Spain’s capital city Madrid is regal, beautiful and very accessible. Hotel and food prices are still low compared to other European capitals, and Spain has an excellent train network. Spain is also a family-friendly destination – it has great beaches, wonderful museums, magnificent castles and beautiful parks with great kids’ play areas in every city. There are enough things to see and do for every age and every budget.

Madrid to Chicago in Iberia Business Class

In deciding how to get to Spain from the US, a traveler has many choices. Most US major airlines and several international ones fly non-stop from major US cities. I decided to try Iberia on for size because of its competitively priced business class and good availability. I enjoyed it and kept a keen eye out for this report.

Booking My Flight

Iberia has a distance-based award chart divided into peak and off-peak dates. The off-peak rates are very reasonable and actually cover the “shoulder” season, which is a great time of year to visit Spain.

Plaza de Cervantes, Alcala de Henares, Spain
Plaza de Cervantes, Alcala de Henares, Spain

Spring and Fall see fewer tourists, have cooler temperatures and are perfect seasons for traveling to Europe, especially to Southern Europe, where it gets unbearably hot during the summer. For example, Iberia considers the whole month of May, except for May 1st and 5th, to be off-peak season.

Madrid, Spain. Gran Via
Madrid, Spain. Gran Via, main shopping street at dusk.

I booked my Madrid to Chicago flight in business class with 34,000 Iberia Avios and $135 in taxes/fees. I transferred Ultimate Rewards points to Iberia; the transfer is instant and the points transfer at a 1:1 rate. I earned the points with the Chase Ink Business Preferred – the card also came with a generous sign-up bonus of 80,000 points.

Chase Ink Business Preferred

80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $5,000 in 3 months

Learn more

Madrid Barajas Airport

Madrid Barajas Airport

Because I had a suitcase and had to be at the airport pretty early, I decided to book a car transfer with help from my AirBnB host. I spent 35 euros, which is the same price as booking a regular taxi, but more expensive than taking a train or an airport bus.

Madrid has a beautiful and contemporary airport. After a very quick check in, I was directed to a Fast Track area for premium cabins passengers. There was almost no line, and you don’t have to take off your shoes, so I sped through security in a couple of minutes.

Inside Madrid Barajas Airport

Iberia’s U.S. bound flights depart from Terminal 4S connected by a train to Terminal 4. After security, I took an elevator down to the train platform for a quick ride to Terminal 4S. The passport control is just a short walk from the train station in terminal 4S. The line was only a couple of people deep and after a few short minutes I was already relaxing in Iberia’s beautiful Velazquez Lounge.

Iberia Velazquez Lounge

Iberia Velazquez Lounge

When I arrived at the lounge around 9:00 A.M, it wasn’t crowded at all, but when I left to board my flight 90 minutes later, there were very few seats left.

The lounge is big and there are a few seating areas, including a quiet area. This is where I camped out but, in spite of its designation as a quiet area, there were still a couple of people talking on their phones.

The quiet area at the lounge
The quiet area at the lounge

The quiet area

The quiet areaThe entire lounge is decorated in beautiful shades of grey and Iberia’s signature red with pale wood accents.

image14

At this time of day the lounge served breakfast. There were omelets (traditional and Spanish), bacon, bread and pastries, fruit and yogurt.

Breakfast buffet
Breakfast buffet
breakfast buffet at iberia
Breakfast Buffet

The lounge has a few coffee machines scattered around, as well as refrigerators stocked with water, soft drinks and beer. Other drinks are served in the bar area.

The bar area - Iberia Lounge
The bar area

There’s also a kids’ play area but I haven’t noticed any toys there, just videogames.

Kids play area
Kids play area

The lounge has a few showers, which is always a nice feature. I had to ask the front desk for the code to open the shower room.

Shower room - Iberia Lounge
Shower room
Shower room
Shower room

There’s also a darkened sleeping area with comfortable loungers.

Sleeping pod
Sleeping pod

Side note: I always wonder why you have to give your boarding pass before being able to use the shower. Do people steal towels? If anyone knows the answer, let me know in the comments.

I really liked the bright and airy feel in the lounge and the huge windows that let in lots of sunshine.

View from the lounge
View from the lounge

Boarding and Business Class Cabin

After getting a quick bite and a relaxing shower at the lounge, it was time to head over to the gate. The gate was all the way on the other end of the terminal, so it took me a good 10 minutes to get there. The agents checked my passport and the boarding pass and we had to wait in a holding area for U.S. flights. The boarding process was a bit chaotic, and the announcements were hard to hear over the dim of the crowd, but everyone got on the plane eventually.

Iberia business class cabin
Iberia business class cabin

Pro Tip: Bring a pair of hotel slippers with you on a long flight, whether you are flying economy or business. You’ll be so much more comfortable onboard.

Iberia Boarding and Business Class Cabin
Iberia Boarding and Business Class Cabin

In every other row, the two seats in the middle have a divider that comes down to about knee level, perfect for couples or families traveling together.

Iberia window seat
Iberia window seat

When everyone was seated, the flight attendants distributed the headsets and the amenity kits, passed newspapers (in Spanish only) and the welcome drinks.

The amenity kit came in a cute bright red pouch and included all the usual stuff, like toothbrush and toothpaste, hand cream, a pair of socks, a comb and a small shoe horn. I always keep the pouches I get in business class and use them to store small electronics, cords and other small random things.

Amenity kit - Iberia Business class
Amenity kit

 

image19

I found the seat to be comfortable and comparable to other business class seats. I wished there was a bit more storage but otherwise it was great to be able to stretch out.

Food Onboard

Lunch menu at Iberia
Lunch menu at Iberia
Drinks menu
Drinks menu

After flight attendants passed around the pre-lunch drinks they started the lunch service. The plated appetizers were tasty and I was happy with my choice of roast chicken. One of the appetizers was salmorejo soup, a cold soup similar to gazpacho, served with chopped hard boiled egg. I tried it once in Madrid and I am a little obsessed with it now. I need to find a good recipe so I can make it at home.

Appetizer course - Iberia Business class
Appetizer course

I had chicken as my main dish and it was pretty tasty and tender, I was happy with my choice.

Main Dish
Main Dish

For dessert there was a choice of ice cream or cake and a few minutes after everyone’s tables were cleared we were offered chocolate pralines. Wine and other drinks were offered a few times during the meal service.

Mid-flight snacks were laid out in the front galley and included sandwiches, pastries, candy bars and fruit cups.

Snacks - Iberia Business Class
Snacks

A light meal of quiche Lorraine with a small salad and a cup of fruit was served about 90 minutes before arrival.

WiFi and Inflight Entertainment System

Iberia business class passengers get 4MB of free WiFi. The connection was painfully slow and when I lost it after a couple of minutes I couldn’t login again. I didn’t even bother asking for help with this, it wasn’t going to be useful anyway.

The inflight entertainment system felt a little outdated and there wasn’t a huge selection of movies or TV shows.

image7

Final Thoughts  

Don’t think about using Iberia Avios as just a good way to get from Madrid to the U.S or vice versa, you have a whole country of Spain within easy reach. After you spend a few days in Madrid, buy a cheap ticket to an island of Mallorca or Ibiza for some sun, or jump on a train to see more of Spain. It’s a big country with so much to see and it has an excellent train network. It’s very easy to visit Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and even a neighboring country of Portugal by train.

View of the city from Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain
View of the city from Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain

All in all, I had a comfortable flight. It wasn’t the most luxurious experience but you really can’t beat 34,000 Avios redemption for a business class seat! Had I booked a similar flight with United miles, it would have cost me 30,000 MileagePlus miles in economy and 60,000-70,000 miles in business class. I think I got a great bargain for a lie-flat seat on a nine-hour flight.

Travel well,

Anna

Chase Sapphire Preferred

New to the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card to start with. With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months and 2x points on dining and travel, this card truly cannot be beat! 

Learn more

Disclosure: 10xTravel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. 10xTravel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. You can read our advertiser disclosure here.


About the Author

Anna is a freelance writer from Cleveland, OH who loves to travel and is a big miles and points geek. Anna’s favorite pastime (besides traveling) is planning trips and figuring out what kinds of points and miles she needs to make it happen. Thankfully, Anna’s husband is completely on board with all the free travel Anna earns and happily joins her on her adventures.

Learn More About Anna

One Response to “Trip Report: Madrid to Chicago in Iberia Business Class”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.