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.

    1. purcitron said,


    2. Ben said,

      Do Iberia Avios expire?

    3. scott said,

      Thank you very much!

    4. Jo said,

      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.

    5. Chris said,

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

    6. shaky02dd said,

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

    7. iahphx said,

      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?

    8. Candace said,

      Thanks so much! Worked perfectly!

    9. shon said,

      Can these be used for travel to india. I have aton of avios and mr points

    10. Kirby said,

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

    11. Ron said,

      I can’t get their website to price my award. Very frustrating !!!

    12. Raffles said,

      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 ….

    13. Lantean said,

      I did this yesterday and still haven’t received the miles… :(

    14. Jim F said,

      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!

    15. RS_ said,

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

    16. iahphx said,

      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.

    17. Carl P said,

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

      Enrolled and completed game. Thanks!

    18. Diamond Vargas said,

      @ 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.

    19. Peter said,

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

    20. jo said,

      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.

    21. tucsonbabe said,

      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.

    22. Mrlasssen said,

      Only took about a week to post my 500 miles.

    23. Kenneth said,

      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?

    24. ermintrude said,

      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.

    25. 625 free Avios points for all » MaltaPoints.com MaltaPoints.com said,

      […] But don’t just take our word for it – View From The Wing also provided a succinct analysis of why it’s worth your while. […]

    26. How to Avoid Big Fuel Surcharges Redeeming British Airways Points Across the Atlantic - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

      […] Here’s why fuel surcharges are a big deal, and how having an Iberia account can save you. […]

    27. italdesign said,

      Never got the points on this or the other one.

    28. Kenneth said,

      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.

    29. Add A Comment

    home | top

    View from the Wing is a project of Miles and Points Consulting, LLC. This site is for entertainment purpose only. The owner of this site is not an investment advisor, financial planner, nor legal or tax professional and articles here are of an opinion and general nature and should not be relied upon for individual circumstances.

    Advertiser Disclosure: Many (but not all) of the credit card offers on the site are from banks from which we receive compensation if you are approved. Compensation does not impact the placement of cards other than in banner advertising (we do not currently control the banner advertising on this blog). We don’t include all US credit card offers available on this site. Instead, I write primarily about cards which earn airline miles, hotel points, and some cash back (or have points that can be converted into the same).

    Editorial Note: The opinions, analyses, and evaluations here are mine and not provided by any bank including (but not limited to) American Express, Chase, Citibank, US Bank, Barclaycard or any other company. They have not reviewed, approved or endorsed what I have to say.