Despite the merger of British Airways and Iberia into the International Airlines Group, their frequent flyer schemes have remained largely separate. However, in late 2011, the schemes implemented something called “Combine My Avios”, where members could transfer miles between the programmes at will, the only restrictions that both accounts needed to be active (i.e. having bought or earned miles) and open for more than 3 months. Given this, Flying Piggies should definitely have both accounts to take advantage of the following:
No Fuel Surcharges on IB metal redemptions
One of many people’s complaints about BA Executive Club is that they add fuel surcharges, EVEN ON AIRLINES THAT DON’T DO THIS THEMSELVES. It seems a bit odd to me that BA management haven’t simply mandated that IB charge fuel surcharges on Iberia Plus award bookings to close this obvious loophole, but for now that is still the case.
So any time you are thinking of booking an Iberia reward flight, simply “Combine my Avios” and make the booking via Iberia Plus. Besides the obvious destinations in South America, where BA don’t fly and you’ll probably want to fly Iberia anyhow, you can also save quite a bit in fuel surcharges by flying via Madrid to US destinations such as New York, Miami or Chicago.
Double miles on Iberia.com bookings
For those lacking status, this frequent promotion by Iberia can be quite valuable. Booking that LHR-MAD flight through the Iberia.com website can often gain double miles, which you can then move into your BAEC account later.
Discounted redemption options
Iberia almost always have destinations available in central or South America for fewer Avios than the standard redemption rates. This can be quite useful if one of those destinations is on your list of places to visit on holiday. Check back with flyingpiggie.com for regular updates of those discounted redemption options.
BAEC and Iberia are both members of the OneWorld alliance, but who knows if you’ll ever find yourself on one of the following airlines, and will be pleased to earn Avios via Iberia Plus.
Vueling, Avianca, GOL, Royal Air Maroc, TACA
Iberia Plus also has a number of local partners, most of which most relevant to those who live in Spain or visit fairly frequently. As an avid reader of the Economist, though, I look forward to the periods when pretty attractive bonuses are available for new Economist subscriptions.
Iberia Plus also seem to annually run a promotion offering up to 15,000 miles for using 10 separate partners over a 2-month period. With some planning, and perhaps a quick trip to Spain, it’s pretty easy to accumulate those 10 partners and bank those 15,000 miles.
Hotels and Cars
Even if none of the above appeals to you, there are a few examples of where IB+ offers more Avios for the exact same stay.
For Hhonors stays with the Hilton group, BAEC members receive a fixed 500 miles (100 for Hampton), while IB+ members receive 750 miles (150 for Hampton).
For stays with IHG (Holiday Inn), IB+ members receive 1800 Avios for an Intercontinental stay, 1500 Avios at a Crowne Plaza, 1000 Avios for a Holiday Inn stay and 600 for a Holiday Inn Express stay. Contrast that with the miserly 500 Avios BAEC members receive for Intercon, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn stays, with 100 Avios for Holiday Inn Express stays.
At Accor Hotels (Mercure, Sofitel, Novotel, etc.), IB+ members used to receive an amazing 5 miles per euro spent, with double that for Accor platinum members. That ratio has been reduced to 2 miles per euro, which is still double what a BAEC member would receive.
In terms of car rentals, I put almost all of my rentals into IB+, as for any rentals over 2 days the 270-300 Avios a day received in IB+, beats the 3 miles per GBP (or flat 500 miles) received in BAEC for an Avis rental. For other car rental agencies, BAEC isn’t even an option, but it’s easy enough to decide whether your rental is long enough for the 300 per day to be more than the flat rate offered for another airline programme.
So, more than enough reasons to open yourself an Iberia Plus account if you don’t have one already…