Once you have accumulated Avios from flying, credit card spending or other sources, the fun part is spending them. As with most airline loyalty programs, you will get the best value by using Avios for flights. There are many good value options here, with all airlines using a distance-based pricing method. But there are other travel-related options if needed.
Using Avios for Iberia flights is the most obvious way to spend, and a good choice with reasonable pricing, low taxes, and flexible terms. Although Iberia Plus switched to revenue-based earning for Iberia flights in 2022, it has not done so for redeeming Avios on flights. Some airlines have switched to revenue-based redemption, but this becomes complicated with alliance membership and the option to combine partner flights.
Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
The amount of Avios required for flights is based on the flight distance. Iberia Plus publishes a chart of these bands, as shown below. The shortest flights (of up to 650 miles) require just 4,500 Avios in economy on the lowest off-peak dates. This increase by bands up to 42,500 Avios for the longest flights of over 7,000 miles. In business class, these rates range from 9,000 Avios up to 85,000 Avios.
Iberia operates a peak and off-peak pricing system. The rates above are for off-peak dates, with increases for peak dates shown below. The peak and off-peak dates change each year (they are roughly in line with Spanish holiday dates) and can be checked on the Iberia Plus website.
Note that although British Airways also operates such a peak and off-peak system, the dates are different between the two programs.
You will see in the charts that there are two rates from economy class redemptions – Blue and full economy. This is a great perk of the Iberia Plus program. The ticket types are:
- Blue economy tickets: Lower priced economy rates with more restricted availability. These have a cancelation charge of 25 Euros.
- Full economy tickets: Higher priced economy Avios tickets (in the same band as the Avios availability shared with other airlines). These awards can be changed and canceled free of charge.
- Premium economy tickets. There is just one standard category, and these have a cancelation charge of 25 Euros.
- Business tickets. There is just one standard category, and these have a cancelation charge of 25 Euros.
Searching for flights using Avios is simple using the main Iberia search engine. This allows flexible searching and clearly shows the different ticket types available. It is also the best way to determine exactly how many Avios are required for any flight you are considering.
Using Avios on partner airlines
Iberia is a member of the oneworld alliance, and as such, Iberia Plus allows award redemption on all oneworld airlines. Avios rates are, as with Iberia flights, based on the flight distance. The oneworld airlines include:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Jordanian
- Royal Air Maroc
- SriLankan Airlines
There are several other partner airlines as well – including Vueling, LEVEL, LATAM, Avianca, and Binter Canarias.
Iberia Plus is slightly more confusing here than other similar programs. It has separate Avios redemption rate charts for each partner airline. With partner airlines, there is only one rate for each cabin – there is no further discounted “Blue” class as offered for Iberia flights.
There are many similarities, but you will need to check the details for any airline you are considering. These tables (and redemption rules) were changed significantly in 2021. Although they are now largely the same rates for each airline, they were not in the past and could change quickly again. The fact that Iberia publishes the tables separately means you check them when considering partner awards.
With partner airlines, only British Airways flights price with peak and off-peak dates. As with Iberia flights, all segments are priced separately, so two connecting flights will require two award rates.
The table below shows the Avios required for American Airlines flights – most other airlines are similar:
If you want to combine more airlines in the same ticket, Iberia Plus offers oneworld awards. These awards apply when mixing any two oneworld airlines, or Iberia and one other airline, in the same ticket. This can be a good value use of Avios for many itineraries – as it is not priced separately for each sector. You will most likely need to call Iberia Plus to issue tickets this way.
Using Avios for upgrades
Avios can be used with Iberia Plus to upgrade cash tickets by one cabin (from economy to premium economy, or premium economy to business class). This is only available on flights sold by Iberia and operated by them. There is no ability to upgrade flights with any other airlines.
Upgrading is a popular and good value use of Avios in many loyalty programs. Unfortunately, this is less so with Iberia Plus. The Avios rates are good – they are based on the difference to redeem an award in the respective cabins. But the fares that can be upgraded are limited to just the highest cash fares. Only economy fare with booking codes Y, B, and H can be upgraded to premium economy. And only premium economy fares with booking code W can be upgraded to business.
The table below shows off-peak upgrade rates for Iberia.
This upgrading system differs substantially from that offered by British Airways Executive Club. Using Avios there, flights operated by British Airways, Iberia, and American Airlines can be upgraded using Avios (but the ticket must be sold by British Airways). The upgradeable fare codes are more generous, meaning you can get much better value.
Pay for a ticket using Avios and money
With all Iberia and British Airways Avios flights, you have the option to use less Avios and pay more of the fare in cash. This is not generally as good value, but it is a useful option to access award availability if you are short of Avios or want to keep them for other tickets.
Use Avios for hotels, car rentals, and other experiences
You will usually find the best value by using Avios for flight bookings. Iberia Plus also offers the option to use Avios for hotel booking, car hire, and holiday extras or activities. This is handled through a single booking portal, and you will be presented with various options using different combinations of Avios and Money. Always check the value you are getting here against alternative prices and sources.
Are you a regular user of Iberia Plus? What are your preferred ways to spend Avios? Feel free to discuss Iberia Plus, and how it compares to other Avios-based programs, in the comments section.
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- Madrid Barajas Airport
- Year Founded:
- Airline Group:
- Javier Sánchez-Prieto