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 and since then it has expanded rapidly to serve over 160 airports across Europe.
The airline operates a one-class service with a fleet of, primarily, Airbus A320 aircraft. There are no long-haul flights. The main base is in Barcelona with a secondary main base in Rome. There are a large number of tertiary bases where a small number of aircraft (2-4) are based.
You can redeem Avios points for flights on Vueling as long as you transfer them to Iberia Plus first. This is good news for travellers outside London who have a wider range of regional Avios redemption options.
The catch is that Vueling flights are generally not expensive and the value per Avios point may not be great. At peak times, however, it may make sense. You should also remember that you can only transfer Avios into Iberia Plus if your Iberia account is 90 days and has ‘earned’ at least 1 Avios.
Where does Vueling fly from the UK?
The Vueling route network is constantly in flux with a lot of seasonal routes. This list is based on their online route map but I am not sure it is totally accurate:
Birmingham – Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga
Cardiff – Alicante, Barcelona, Majorca, Malaga
Edinburgh – Alicante, Barcelona, Paris, Rome
Leeds Bradford – Barcelona
Liverpool – Barcelona
London Gatwick – Asturius, Barcelona, Bilbao, Florence, Paris, Rome, Santiago de Compostela
London Heathrow (T3) – La Coruna, Barcelona
London Luton – Amsterdam, Barcelona
Manchester – Alicante, Barcelona, Rome
Newcastle – Barcelona
Services from Belfast were recently suspended.
Vueling is not entirely low cost ….
If you are travelling on business or are willing to pay a premium, the ‘Excellence’ fare on Vueling gives you something which is pretty comparable to BA Club Europe.
- Row 1 seating with the middle seat empty
- Unlimited ticket changes with no fees, except any fare difference
- Free same-day flight changes
- 1 x checked suitcase
- Dedicated overhead locker for hand baggage
- Fast Track security at selected airports including Gatwick
- Lounge access at selected airports including Heathrow and Gatwick
- Priority boarding
- Free on-board catering from the buy-on-board menu
- Avios earned in Iberia Plus
It doesn’t sound too bad!
How to earn Avios points when flying Vueling
All Vueling flights to or from the UK are operated as codeshares with British Airways. A number of other Vueling routes are also BA codeshares including all domestic Italian flights.
The British Airways Executive Club earning chart for codeshares is the same as it is for standard BA flights – see the chart here.
For Vueling routes which can only be booked at vueling.com, you need to credit them to Iberia Plus in order to earn Avios. Only ‘Optima’ or ‘Excellence’ fares on the Vueling site earn Avios.
Any Vueling tickets booked on iberia.com will earn Avios in Iberia Plus.
Note that if you book Vueling flights on ba.com or iberia.com your ticket includes a free suitcase. This is not the case if you book the cheapest possible ticket on the Vueling website – but you will pay less in the first place.
How to redeem Avios points for flights on Vueling
Annoyingly, despite the codeshare agreement, you cannot redeem for Vueling flights via ba.com.
You need to redeem via Iberia Plus. This involves:
- opening an Iberia Plus account at iberia.com
- having it open for at least 90 days
- earning at least 1 Avios in the account from a BA or oneworld flight, from crediting a hotel stay, from another partner or from moving across some American Express Membership Rewards Points and then
- using Combine My Avios to move your points to Iberia Plus
The problem is that, in the absence of Reward Flight Saver, Avios redemptions on Vueling are not competitive in most cases.
Here is an example of how pricing compares. I looked at a flight from Manchester to Barcelona in late August (23rd to 26th):
vueling.com – €195 (no seat selection, no checked bag, no Avios) or €247 (seat selection, checked bag, Avios)
ba.com – £187 (checked bag, Avios, not sure about seat selection)
Avios redemption via Iberia Plus – not available, I couldn’t find a seat during August at all
I DID manage to find a Vueling flight from Manchester to Barcelona in November. It cost 15,000 Avios + £64, which would have included a checked bag.
For cash, the same flight was on vueling.com was €90 for the ‘no suitcase, no seat’ version and €125 for a suitcase, a seat and some Avios. It makes the redemption an exceptionally poor deal. You would need to paying over £200 for a cash ticket before you were getting 1p per Avios and, as you can see from my peak August example, that rarely happens.
Vueling is pronounced ‘bwelin’, if you were wondering ….
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