One of the best reasons to accrue Chase Ultimate Rewards is transferring those points to airline and hotel partners. One of Chase’s most undervalued partners is the International Airlines Group. For the non-avgeeks among us, IAG is the parent company for British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus. While all of these programs offer numerous sweet spots, we focus on British and Iberia today.
Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to Partners
Points transfers to Chase partners are only possible if you (or someone in your household) hold one of these cards:
Also, once you have one of the cards above, you can also earn transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards with any of these cards:
- Chase Freedom Flex
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Chase Ink Business Cash
- Chase Ink Business Unlimited
- any former versions of these cards (Chase Freedom, Chase Ink Business Plus, etc.)
Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
Chase Ultimate Rewards has 11 airline partners and 3 hotel partners:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Canada (coming “late 2021”)
- British Airways
- Flying Blue (KLM/Air France)
- Singapore Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Transferring to British Airways and Iberia
To transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards to British Airways or Iberia, you can follow the steps in our transfer guide. The points transfer is instant to both programs, so you won’t have to wait to book the award ticket you want. If you don’t have enough Ultimate Rewards for your flight, British Airways and Iberia are each a transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards and Marriott, so you can transfer from those programs, too.
While Iberia allows you to book awards for others, you must first add them as a recipient of your Avios in your account. If you do not add that person in advance, the award flight will not ticket properly.
In addition, once your British Airways and Iberia loyalty accounts are each 90+ days old, you can transfer miles instantly between both accounts. Therefore, if you do not have accounts with British Airways or Iberia, we recommend you create those up ASAP.
British Airways Redemption Sweet Spots
British Airways is a One World Alliance member and uses a distance-based system for award redemptions. Generally, you can expect economy seats to be as low as 6,000 Avios (for a flight distance of 650 miles or less) and as high as 51,500 Avios (for a flight distance of 7,001 miles or more). For those of us in the USA, this means we can fly American Airlines cheaply via the British Airways program. Luckily, British Airways does allow one-way awards on American Airlines. Here are a few examples:
Things to know about British Airways: while it does allow one-way awards, it punishes flights with connections. If you must connect to reach your destination, your award flight is priced per segment. Spoiler alert: you can avoid this on a round-trip with Iberia (see below).
Since British Airways is not zone-based, short international flights are great sweet spots! How about Philadelphia to Montreal for 7,500 Avios and $5.60 in fees?
Anyone want to fly Dallas to Cabo San Lucas non-stop for 9,000 Avios and $34.87?
As you would imagine, there are similar deals on business award seats and to numerous destinations. Other examples include:
- Economy award: California airports to Vancouver for 9,000 Avios + $5.60
- Economy award: East Coast USA to Ireland for 13,000 Avios + $5.60
- Economy award: Miami to many Caribbean islands for 9,000 Avios + taxes
- Business/First class awards: Intra-Asia flights on Cathay Pacific for 24,000 Avios (or less) plus taxes
- Business awards: Miami to many Caribbean islands for 16,500 Avios + taxes
Iberia Redemption Sweet Spots
Iberia is a One World Alliance member and uses a distance-based system for award redemptions. Unlike British Airways, connecting flights on partners does NOT increase the award price. However, Iberia only allows round-trip partner awards. The best sweet spots for Iberia are its own awards and round-trip awards on its partners.
As we covered before, the cheapest way to Europe is usually via Iberia. Iberia charges 17,000 Avios each way in economy from the East Coast or only 34,000 Avios each way in business during off-peak times.
Only 34,000 Avios and $180.12 for an economy round-trip “off peak” award from New York to Spain. You can book the same trip in business class in “off peak” season for double the price (34,000 Avios and approx. $180 each direction). Although “peak” season is more expensive, good awards still exist. How about 59,500 Avios and $191.10 for round-trip in economy plus to Spain? Not bad at all!
If your domestic U.S. travels are roundtrips on American Airlines, you can usually find great savings via Iberia. Plus, you have a points transfer partner for AA (other than Marriott). An example is Knoxville to Dallas, a 771 mile flight. Through British Airways, this flight costs 9,000 Avios each way (since it is over 651 miles), even non-stop. American Airlines charges 12,500 AA each way. Iberia charges only 8,500 each way, plus $10.10 in taxes. Roundtrip is 17,000 Iberia Avios and $20.20.
Much like British Airways, since Iberia is distance-based instead of zone-based, there are great redemptions available on international trips, especially the Caribbean and to Mexico and Canada. Some examples include:
- Economy: Mexico City to Madrid for 21,250 Avios and taxes.
- Business: Mexico City to Madrid for 42,500 Avios and taxes.
- Business: Madrid to Tokyo for 59,500 Avios and taxes.
While you can always redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards for 1.25 cents per point (Chase Sapphire Preferred) or 1.5 cents per point (Chase Sapphire Reserve) through the Chase travel portal, transfer partners offer much greater value from your Ultimate Rewards. If your goal is short- to medium-haul flights on American Airlines or other One World partners abroad or flying economy or business to Europe, then look no further than British Airways and Iberia. There is incredible value in both of these programs and you can save significant amounts of miles on each flight.
What are your thoughts on these programs? Come over to our Facebook group and let us know.