Why You Might Want to Earn Elite Status with Iberia Plus

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I recently wrote about HOW to earn elite status with Iberia Plus. Today I will explain WHY you might want to consider it…

Platino Status is Valid for TWO Years

The top tier of status with Iberia Plus is called Platino. Platino is equivalent to Oneworld Emerald. Once you have earned 6,250 Elite Points within one qualification period (April 1st – March 31st), your account will be immediately upgraded to Platino status until March 31st, plus TWO additional years after that.

Once you have reached Platino status, you have two options for retaining it:

  • 12,500 Elite Points over two years
  • 6,250 Elite Points during the second year of your Platino status

With frequent flyer programs that require annual re-qualification for elite status, you often feel like you are on a hamster wheel. No sooner have you met the requirements, then you must start all over from the beginning. This isn’t quite the case with Iberia Plus Platino, as you are not really required to do any paid travel during your first year of Platino status.

That said… if you travel relentlessly during “year one” of your Platino status and earn, say, 11,000 Elite Points, but then you don’t travel during year two, you will probably lose your Platino status because you missed the 12,500 Elite Point target (which is a stupid way to treat your best customers dealing with a slow travel year).

You Do NOT Need to Fly on Iberia or British Airways

Even though it is also relatively easy to earn elite status from British Airways Executive Club, in order to do so, you must fly at least 4 times on British Airways or Iberia during your Tier Point collection year. For members based outside of Europe, this can actually be quite difficult (as the pandemic/related restrictions have shown).

With Iberia Plus, there is NO requirement to fly on Iberia itself. So you can pick up Oneworld elite status by flying exclusively on American Airlines, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, etc. – whichever airline is most convenient for you.

Iberia Plus is Generous for Premium Economy Flyers

If you look at the chart for Iberia flights, you will see that you can earn nearly as many Elite Points flying to Madrid in Premium Economy as you would pick up in Business Class (425 vs. 500). This is great news for business travellers working for NO BUSINESS CLASS employers.

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Spain to Europe III is also a Sweetspot

Although less relevant to US readers – unless you are connecting onwards through Madrid – another sweetspot is the 225 Elite Points earned for a Business Class flight between Madrid and a relatively close “Europe III” country such as Germany or Switzerland.

Qatar Airways Long-Haul

Once your flight covers 3,000+ miles, you can earn 500 Elite Points in Business Class. Due to the connection in Doha, you are likely to pick up 4 such flights (–> 2,000 Elite Points) with a single trip, such as New York to Johannesburg or Singapore via Doha.

LEVEL and Vueling

Although this might again be less relevant to US readers, regular flyers on LEVEL and Vueling are only likely to see much benefit from the efforts if they credit those flights to Iberia Plus.

You are unlikely to reach elite status by exclusively flying on these low-cost carriers, but if you are a regular visitor to Barcelona, you won’t want to waste those potential Elite Points…

Upgrades Versus U.S. Lounge Access

If you are normally focused on American Airlines AAdvantage or Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan as your Oneworld frequent flyer program, there is one fundamental difference between the benefits offered by those programs and the benefits offered by an “international” program.

With American or Alaska, your elite status means that you are eligible for complimentary upgrades to First Class on domestic flights. But you generally won’t be allowed into the lounge (Admirals Club, Flagship, etc.).

With Iberia Plus (or another Oneworld frequent flyer program), your elite status will be useless for getting you onto the upgrade list, but you will receive complimentary access to lounges.

Of course, many readers will have purchased an Admirals Club membership or will use Priority Pass (or similar) to enter airport lounges. But if you are more interested in guaranteed lounge access than playing the upgrade lottery, you might want to consider Iberia Plus.

Lifetime Status

If you earn 125,000 Elite Points after signing up to Iberia Plus, you will become an Infinita member. In other words, you will be a Platino member for the remainder of your life.

A friend of mine assures me that his Infinita status entitles him to far more benefits than those published. All he needs to do is pick up the phone to Iberia and ask…

The Bottom Line

Iberia Plus is most often used as a way of redeeming Avios on cheap Business Class reward flights to Europe (via Madrid). But fewer people take the time to consider whether they might want to credit their paid flights to Iberia Plus, and potentially earn elite status in the process. If you are interested in 2 years of top tier Oneworld Emerald status (instead of 1) and/or fly to Europe regularly in Premium Economy, then Iberia Plus might just work for you…