How To Transfer Avios From British Airways To Iberia

For the past few years, the gold standard for short-haul economy flights has been British Airways Avios awards, which offered the option to redeem as few as 4,500 miles for American Airlines and Alaska Airlines flights.

Now that BA has eliminated the 4,500 point bracket from their redemption chart, the shortest flights have become more expensive, requiring a minimum of 7,500 points each direction. When these changes were first announced, I suggested the Iberia program might be a good alternative, particularly for those needing multiple short segments.

The Iberia program can actually be quite useful in general, particularly if you have Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards points. You can also transfer your British Airways Avios over to Iberia, though there are some quirks to the process. I thought I’d go over the process of setting up and linking accounts, which you’ll want to do if you think you might ever want to make an Iberia redemption.

Open accounts with British Airways and Iberia

Even if you don’t have immediate plans for a redemption you should open accounts with both programs right away. Both the Iberia and British Airways accounts have to be open for 90 days before you can transfer points between them, so you might as well get that clock ticking now.

There isn’t a cost to opening an account with either program, and it only takes a few minutes. Well worth the time, as you never know when being able to transfer between the two programs will come in handy.

Activate your Iberia Plus account

Iberia Plus is a quirky program, and the hoop-jumping starts right away.

Before you can move points to or from British Airways, you have to have some kind of mileage activity in your Iberia Plus account.

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Fortunately, there are several ways to generate activity in the account beyond crediting flown miles:

  • Iberia often offers promotions of a few hundred Avios for enrolling in email offers, participating in social media, etc.
  • Many hotel programs can transfer points to Iberia (though the transfer rates aren’t great)
  • American Express Membership Rewards is a transfer partner of Iberia, and you can convert 250 Amex points to 200 Avios

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Again, you’ll probably want to do this right away. Promos are unpredictable, hotel transfers can take 10+ days, and even Amex transfers take at least 36 hours lately.

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So I’d recommend opening both accounts and generating some activity early on, so you’re not delayed when it comes time to book the award.

Move points to British Airways first

Provided your accounts are active and you’re ready to book, it’s often going to make sense to transfer points to British Airways first, and then move the Avios to Iberia.

American Express transfers to British Airways are instant, while they can take up to a week with Iberia. Similarly, Chase Ultimate Rewards is a transfer partner of British Airways, but not of Iberia.

Given the transfer ratios are much better with Chase than Amex (1000:1000 vs 250:200), being able to move points to BA and then to Iberia can be pretty useful.

If you haven’t transferred Chase points before, log in to your account, and then click “Go to Ultimate Rewards.” From there, select “Use points” and then “Transfer to Travel Partners.”

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I’ve already linked my British Airways account, but if you haven’t, you’ll see the logo and will have the option to enter your account information.

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It takes just a few moments to set up the transaction, and the transfer is instant.

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Moving Avios from British Airways to Iberia

You can technically move Avios using either the British Airways or Iberia site, but I’ve found the latter to be a bit glitchy, so would recommend using ba.com.

On your account dashboard, you should see a paragraph of text on the lower left advising you of the option to combine Avios.

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You can also go to “Manage my account” and select “Combine my Avios” as an alternative.

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There are a ton of confirmation pages during this process. Try not to get sidetracked!

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Eventually you’ll have the option to enter your Iberia Plus number and PIN, and accept the terms:

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When the accounts are linked, you can then enter the number of Avios you want to transfer, and which direction you want to move the points:

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Once you’ve made it through the confirmation pages (seriously, so many!), you’ll receive a notice that your transfer was successful:

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If you didn’t activate your Iberia account the transfer will fail at this point. Otherwise, the points move instantly, and you should get email confirmations from both programs as well:

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Bottom line

It’s always nice to have options for redeeming miles, and the Iberia program tends to be overlooked.

Being able to transfer and combine points from British Airways is particularly nice, though given the extra steps it’s best to set up and link the accounts long before you’re ready to actually book.

Has anyone combined Avios accounts recently? Any other tips?

Comments

  1. Trying to set up Iberia accounts for family. How can I generate activity on my parents’ Iberia accounts, if they don’t have either SPG or Amex Rewards? Can I transfer my Amex Rewards into their Iberia accounts, etc? Or is that a no no? Thanks!

  2. Good guide. I’ve been looking into Iberia more as well.
    This is a bit more obscure but Le Club Accor Hotels points can be converted to Iberia Avios.
    That’s how I generated activity in my new Iberia account.

  3. Another addition – it IS possible to move points from BA to IB even if you have a family account on BA. The trick is that you have to use Avios.com as the intermediary. Then from there you can transfer to/from BA and IB regardless of if you have a family account or not.

    Very useful for when there was a transfer bonus to Iberia, but not BA (or vice versa).

  4. Marriott Rewards is a transfer partner of Iberia as well. Can I still push BA Avios into Iberia Plus if I set up a BA household acct?

  5. Most of the sources I’ve seen on the internet say that for these transfers, only the Iberia account has to have been open for 90 days, not the British Airways (the language says both, but the British Airways requirement has been unenforced). Has this changed to your knowledge?

  6. Some US based e-rewards accounts (typically those offered through hotel loyalty programs) have Iberia as a reward, and Iberia offers better rewards (25 e-reward dollars results in 750 miles) than most other airline programs (25 e-rewards $ results in 500 miles).

  7. @ Michelle — Well, do your parents already have BA Avios? You could create a family account and go through that process, or just wait until there’s a promotion they can take advantage of.

  8. @ Max — I don’t know, to be honest. My BA account has been open for years, and we’ve never had someone who had an Iberia account but not a British Airways one.

  9. @ Kate — Me personally? I book a lot of flights from San Diego to Los Angeles, which is 11,000 round-trip with Iberia Avios, versus 15,000 with BA Avios now.

  10. @ Tiffany — Great post! Has anyone made a chart reflecting new pricing as to when you come out ahead booking awards via IB vs BA?…

    JRL

  11. Trying to combine my accounts and I keep getting “You can’t use Combine my Avios with this account. Please contact us” — BA account has plenty of miles, Iberia acct has been open for 90+ days (though hasn’t had any activity). Is there some trick to this? Also, can’t seem to find how to move SPG points to Iberia – it’s not on the pick list? Feeling unusually challenged this evening! Maybe it’s the wine 🙂

  12. @ GloverParker — Yeah, it won’t work if you haven’t had any activity in the Iberia account. You’re right about Iberia not being in the SPG list though…

  13. Tiffany – why are you booking flights from San Diego to LAX?? 11,000 Avios is SUPER costly relatively speaking. You can do that trip now with only ~1,000 Amtrak points! It takes ~ 2.5hrs from SAN to union station in LAX. Bank of America has cards with a great stock of bonus points, and I believe SPG points transfer to Amtrak (I could be wrong). I transferred 30k chase points back in Nov. and now get $0.029/pt from them. I wish i transferred MORE. Saves a ton of points compared to flying – and doesn’t take that much more time. plus, working on the train is nice and easy – internet is usually available, but slow.

  14. @ Billy bob — Well, it’s 11k for the roundtrip, and I need to be at LAX, not downtown. I’ll take the train if I’m actually going to LA, but when it’s connecting to other flights it makes more sense to go directly to the airport than train for 2.5 hours to sit in traffic for another 45 minutes, etc.

  15. Thanks for the detailed guide. I mostly use Avios for short trips within Europe on BA flights. Does it make sense to transfer to Avios to Iberia but use it for redemption on BA flights?

  16. @ KK — No, not really. BA still offers the 4,500 mile price for European awards, and they often discount the fees and surcharges through their Reward Flight Saver program, which Iberia doesn’t have access to.

  17. hmmm what am I missing? I just looked up a roundtrip from LAX to SJD. On BA, it’s 15k avios + $86 in taxes. Through Iberia, it’s 17k avios + $91 in taxes. Is the sweet spot for Iberia just on flights less than 600 miles?

  18. I also use Iberia to purchase avios if I need to top up my account a little for a big redemption.

    The price in EUR is better value against GBP on BAEC and Avios.com when I use my Lloyds bank Amex which has 0% forex fees and a good rate. E.g. 8,000 avios purchased from Avios or BA is £143, whereas from Iberia is €164 which is currently around £128. Then simply use combine to move it to the relevant account. These purchases can take a little while to go through though so aren’t any good for last minute top ups. (my one in December took 2 weeks, but they had a 40% bonus on which I think was popular).

    The price differences increase the more avios you’re buying and iberia often run purchase bonuses, I used this to get enough avios to tip us into a CW/F redemption using my 241 rather than a WT+/CW as I’d originally planned and it only cost me an extra £250 for the Avios which I consider a bargain to get into First on the 787-9 from SJC!

  19. @LUIS, in addition to being better for LOW mileage trips (as Tiffany pointed out), theres also value unlocked from Iberia on transfers with connections. Iberia prices by TOTAL miles flown (whereas BA adds the mileage requirement for each segment).

    Obviously direct flights are generally superior to connections, but if you’re flying to/from a smaller market (or direct awards are all taken), this can open up your options quite a bit in finding reasonable awards.

  20. I am having difficulty seeing iberia avios awards through their search engine. I 1st check AA, the award is available. I check BA, the award is available. I check Iberia and there is no availability. Any advice? Thanks

  21. hello Tiffany, would be great to see you revisit this BA/Iberia/Avios subject. Courtesy the BA/Chase card, I have earned a good stash of British Airways Avios miles, but I now have little intent to ever fly BA metal directly…. (esp. after they ended the great redemption rate with the 4.5k flights) May use the Avios points on the intermediate flights down the road.

    Yet I really appreciate you alerting us to the Iberia alternative. Followed your guidance back in February and opened the Iberia Plus account then — BUT…. one hangup, I haven’t as yet figured out how to generated ANY activity therein (to activate the account and permit the BA/Avios transfers to it)

    Have no Amex account. From another obscure UK web site, tried the obscure Iberia Ap trick, even with fake gps ID — still didnt’ work. Haven’t received any Iberia email promos I can use. (and their web market doesn’t seem to have any merchants who ship to states)

    Yet I’ve been wondering about this line in your original post:

    “Many hotel programs can transfer points to Iberia (though the transfer rates aren’t great)”

    At this point, I could care less about the transfer rates. Name one please. (I have major points with IHG, Hyatt, and Club Carlson Pesos…. *tic None of them will transfer to Iberia Plus, though they will to BritAir)

    Any other ideas for Iberia Plus activity — to trigger activation?

  22. Many thanks for the reply and ideas, Tiffany. Re. the option to buy Avios points directly via Iberia, that indeed would have been easiest. But when I tried to do so, including via the link you kindly provided, I got this polite nope, “Welcome, Mr…., We are sorry to inform you that this service is not available.”

    Found an explanation under the terms & conditions for buying Avios (under section for all Iberia customers):

    “Purchasers must have had an Iberia Plus card for more than 3 months or have an Avios balance higher than 0.” Another one of those “quirks!” Back to square one — that is, you have to have more than one Iberia point to buy points, or to transfer BA/Avios points in…. wowzer! (or is it, Quark!)

    You are correct about using Marriott points…. and indeed, the transfer ratio is awful…. I’m not a fan of Marriott, yet I do have Chase UR points, but I’d have to take a deep breath before surrendering 10k of them to a Marriott account to get 2k of Iberia Avios. Perhaps they’ll have another 40% boost soon, as they did last fall. Or maybe I’ll break down and revisit Amex for a M/R card…. (if/after I land the new Chase Sapphire) 🙂

    Thanks again for the good tips. Still thinking.

  23. Just hit me — that precise Iberia T&C sentence* re. purchasing Avios that I pasted into the previous post…. the conjunction is OR, not AND…. As such, I’ve had the account open for six months now, so I should qualify. (at least on this provision) It doesn’t say I have to have had an account for 3 months AND have at least one Avios point….

    Will try to get a response from Iberia on just this point…. Will report back if I hear/learn anything.

    t&c here: https://www.iberia.com/web/product.do?cntCat=Productos/IBBTPTPOPUP&cntId=terminosCondiciones&isPopup=true

  24. @ escot… e rewards transfers to a few including Iberia plus ( if you like the time to fill out surveys)

  25. Tiffany, it turns out that Iberia Avios points expire after 3 years of inactivity AND MILES TRANSFERRED IN ARE NOT CONSIDERED AN ACTIVITY. I had 70 Avios in my Iberia account and was warned about the expiration. So I transferred 1000 Avios from my BA account (new total 1070 Avios) and now all 1070 Avios expired. WHAT A RIP-OFF.
    Question: is an Iberia account still activated after the Avios have expired (0 balance?)

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