Fly to Europe for 25,000 Miles in Business Class, Plus Award Space Update, and More!

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The 40% Amex Iberia transfer bonus is here again.

Amex also extends the same bonus to British Airways and Aer Lingus, but the best Unicorn-like way to use this bonus is flying Business Class on Iberia. Flights between the U.S. and Madrid start at 72,000 Avios per round trip. That’s already quite generous, and that’s before the bonus. Of course, you can book a one way flight at 50% cost. Iberia flies to 5 U.S. cities:  New York, Boston, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles.

The Amex 40% bonus to Iberia puts this generous proposition into the it-blows-my-mind category.

Iberia Plus cost for flights between the U.S. and Madrid with the 40% Amex Iberia Transfer Bonus

The following tables give you the total Avios required for a one-way flight plus cash outlay that includes taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges. Please note that your actual mileage will be slightly better. I rounded up to thousands, but you can transfer as few as 250 points, so transfer exactly as many points as you need.

OFF-PEAK PRICES

City Economy Blue/40% Amex Bonus Economy Full/40% Amex Bonus Premium Economy*/40% Amex Bonus Business/40% Amex Bonus
NYC, Boston, Chicago** 17K/13K +$74 22K/16K +$74 25.5K/19K +$74 34K/25K +$86
Miami**, Los Angeles*** 21,250/16K +$84/$95 27,750/20K +$84/$95 31,750/23K +$84/$95 42.5K/31K +$95-$106

PEAK PRICES

City Economy Blue/40% Amex Bonus Economy Full/40% Amex Bonus Premium Economy/40% Amex Bonus Business/40% Amex Bonus
NYC, Boston, Chicago 20K/16K +$74 28K/20K +$74 35K/ 25K +$74 50K/36K +$86
Miami, LA 25K/18K +$84/$95 35K/25K +$84/$95 43,750/32K +$84/$95 62.5K/45K + $95/$106

* No PE from Los Angeles

** From Chicago and Miami, the taxes/fees are $84 for Economy and PE and $95 for Business

*** From LA: $95 for Economy and PE and $106 for Business

Just think about it: even the highest-priced Business Class flight from Los Angeles to Madrid in PEAK (an 11-hour-long flight) would cost you less than 100,000 Amex points per round trip!

Iberia PEAK and Off-PEAK dates

Unfortunately, Iberia has loaded its calendar only until March 2020. I don’t know when they are going to update the calendar, but you can find it here.

40% Amex Iberia Transfer Bonus to use on off-peak travel

The Iberia Avios PEAK and Off-PEAK calendar until May 2020 (PEAK dates are shown in the red)

In reality, though, it doesn’t matter since Iberia allows you to book 361 days ahead. With some trial and error, I’ve determined that the 2020 Iberia OFF-PEAK season (with the exception of a few dates) extends to June 18. How? By some old-fashioned tedious manual work. June 17 gives you this.

While June 19 gives you this (there is no Business Class availability on June 18, but the Economy seat price shows it’s still OFF-PEAK).

40% Amex Iberia Transfer Bonus works for PEAK travel too

The Iberia Off-PEAK calendar extends until June 18, 2020

I’ve mostly checked flights originating in New York, and found that you can book most of them (but not all) until the end of the schedule at Off-Peak levels!

Now should you check some later dates on the Iberia site, like June 29, you might rejoice at what you initially see, because that page may show you the Economy rates starting at 17,000 Avios, at which point you might decide that this is an OFF-PEAK date too, but — well — no.

Slight discrepancies in the Iberia Avios search engine

 

The Iberia award booking engine is not terrible (much better than British’s, IMHO), but that’s not to say you won’t find some discrepancies. And, by the way, their Monthly Views button is completely useless — perhaps a placeholder for something awesome that will materialize one day.

In any case, Spain is beautiful in late Spring and June, right before the sizzling summer heat and armies of European vacationers hit the country in full force.

Iberia Business Class availability

Iberia is an old-fashioned airline. What I mean by that is that you have a better chance of booking your Business Class seat if you try well in advance. It’s not easy to find a seat just a few days or weeks out. Having said that, there might be a chance to score one or 2, but the earlier you book — the better.

I’ve checked departures from all five U.S. cities and found Business Class availability to be good to excellent, often for 2 and more people, unless you live in Chicago. From Chicago, Business Class award space is not easy to come by, and your best chance — if you were booking today — would be July. That would be PEAK season, of course, but with the Amex 40% bonus you would still be looking at 36,000 points one way. At the time of writing, availability seems to be the best from NYC, followed by Miami, Boston, and Los Angeles.

How is Iberia Business Class?

First of all, it’s a great hard product! It’s a staggered 1-2-1 Solstice seat with a very comfortable ottoman for your feet. In terms of the food and service, suffice it to say, you need to manage your expectations. But again, as a Business Class seat/bed, I don’t think if it gets any better than this. One thing I really hated about Iberia is that they give you 4 MB of free WiFi. 4 MB of free WiFi is absolutely nothing! I’d rather they didn’t offer any “free” internet, because this is really a bad form. I can’t imagine that cash-paying passengers don’t get pissed of by this “free” offer.

40% Amex Iberia Transfer Bonus lets you fly cheaply in one of the best Business Class seat in the world

If you’re flying solo, try to get a window seat (not just for the window but for more privacy, too)

You get an ottoman rather than footwell, which is wide and comfortable

The seat was pretty comfortable in the bed mode, but you don’t get a duvet

To recap

The 40% Amex Iberia transfer bonus allows you to get a Business Class award for just 25,000 Amex points from New York, Boston, and Chicago during the OFF-PEAK season. The most expensive deal is 45,000 points from Los Angeles during the PEAK season. The taxes and fees including the fuel surcharge range between $86 from New York and Boston and $106 from Los Angeles. Let’s look at it in perspective.

  • American Airlines and United start from 57,500 for flights to Europe.
  • Delta starts at 85,000.

While you can argue that these airlines fly from more U.S. hubs to multiple European destinations, I think anyone would agree that finding award space with any of the Big Three at a Saver rate is far from easy. With Iberia, it might make good sense to take a positioning flight to whatever hub is available and fly to Madrid even if you have another destination in mind. Flights in Europe can be dirt-cheap, or you can use trains or Avios to get to your final destination.

And of course, you can transfer your Iberia Avios to BAEC if Iberia doesn’t work out for you.

So are you going to transfer Amex points to Iberia Avios?

I am. The only thing I’m not sure about is whether for 1 or 2 round trips. It’s difficult for me to plan far ahead.

 

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4 Responses to Fly to Europe for 25,000 Miles in Business Class, Plus Award Space Update, and More!

  1. HoKo says:

    So let’s say I live in DCA and final destination is CDG…are they going to charge me separately for the DCA-BOS/JFK and MAD-CDG segments?

    • Andy Shuman says:

      They are, and you’ll have to call, can’t book it online. Which is why I’d book separately DCA-JFK, and MAD-CDG. It’s gonna cost you peanuts, and you’re already saving big on the main portion of the flight. Also book MAD-CDG on Iberia, but with BA Avios to save some cash).

  2. Glenn says:

    Great stuff, thank you

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