Iberia as an American Express transfer partner

This summer American Express Membership Rewards added Iberia as a transfer partner in its US program.

For quite some time the oneworld alliance was a real hole in Amex transfer options. Then transfer partner Mexicana aligned itself with American (after falling out of Star Alliance, though some individual partnerships remain), and linked up with oneworld carriers. But their award chart is pretty brutal for many awards.

Now Amex has a second oneworld option in Iberia. While many of their awards are pricey, it not makes sense to compare award charts with Mexicana when looking to redeem on oneworld partners and transfer to the more advantageous program.

Wandering Aramean outlines some of the pluses and minuses in the Iberia award chart.

It’s nothing like having American or Cathay Pacfiic as a transfer partner. And the best transfers for oneworld redemption ln most cases come from Starwood, where the ratio is 1 Starwood point = 2 LAN points plus transfer bonus. But it’s a great new option to have in the arsenal.

Meanwhile, I’m curious to see how this partnership evolves and whether it lasts. There’s some likelihood that Iberia merges with British Airways. If that happens, and the program is folded into Executive Club, I think the option becomes more useful. On the other hand, British Airways has Chase as a co-branded credit card partner and Chase hasn’t been one to share partners other than Continental. All comes down to how the contracts are written, whether it’s possible to partner with Amex while also partnering with Chase. So will the option morph into a British Airways transfer option? Or will the option turn out to be short-lived? (Or will an Iberia-BA deal simply not come to fruition?) All speculation of course.

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. BA has AMEX branded, sterling-denominated cards. Chase is not a retail institution outside of the US so they needed another partner.

  2. BA’s Executive miles plan is next to worthless. The high taxes and security fees associated with flying into LHR and LGW make a “free” roundtrip ticket to Europe cost about $650

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