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Why I Transfer All My Amex and Chase Points to Iberia Avios

Lori Zaino's image
Lori Zaino
Lori Zaino's image

Lori Zaino

Senior Content Contributor

59 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 58U.S. States Visited: 40

Lori is an intrepid traveler who loves creating itineraries that exude “luxe on a budget.” She’s written for CNN, NBC, The Infatuation, and more, and loves to muse about points-fueled trips to Sri Lan...
Edited by: Michael Y. Park
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Michael Y. Park


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Countries Visited: 60+U.S. States Visited: 50

Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and que...

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Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Amex Membership Rewards points are some of the most valuable points currencies out there. And part of the reason why they’re so valuable is their flexibility, as you can transfer these points to a number of airline and hotel partners. I like to keep my options open, of course, but in almost all cases, I always end up transferring my Chase and Amex points to Iberia Avios (they transfer at a 1:1 ratio).

Iberia definitely isn’t the fanciest airline on the list. Their airline’s website is buggy, and it can be tough to book awards. Its product isn’t the most lavish, and the customer service is lacking. So why do I transfer all my points to Iberia Avios? Because it’s a good value.

Simply put, I’m able to fly more for less when I’m utilizing Iberia Avios. I can get between the U.S. and Europe easily and affordably, even more so if my dates are flexible. I can fly business class for a low price and economy for even lower. Although I reside in Spain and fly Iberia’s short-haul flights frequently throughout Spain and Europe, anyone looking to fly between the U.S. and Europe could benefit from moving Chase or Amex points to Iberia.

Here’s what you need to know.

Iberia Avios Partners With British Airways, Qatar, Aer Lingus, Vueling, and Finnair

Iberia is a Oneworld alliance member, but you can also transfer Iberia Avios at a 1:1 ratio between airlines to airlines like British Airways you can then transfer BA Avios to Finnair, Aer Lingus, Vueling, and Qatar). This offers even more flexibility.

Although I usually wait until I have a redemption I’d like to make to transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards points to Iberia (once you move points from Chase or Amex to Iberia, you can’t move them back), I occasionally preemptively move points, like when there’s a transfer bonus. The ability to then move them to one of these other 5 airlines gives me additional flexibility if I can’t find the award availability I need with Iberia.

This gives you an insane amount of flexibility. For example, using Qatar Avios, you can fly from the West Coast to Hawaii for 13,000 points each way on AA or Alaska. Using 8,250 BA Avios, you can fly from Miami (MIA) to select Caribbean hubs that are less than 650 miles away, like Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ), or Grand Cayman (GCM) on AA, or Dallas (DFW) to Mexico City (MEX) on AA for 11,000 BA Avios. Using Iberia Avios, you could fly from Chicago (ORD) to Madrid (MAD) in business class one-way for just 34,000 points, one of my all-time favorite sweet spots of Iberia’s award chart.

I could go on and on, listing all the best redemptions that these airlines offer, but the point is that flexibility here is key. Pair that with Iberia’s low (-ish, at least compared to BA’s) taxes and fees, and it’s the perfect place to transfer my Chase and Amex points to get serious value.

What To Know Before Transferring Avios Between Airlines

I can top up my Iberia Avios account if I need to by moving additional points into the account earned from other airlines. Do note that there are parameters you have to follow, like your name must match on the accounts, and your Iberia account must be open for 90 days and have qualifying activity in the past 36 months.

Hot Tip:

Ready to transfer for your Avios? Here’s exactly how to transfer your Avios among Iberia, British Airways, Qatar, Finnair, Aer Lingus, and Vueling. If you’re starting with Iberia, navigate to the Combine My Avios page and then follow the directions from there.

Chase and Amex Have Transfer Bonuses to Iberia

Occasionally, Chase and Amex have 30% transfer bonuses to Iberia. This can significantly increase the value you get from your points, so keep an eye out for these bonuses, which can happen annually. This is one of the few times it might make sense to preemptively transfer points even if you don’t have a redemption in mind.

Iberia A350 business class seat 3L close up
An Iberia A350 business class seat. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Iberia does have an award chart, so you can get an idea of how many points you’d need for a redemption so you can transfer an adequate amount, even if you’re not 100% ready to book any awards yet.

Fly Between the U.S. and Europe

I already mentioned my favorite sweet spot in Iberia’s award chart, the 34,000-point Iberia business class redemption between Chicago (ORD) and Madrid (MAD), as well as other East Coast hubs. But at 17,000 points off-peak in economy, you can get an incredible deal on that route in a lower class of service, especially if you’ve transferred points with the 30% bonus.

Although rates are higher if you fly from hubs like Dallas (DFW) or Los Angeles (LAX), it’s still an incredibly affordable way to get to Europe and back, even if Madrid isn’t your final destination.

Another great reason to consider transferring to Iberia is if you like to go to Europe in months like June, October, or over Thanksgiving. Many of these dates (even the peak holiday of Thanksgiving in the U.S.) are off-peak on the Iberia award calendar, which means redemptions are more affordable.

Hot Tip:

Currently, I’m earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which gives me 3x points per dollar spent on travel and dining. I’m bulking up my balance of Amex points with The Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers perks like an up to $200 airline fee credit and the Global Lounge Collection, both of which require enrollment.

Fly Short-Haul Flights

Partner awards on Iberia are nonrefundable, so I usually advise only using Iberia Avios to fly on Iberia metal (or transfer them to fly other airlines, which I already mentioned above). If you want to book partner flights, consider transferring Avios to BA or another airline where you can cancel award flights for free or for a small fee.

Iberia Plane
An Iberia aircraft in Spain. Image Credit: Lori Zaino

That being said, using Iberia Avios can be an incredible value, especially during award sales or promotional periods (they often have these on off-peak dates when flying around Europe) or for last-minute trips where cash prices are expensive. For example, trips under 650 miles are priced at 4,500 Iberia Avios one-way, off-peak. When I recently checked cash prices to fly to Lisbon (LIS) from Madrid (MAD) (usually between $60 and $100 one-way) during the weekend Taylor Swift was performing, flights cost nearly $500 each way! So, I used 4,500 Iberia Avios, giving me an incredible cents-per-point value.

If you already have plane tickets to and from Europe but need to fly within Europe (or to a destination that’s not too far away, such as Cairo), compare award prices on Iberia with cash prices to see if it’s worth using your Avios.

Earn More Iberia Avios With the Iberia Visa Signature® Card

If you want to bulk up your Iberia Avios balance in addition to transferring points from Chase and Amex, get the Iberia Visa Signature® Card. It comes with perks like a 10% discount on Iberia flights and a solid welcome bonus offer: Earn 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Iberia Has Its Downsides

Iberia’s website is notoriously buggy, customer service is often nonexistent, and every time I hear “café, té, café, té” droning on a monotonous voice coming from apathetic, unsmiling flight attendant moving the aisle, I wonder if I should really move to SkyTeam.

But then I lean back in my fairly comfortable, lie-flat seat and think twice. Or, I remember that, yes, my legs are smushed into a tiny economy seat, but the transatlantic ticket was a mere 17,000 Avios. Or I recall the time I powered through the glitchy website and made the redemption of a lifetime, and then I realize, yes, I’ll be transferring my Amex and Chase points to Iberia until the end of time (or until they change their award chart).

If you’re struggling with Iberia’s website, close it out and try again tomorrow. If your phone rep just can’t help you, hang up and try again. The deal might just be worth it.

Hot Tip:

To transfer Chase or Amex points to Iberia, you must have an Iberia Avios account. Log in to your credit card account, navigate to your rewards, and click transfer. Then select Iberia from the list of partners and make sure to correctly enter your account information (name and Avios number) before clicking transfer. You must transfer in amounts of 1,000. Timing varies, but the points could appear in your Iberia account immediately or may take up to 48 hours (with Amex, specifically, though they usually arrive faster).

Final Thoughts

Iberia is one of Chase and Amex’s most lucrative partners if you can manage the airline’s website, customer service, and limitations. Once you have Iberia Avios, they’re worth a lot, and you have the flexibility to move them to a few other airlines, too.

Iberia may not be the world’s best airline, but it’s certainly one I’ll be flying for the foreseeable future — and for nearly free, thanks to those Chase and Amex points transfers (and 30% bonuses).

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Amex transfer to Iberia?

Yes, Amex Rewards transfer to Iberia Avios at a 1:1 ratio. Once you move Amex points to Iberia, you can’t move them back.

Is it worth transferring Chase points to Iberia?

Yes, it’s definitely worth it to transfer Chase points to Iberia. They transfer at a 1:1 ratio, and you can get excellent value using Iberia Avios to fly between the U.S. and Madrid or between Spain and many other European destinations.

Do Iberia Avios transfer to British Airways Avios?

Iberia Avios transfer to British Airways Avios (and vice versa). However, there are parameters you need to follow, like making sure your account is open for a certain amount of time, the names on both accounts match exactly, and you have qualifying activity.

Is Iberia a good airline?

Iberia is a safe and reputable airline that’s one of the most punctual in the world. It has recently upgraded its seats and meals on many aircraft, but the airline could stand to improve its customer service and website.

Lori Zaino's image

About Lori Zaino

Lori is an intrepid traveler who loves creating itineraries that exude “luxe on a budget.” She’s written for CNN, NBC, The Infatuation, and more, and loves to muse about points-fueled trips to Sri Lanka, Sicily, and Myanmar.

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