For the mileage that most airlines charge to fly in economy, Iberia business class is one of the cheapest ways to get to Europe using miles … in style. Here's your ticket to do it next year for even less.
We alerted Thrifty Traveler Premium members last week to wide-open award availability to fly Iberia business class from the East Coast to Madrid (MAD) through spring and into summer 2023. You can currently book at least two seats most days from mid-January all the way through the spring and into summer on the Iberia flights from New York City (JFK) and Boston (BOS) – with some scattered availability from Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) and Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD), too.
These flights typically start at just 34,000 miles each way whether you book with Iberia or British Airways Avios, which is an absolute steal. But it gets even better if you've got Chase points from a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Thanks to a 30% transfer bonus to British Airways available through July 31, you can book a one-way flight to Madrid next year in lie-flat business class using just 27,000 Chase points … or book a roundtrip for 53,000 points total!
Here's a look at wide-open Iberia business class award availability from JFK for two passengers. Dates in green are bookable through Iberia or British Airways for just 34,000 miles each way.
Thrifty Traveler Premium members get award space alerts like this one first, along with cheap domestic and international flights.
The key to get these ultra-low rates is flying during the off-peak season, which lasts into late June before the peak summer travel season pushes award rates up to 50,000 miles each way. But there's also two or more business class seats on many of these summer Iberia flights – and depending on which airline you book with, you can book as far out as mid-July 2023.
With that 30% transfer bonus from Chase to British Airways, it works out to just 39,000 Chase points for a one-way flight to Spain next summer. You can't beat that.
Even at 34,000 Iberia Avios each way – or 68,000 Avios roundtrip – it's cheaper than what most airlines charge for economy, making it one of the best deals in points and miles. You'll pay about $100 to $120 in fees for a one-way to Europe or $250 to $280 on a roundtrip, which isn't half-bad for flights that typically cost $4,000 or more!
For years, Iberia has been the go-to way to book these flights to score those savings as British Airways Avios tickets tacked on some hefty fees. But no more. British Airways recently eliminated all of its additional taxes and fees from these award tickets, matching exactly what Iberia itself charges. That simplifies the process of booking these 68,000-mile business class awards, as you can skip Iberia's wonky IT and do it straight through British Airways.
Don't have Iberia or British Airways miles? You can get them easily: British Airways is a Chase transfer partner as well as an Amex transfer partner and Capital One transfer partner while Iberia partners with both Chase and American Express. That means you can send points from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the American Express® Gold Card, The Platinum Card® from American Express, or the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card straight to your accounts. Both transfer on a 1:1 basis.
Some of the best availability has dried up since we first sent this to Thrifty Traveler Premium members last week, but there are still plenty of flights available – especially from New York and Boston. Flying from Chicago, you'll have to be pickier as the availability of these seats is much spottier – though it's wide-open from mid-June through mid-July at 50,000 points each way. And while you can book flights from Washington, D.C.-Dulles at these rates, that seasonal service doesn't restart until late March 2023.
You could also fly out of Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) or Miami (MIA) for higher award rates, starting at 42,500 miles each way.
Thrifty Tip #1: Don't live in Chicago, New York, or Boston? Consider booking a positioning flight using cash – or miles – to get there and hop on your business class flight. And even if you don't want to spend time in Spain, you could use this award to get across the Atlantic and then fly on elsewhere for cheap!
After two-plus rough years of European travel, things have really opened up. Many countries have dropped all COVID-19 entry restrictions, while others like Spain require just proof of vaccination to get in – you won't need a supplementary COVID-19 test to get in nor a negative test to fly home. Proof of recent recovery from COVID-19 also works for entry to Spain.
Luckily, both Iberia and British Airways makes it cheap and fairly easy to change plans if need be. Iberia charges a flat $40 fee to change the dates of your flight or cancel to get your miles back, while British Airways charges $55 apiece. So you could lock in a trip as far out as next summer with this amazing glut of award space then reconsider later on if necessary.
Keep reading for more instructions, or just read our complete guide to booking business class flights using Iberia Avios. Otherwise, it's worth booking through British Airways instead.
Iberia business class may not win win awards for the world's best business class, but it's more than competitive with other airlines' business class seats. It's a comfortable lie-flat bed for the seven-plus hour flight across the Atlantic with some really good meals onboard … all for the typical price of flying economy.
Read our full review of Iberia business class from Chicago to Madrid.
Flying out of Chicago, New York City, or Miami, you'll even have access to American's Flagship lounges, which are among the best business class lounges in the U.S. And Iberia has its own lovely lounge in Madrid for international business class departures.
Read our full review of the Dallas Flagship Lounge!
How to Book
Iberia is a member of the Oneworld alliance, so there are a number of ways you could book.
One option is using American AAdvantage miles. But the airline charges 57,500 miles each way, so you'll use up a bigger part of your balance as well as some extra fees. Those fees were truly atrocious with British Airways for many years … but not anymore.
With low mileage rates and moderate fees, British Airways and Iberia are both great ways to book. Critically, you can book Iberia awards up to 361 days in advance and up to 355 days with British Airways – bringing us all the way to early July 2023. Neither sites are spectacular, but British Airways probably gets the nod here as a smoother booking process.
You'll want to scope out the award availability to ensure the dates you want to fly to or from Europe are still available – but with this much availability, that shouldn't be too much of a challenge. If you want to be sure, searching through American Airlines for flights available at the 57,500-mile rate is a good place to start – if it's bookable at that price, it should be good to go with Iberia or British Airways.
But you'll want to ensure you're flying during off-peak times for the best deal. Fortunately, Iberia is incredibly generous with what's considered off-peak next year. Only dates in red will incur a higher charge.
From there, follow the link to Iberia's award search tool. Other search platforms on Iberia's site will not function correctly. Iberia doesn't always play nice with airport codes, so you may want to type in the city name (“Chicago”) rather than ORD. And be sure you search for as many seats as you need and tick the “My dates are flexible” box.
Get a “restricted access” error? Iberia's award search tool has a nasty habit of logging you out. Log back in and repeat the process – the second time should be the charm. Scroll through the dates and pick the nonstop Iberia business class flight that works!
You'll pay a bit more for the longer flights from Miami (MIA) at 42,500 Iberia Avios each way, but it's still a bargain.
With British Airways, it's a much cleaner process to find the flights you want once you've located award space through American. Log into your British Airways Executive Club account, click “Book” and “Book a flight with Avios,” and you're where you need to be. Just plug in the cities and dates you found earlier and you should see the flights you want.
Once you've found the flights you want, it's time to transfer your points and book!
Still need help? Check out our step-by-step guide on how to book these flights!
This is a great chance to book a trip this year or next to Europe in some serious style on the cheap. Iberia offers the cheapest way to fly business class to Europe.
Use this wide open award space to lock in a trip to Spain next year in style!