How to Redeem Flight Rewards with Iberia Avios

For those of us who want to fly business class from Canada to Europe on points and don't mind a layover, Iberia Airlines has a great loyalty program for doing so. Compared to other airline loyalty programs, Iberia Plus Avios redemptions generally require fewer points, charges lower taxes, and have good availability.

Unfortunately, there IS quite a bit of planning to do if you want to take advantage of Iberia's 34,000 or 50,000 Avios + $112 CAD one-way business class redemptions:
  • Iberia doesn't service Canada, so you will need to be able to reach the closest airports they do service. 
  • You will not be able to earn Iberia Avios directly in Canada, so you will need to sign up for the right credit cards.
  • Even if you're able to earn points that convert to Iberia Avios, the process of transferring those points is very strict. 
  • Once you transfer the points, you have to deal with Iberia's terrible website and error-prone flight search engine.
Fear not! It is still very possible to overcome these hurdles and get that sweet, sweet lie-flat seat to Europe. I have compiled a detailed step-by-step guide below on earning and redeeming Iberia flights as a Canadian.

Earning points that convert to Iberia Avios

There are surprisingly a large number of cards that have points that can convert to Iberia Avios indirectly. These generally fall into two categories: cards that earn British Airways Avios points and hotel rewards cards that convert directly to Iberia Avios.

Credit cards that earn or convert to British Airways Avios:
Credit cards that earn hotel points that convert to Iberia Avios:
Note that the hotel points conversion rates aren't as good as the cards earning British Airways Avios, so I would recommend going with the first category of cards first, and using the hotel points to top up.

Transferring points to Iberia Avios

Here is where it gets tricky.

If you are transferring your points from hotel points programs, you can usually do so through their websites.

If you're transferring from British Airways Avios, there are a few rules to keep in mind.
  1. Both your British Airways Avios account and Iberia Avios account need to be active for 90 days before you can link the two, so you should register for these programs online as soon as possible.
  2. Your Iberia Plus account needs to have qualifying points activity in it to be linked to your British Airways Avios account. The easiest way to do so as a Canadian is to go through the IberiaPluStore and make a small purchase (e.g. AliExpress). Otherwise, you can transfer 3,000 Marriott points to 1,000 Avios or 5,000 Best Western points to 1,000 Iberia Avios (this isn't my preferred method as I prefer to save my hotel points for other redemptions).
  3. Once the 90 day mark has passed, go to your British Airways Avios account. You should see Manage my account > Combine my Avios, which allows you to link your Iberia Avios account.
One Mile At A Time has a detailed guide with screenshots, although note that some of the methods to generate activity aren't necessarily available for Canadians.

Redeeming Iberia Avios for business class flights

First, make sure you're able to get to Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK), or Boston (BOS) as Iberia operates direct business class flights from these cities. There is only one daily flight from Chicago and Boston, whereas there are two daily flights from New York, so you will likely find more availability if you use JFK airport as your connection. 

Note that all of the flights above are in the late afternoon (5pm or later), so you should book a connecting flight that arrives in the early afternoon.

When searching for availability, make sure you're on the right webpage as their regular flight search engine is pretty awful and often times out. You will also need to enter a captcha every time you change one of your search parameters, which is extremely annoying.

Once again, One Mile At A Time has provided a detailed post with screenshots.

As a proxy for Iberia reward availability, you can also use the AAdvantage search engine although it generally shows American Airlines flights first rather than Iberia flights.

There you have it. If you are flexible with connections and are able to plan at least 4-5 months in advance, Iberia is definitely a great option to fly business class to Europe on points!