New Iberia Route with Lots of Business Award Space for One

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Iberia, flag carrier of Spain, just announced a new seasonal route between Madrid and San Francisco that will operate between April 25 and September 28, 2018.

Iberia currently flies to Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and New York City. Out of those destinations, Boston and Los Angeles are seasonal.

During peak travel season (spring/summer), this is what Iberia’s US route map will look like:

Timing of New Route

Iberia’s new seasonal San Francisco route will depart Madrid at 12:25 pm and arrive to San Francisco at 4:00 pm local time. The other direction departs San Francisco at 6:00 pm and arrives to Madrid at 2:15 pm local time (+1 day).

It will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays on a A330-200 plane.

Product

The A330-200 has 19 Business Class seats, each with aisle access and a fully lie flat bed. I  flew Iberia Business on an A330-300 between São Paulo and Madrid. That Business Class had 36 seats, but otherwise the product is basically the same.

Read my trip report and Anatomy of an Award to learn how to book an awesome Avios sweetspot with no fuel surcharges departing Brazil!

It’s a solid product with a wider bed than most (26 inches), and about the same if not a little better service than your standard American carrier.

Award Space

Your best off booking Business Class on Iberia with AAdvantage miles (57,500 one way to Europe).

It’s easiest to see Iberia award space on aa.com. You can also see it on britishairways.com but the searching will be a lot slower going as there’s no month calendar.

To isolate the Iberia award space, you’ll want to choose to display non-stop flights only on the AAdvantage award space calendar (only Iberia flies direct between San Francisco and Madrid).

From the day the route begins, April 25, through September 12, there is one Business Class award seat open on every flight except for one (July 4).

While it could change with time, right now I only see one seat open per day, so if you’re traveling as a couple or with a friend you’d need to fly on separate days.

But wait… high fuel surcharges?! On Iberia?

Typically you get stung by high fuel surcharges when redeeming AAdvantage miles on British Airways flights across the Atlantic. But redeeming AAdvantage miles on Iberia has always been a different oneworld option to get to Europe without suffering on the fuel surcharge front as much.

For example, look at this flight from Los Angeles to Madrid this coming June.

“Carrier-Imposed Fees”, aka fuel surcharges, are just $82.70, making for a total of $110.80 in out of pocket cost one way. That is totally acceptable.

But the out of pocket cost for this San Francisco to Madrid route (one way) is pricing at over $500 on aa.com right now. The carrier-imposed fees are quoted as $476!

Why, I’m not sure…it shouldn’t. It should be around $100 like the Los Angeles to Madrid example above. But San Francisco to Madrid is also pricing this way on iberia.com–so it’s an Iberia Plus problem and not AAdvantage problem.

I hope this is just growing pains and the pricing issue is corrected soon as Iberia Business Class on the A330-200 for 57.5k AAdvantage miles and little bit of fuel surcharges is a great option to get to Europe from the west coast. It could open up a lot of award space that you could connect to with an Alaska Airlines or American Airlines sAAver level leg from around the west.

Bottom Line

Iberia has announced a new seasonal route to flown between April 25 and September 18, 2018: Madrid to San Francisco. New routes are always good news because they mean more award space, but it’s especially welcome news when a oneworld carrier that’s not British Airways announces a new transatlantic route as opens up more options to get to Europe without crazy fuel surcharges.

EXCEPT awards flying Iberia between Madrid and San Francisco are indeed pricing with crazy fuel surcharges on Iberia and American Airlines’ website, and they shouldn’t be. Someone please fix this!

Hat tip One Mile at a Time


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