This paper introduces a new link adaptation (LA) approach called the adaptive modulation, coding, and spatial mode (AMCS) scheme for multiple-input multiple-output bit-interleaved coded orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (MIMO BIC-OFDM) systems. The AMCS technique can provide both minimal performance degradation and significant throughput gain by controlling the spatial streams. With this technique, we can derive a simple and accurate closed-form expression of an instantaneous bit error rate (I-BER). Based on the I-BER, the proposed AMCS scheme chooses an appropriate modulation, coding, and spatial mode (MCS) type that improves the system performance while satisfying the quality of service (QoS) requirement. A simplified MCS type search method is also proposed, which allows the receiver to effectively select a MCS type and then send it back to the transmitter by using only a small amount of information bits. The simulation results confirm the superiority of the proposed AMCS approach over conventional LA schemes in trading high-throughput for reduced complexity.