Spanish flag-carrier Iberia will begin flights to Cairo in 2020, giving Oneworld frequent fliers an exciting new redemption option for flights to visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings, or simply explore the Middle East’s largest city.
Details Of Iberia’s New Route To Cairo
Iberia will operate the route using an Airbus A319 between Cairo (CAI) and Madrid (MAD) four times weekly starting March 2, 2020. The aircraft is configured with 141 seats between business (typical European-style with blocked middle seat) and economy cabins. At over a 5+ hour blocked flight time, that is a fairly long flight for such a small aircraft.
Iberia will compete with Star Alliance-member Egyptair on the route. This is actually a return to Cairo for Iberia: they served this route until ending it in 2014.
Cairo International Airport is the second busiest airport in Africa and serves as the primary gateway to Egypt.
Egyptair is headquartered in Cairo and offers flights to over 75 destinations. Other Star Alliance carriers flights include Lufthansa (Munich and Frankfurt), Aegean (Athens), Austrian (Vienna), Saudia (Abha, Dammam, Jeddah, Medina, and Riyadh), and Turkish (Istanbul).
Oneworld Service To Egypt
In contrast, Oneworld currently only offers two services to Cairo, from Heathrow Airport (LHR) by British Airways and Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) by Royal Jordanian.
Qatar Airways, once a major carrier into Egypt, has suspended all flights due to the ongoing Gulf blockade.
By adding Iberia’s service in March 2020 and Royal Air Maroc’s expected elevation to Oneworld in mid 2020, the alliance will significantly increase service to Cairo.
Redemption Opportunities For North American Oneworld Fliers
This is a welcome addition for Oneworld frequent fliers currently hit with high surcharges from British Airways for flights through London Heathrow or an inconvenient routing through Amman.
Luckily, Iberia charges significantly more reasonable fuel surcharges on their flights than British Airways, allowing fliers with American Airlines and other Oneworld airlines to keep their money to spend at their destination. With Royal Air Maroc’s rapidly expanding network in the US, their addition next year to Oneworld will provide further opportunities for redemptions to Africa.
Iberia flies direct to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco (seasonal), Miami, and New York from its Madrid hub. American offers flights to Madrid from most of its hubs in the US, giving fliers from those cities to visit Cairo with a convenient one-stop connection in Madrid where they can check out the Iberia Velázquez VIP Lounge.
American charges 40,000 AAdvantage miles in economy and 75,000 in business for flights from North America to Africa.
The flights can also be booked using other Oneworld currencies including Iberia Avios, a transfer partner for American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards.
If you’re planning a trip to Egypt next year, consider routing your flight through Madrid using Iberia and American Airlines. While not the most comfortable flight on board an A319, more redemption opportunities is only a good thing.
Have you visited Egypt? Are you considering a trip? Let us know in the comments.
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