Bits: Aer Lingus COO makes interesting claims re Avios, new Vueling redemptions from Luton

With the Christmas break approaching (even HFP will be taking two days off!) I am trying to empty out my inbox today:

Aer Lingus COO makes interesting statements re Avios redemptions in Aer Club

Business Traveller ran an interview last month with Mike Rutter, Chief Operating Officer of Aer Lingus.  I have already written about their new loyalty scheme Aer Club, launching in 2016.

Rutter makes some claims about Avios redemptions which give the impression that we may continue to see some excellent opportunities for travel on Aer Lingus:

Aer Lingus outside of Vueling is one of the more aggressive in terms of market share aspirations and pricing platforms which will be equally reflected through our Avios reward scheme levels for redemption.”

and

“Our position as a business — which is reflected in the way we will seek to redeem Avios — is to be the lowest cost platform across the Atlantic.”

This means that we may not see the end of the excellent Avios redemption opportunities currently offered by Aer Lingus which I outline in this Avios Redemption University article.

Vueling

New Vueling routes from Luton to Spain

Vueling is the little known sister of British Airways and Iberia.  International Airlines Group, the parent of BA and Iberia, took full control of the Spanish low cost carrier in 2013.

The company has been expanding rapidly, with IAG using it to scoop up market share in the low cost carrier market whilst keeping BA focussed on Heathrow and Gatwick and Iberia focussed on Madrid.

In October I wrote about some new route announcements for 2016:

From Birmingham, Alicante will be launched on 17th June.

From Manchester, Rome and Alicante will be launched in June 2016.  More details can be found here.

From Edinburgh, Rome Fiumicino, Paris Orly and Alicante will be added.  Paris will start from 29th March.  Alicante will launch on 16th June.  Rome is currently pencilled in for 25th June.  More details can be found here although the Rome date quoted seems to have changed.

Two new routes from London Luton have also now been announced:

From Luton, Amsterdam will be launched on 18th March.  Barcelona will be launched on 16th June.

It is difficult to keep track of Vueling routes, especially as some are seasonal, but I think the others are:

  • Belfast – Barcelona
  • Birmingham – Barcelona
  • Cardiff – Alicante, Barcelona, Majorca, Malaga, Barcelona
  • Edinburgh – Barcelona
  • Leeds Bradford – Barcelona (starts March 2016)
  • Liverpool – Barcelona (starts March 2016)
  • Manchester – Barcelona
  • Newcastle – Barcelona (starts March 2016)

When it comes to earning and spending Avios with Vueling, this is how it works:

If you book your flights on vueling.com, you will not earn anything if you buy their cheapest ‘Basic’ ticket.  The flight will be cheaper here because you are buying a ‘no frills’ ticket.  More expensive ‘Optima’ tickets do earn Avios in Iberia Plus.

If you book your flights on iberia.com, you will earn Avios in Iberia Plus.  Your ticket will come with a baggage allowance of one suitcase.  You can use ‘part pay with Avios’.  You can only book routes which are Iberia codeshares.

If you book your flights on ba.com (only some routes – including all UK departures – are available, and they will carry a BA flight codeshare flight number), you will earn Avios and tier points.  Your ticket will come with a baggage allowance of one suitcase.

You may see a different price for the same flight across each of the three channels above.

When it comes to redeeming on Vueling, you can ONLY redeem via Iberia Plus.  You will need to have an ‘active’ Iberia Plus account (90 days old and having earned 1 Avios point) in order to be able to use ‘Combine My Avios‘ to move the required number of Avios across from BA or avios.com to Iberia.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Comments

  1. bits
    Just cancelled an avios.com flight, they are meant to charge cancellation fee £35 according to the T&Cs (see D 5.1 etc http://www.avios.com/gb/en_gb/about-us/terms-and-conditions)

    Couple of interesting bits – this was a £32 + 6000 Avios flight, the agent said she’d just charge £32

    I said (honestly) that her colleague had told me last week that the cancellation fee was £17.50 (turns out agent was wrong) – today’s agent said no problem we’ll refund you £15 as well as the Avios. So they either have some flexibility or niceness or both :)

    • It’s 35 unless the actual taxes are lower.

    • What is meant to happen is that they charge you £35 and then refund whatever you paid – so you got lucky. I have paid the full £35 in the past.

      • There was a separate article some time ago about booking one-ways on some routes as you benefit from lower taxes on the inbound leg – I think e.g. an RFS KRK-LHR is 7,500 avios plus GBP 8.50. If you cancel, you only lose the 8.50 you paid.

  2. Slightly OT – I can book BHX-DUB-BHX return on either aerlingus.com or ba.com which carry both EI & BA flight numbers, yet cannot book an Avios redemption for the route. Should I expect to be able to?

  3. Fingers-crossed, sounds like potentially good news on the EI front! Also good to see Vueling continuing to expand.

  4. Sebastian says:

    Rob you mention a couple of days ago that the Avios changes were pushed through by one individual against this wishes of the rest of the board. Could you elaborate on that a little? I.e. Which changes were the ones of particular contention? If not no worries, I obviously do not want to get you into trouble!

  5. I’m hoping Newcastle to Barcelona has already started as I’m booked to go on Boxing Day!
    Just double checked and I definately did book December 2015 so it is already operational!

  6. OT Got a flybe flight booked with avois, through BA, anyone know if I check in online at BA or flybe website and how far in advance I can do it?

  7. OT How are avios points transferred from BA Amex to BAEC? Just received a referral bonus and want to book some flights with existing points in the account.

    • Six days before your statement date, your online Avios balance is zero’d out. The points are then sent across and should hit BA within 48 hours. You will have had your points for the month before your statement turns up.

  8. Interesting stance on Aer Lingus!

    I see Willie Walsh using this to pile on pressure re: Heathrow pricing and expansion!

    It will be interesting if we’ll be able to book to long haul destinations Ex Dub using one ticket from provincial UK airports (BRS for example). Now that would be interesting for me!

    • Not with the APD added on, it wouldn’t!

      • I wonder if there is room for a specific “missed ex eu connection” insurance policy, in the same way that third parties offer car hire excess protection.
        The insurance companies could then negotiate with the airlines for a wholesale flight change fee.

        • If I recall correctly, the insurance policy that comes with the gold Amex covers connecting flights as long as you have 4 hours between them.

          • Agreed – but this could still be major hassle – how much for a walk up Business Class TATL for a couple or family from DUB?

            Even if it could be claimed back later the thought of putting >10k onto a credit card only for it to be reclaimed later would put many off (although might cause others great excitement at the thought of all those points!)

            I’m thinking of a product where if the preconditions are filled the airline will re-issue the ticket and then deal with the hassle for you. In the same way that easyjet offer a rescue fare if you miss your flight.

            The pricing could then be differential to encourage your UK – DUB ticket onto a preferred airline.

        • Why would BA negotiate a bulk deal for change fees?

          • BA might not. And EI might not as part of IAG, but an independent or autonomous EI could easily add on missed departure insurance in the same way the LCCs bundle in everything under the sun.
            For an extra €xx. , and subject to your scheduled transport to Dublin failing to transport you there on time it could be a good commercial decision if the remedy was automatic care and rerouting.

      • Yes – Good point :P.. good old UK legislation.

        IMHO – The unntended consquence is ridiculous; by avoiding APD folks travel further, increase pollution and in many cases end up travelling on from what would have been their starting point.

        I accept we are in the minority as informed (thanks Raffles) Frequent Flyers but nevertheless it’s crackers!

        • No Danksy, I must disagree, they only significantly increase pollution if they have a problem with flatulence, snore louder than the engines, miss the toilet bowl due to turbulence, wear too much fragrance or deodorant, vomit after the inflight meal, scream at the inflight movies, sing along with the audio selection, talk on mobile phones, or shout at the cabin crew or their fellow passengers. Otherwise the aircraft generates pretty much the same pollution with or without them.

          • @James67 hahaha, that made me laugh out loud!

            You’ll be pleased I do all of those things, except vomit….
            ….However take my trip to LAX in Feb.

            Rather than doing LHR-LAX I’m doing BRS-CPH-LHR-LAX. Clearly I’ll have an extra 2 legs during which to perform all of those listed bodily functions haha (along with my two kids and trouble&strife); and the same on the way back!

            😀 😀

          • Danksy, I hope for your sake that February here will be mild and bright as it appears that you’re only taking two kids plus Mrs Danksy with you!! :) .

          • Worzel… Don’t worry I will be ‘adjusting’ the central heating before I go!

    • Its all based on the starting point. I you started your journey in the UK then uk apd would apply

  9. Sarah Murray says:

    OT. Re Mileage runs for Miles&More.
    If i search for London to Cologne on Germanwings, there are some options with a change in Hamburg or Stuttgart. Is that 2 legs or 1, for the purposes of retaining Miles&More status? thanks

  10. Hi all,
    Can anyone of you help me?! As a silver BA Exec member, can I bring in a guest to the Heathrow T.2 Aer Lingus gold circle lounge when flying with AL to Cork?

    Thanks!

  11. Hi,

    Thank you so much for all the updates you provide. You are an amazing guy. I am officially addicted to HFP

    I want to ask you please if you did notice that the redemption scheme with BA for air miles tickets has changed very recently? I used to upgrade from Premium to Business class to most countries for 10,000 Avios one way. I noticed last week, they increased the required Avios to 25.000 one way.
    Can you go through that please.

  12. 250 avios credited to my Avios account today – Aerclub Welcome Bonus