ACT NOW: Great Business Class Award Space to Europe Without Big Fuel Surcharges With American and BA Miles

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A lot of American AAdvantage members miss transatlantic award space on oneworld partner Iberia, because Iberia awards don’t appear on American’s website.

Iberia flies between Boston, New York JFK, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and Madrid. And award space booked far in advance is very good in business class right now.

Iberia has a good business class product — fully flat and the Airbus A330s with all aisle access but with seats staggered for density.

Here’s award space for 2 passengers in business class Boston – Madrid for next June.

Even better, here’s the New York JFK – Madrid route.

Also fantastic is availability for Miami – Madrid, another American Airlines hub that’s easy to reach.

Chicago – Madrid isn’t as good, but does offer availability in at least one direction nearly half the days of the month.

Los Angeles – Madrid isn’t available in business class for two or more in June, but availability is quite good in July.

The caveat here is that July 17 is 331 days from now and as far out as you can book awards using American AAdvantage miles. However you can book the rest of the month already if you’re using British Airways, Iberia, Qantas (a Citi transfer partner), Cathay Pacific’s AsiaMiles (Citi and American Express transfer partner), etc. Otherwise you’ll need to wait a few days.

American charges 57,500 miles each way for business class between the US and Europe. You can add connecting flights in the US (on American or Alaska Airlines) to reach the city with award space to Europe, and you can add onward flights in Europe beyond Madrid to get to your destination.

If you have British Airways points (for instance, transferring from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or takingn advantege of the current bonus to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points), you’d normally pay big fuel surcharges for these awards.

However you can both save miles and avoid giant fuel surcharges by transferring your British Airways Avios to Iberia and booking from your Iberia account.

  1. Open an Iberia Avios account
  2. Earn points in that account in any amount
  3. Wait three months from account opening

Then you’re eligible to transfer from BA to Iberia. Iberia charges lower prices for these flights than BA does, and the fuel surcharges are closer to $50 than $500 when booked via Iberia. The easiest and quickest way to make an Iberia account ‘active’ (having earned points) is to transfer 1000 points in from American Express. This is why it’s good to have an Iberia account, and make it active, so that you can hop on an opportunity to use British Airways Avios without big fuel surcharges for transatlantic travel.

(HT: MileCards)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Thanks for the heads up!! I grabbed 2 ORD-MAD seats and it says it’s operated as a 340-600 in a 2x2x2 configuration. Is this lie flat? I thought they usually ran the A330 on this route with the newest seats. Thx

  2. If I open an account on Iberia, transfer 1000 AMEX points, can I book immediately?

  3. I’ve tried this and the Iberia site is no fun to work with. Never figured it out.

    To get TO Europe any time of year my favorite from DC is Virgin Atlantic’s 17,500 miles one-way to London plus $70. Always wide open. I get back on other airlines because of the steep fees back.

  4. MAD to LAX appears on using Avios thru July 20th (334 days from today) but no further out. Where do you see availability July 21st thru July 30th?

  5. Later in October the last A340-300 will leave the fleet. That means that all long haul planes (A340-600, A330-300/200) will have the same seats, both in economy (with IFE) and business class (lie-flat).

  6. Just a comment about the configuration on the biz class with Iberia (which is the same as many planes on BA) they have a rather awkward back to front seat arrangement. Not only are these seats uncomfortable, except when completely horizontal, if you have a window seat, which I did, you have to step over the legs of the person seated on the aisle if they are horizontal. (Since I am quite short, this proved impossible and I had to wake the passenger up to pass – even with the help of the staff.) If you’re the one on the aisle, you may get stepped on, or disturbed by passing crew.

  7. Iberia charges only 34K Avios each way for JFK-MAD in business class on its own metal during “off-peak” times, a real bargain.

  8. Airbus Industrie A380-800, I think, but British has the same configurations on Boeing 777-200/300

  9. Regarding having to step over someone, I truly hate this. It’s not nearly as bad as what passes for intra-European business class. BUT, minimalism is SO sophisticated in airlines travel

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