Last week somewhat out of the blue, Chase announced a new and exciting credit card: the Chase Iberia credit card. Iberia so far had a co-branded credit card in Spain, but not in the US. While the announcement came as a bit of a surprise, it is not surprising that Chase is the issuer. They already issue the British Airways co-branded credit card in the US, and British Airways and Iberia have the same parent company, IAG.
They also announced a future Aer Lingus co-branded credit card (Aer Lingus is also part of IAG). One thing that makes the card extra exciting is that the three airlines share the same mileage currency.
Here are the details you need to know about the Iberia credit card before you decide if you want to apply.
The welcome bonus on this card is similar to the current one on the British Airways card – up to 75,000 Iberia miles (named Avios). It is a two-tiered bonus, with 50,000 Avios awarded after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months, then an additional 25,000 Avios awarded after $10,000 is spent within the first year. While the minimum spend isn’t low, $13,000 over a year isn’t a ridiculously high amount either. No matter what, earning the first 50,000 Avios should be a no-brainer.
The card has an annual fee of $95 (not waived the first year). It also doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees.
You’ll earn 3 Avios per dollar on IAG Airlines purchases (not only Iberia but also British Airways, Aer Lingus, OpenSkies, and LEVEL). While that is not a bad offer, it isn’t any better than the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3 points per dollar on travel, transferable to Iberia), and less than the Amex Platinum (5 points per dollar on airline purchases, also transferable to Iberia).
You’ll earn 1 Avios per dollar on everything else.
With this card, you’ll receive 10% off Iberia flights. This is certainly a great benefit if you actually fly Iberia, even occasionally, as it could offset the annual fee pretty quickly. If you travel as a family of two or more, it is very common to spend more than $950 on a round-trip to Europe.
You will also earn a $1,000 Iberia discount voucher every calendar year you spend $30,000 or more in purchases on the card. Note that this is kind of like a companion certificate as the voucher has to be used for two travelers on the same flights, in the same cabin.
Chase’s 5/24 Rule
This card does not seem to be subject to Chase’s infamous 5/24 rule (you cannot get approved for many Chase cards if you open more than 5 new cards within the past 24 months). This makes it a great option for those above the 5/24 threshold.
Avios Are Great For Cheap Awards
Avios are generally a great currency for short-haul flights (e.g. Madrid-Lisbon would only require 4,500 Avios). But Iberia also offers some sweet deals from the East Coast, with economy seats at 17,000 Avios + $77.55 from Boston or NYC to Madrid. You can also adjust the number of miles you want to spend: the same award can be booked as few as 4,250 Avios and $237.55. Business class on the same route starts at 34,000 Avios + $89.84 and can be booked with only 6,800 Avios and $629.84.
Even for domestic flights on American, Iberia awards can offer tremendous value, starting at 11,000 Avios round-trip (when American would charge 25,000 AAdvantage miles). Be careful, however, as only awards on Iberia and British Airways flights are refundable.
Iberia has also been known to have award sales (usually around 25% off). On occasion, a transatlantic business class flight can be experienced for as low as 25,500 Avios + taxes. That’s almost 3 business class tickets with the welcome bonus alone.
How Can I Get More Avios?
As I mentioned earlier, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and British Airways share the same currency, Avios. If your Iberia account has been open for more than 90 days and has activity (such as earning from the credit card), you will be able to combine your points in either program (e.g. move from Iberia to British Airways or vice-versa). While the Aer Lingus card is not yet available, the British Airways credit card is also a great way to grow your Avios balance.
Finally, you can top up your Avios balance with transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards (at a rate of 1:1) or Amex Membership Rewards (also at a rate of 1:1, sometimes better thank to promotions), that can be credited to either Iberia or British Airways.