Great Business Class Award Availability To Europe, Starting At Just 53,000 Points Roundtrip

It can be tough to use miles right now at a decent rate, especially for business class travel to Europe. It can be tough to use miles even in normal times with a oneworld airline for travel to Europe because American Airlines releases so little saver space and British Airways awards come with insane cash co-pays (like $1500 roundtrip) as a penalty for using your miles.

There’s one place to look if you want to use American AAdvantage, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, or British Airways Executive Club points to Europe. (If you’re using miles from Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles, you’ll actually pay lower fuel surcharges for those British Airways awards.) That place is Iberia which is very good about releasing two business class award seats from 6 U.S. cities when booking six months or more in advance. Unfortunately you won’t find the space from the West Coast.

Right now you can find good availability for two saver business class awards out of New York JFK, Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Washington Dulles, Miami and Dallas – Fort Worth to Madrid. And Iberia offers connections beyond Madrid as well. In some cases you’ll find availability nearly every day in February but here I’ll focus on availability calendars closer to when many will want to travel (you’ll have to wait a month or so to book for peak summer 2023).

Here’s a sample of availability calendars for a few routes, but remember there’s great availability out of Chicago, Dallas, and Washington DC as well.

New York JFK – Madrid, 2 passengers business class

Boston – Madrid, 2 passengers business class

Miami- Madrid, 2 passengers business class

Pricing:

  • American AAdvantage charges 57,500 miles each way and includes connecting flights to your international gateway in the U.S. and flights within Europe beyond Madrid on Iberia for that price (provided saver space is available on those as well)

  • For the transatlantic flights only Iberia charges just 34,000 miles each way in business class for the shorter flights from the Northeast, 85,000 miles

  • British Airways Executive Club has reduced its pricing for Iberia redemptions, obviating the need to transfer British Airways Avios over to Iberia Avios in order to book.

  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan charges 75,000 miles each way between the U.S. and Europe in business class on Iberia.

Chase, American Express, Citibank, and Capital One all partner with at least one of the Avios airline programs (BA, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Qatar Airways) allowing you to move points to other Avios programs. One great upside here is that you can take advantage of a transfer bonus into one program and book through another.

For instance, Chase has a 30% bonus on transfers to British Airways through July 31, which gives you the opportunity to book roundtrip business class on Iberia for as little as 53,000 Chase points.

Last month there was even a 40% bonus on transfers to Qatar Airways which would have made redemptions for as little as 49,000 points possible. Back in April there was a 40% bonus on transfers from American Express Membership Rewards to British Airways as well.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. While appreciating the optimism, just because the AA calender shows 57.5 dates doesn’t mean those are on Iberia and not on BA metal through LHR with high fees. You really have to drill down to see the actual availability per day.

  2. @DaninMCI – This search was for non-stop flights only. That excludes BA flights which are via London. When first pulling up the calendar there was a lot more availability (pretty much every day). I did drill down to verify that this wasn’t BA space generally as well.

  3. @ Gary – While appreciating the optimism, last time I flew Iberia the plane was disgustingly filfthy. Seats are pretty weak.

  4. Trying to find ways to book business class award seats to India for next year for our family of 3 (Me+wife+5 year old child) where we can all be on the same flights through American aadvantage miles (I purchased a huge stash during last years charity donation deal!). Used to be easy enough until a few months ago when Qatar would consistently release 4 award seats on many routes between US to Doha then Doha to cities in India. Every single flight on their airline (even short ones like Doha to Kuwait) now seems to be capped to 2 award seats released in business. Finnair (where taxes/fees charged by AA is much lower than BA/Iberia) also now seems to only have one or two seats released on every single flight of theirs when I did manage to book JFK – ARN – HEL – DEL round-trip award seats in business for the 3 of us in October of this year back in April.

    The one remaining option that still seems to have many dates for next year with 3+ award seats in business is on BA metal where we also get privilege of paying about $1500 per person on a round-trip itinerary such as JFK – LHR – DEL! Options have really dried up since last year or we have to split up and fly separate flights!

  5. Nowadays American Airlines is playing games with their connecting flights if you do not live in international gateway cites both on departure and arrival. For exemple in the past I was able to fly AA to LAX first to connect with Air Tahiti Nui in business to CDG without issues. Today although in April 2023 Air Tahiti Nui had space available in business, both ways, AA out of Phoenix and back has no availibility in any class unless you book a separate ticket ( 34.000 miles for PHX-LAX flight#767 in first as an example). All of a soudain what should be a 57.500 miles redemption becomes a 91.500 miles award. In business although British Airways has expensive fuel charges the differential between flying direct from LHR to PHX (Airbus 350 new business seats) is only an extra $250 over the $156 (about) I pay flying out of Europe in business and I do not have to put up with the connecting flights lack of availibility. In the West I have never been able to secure a business award to Europe and back on AA unless I am willing to connect on the East Coast (Iberia has availibility in Miami, nothing in LAX). Who wants to be flying domestic first class for 5 hours before or after an 8 1/2 hours mediocre business flight across the pound ! Regardless, thanks for sharing.

  6. @Courcoison – Flights between PHX and LAX are cheap, you can get one ways for $50-$60. Unfortunately that is just the way things go when using miles, I end up buying positioning flights all the time because of poor domestic availability with everyone, not just AA

  7. @Albert – Indeed l agree with you. The extra cost of positioning flights further help justify the extra fuel surcharge expenditure on British Airways direct flights between LHR and PHX in business not to mention saving time.

  8. This is great, but what happens when you need to cancel or change an award ticket with Iberia? You have to fill out a feedback form on the website and wait. And call and call. It’s been over 3 weeks (!) Since I canceled my award ticket and they still have not refunded my miles or taxes. I could not rebook for this reason. A SIMPLE transaction like a miles refund takes months with Iberia!!! If you are even successful!! Beware. Unfortunate.

  9. Pathetic. The fact that AA can even get away charging 57000 miles one way says, screw the FF.
    Absolutely pathetic

  10. Lack of flights in one direction or the other from popular cities to AA gateway cities is common in Flyover Country, so positioning flights or driving is a common occurrence. In 2019, I absolutely could not find outbound seats from our city to a gateway to get to or from Paris, but I could find them on a return from Bologna. The solution was to plan a trip that went from Paris to Bologna and drive three hours to Central Illinois, as they had flights to DFW, BMI-DFW-CDG. (I actually had a choice of cities I could do this from (Bloomington, Champaign, or Evansville, IN.) Of course, that left the car stranded in Bloomington, but parking is free there, so there was that upside. On return, I took a train to Bloomington and retrieved the car. A bit of a pain, but for three tickets on miles, not bad. (We could have also all taken the train to Bloomington and not had to retrieve the car, but Amtrak is notoriously unreliable, so I wasn’t going to chance missing the outbound flight on a transportation method that makes the airlines in summer look like a finely-tuned clock.)

    The idea that you should be able to fly from anywhere, to anywhere, last minute, for minimal miles in business class is just entitlement to the nth degree.

  11. @coolah. Man no offense but I don’t get this kind of thinking. Honestly. I get the outrage when Delta charges literally 400,000 miles a ticket to go to Europe. But even then I kind of say what the heck? I shop at Publix a lot nobody ever gives me free milk. I just look at the miles as a freebie. I could never fly business class without using miles. Can’t afford it. Miles are so easy to obtain nowadays with credit card bonuses anybody can play the game but most people don’t bother. Maybe you’re a veteran and remember the days when it was a lot cheaper. Me? I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I just picked up two Iberia tickets using British Avios. 9+ hours with hopefully decent food and wine and a lay flat seat for 150 bucks each for taxes etc. I’ll take that all day long

  12. Bitching about AA’s price of 57.5k? Wow. Good luck on United, Delta, JetBlue, SW, Alaska, literally any other program. Lol. Even the price mentioned for Avios in this article is a niche redemption for the nonstop Iberia flight. Have fun with the other FF programs…truly.

  13. If anyone has any tips on how to get miles refunded with Iberia, please advise. This is a simple award ticket cancelation 3 months in advance for one of the routings listed in this article, and they have been unable to process the refund for 3+weeks. Every call simply results in ‘please wait, it is listed as urgent, we are working on it’. Wow really?? Tips anyone?

  14. This is pretty solid, thanks for the FYI! I was looking for a Europe to US for next spring. Booked MAD-ORD in Business for 34k British Airways Avios (transferred from Chase with the 30% bonus) + $154 in fees. Not too shabby! Time to plan a positioning flight from ORD!

  15. @Gary: If you book on Iberia it comes up with outrageous (“BA style”) dollar supplements on a Dallas->Madrid R/T business fare. Any idea what is causing this and how to stop it?

    Thks.

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