Spanish flag carrier Iberia is currently selling gift cards with a discount of up to 10%, meaning that you could easily save the same amount on your next Iberia, Iberia Express or Air Nostrum flight. But you’ll have to be quick, as the discount is only on offer for a short period.
From its Madrid hub, Iberia has an extensive European short-haul network, while the airline focuses its long-haul services on Spanish-speaking countries in South and Central America.
In the United States, Iberia also serves eight destinations, including New York JFK, Miami, and Los Angeles. Earlier this year, Iberia unveiled a new long-haul Business Class suite and Premium Economy seat, marking a serious improvement for an airline that usually flies under the radar.
What’s the deal?
For a limited time, Iberia is running a Halloween sale on gift cards with savings of up to 10%. You can buy gift cards in Euros, US Dollars or Pound Sterling, depending on your location.
The discount is tiered, with the maximum discount of 10% kicking in when you buy a gift card of at least €500 / $500 / £500 in value.
- $£€ 50 = 6% discount
- $£€ 100 = 8% discount
- $£€ 300 = 9% discount
- $£€ 500+ = 10% discount
You can buy a gift card to the maximum value of £2,500 or $3,000 and €3,000 in a single transaction. Gift cards can be used on direct or connecting flights that are operated by Iberia, Iberia Express or Air Nostrum – therefore, you won’t be able to buy gift cards to book a codeshare flight that is sold and marketed by Iberia but flown by another airline, such as British Airways.
It’s also important to note that gift cards purchased during this promotion have to be used by 11 February 2024.
Flights bought with a gift card will earn Avios, but gift card purchases do not earn Avios.
Introducing Iberia Plus
Iberia Plus is the loyalty program of Iberia, and it uses Avios as its reward currency – the same reward currency used by British Airways, Aer Lingus, Vueling, and Qatar Airways. Avios can be used for award flights on Iberia and other Oneworld alliance airlines, as well as partner carriers that also use Avios as a reward currency.
Late last year, Iberia Plus made the change to become a revenue-based loyalty program which means that you now earn Avios based on how much you paid for the ticket rather than the distance you travel.
The basic earning rate is a measly 5 Avios per €1 spent, but if you have elite status, you’ll be awarded a higher earning rate.
Iberia Plus has four tiers of membership:
|Classic / CLÁSICA||€1 = 5 Avios|
|Silver / PLATA||€1 = 6 Avios|
|Gold / ORO||€1 = 7 Avios|
|Platinum / PLATINO||€1 – 8 Avios|
Iberia Plus also has two extra levels of elite status called Infinita and Infinita Prime, but these both earn Avios per €1 spent, which is the same as Platino.
British Airways will be switching to a revenue-based earning method later this year, with the transition expected to take place in October 2023.
Earn extra Avios by flying to Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
One quirk of the Avios earning rates through Iberia Plus is that the program has a slightly higher earning rate for flights operated by Iberia to Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Each tier gets an additional 2 Avios on top of the basic earning rate. So…
- CLÁSICA = 7 Avios per €1
- PLATA = 8 Avios per €1
- ORO = 9 Avios per €1
- PLATINO = 10 Avios per €1
Unfortunately, flights to Puerto Rico are excluded.
How to achieve elite status
To achieve elite status with Iberia, you collect ‘Elite Points’. The number of Elite Points you earn per flight is based on the distance you fly and the type of ticket you have booked.
To reach elite status, you must earn the following number of Elite Points between April 1 and March 31 of the following year:
|Silver / PLATA||1,100 points|
|Gold / ORO||2,250 points|
|Platinum / PLATINO||6,250 points|
If you acquire 12,600 Elite Points in a single financial year, then you’ll be awarded PLATINO status for two consecutive years.
Iberia Plus has two separate tables for working out how many Elite Points you’ll earn per flight. One table is for flights operated by Iberia, Iberia Express, Air Nostrum and Vueling, and the other table is for flights operated by other Oneworld alliance airlines and Binter.
As a member of the Oneworld alliance, Iberia Plus elite status levels match with Oneworld Priority privileges.
- PLATA is the equivalent of Oneworld Ruby
- ORO is the equivalent of Oneworld Sapphire
- PLATINO is the equivilant of Oneworld Emerald
Transfer Avios to British Airways and Qatar Airways
There are some great uses of Avios through the Iberia Plus program, such as bagging great value off-peak Business Class flights between the United States and Europe, but you might also want to transfer your Avios to another program as each airline has its own Avios sweet spots.
Qatar Airways recently adopted Avios as its rewards currency, opening up lots of new opportunities to use Avios, but transferring Avios from Iberia Plus to the Qatar Airways Privilege Club isn’t entirely straightforward.
Avios can be transferred from one program to another at a 1:1 exchange rate, but unfortunately, Qatar Airways Privilege Club isn’t entirely integrated into the Avios ecosystem just yet. Thankfully, Qatar Airways Privilege Club does have an Avios transfer connection with British Airways Executive Club.
The workaround to get Avios from Iberia Plus is to first transfer your Avios to a British Airways Executive Club account and then onwards to a Qatar Airways Privilege Club account.
Although this process sounds convoluted, transfers happen in real-time.
What aircraft does Iberia fly?
Within its mainline fleet, Iberia is an all-Airbus aircraft operator with a mixture of A350, A330 and A320-series aircraft in operation.
The A350-900 now makes up the backbone of Iberia’s long-haul fleet, which makes a more comfortable ride with a quieter cabin, higher levels of humidity and a lower cabin altitude of around 5,500 feet, which can significantly reduce the feeling of fatigue after a long flight.
Last September, the airline took delivery of the first A350 featuring Airbus’ ‘new production standard’. The aircraft features a slightly wider cabin, which could be used to squeeze in an extra seat in every row in Economy – thankfully, Iberia is going to keep its A350 Economy Cabin in a 3-3-3 configuration so passengers will get more room, especially at shoulder height next to the cabin walls.
Iberia’s new Airbus A350 Business Class and Premium Economy
The first A350 in the ‘new production standard’ also debuted Iberia’s new long-haul Business Class seat and Premium Economy seat.
Iberia’s selected the Recaro CL6720 seat as its new Business Class product with a privacy door and direct aisle access at every seat. The cabin features 31 Business Class suites in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration between doors 1 and 2.
I found the cabin to be very ‘beige’, but unlike similar seats, the footwell was quite spacious, allowing for movement while trying to sleep.
The newest A350s also feature a 28-seat Premium Economy cabin, which offers additional privacy due to added ‘wings’ at head height.
Where can you fly with Iberia?
Iberia is starting to focus more and more on its long-haul network with an emphasis on Latin America. Not only are there shared language and cultural connections between Spain and South America, but Iberia’s parent company, IAG, wants to turn Madrid into Europe’s main hub with Latin America.
By this winter, Iberia will serve Latin America with 300 flights per week – around 14% more than before the pandemic.
Last year, Iberia added Washington DC and Dallas to its North American route network and this winter, the airline says it will increase frequencies to several key destinations, including Miami and Chicago.
Introducing the ‘Hola Madrid’ Stopover program
Iberia has relaunched its ‘Hola Madrid’ stopover program, which allows travellers to stopover in Madrid for up to six days at no extra cost.
To qualify for the ‘Hola Madrid’ stopover, travellers must book a round-trip flight with Iberia that includes a connection at their Madrid Barajas hub. You can stay in Madrid for between one and six days.
During your stopover, you’ll receive a free public transit card that offers unlimited use within the city for up to two days, and you can also take advantage of a number of discounts and special offers at hotels, restaurants, and attractions in Madrid.
- You can’t use Hola Madrid to connect to another Spanish destination – for example, connecting through Madrid to get to Barcelona or Mallorca.
- You can choose your stopover on the outbound or return journey, but you can’t stop on both.
- Unfortunately, you can’t get a free hotel room through the Hola Madrid stopover program.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.