Iberia Express Launches Birmingham (UK) Service

Iberia Express A320

Iberia Express is the low-cost baby sister to the better known Iberia and it primarily operates short-haul routes (intra-Europe) out of Madrid.

From 27 March 2016 Iberia Express is adding a Madrid-Birmingham (UK) route to its network which will give UK travelers another low-cost choice for travel between the UK regions and Europe.

A quick look at flights shows that there could be some good options for anyone with easy access to Birmingham airport (BHX).

A long weekend in Madrid in April (when a lot of schools will be on Easter break) prices out to £57/€77 return for the no-frills/hand baggage only package (“Express fare”):

Iberia Express To Birmingham UK

iberia-express-to-birmingham

You can upgrade to a “Classic fare” which includes checked baggage, seat selection and “express check-in” and that takes the return trip price to £79/€107 – which is still pretty good!

Iberia Express Flights To Birmingham UK

If Madrid doesn’t sound like somewhere you’d like to visit then Iberia Express provides a number of other destinations that you can fly to from Birmingham after connecting in Madrid:

Iberia Express Madrid Connections

The Schedule

There will be 4 weekly flights between Madrid and Birmingham served by an Airbus A320 aircraft (HT: airlineroute.net)

The flights will be on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Mondays & Fridays:

IB3708 – MAD 08:45 – 10:00 BHX

IB3709 BHX 10:35 – 14:05 MAD

Wednesdays & Sundays:

IB3708 – MAD 15:45 – 17:00 BHX

IB3709 BHX 17:35 – 21:05 MAD

Avios

Earning

The cheapest tickets on Iberia Express (the Express tickets) will earn Avios at the rate of just 25% of base miles flown.

The “Classic” fares, which include hold luggage, seat selection and express check-in earn Avios at the rate of 50% of base miles flown.

So no one is going to get Avios-rich flying these routes.

Redeeming

You can redeem avios on Iberia Express but not via British Airways. You need to have an Iberia Plus account (you can sign up here) to redeem Avios in Iberia Express. You can transfer Avios between British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus using the “Combine My Avios” feature on BA.com…but there are a couple of snags:

  1. Your Iberia Plus account needs to be open for 90+ days before you can initiate a transfer
  2. You Iberia Plus account has to have had some activity before you can initiate a transfer.

If you don’t already have an Iberia Plus account you should open one up right away (here) just in case you ever have a need to transfer points – there are a few reasons why an Iberia Plus account could be useful to you but that’s for another post.

“Activity”, in your Iberia Plus account, is anything that adds Avios to your account. This could be something as simple as crediting a short flight to Iberia Plus rather than British Airways Executive club or, and this is probably the easiest method, transferring in some American Express Membership Rewards points to your account.

Overall

The more low-cost flights we’re given the better – especially short-haul flights. Not only do they allow travellers to see more of the world for less but they can also be very useful for “positioning flights” when you find that a fare to your chosen destination is cheaper from another country.

For example:

The UK has annoyingly high departure taxes and I often see great fares to the Americas, Middle East and Asia departing from various European cities…but very rarely do I find great fares departing the UK.

Madrid can be a particularly useful departure point for cheap flights to Florida and South America and the addition of this new Iberia Express route could help a lot of travelers in the UK access these cheaper fares – and that’s got to be a good thing.

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Are you considering booking one of these flights out of Birmingham? How does the Iberia Express offering compare to other flights out of Birmingham?

Featured image courtesy of Eric Salard via Flickr.