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As an active member of the Award Travel 101 Facebook group and a recent addition to the moderator team, a question I see frequently is, “How do I get the best value from my points and miles?”
One of the easiest ways of leveraging your rewards for higher values is to utilize partner award programs, which often charge fewer miles than the loyalty program for the airline you are flying, especially here in the U.S.
Registering for Iberia Plus is one of the ways you can save on short-haul domestic flights, but it can be a challenging program to use. The website is often broken and the registration process is less than straightforward. However, it still may provide you with ways to cut your points usage on select routes.
Here's how to register for an Iberia Plus account, plus a few ways to get exceptional value from your Iberia Plus Avios points.
Registering for Iberia Plus
Visit Iberia's website and click the “Login/Registration” link.
Follow the link titled “Register” at the bottom of the page to begin the registration process. Most users will want to skip the “Second last name” field as it can add complications down the line.
When I first registered for Iberia Plus, you could not complete your registration without entering your passport number. Unfortunately, they didn't make it clear that Spanish Passports have three more digits than their American counterparts, but this won't be a problem you run into thanks to the new registration process.
Now that you have registered your Iberia Plus account, we'll run through what you need to know before you dive in and try to book an award. You can transfer points in from partners like American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards straight away, but for the first 90 days your account is open, you can't transfer Avios to Iberia from your British Airways or Aer Lingus accounts. We also run through a few quirks in our post covering how to transfer Avios between British Airways and Iberia accounts.
Once you've registered for Iberia Plus, there are two other issues that appear to cause members the most trouble, one of which you can't fix via the typical channels (and seemingly, neither can Iberia). It relates to Advance Passenger Information. You can locate more details regarding Advance Passenger Information here. For members located in the United States, the following information is required for all passengers traveling in or out of the country:
- Passport information including:
- Passport number
- The country issuing the passport
- Passport expiry date
- Name (as it appears on the passport)
- Date of birth
- Residency card. Passengers with residency in the United States should also present this card.
- In addition, passengers flying to the United States must present the following information:
- Country of residence
The two things that cause most registration problems are:
- Passport Number
- Date of birth
1. Passport Number
In the image above, you see the country of origin and a NINE digit passport number highlighted in yellow. Spanish passport documents are listed as TWELVE digits. Therefore you'll get an error when entering your nine-digit number because the website won't let you proceed until you've entered all 12 numbers. The solution is to enter the three characters USA before entering your passport number, followed by the identification number listed on your passport, and you should be able to proceed.
2. Date of Birth
This is a quirk of the website and, to our knowledge, there's nothing you can do about it. While I didn't have a problem when I registered two years ago, both my wife and a good friend recently had this issue. There is speculation that Chrome is not the official browser for Iberia and that you should use Firefox. I tried multiple Windows-based browsers (Chrome, Edge, and Firefox) and computers, and I could not get my wife past this step. It took my buddy almost three months before his cleared up, and good luck getting help from customer service!
You may not experience this issue, but when you enter the month of your birthday, it resets the date to the first day of the month and you can't change it. Let me note that unlike here in the U.S., where we record birth dates as Month/Date/Year, Iberia Plus needs to be entered as Date/Month/Year. If you were born June 17, 1985, your DOB on Iberia would be 17/6/1985. The DOB issue would make it 01/6/1985, which is not correct, but it cannot be corrected. One day after multiple attempts, I tried it on a work computer and it finally went through (although I entered the DOB prior to the passport info).
Why You Should Register for an Iberia Plus Account?
In addition to three Chase issued Avios co-brand airline cards, you can transfer points to Avios from Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, or Marriott Bonvoy.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms Apply.
- Rates & Fees
- 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide.
- 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X)
- 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
- 1X on other purchases
- Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
While Iberia doesn't publish its award charts, Drew from Travel is Free has compiled a list of seven Iberia Avios Award Charts that can help demonstrate the value you can extract from this program. In the past, I've taken trips to Atlantic City to leverage Casino Status matches, with the easiest route flying into Philadelphia. Selecting a date a couple months out, round-trip cash fares for the same route run $678 for two people to fly direct.
Since the flight is non-stop, a British Airways award redemption only costs 15K Avios points per person. However, thanks to the distance clocking in at under 600 miles, you can actually book for less using Iberia Plus.
One of the drawbacks of using Iberia Plus on partner awards is the lack of flexibility. If you have to change or cancel, you can kiss your points goodbye. You won't be seeing them back. Of course with AA's new dynamic pricing through the “Web Saver Specials,” the pricing may not appear all too different.
So, why book a flight using Iberia Avios when you can often get the flight for a similar number of AA miles? Why not just book the flight through AAdvantage and save 2,000 award miles? What if you don't have any miles in your AA account?? Transferring flexible point currencies can save your back. Plus, you can also take advantage of the recent 40% bonus on converting Amex Membership Rewards to Avios with a 40% Bonus. With a 40% transfer bonus, you'd now need just over 17K points to fly two people round-trip. That's an incredible deal in my book. What do you think of Iberia Plus?
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees)
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