Well here’s some good news for those redeeming American miles. Iberia award tickets are now bookable using American AAdvantage miles on aa.com. Previously you had to call American to book Iberia award tickets, though that space can now be booked online.
For example, as you’ll see below, there’s availability just about every day between Madrid and Barcelona.
Iberia has a lot of award space in the market.
It does look like there may be some IT challenges as of now, because a lot of searches turn up with an error message when you choose the actual flight. I suspect this will be fixed soon, and is because the flights have literally just been loaded.
This is a very nice change, especially given that Iberia is one of the best options for redeeming American AAdvantage miles on transatlantic flights. That’s because there are only very mild carrier imposed surcharges for these redemptions, unlike those on British Airways. Unfortunately at the moment award space between North America and Spain seems to be really limited, though sometimes Iberia makes a significant amount of space available.
Iberia also has a pretty solid business class product, with direct aisle access from every seat. I reviewed my experience with them between New York and Madrid a couple of years ago.
Previously there was no great way to search this award availability. You could search a few days at a time using ExpertFlyer or the British Airways award search tool. Now that American’s website shows Iberia award availability, it’s definitely the best place to search, given that it lets you search 11 months of availability in just a couple of minutes, thanks to the month-long calendar search feature.
However, I suppose the flip side to this is that it’s not necessarily better if everyone has easy access to Iberia awards. Previously a lot of AAdvantage members may not have known that it was possible to redeem miles on Iberia, while now Iberia space will readily be displayed as an option. Don’t get me wrong, I consider this to be a big positive, but it doesn’t come without some consequences.
As it stands, the oneworld partner airlines that can’t be booked through aa.com are Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar, S7, and SriLankan. The good news is that if you book award travel on one of these partners by phone there’s no phone ticketing fee, since these awards can’t be booked online.