Ah, Avios. The points currency everyone loves to hate thanks to their astronomical fuel surcharges.
If you had asked me six months ago whether there was a way to redeem British Airways Avios points for transatlantic travel without fuel surcharges I would’ve confidently said “of course not!”
Then reader Mac discovered that you can actually redeem Avios points for travel on Aer Lingus with minimal fuel surcharges. Not only that, but since British Airways’ award chart is distance based and Boston to Dublin is such a short flight, it costs only 25,000 miles roundtrip in coach or 50,000 miles roundtrip in business class. This spiced up Avios points quite a bit for me, and I’m quite looking forward to going to Ireland in a couple of weeks.
But today there’s a new discovery thanks to the comments section of the Frugal Travel Guy blog. It appears as if there’s a way to redeem British Airways Avios points for travel on Iberia without fuel surcharges. Let me explain.
As many of you may know, Iberia belongs to the British Airways “family,” and also uses “Avios” as their points currency. However, they do technically have separate loyalty programs, though points can readily be transferred between the two programs.
So I first registered for an Iberia Plus account.
After being logged into my account I clicked on “Redeem Avios.”
Then I did an availability search. I first verified availability on ExpertFlyer, and saw there was business class award space on the flight from Madrid to Chicago on February 8, for example.
Once I ran the search I got the following results:
As you can see, the total cost for a one-way award in business class from Madrid to Chicago is 40,000 Avios points plus $75.62 in taxes.
The same exact award booked through British Airways would cost you 40,000 Avios points plus $262.84.
So you save $187.22 on a one-way ticket by booking through Iberia instead of British Airways.
But here’s the BIG catch — in order to transfer British Airways Avios points to Iberia Avios points, both of your accounts have to be at least three months old. So even if you don’t have any immediate need to fly Iberia, I highly recommend opening an Iberia Plus account so you can start that clock.
To transfer Avios points between accounts, log into your British Airways Executive Club account and click on “Manage My Account.” Once there select “Combine My Avios.”
On that page you’ll be prompted to enter your British Airways and Iberia account numbers, and will be given the option of transferring Avios points between the accounts instantly. Again, the catch is that your accounts both have to be open for at least three months before you’re allowed to do that.
Anyway, given that taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges on British Airways can run $1,000+ for a roundtrip business class ticket to Europe, I’d say this is another great option for redeeming Avios points. I’d rather spend 80,000 Avios points plus $120 and fly Iberia than spend 80,000 Avios points plus $1,000 and fly British Airways.
Hopefully some of you can put this to good use, and thanks again to Howie from the Frugal Travel Guy blog for bringing this to my attention!