How To Find Award Availability With Iberia Avios

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In responding to comments this morning, it seems there is still a lot of enthusiasm around the potential 90,000 mile Iberia promo, and even more questions about how to actually use Iberia Avios.

As you’ve probably noticed when booking your revenue tickets, the Iberia website is not the most intuitive experience. So I figured I’d go through the basics of how to use the site.

A few things to note upfront:

  • Iberia.com is having a bit of a time this weekend — if searches won’t complete, or you get errors, it’s likely not your fault, and trying again when things have calmed down should help
  • If your account is brand-new, you may not be able to effectively search space — you don’t have to have miles in your account to search, but the account does need to be fully active

With that out of the way, let’s dig into some of the quirks of the site.

Tricks to using your Avios on Iberia.com

If you’ve used any airline website ever, you would think that after logging in to your Iberia account, you would simply click on the link under your profile that says “Book flights with Avios.”

But you’d be wrong.

That page takes you to the pretty, yet useless, calculator page. Don’t even try using this, as it’s incredibly maddening, only shows a handful of airports, and the widgets get stuck constantly.

Instead, you want to go directly to the “Advanced Avios Search,” which will actually populate most of the cities in the route network. I saw some people in the comments saying they couldn’t find their home airport in the search list, and I suspect that’s because they weren’t using the proper page.

It should look like this:

From there, you should be able to search for flights from non-hub airports, keeping in mind that for partner awards, you have to search for a round-trip.

If there’s availability in both directions, you should (more on this later) get results, and can price the itinerary:

As a side note, this isn’t an amazing use of Iberia Avios — these flights would be 9,000 British Airways Avios — I’m just using it as an example of a non-hub routing, and someone in the comments asked about Australia specifically.

Sometimes space just doesn’t show

While you can theoretically book flights on all oneworld and non-alliance partners, in practice the search engine is fairly mediocre. Though you should be able to search and book flights on American, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Qatar, Royal Jordanian, Sri Lankan, etc.

To save your sanity, I’d recommend searching on the British Airways, Qantas, or even JAL tools beforehand, as the Iberia site is just useless if space isn’t available in both directions.

That being said, even when you’re on the right page (and why they have two is bananas to start with), there are times where some routes just won’t populate.

Oddly, itineraries that won’t work in one direction will oftentimes work in the reverse, which makes absolutely no sense.

Additionally, awards on Japan Airlines, Air Italy, Malaysia Airlines, and Royal Air Maroc have to be booked over the phone.

But it’s the flights that should be bookable online that somehow aren’t there that are frustrating. If saver space is being made available to other oneworld partners, Iberia should have access to it as well, but for whatever reason that isn’t always the case through the website, particularly on connecting itineraries.

In those cases, once again, you’ll need to call Iberia at 1-800-772-4642. And be patient.

Connections really matter

Like British Airways, Iberia has a distance-based award chart. Unlike their counterparts, however, Iberia’s chart is based on the cumulative distance of the trip.

So where you connect makes a huge difference.

Let’s look, for example, at a trip between Orange County and Spokane (again, showing that smaller airports can in fact be searched). Both are served by American, but neither are real focus cities, so you’d have to connect in either Phoenix or Dallas.

A round-trip through Phoenix would be 2,717 miles, which would require 23,000 Iberia Avios in economy. This is a much better option than British Airways Avios, which would require 30,000 Avios for the four-segment routing.

Meanwhile, connecting in Dallas instead puts the round-trip at 5,091 miles, pushing it into the 42,000 Avios tier.

That’s still better than British Airways, which penalizes you for connections such that it would require 45,000 Avios for the trip, but at those rates you’d be better off booking through American or Alaska — both of which price based on the zones you’re traveling between.

Keep in mind, however, that you don’t have to connect in the same airport in both directions. In this case, connecting in Phoenix on the outbound and Dallas just on the return drops the mileage requirement to 28,000 Avios.

Again, I’d ideally prefer to use another currency in that situation, but just so you can see how it works.

Hotels & Rental Cars

If the flights aren’t working out, or if you just want to use these points in a different way, you can use Iberia Avios for hotels and rental cars. There’s a link to “Avios&Money on hotels, cars, and experiences” under the “Iberia Plus” menu at the top of the webpage.

The pricing on these vary, and there are occasionally promos as well. The site has a range of hotels, so whether you’re looking for a luxury stay or something cheap and cheerful, there are typically tons of options.

Keep in mind you won’t receive elite benefits or credit for hotels booked with Avios, so this is a particularly good option for independent or non-chain properties.

Bottom line

Sometimes, programs with the potential for outsized value come with a bunch of quirks and challenges. Iberia’s non-intuitive website certainly falls in that category.

But if you’re patient with your searches, or are willing to call (again, requiring even more patience), the redemption opportunities are plentiful.

What other Iberia Avios questions can we answer?

Comments

  1. Yeah, couldn’t find SMF-SKB AA RT even though saver showing. Just too much hassle for this to be worth it to me.

    Thanks for answering that question about searches though!

  2. Just a note, IB does the same as BA and charge on a per flight basis, at least on IB and BA metal.

  3. According to Flyertalk, IB Avios awards on AA are non-refundable, non-changeable even if you were willing to pay a fee.

    Here’s the link to the thread
    https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/iberia-airlines-iberia-plus/1554320-iberia-award-ticket-cancel-avios-refund-5.html#post29901658

    I pointed it out before but OMAAT still promotes AA and other partner awards that I think are non-refundable, non-changeable (BA I believe is refundable, as is Air Nostrum, the rest not). If the thread is incorrect, perhaps you could mention that. Otherwise I think you may be leading readers to heartache.

  4. Hi, is it always the case that there is no AA TATL availability on IB even at when looking one year ahead (e.g. June 2019)?

  5. I simply can’t find any award available today (Sunday, 6/24). Perhaps their site is still having problem?

  6. I’ve been searching BA award AUS-LHR, and it shows as available one-way.

    Is this bookable one way, or does it have to be a return?

  7. Those people like me who signed up for an Iberia number and immediately booked the 10 flights need to go back to the Iberia web site.

    Their site takes 2-3 days to update your membership number throughout the system.

    You will need to manually reenter you Iberia number.

    I just did it and bit of a pain, but you should have all 10 booking codes from the email confirmations

  8. I cannot find the “Advanced Avios Search” on their web site…so thank you for the link.

    Great information Tiffany

  9. Has anyone found a workaround for when you are a brand new IB Plus member and immediately booked your 10 flights, and the IB number *is* in your booking emails, but not in the My Bookings on Iberia’s site – and then when you do go back in to the site to add it to each booking, it says your IB Number and name do not match??? I’ve been working at this for hours! :’-O

  10. I looked into it and gave up. because of where I live (Phx) the only way to Europe is with BA. The fees and points come up to about what I would pay for a regular ticket. Even tried to do PHX to JFK and it was like 50,000 in coach.

  11. Tiffany, I just can’t figure the rules of iberia. AA.com is showing 2 award seats from CHA-ORD-LAX-LIH from May 3rd, 2019 returning May 9th, 2019. Iberia says no availability has been found to the selected journey. I tried on the BA website and they say BA and their partners do not fly this route. Thinking that maybe nothing’s working for the iberia website I check for PHX-LAX-LIH for the same dates and find they have availability for 42k miles roundtrip. I went all-in for the 90k avios miles and was thinking about using them for Kauai next May but now I am doubtful of this being a possibility. It seems that any airport east of the Mississippi errors out when you want to travel to Hawaii. Any suggestions?

  12. It looks like a lot of people jumped on this promo but are having a tough time booking awards…I wonder if this might be a nice opportunity for Lucky & Co. (PointsPro) to offer some sort of “promo” on their award booking services ;). Surely, there will be takers who would be willing to spend, say, an additional $75-$100 to be able to take advantage of their $330 investment in IB Avios.

  13. The search tool of Iberia was even slow before the promotion went online. Only for Iberia flights award booking might work flawless. Hope they will not change T&C aftereards like they have already done

  14. Tiffany, I just want to give an update to my previous post. In all the searches I did on the Iberia website looking for AA award availability it seemed as though that more than one connection each way was doomed for failure. I found award tickets from ATL-LAX-LIH roundtrip so my theory of anything east of the Mississippi is shot down. However, consistently, I have been limited to 1 connection each way in finding AA availability on the iberia website.

  15. Many blogs and posts have said that redeeming for most one world partner flights requires a round-trip ticket. I understand there are some partners who do not require a round-trip redemption. Can anyone tell me who they are? I haven’t been able to book any partner one way tickets on the site, but I know here are several partners who must be called for a booking. Thanks

  16. Regarding hotel bookings, you said “Keep in mind you won’t receive elite benefits or credit for hotels booked with Avios, so this is a particularly good option for independent or non-chain properties.”, That is partially true. The way around that is to book anything but the first night at the hotel chain you have high loyalty status with. Book the first night as you normally would, then use the avois, for any subsequent night or nights. Email the hotel and have them tie your two different reservations and purchase types together. They will do this and honor your status at the same time. I have never been turned down by doing this. Meaning, I will stay in the upgraded room the whole time and get breakfast etc. They will not get that picky when dealing with a Diamond/Platinum or Globalist type.

  17. Does it only pull up AA when you search for a RT?

    I’m looking for FRA-SAN OW ticket and while aa.com pulls up FRA-LHR-PHX-SAN with the last leg on AA, IB only pulls up the FRA-LHR-SAN routing which is fully on BA. The problem is that the former routing is available in J while the latter is Y only and I’m not looking forward to spend 11 hours in BA’s Y.

  18. Do I need to have avios in my iberia plus account before I can look up flights and see how many avios is needed? I don’t have any avios at the moment and was trying to look up award flight and it will not allow me to proceed to see how many is needed. Thanks!

  19. I made my 10 bookings but then called them to add the newly created Iberia Plus nr and …. 90000 Avios should be visible by July 1st 🙂
    Then can start the redemption attemps

  20. When I move around the IB+ site, I am constantly being asked to prove I am not a robot.
    Is there some way around this annoyance?

  21. I want to make sure I understand correctly. If search on AA.com and they have saver space available on a flight I am interested in I should be able to call Iberia’s website and book a seat on that flight despite it not showing up in their online search tool? (This is the case for what I am hoping to spend my 90,000 points on if I get them.

  22. iberia avios do not allow reedeming for cathay first? Even with space checked on BA I cannot see the option to book first, just business and economy.

  23. This is helpful, since the last time I visited the Iberia website was in 2013 when enlisting in their program was one my first hacking baby steps. With ~100K+ Avios in-bound in exchange for $361US for 10 bookings — forever optimist that I am — I anticipate a few hours of gleeful gloating as I cherrypick a completely gratuitous itinerary. But why is EZE not even listed on the Iberia destinations page for the Americas? And why, since ACA is listed on that page, no bookings MAD-ACA appear even possible? I will say 21,750 Avios & $127.15US for either MAD-MEX or MAD-BOG in cheapo econ on an A340 seem better than reasonable to me.

  24. anyone able to get iberia website to price multi segment IB only flights properly?
    according to all the articles online, IB avios should price by total distance not segment. but when i search SFO – MAD – GVA for example, it prices it at 30k total. (25.5k for SFO – MAD seg and 4.5 for MAD to GVA) although total distance for that according to gcmap is 6439 which is band 7 and should be only 25.5k in economy and 51k in biz one way.

    anyone else getting same issue?

  25. Is it possible to book multi-city itineraries or stop-overs with Iberia Avios? If so, how?

  26. How do you book one way partner awards, I wasn’t able to see availability if searching one-way (as you mentioned in the article), but I found the space using RT, but then how do I book just a one-way? Is it possible?

  27. Hello ,I booked with Avios , I Clicked the “View”,and it was wrong ,An error has occurred. We apologize for the inconvenience and ask you to please try again after a few minutes. If the error persists please contact us. Can you help me ?

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