria—Distance flown and ticket class. Your elite status will also impact the number of miles you accumulate, but we will dig into that later on.

Distance Flown—Distance flown is the first factor in determining how many Avios you will earn with Iberia. To calculate this, Iberia takes the number of real miles actually flown.

Ticket Class—The next piece of the puzzle is ticket class. Iberia has three cabin classes—economy, premium economy and business class. Each class earns a base number of points, as you can see in the chart below.

Cabin classes are further subdivided into the following fares:

Economy:

  • Basic
  • Optimal
  • Comfort
  • Flexible

Premium Economy:

  • Premium Economy Promotional
  • Premium Economy Flexible

Business:

  • Business Fare Promotional
  • Business Flexible Fare

And finally, each seat is broken down into fare buckets. Buckets are identified by a letter and that letter will tell you exactly how many Avios you will earn.

Status Miles

Iberia has three levels of elite status. Depending on your level, you’ll earn bonus Avios based on a certain percentage of real miles flown.

  • Plata (Silver): 25%
  • Oro (Gold): 50%
  • Platino (Platinum): 100%

As an example, for an Oro (Gold) member flying in Economy Plus (W class), you would earn 1.5 Avios per real mile flown. If a flight is 1,000 miles, you would accumulate 1,500 Avios. Now you need to multiply the Oro Elite status bonus of 50% with the number of real miles flown, which is 1,000—that gives you 500. Add it all together and this means you will earn 2,000 Avios.

Earning Status

In order to earn elite status with Iberia, you’ll need to either accumulate Elite Points or hit a flight segment threshold. Fortunately, you do not need to hit both requirements to achieve elite status. Each level of status has a different Elite Points or segment requirement:

  • Plata: 1,100 Elite Points in a year or 25 flight segments
  • Oro: 2,250 Elite Points in a year or or 50 flight segments
  • Platino: 12,500 Elite Points in two year

Your qualifying Elite Points are calculated from April 1 of year one to March 31 of the following year.

To earn Elite Points, you’ll need to do some actual flying. How many Elite Points you earn will depend on the airline flown, booking class and the distance in miles flown for each flight.

Additionally, specific regions will earn different amounts of Elite Points. For flights on Iberia, you can access Iberia’s regional chart to see how many Elite Points you will earn for that area.

In addition to Iberia’s standard elite status, Iberia offers two lifetime elite status levels.

  • Infinita: Earn 125,000 Elite Points from the time you join Iberia Plus
  • Infinita Prime: Earn 200,000 Elite Points from the date of joining Iberia Plus

Flights on Partners

As a member of the IAG group and OneWorld Alliance, Iberia has access to tons of partners. This means that you can use your Avios to fly on partner airlines like American Airlines (AA), British Airways (BA) and dozens more.

Each partner airline earns Avios and Elite Points at different rates. Fortunately, Iberia has a convenient chart to help you figure out how many Avios you should earn when you fly each partner.

Credit Card Spending

A co-branded credit card can be one of the fastest ways to help you accumulate a stash of frequent-flyer miles. Iberia partners with Chase and offers the Iberia Visa Signature Card. Not only does the card come with a generous welcome offer, it also has some perks that can be useful for those who frequently fly Iberia metal.

  • Earn 3 Avios per dollar on purchases with Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and LEVEL, 2 Avios per dollar on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel and 1 Avios per dollar on all other purchases

Because the Iberia Visa Signature® Card is issued through Chase, it is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule. Before you apply, make sure that you are both eligible and that this card is the best option for you as it will take up one of your 5/24 slots.

Transfer Partners

Credit Cards

Iberia Avios can be transferred from several major banks to the Iberia Plus loyalty program. The following transferable bank currencies allow you to convert your points to Iberia Plus at the following rate:

Hotel Transfer Partners

Some hotels also allow their points to be transferred to Iberia Plus. Usually these conversions are a poor value and you are better off using your points for award nights. However, if you have no plans for future stays and the points are just sitting around collecting dust, converting your points to Avios can make sense.

These hotels include the following:

  • Accor ALL: 3,000 ALL Rewards points to 3,000 Avios
  • Best Western: 5,000 Best Western Rewards points to 1,000 Avios
  • IHG: 10,000 IHG Rewards points to 2,000 Avios

Shopping Portals

The Iberia Plus online shopping portal allows you to earn Avios on your everyday purchases. Visit the store here to begin earning.

Read More: How to Maximize Shopping Portals

Buying Avios

Iberia Avios regularly go on sale. Buying Iberia Avios during these sales may seem like a frugal option, but the reality is that there are much cheaper ways to get Avios.

If you do find yourself in a position where you need Avios, for example––topping off an account for an award redemption––you can do so by visiting the Iberia Plus buy miles page. You can purchase up to 200,000 Avios per calendar year.

Points.com is the third party which processes buying Avios, so you won’t earn any bonus credit card points for cards with airline purchase categories.

Car Rentals

  • Avis: Get 3 Avios per dollar spent, maximum of 10,000 Avios. Plus earn 1,000 Avios when you join Avis Preferred and on your first Preferred rental.
  • Budget: Earn 2 Avios per 1 euro spent on your car rental, for all groups of cars and for domestic and international hires. Maximum of 10,000 Avios will be awarded on each rental.

How to Redeem Avios

On Iberia Flights

Iberia uses both a distance-based chart for redemptions and a seasonal peak/off-peak calendar for pricing award flights. Because the chart is distance based, the number of Avios needed will correlate with the distance from the origin of the trip to the destination.

This is the off-peak chart for flights booked with Avios.

This chart shows the peak-season pricing when using Avios to book a flight.

This chart shows the peak-season pricing when using Avios to book a flight.

As you can see from the above charts, the shorter the distance, the fewer Avios required. Additionally, off-peak pricing is cheaper than the peak-season pricing.

On Flights With Partners

As a member of the IAG group and OneWorld airline alliance, you can use your Iberia Avios to book and fly on all of Iberia’s partners.

Additionally, Iberia has several codeshare partners, each of which can be booked with Avios.

Each of Iberia’s partners has its own award chart and the number of Avios needed to fly with that partner will vary from airline to airline.

An example of a partner airline chart is American Airlines The following chart shows how many Avios you’ll need to book AA flights.

Fees

Cancellation and Changes

Iberia allows you to cancel or change award flights up to 24 hours before departure. For most fares you will be charged a fee of 25 euros.

Infant Fees

Iberia considers children 24 months and under as infants and therefore can fly as a lap infant. Lap infants are charged between 30% and 10% of the fare of the accompanying adult

Children over 2 years old and under 12 years old traveling on domestic flights are eligible for a discount. How much of a discount depends on the fare. On international flights, this discount percentage will also vary depending on the fare and the destination.

Sweet Spots

One of Iberia’s best sweet spots is for business class flights during off-peak pricing from the U.S. to Madrid. Specifically, a flight from Chicago (ORD) to Madrid, Spain (MAD) will cost just 34,000 Avios one way.

Another Iberia Avios prime use is for short-haul trips in economy class around Europe. A flight from Madrid to Barcelona, for example, costs just 4,500 Avios one way.

Quirks

IAG Members Points Transfer

A huge advantage of Iberia’s partnership in IAG is the ability to transfer your Avios from one loyalty program to another. Iberia Plus members can move their Avios from Iberia to British Airways or AerLingus, and vice versa.

This opens up the opportunity to accumulate massive amounts of Avios. It also gives you the opportunity to get the most out of your Avios redemptions as each program has its own award chart and, consequently, sweet spots.

To combine your Avios from Iberia to either British Airways or Aer Lingus, you’ll need to head over to Iberia Plus Combine My Avios page and log in to your Iberia Plus account. On this page, you’ll be asked how many Avios you’d like to transfer. You’ll also choose which program to transfer to, so make sure to have your British Airways Executive Club number or your Aer Lingus AerClub number handy. The last step will be to review and confirm the transfer.

There are a few quirks and rules to be aware of when combining your Avios. For one, your Iberia account must be at least 90 days old in order to send or receive Avios. You also cannot directly transfer Iberia Avios to Qatar Privileges. However, you can combine your British Airways Avios with Qatar Avios and then send your British Airways Avios to Iberia.

Sometimes, for no specific reason, you just won’t be able to combine your Avios via this route. If you run into this issue, you can try circumventing it by heading to Avios.com, making an Aer Lingus AerClub account, and transferring your Avios that way. It will add a step, but it can be worth it if it means you can combine your miles.

Expiration

Iberia Avios expire after 36 months. Fortunately, you can extend the expiration of your Avios by having some kind of qualifying activity. Qualifying activity includes transferring Avios from a transfer partner, spending on your co-branded Chase Iberia Visa Signature Card, earning Avios through flying, earning through shopping portals

Activities which will not extend the life of your Avios include buying Avios and transferring them from one of its IAG partners.

Family Pooling

Iberia doesn’t offer points pooling, but its partner, British Airways does. British Airways gives the option to set up household accounts in which you can combine up to six family members’ Avios. By pooling your family miles together in your British Airways household account, you can then turn around and transfer those Avios into your Iberia account.

Bottom Line

Thanks to the ease of accumulating Avios and the solid award charts of Iberia, the Iberia Plus program continues to provide huge value for award travel. Sometimes it can take a bit of digging around but the effort is worth it, especially if you can be flexible with your plans.



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