Get These 50 Free Miles, and Save Hundreds of Dollars

Fuel surcharges can be astronomical when redeeming British Airways points.

Transatlantic award flights can set you back over $600 in fees on top of the mileage cost of your tickets and on top of the usual airport and international taxes.

British Airways points are fantastic for short, non-stop domestic flights. And also for short non-stop flights between the US and South America: no fuel surcharges.

It’s somewhat ironic that flying to Europe on this flagship European airline is so costly.

But there are three primary ways to avoid big fuel surcharges when using British Airways points to fly across the Atlantic:

  • Air Berlin doesn’t file fares for paid travel with fuel surcharges, so there are no fuel surcharges redeeming British Airways points for Air Berlin travel.
  • Aer Lingus fuel surcharges are negligible. And the flights from Boston to Dublin and Shannon are quite short, so the mileage cost is low, too — just 12,500 points each way in economy and 25,000 points each way in business class.
  • When redeeming Iberia Avios for Iberia flights, the fuel surcharges are low. It’s possible to transfer British Airways Avios to Iberia Avios if you have an Iberia account that’s been open 90 days and has earned points in some way (such as transferring 1000 points in from American Express Membership rewards). Transfer BA to Iberia, redeem for Iberia flights, save on fuel surcharges.
  • This third option is a neat trick.

    You can then move your British Airways points to Iberia points and redeem those Iberia points for Iberia flights with much lower fuel surcharges — saving hundreds of dollars.

    But how to get those Iberia points you need in the first place in order to have your account considered ‘active’?

    You can transfer 1000 points into Iberia’s Avios program from the US American Express Membership Rewards program.

    Or there is this option for 50 free Iberia Avios points:

    Or you can click here to open the Iberia Newsletter. Scroll 3 pages to the right and you’ll see the Great Avios Conquest. Click start and provide these answers to the 4 questions, “My Shoes,” “La Panza es Primero,” “All of the above,” and “Cash Card.” Then enter your Iberia Avios number and you’ll get 50 points “shortly.”

    50 points. Your new Iberia account will be active. And once it’s 3 months old you can perform “the trick” to save hundreds of dollars leveraging your British Airways points to fly award tickets on Spanish airline and oneworld member (owned by the same parent company as BA) Iberia.

    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. Wouldn’t you know that just 3 days ago I transferred 1000 MR points to open my husband’s Iberia Plus account! Dang.
      Flew Iberia in June JFK-LIS in their flat bed A330, and was impressed with the hard product, service and food. Flat beds were comfortable, AVOD high tech with great resolution, service better than BA F, and food delicious and more palatable than the weird stuff LH serves. It felt like an F product. Will fly them again soon.

    2. does Iberia have good award availability in premium cabins? what is the best way to find that availability?

    3. This is great! Was so sad I didn’t have the right kind of e-rewards account to transfer.

    4. I’ve heard that Iberia Avios’ fuel surcharges are “lower” than BA’s, but I haven’t heard how much lower. Since BA’s charges are generally nuts, half of nuts would still not be a good redemption. Does anyone know, for example, what the fuel surcharge is for a roundtrip Iberia Avios coach redemption from JFK to MAD?

    5. Thanks for this! I have an upcoming redemption on Iberia and was hoping an easy opportunity to initialize my account would present itself.

    6. Iahphx – assume 30 per cent of what BA would charge.

      Of course, you end up in Madrid which may or may not be where you want to be ….

    7. This is great information. I enrolled, obtained an Iberia+ account number, but when I attempt to play “the game,” the webpage doesn’t advance after I select the correct answer (thanks for those!) and hit “confirm”. Has anyone encountered this problema and figured out what to do to get past it and complete the “Quest”? Help!

    8. Awesome!! Need to “prime” the Iberia account. Thank you thank you for this fantastic trick!

    9. Thanks, Raffles. Thirty percent of BA’s outrageous award surcharge will still be more than I will want to pay (and, as you note, the per-flight nature of Avios means you only get to MAD). But, with the 50 free points to activate an account, I can’t think of a reason why NOT to sign up for Iberia Avios. Odds are I’ll never use it, but life (and travel) is unpredictable.

    10. Jim F – I had the same problem with IE11. Then I tried Google Chrome instead and it worked fine.

      Enrolled and completed game. Thanks!

    11. @ iahphx
      I’m not sure it’s even 30%. Just priced out a one-way business class on Iberia’s site, NYC to Madrid for 40k Avios and €68, about $90. A biz class flight to London on the same day was 40k + $438. Definitely much, much lower.

    12. You can also transfer LeClub points to Iberia: 1 Le Club Accorhotels point = 1 Avios.

    13. @iahphx:
      I paid 55,000 avios and $126.40 for JFK-MAD-LIS in business class.
      I had previously taken advantage of the AMEX-Avios bonus transfer offer, so the 55,000 was actually much less.

    14. Thanks so much. This worked liked a charm(assuming the miles post). I have been waiting for a way to initialize my husband and my Iberia accounts so that we can transfer BA miles to them.

    15. My 50 miles have yet to post, three days later. I re-entered all the correct answers, but now when I put in my Iberia Plus account number I get an error message telling me to enter a valid Iberia Plus account number.

      Any idea what to do?

    16. nice article – BTW the DUB/SNN to BOS route is the only transatlantic route that gets the 12.5K mile award redemption I think. Availability is poor on this route though.

    17. I have been corresponding with Iberia_en on twitter. They are now telling me the points will show up after the promotion ends August 31. We’ll see.

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