British Airways and Iberia Avios
Avios is the currency of British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus. Think of Avios as miles or points.
British Airways and Iberia have a unique partnership. Some of the general principles I’ve written about award travel do not apply if you use British Airways Avios or Iberia Avios to book flights operated by Iberia or British Airways. Everything I’ve taught you about partner award flights goes out the window with these two programs*.
*To be clear, this is only for flights operated by these 2 airlines. British Airways and Iberia are both Oneworld alliance members. This means you can use their loyalty programs, Executive Club and Iberia Plus, to book their own flights plus you can redeem Avios for flights operated by Oneworld airlines such as American Airlines.
British Airways and Iberia have a unique partnership with each other
These airlines are under the same parent company. There are certain conditions that apply, but you can actually transfer Avios between the 2 airline programs. This isn’t really relevant if you’re transferring from Amex since you can transfer Membership Rewards to either of the 2 programs. It is something that I wanted to point out, though.
I want to reiterate that this is not the norm. Generally, you cannot transfer airline currencies to other airlines, including partners. Instead, you can use one program’s currency (such as British Airways avios) to book an award flight operated by a partner airline (such as American Airlines), subject to the rules of the program which which you are booking (British Airways in this example). That’s where this British Airways and Iberia partnership is unique, though. You can actually transfer British Airways avios to Iberia and vice versa.
British Airways and Iberia have distance-based award ticket pricing
A distance based program means that the redemption price is calculated based on the distance between the departure city and the destination city. Distance ranges are divided into tiers and each distance range has an amount of Avios required for a redemption. The best routes with these progams are city pairs that are just under the max distance of a tier.
Every distance based program has different distance ranges and different rules. Also, each program has a different way of calculating distances. For instance, an American Airlines flight booked with British Airways Avios may have a different redemption cost than if you use Iberia to book the same American Airlines flight. You can read more about that in this post. You can read more about different types of award ticket pricing here.
Award pricing for each program
Most frequent flyer programs have an award chart for redemptions on their own flights and then another chart for partner flights. For example, Iberia has a chart for flights operated by Iberia. It has different charts if you are using your Avios to book partner flights.
You can use Iberia Avios to book an American Airlines flight. The program with which you are booking (Iberia Plus) determines the redemption cost, not the program of the airline operating the flight (AAdvantage).
That’s where the British Airways and Iberia partnership is different. Redemption costs are the same on flights operated by either program regardless of the program you use to book.
British Airways Executive Club
British Airways doesn’t officially post a chart, but there has been enough data to establish how they price tickets.
These redemption amounts are per segment.
Using British Airways Avios to book British Airways or Iberia flights:
Using British Airways Avios to book partner flights except Iberia:
It is important to note that zone 1 pricing is not available on flights within the US. AA flights within the US start at 9,000 per segment.
For nonstop economy award tickets British Airways still has better pricing than American Airlines AAdvantage. Here is the old chart for comparison:
Using British Airways Avios to book flights operated by Iberia:
Iberia’s table applies:
Iberia does post its charts, and there are several of them. Iberia has a chart for flights operated by Iberia and then there is a chart for each of its partners, including British Airways. You’ll notice that the chart for flights operated by British Airways is the same as the pricing British Airways uses.
I’ll also include Iberia’s chart for American Airlines, but remember, each partner has its own. Flights operated by other partners, such as Cathay Pacific, seem similar to the pricing for flights operated by American Airlines.
If you are using Iberia Avios to book an Iberia flight:
If you are using Iberia Avios to book British Airways flights, this table applies:
If you are using Iberia Avios to book America Airlines flights, this table applies:
Remember, American Airlines flights booked with Iberia Avios must be booked roundtrip. These redemption costs are for roundtrip award tickets.
When using Avios to book an Iberia or British Airways flight, peak and off-peak dates are determined by the operating airline
British Airways and Iberia each have their own calendars for off-peak dates. When using either program to book flights operated by the other, the airline operating the flight determines the peak and off peak dates. This goes against what I’ve said about partner award tickets with other airline programs.
Not every airline program will have peak and off-peak dates for partner flights, but when they do, the dates are determined by the frequent flyer program with which you are booking. For example, Etihad Guest has off-peak dates for select American Airlines routes. If you are using Etihad miles to book an American Airlines flight, peak and off peak dates are determined by Etihad, not the American Airlines AAdvantage program. Once again, British Airways and Iberia are an exception.
- October 29-December 13, 2018
- January 7-February 14, 2019
- February 19-20, 2019
- February 25-April 4, 2019
- April 24-May 23, 2019
- June 3-July 6, 2019
- September 7-October 11, 2019
- October 15-17, 22-24, 29-31, 2019
- November 5-December 13, 2019
Off-peak dates for Iberia:
- October 12-25, 2018
- November 1-6, 12-23, 2018
- November 27-December 4, 2018
- December 7-10, 19-20, 25-28, 31, 2018
- January 14-March 14, 2019
- March 17, 18, 2019
- March 20-April 11, 2019
- April 14-16, 23-25, 28-29, 2019
- May 2-4, 2019
- May 6-June 18, 2019
- June 21, 2019
- September 16, 2019-October 24, 2019
- October 27-30, 2019
- November 5-December 4, 2019
- December 7, 9-13, 25-26, 2019
Using British Airways Executive Club Avios for British Airways or Iberia flights:
- If you are using British Airways Avios to book a British Airways flight, peak and off peak pricing is determined by British Airways
- If you are using British Airways Avios to book an Iberia flight, peak and off peak pricing is determined by Iberia
The same applies to Iberia:
- If you are using Iberia Avios to book an Iberia flight, peak and off peak pricing is determined by Iberia
- If you are using Iberia Avios to book a British Airways flight, peak and off peak pricing is determined by British Airways
If you use British Airways or Iberia to book other partner flights, there are no off-peak dates
When using British Airways or Iberia Avios to book an award ticket, peak and off peak pricing is not available for Oneworld partners. In other words, there are no off-peak dates if you are using British Airways Avios to book an American Airlines flight. Redemptions using British Airways Avios to book American Airlines flights will always be calculated at peak pricing.
So if the redemption cost and peak dates are determined by the operating flight, does it matter which program you use to book?
As far as redemption costs, booking a British Airways flight or an Iberia flight with either program will result in the same amount of Avios required.
British Airways is notorious for fuel surcharges on transatlantic routes (US-Europe). Iberia also collects fuel surcharges, but sometimes they are significantly more reasonable than British Airways.
Fuel surcharges are different than taxes and fees
Some taxes and fees are collected regardless of which airline issues your ticket. Certain cities in Europe are notorious for these fees. The flight from the US-Europe is not the problem, it’s the return flight. London is the worst. A flight out of London is nearly $200. Try to avoid London.