Trick to Activating Iberia Account for Cheaper Avios Redemptions

by Adam

In a recent Iberia trip report, I noted that I wanted to try out business class on one of Iberia’s A330-300s, but I did not want to spend almost $400 in taxes and fees when using British Airways Avios for the Iberia redemption. By transferring the necessary number of Avios from BA to Iberia, I was able to book the exact same flight (for the same # of Avios) for $212.57…still more than I’d normally spend on a (MAD-JFK) award flight, but almost $165 less than the same redemption with British Airways. Check out this post for more on moving Avios between accounts.

Iberia Miles Iberia Pricing

Now, you can transfer Avios between British Airways (or the genric Avios site) and Iberia, however you need to have had those accounts for 90 days before you can move any points AND you must activate the account by earning at least one point. Hence, the general guidance is to open your Iberia account ASAP as you never know when you are going to need it and you want to get over that 90 day limitation right away. AmEx Membership Rewards points transfer to Iberia, and so cardholders are able to move points over to Iberia to activate the account. A sticking point has been activating an account when someone doesn’t have an AmEx MR account. Cy, a reader from Hong Kong, emailed yesterday with this very cool piece of advice:

I searched around for ways to get a non-zero balance to make the account active. The Iberia shopping portal could take up to 8 weeks from Flyertalk posts for points to post. Buying points was too expensive in my opinion as we only needed 1 point and were not particularly urgent. So i found a suggestion somewhere that said you can book a ferry (has to be the UK site) and earn points. I found a 5 min ferry for 8USD in Greece and the points posted about a day later and then I successfully combined the BA and Iberia accounts. The minor hiccup was that the online portal for booking the ferry didnt seem to have a place for entering Iberia FF number, but I called and they added it. Here’s the offer per the Spanish Iberia page.

Love this, an awesome and cheap workaround with a quick transfer.  Big thanks to Cy for sharing with our readers!

The link to transfer points between British Airways and Iberia can be found here (sign into first).


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[…] British Airways (Chase, AMEX, Starwood transfer partner) and Iberia also offers distance based awards, though they no longer publish award charts. Tip: British Airways Avios can be transferred online to Iberia, which offers the same mileage redemptions… […]


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