Edited by: Juan Ruiz
& Keri Stooksbury
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I greatly value the Membership Rewards points that I earn with The Platinum Card® from American Express.
In fact, one of the main reasons I still keep my Amex Platinum card, even though I live abroad, is because of these rewards. Even though I often miss out on some of the card’s benefits, like the monthly Uber credits (which can only be used in the U.S.) or the Equinox credit, I still keep the card year after year because Amex Membership Rewards points are so flexible.
With a number of transfer partners, it’s easy to find ways to utilize them for maximum value. However, I utilize my Amex Membership Rewards points for 1 sole program: Iberia Plus.
One of the reasons I value Iberia Plus Avios so much is because I live in Madrid, Spain, and frequently fly the airline, both around Europe and to/from the U.S. But you don’t have to live in Spain to get a lot of value out of Avios.
Those living in the U.S. can use Iberia Avios to travel between the U.S. and Europe for next to nothing — and at much more affordable rates than many airlines that have switched to dynamic award pricing (read: U.S. airlines like Delta, United, and American).
You can also transfer Avios between a few different Oneworld airlines (under a few conditions), which gives them some added flexibility.
Iberia’s award chart is distance-based, has affordable rates in many instances (especially off-peak), and offers some impressive sweet spots, which I’ll discuss below. So, if you’re the only one who didn’t get to Europe this summer, there’s still time for that fall or spring travel adventure using your Iberia Avios.
Many people shy away from booking award tickets using foreign airlines, and it’s true — it’s not always as cut and dry as booking or flying with a U.S. air carrier. But these tips can help you figure out how to book tickets and get the most out of your Avios.
Iberia’s website is notoriously complicated for booking award travel. But with a little patience and persistence, you can power through the hassle. Although there are a few ways to search for flights using Avios, the best way is to make sure you’re logged into your Iberia Plus account, then use the Fly With Avios search tool.
Follow the directions on the screen, and you’ll eventually get to a screen where you’ll see your options for booking a ticket. I highly recommend keeping the “My Dates are Flexible” boxes checked so you can easily toggle between dates to see availability and Avios cost.
If the Iberia webpage is erroring out or things don’t seem to be working, don’t panic. Come back in a few hours or the next day. The airline’s website is often finicky, and the best way to deal with it is just to take a break and try again later.
The Spanish airline’s off-peak calendar aligns with the Spanish work and school holiday schedule. This means that U.S. travelers may be able to find off-peak deals during months like May, June, October, or November — even around Thanksgiving, which obviously isn’t a holiday in Spain.
Taking advantage of these off-peak moments, like traveling in June when U.S. kids are already out of school but Spanish schools are still in session, or taking a fall break around Thanksgiving, can make visiting Europe way more affordable.
Iberia has both off-peak and peak award redemption dates based on the distance you’re traveling. One of the most valuable is the Band 5 distance group, where you can fly long-haul in business class one-way for just 34,000 Avios.
Although many bloggers love to mention this sweet spot as the flight between New York (JFK) and Madrid (MAD), I find it most valuable that the flight between Chicago (ORD) and Madrid (MAD) is included in this distance band, as Chicago is significantly further away, but isn’t more expensive.
This particular sweet spot allows Midwesterners to fly nonstop, one-way to Europe for some of the lowest award rates out there — even on dates that may be peak in the U.S., such as Thanksgiving, when U.S. airlines’ dynamic pricing award rates may be double, triple, or even 4 times that amount.
Since I grew up in Chicago, I find this redemption particularly useful, as I’m able to bank my Avios and fly my family between Spain and the Windy City at least once per year. If, for some reason, I don’t have enough Avios to fly all of us in business both ways, I opt to fly economy to the U.S. and business on the way back to Spain, where having a lie-flat bed for an overnight flight really makes a difference.
With a difference of just 3,000 Avios for off-peak versus peak travel dates to book an economy Blue award (17,000 vs. 20,000), flying economy during peak dates using Avios doesn’t cost all that much more.
However, you don’t have to be from Chicago or have your final destination be Madrid to take advantage of these award rates. Travelers can stay a night or day in Madrid, then either use Avios or cash to buy an affordable flight to another European hub like Rome, Paris, Vienna, or otherwise.Hot Tip:
Don’t discount flying low-cost carriers in Europe once you’ve arrived in Europe. Most flights are short, under 2 or 3 hours, and you can get amazing deals on airlines like EasyJet or Ryanair. Just make sure to read all the fine print and luggage restrictions so you won’t end up paying additional fees.
You can book Iberia Avios award tickets and get ready to fly with the airline by being aware of the benefits and drawbacks of the airline’s loyalty program.
If you don’t currently hold the Amex Platinum card and you want to build a solid stash of Iberia Avios, consider getting this premium card — and strive for the highest welcome bonus possible.
The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.
When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.
Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus offer of up to 125k (or 150k) points with the Amex Platinum. The current public offer is 80,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)
Regardless of the current public offer, it is highly recommended that you take a few minutes to check if you are eligible for a higher offer. You can look for a higher welcome offer if you follow our key tips, which include using the CardMatch tool, checking the website, or looking for targeted emails.
Once you get your Amex Platinum card, you can start bulking up those rewards and then transfer them to Iberia or other Amex transfer partners.
For anyone who holds a card that earns American Express Membership Rewards, it’s easy to earn points on every purchase. However, since Amex points transfer 1:1 to Iberia, the more points you can earn, the better, so trying to spend in conjunction with your specific card’s bonus categories just means you’ll end up with more Iberia Avios.
Once you have a stash of points you want to transfer, complete the following steps:
Transfers can be as low as 1,000 points and as high as 999,000 points. Amex says transfers can take up to 48 hours, but in my experience, points usually transfer much faster. You should get an email confirmation that you’ve initiated this transfer.
Finally, log into Iberia and confirm your Avios are there. Seeing the new Avios in your account may be instantaneous or take between 12 and 36 hours.
You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Iberia Plus Avios anytime you want at a 1:1 ratio. However, I prefer to bulk up a stash of points, and then transfer them when American Express and Iberia offer a 30% transfer bonus (which occurs 1 to a few times per year). This means for every 1,000 Amex Membership Rewards points you transfer, you’ll earn 1,300 Iberia Avios under the offer at the time of writing.
This is a significant way to gain more value from your Amex points, especially if you’ve managed to build up a solid pile over a period of time. At this time, we aren’t sure when the next bonus period may be, so my plan is to spend and build through the holiday period and hopefully transfer points with a bonus in 2024.
While transferring Amex Membership Rewards is an easy and effective way to get Iberia Avios, U.S. residents also have several other options to earn Iberia Avios:
It may be worth transferring Avios from British Airways to Iberia, as Iberia often charges fewer taxes and fees than British Airways. Avios can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio between Avios accounts. You can also transfer Avios from Aer Lingus and Qatar Airways to Iberia, and Finnair will adopt Avios in 2024.
Do read all the fine print before transferring because there are specific rules in place, such as needing to have both accounts open for at least 90 days before transferring, as well as other requirements.Hot Tip:
British Airways also offers a Household Account where you can pool Avios from multiple family members. Learn more in our detailed guide to airlines and hotels that let you pool points and miles for free.
Cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are excellent credit cards to get if you want to rack up Ultimate Rewards points and transfer them to Iberia. In fact, if you hold either of these cards right now and have a stash of points, Chase is running a transfer bonus where you can currently get 30% more Avios if you transfer before September 22, 2023.
For those really dedicated to flying Iberia or who frequently travel between Spain and the U.S., consider getting the Iberia Visa Signature card. The card doesn’t have an extensive list of benefits, but you’ll earn 3 Avios for every dollar spent on Iberia, BA, and Aer Lingus purchases and a 10% discount on airfare booked through iberia.com/Chase10, along with a welcome offer when meeting the minimum spending requirement.
We’re going to state the obvious here: Earn more Iberia Avios by flying Iberia. Don’t forget to make sure your Iberia Plus loyalty program number is on your ticket. Always double-check your account a few days after flying to see if your Avios banked. If not, save your boarding pass in order to claim.
You can credit Oneworld partner flights, including American Airlines flights, to Iberia by adding your Iberia Plus number to your ticket. Save your boarding pass in case you don’t see the Avios so that you can claim them afterward.Hot Tip:
Looking for more ways to earn Iberia Avios? From additional credit cards to hotel partners and more, you can earn Iberia Avios in a variety of ways.
American Express Membership Rewards is a valuable points currency with a number of transfer partners. But, I find transferring them to Iberia Plus one of the best ways to use them for maximum value. My preferred way to eventually spend them is to fly Iberia in business class between Europe and the U.S. for as few as 34,000 Avios.
If you’re looking for other ways to stock up on Iberia Avios besides transferring Amex Membership Rewards points earned from a card like the Amex Platinum card, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Bilt Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy points also transfer to Iberia Plus, and there are plenty of other ways to earn this lucrative points currency. Finally, make sure to keep an eye out for transfer bonuses so you can get as many points as possible on your transfers.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
Yes, you can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to Iberia Plus Avios. You can also transfer Amex points to other transfer partners, including several different airline and hotel loyalty programs.
Yes, it’s definitely worth transferring Amex points to Avios. Some of the best award redemptions are available when using Iberia Avios to fly off-peak between the U.S. and Spain, especially routes between Chicago (ORD) or New York (JFK) and Madrid (MAD).
Iberia Avios expire 36 months after your last transaction. Transactions include things like flying and crediting a flight to Iberia. You can see when your Avios will expire in your Iberia account, and the system alerts you 2 months in advance so you can complete a transaction and avoid losing your Avios.
Officially, American Express states it can take up to 48 hours. However, it may take significantly less time — it could be immediate or take just a day.
Amex points are best used by transferring them to airlines. Transferring Amex points to Iberia is one of the best ways to maximize their value, as you can get great award rates flying between Europe and the U.S. on the Spanish airline.
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UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.