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Vueling switches to Avios – what does it mean for you?

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IAG’s Spanish low cost carrier Vueling (pronounced bwelin) confirmed yesterday that it is switching its loyalty scheme to Avios in a few weeks.

This is worth knowing about because of Vueling’s strong regional presence at UK airports.

What is Vueling?

Vueling is a low cost airline, based in Barcelona, owned by BA’s parent company IAG.  It is run separately to Iberia.

Vueling

Whilst Vueling doesn’t have the greatest reputation for punctuality or comfort, it now serves 130 cities on 345 short-haul routes.  The main base is in Barcelona with a secondary hub in Rome.

Vueling operates from seven airports in the UK including Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Edinburgh as well as London Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton airports.  It is flying 28 routes from the UK this summer with more than two million seats on offer.  Typical destinations are Barcelona, Rome, Alicante, Mallorca and Malaga.

Alex Cruz was CEO of Vueling before moving across to British Airways.

What is happening with Avios?

Vueling confirmed that it will be moving its existing reward scheme, Punto, to Avios next month.

Punto will be renamed Vueling Club.  Existing points will be transferred into Avios at the rate of 1 Punto to 9 Avios.

The new programme will have revenue based earning and revenue based spending.  

In an interesting departure from the BA model, you will be able to use ‘part pay with Avios’ to cover the entire cost of a flight including taxes.

Full details of Vueling Club can be found on the Vueling website here.

This is a bigger upheaval for Avios than you may think.  There are two million people with a ‘Punto’ account, so the Avios customer base will jump from 7m to 9m overnight.

Does this mean I can now earn Avios when flying Vueling?

Yes.

That said, you already could although you may not have known it.

All Vueling flights to or from the UK are operated as codeshares with British Airways.  A number of other Vueling routes are BA codeshares including all domestic Italian flights.

The British Airways Executive Club Avios earning chart for codeshares is the same as for standard BA flights – see the chart here.

For tickets booked on vueling.com, only ‘Optima’ or ‘Excellence’ fares currently earn Avios.  These need to be credit to Iberia Plus.  Any Vueling tickets booked on iberia.com will earn Avios in Iberia Plus but the cheapest ‘Basic’ tickets are not available there.

Avios wing 5

What is changing?

Once Vueling Club is launched, you can earn Avios on ANY Vueling ticket booked via their website.

You will need to have a Vueling Club account and the points will be sent there.  However, you can move them to British Airways Executive Club via ‘Combine My Avios’.

How many Avios will I earn?

It is a revenue based system.  The more you spend, the more you earn:

Basic Fares earn 3 Avios per €1 spent

Excellence and Optima Fares earn 4 Avios per €1 spent

Premium members – who take 40 Vueling one-way flights each year – will earn double Avios.

It isn’t clear how the earning rates are adjusted for the taxes and charges element of your ticket price.

Vueling

Will I be able to spend Avios on Vueling?

Yes.  Again, you already can although you may not have known it.

Despite the codeshare agreement, you cannot redeem for Vueling flights at ba.com.  You currently 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 at the moment is that, in the absence of Reward Flight Saver, Avios redemptions on Vueling are not competitive due to the taxes.  Cash tickets on Vueling are usually fairly cheap although Avios redemptions get a free suitcase too.

This should change.

Whilst we don’t know the full details, it seems that Vueling Club will be fully revenue based.  The ONLY way to redeem will be via ‘part pay with Avios’ with the quirk that, if you wish, you will be able to pay 100% with Avios.

All three Vueling fare classes – ‘Basic’, ‘Optima’ and ‘Excellence’ – will be available via ‘part pay (or fully pay) with Avios’.

The upside of ‘part pay with Avios’ is that you can use your Avios to book ANY Vueling flight with no availability concerns.  The downside is that the value you get per Avios point is fixed – it will probably be around 0.5 cents per Avios.

I never fly Vueling – is there anything in this for me?

Yes.

Another Avios programme gives you more opportunities for earning.  We saw an example this week, with Aer Lingus offering 18,000 Avios for £145 if you buy a digital subscription to the Irish Independent newspaper.

If there are any Vueling-only promotions running with partners, such as hotels or car hire groups, you can take advantage, earn points in Vueling Club and then move them across to British Airways Executive Club.

That said …. Vueling will be using the avios.com platform in the same way that Aer Lingus AerClub does.  If you already have an avios.com account, this will also be your Vueling Club account number – but it will also be your AerClub account number and your avios.com account number.  Confusing.

In summary …..

If you have any Punto points, they will be turned into Avios next month at a 1:9 rate

You will be able to earn Avios on any Vueling ticket, irrespective of cost, as long as you credit to a Vueling Club account (which will probably be the same number as your avios.com account)

You will be able to redeem Avios for a discount on any Vueling flight in any class via ‘part pay with Avios’ by moving your points to Vueling Club and redeeming from there

‘Part Pay with Avios’ will actually be ‘Part Pay or Fully Pay with Avios’ where Vueling is concerned

It isn’t clear if Vueling flights will also be available for redemption via ba.com or, as they are today, iberia.com.  If they are, it isn’t clear if they will use fixed distance-based pricing or the variable pricing – based on ticket price – that Vueling Club will charge

It may be worth opening a Vueling Club account, even if you never fly with them, in order to take advantage of Avios promotions – but don’t do it now as it isn’t clear if your existing avios.com account will be a Vueling Club account automatically

You can find out more on this page of the Vueling website.

PS  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.

This page on the Vueling site outlines the ‘Excellence’ benefits:

  • Row 1 seating with the middle seat empty
  • Unlimited ticket changes with no fees, except any fare difference
  • Free same-day flight changes
  • 2 x checked suitcase
  • Dedicated overhead locker for hand baggage
  • Dedicated check-in desks at Madrid, Barcelona and Bilbao
  • Fast Track security at selected airports including Gatwick
  • Lounge access at selected airports including Heathrow
  • Priority boarding
  • Free on-board catering from the buy-on-board menu
  • Avios earned in Iberia Plus (and soon Vueling Club)

It doesn’t sound too bad!  I will try to give it a go once redemptions are available.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (58)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Lewis Watson says:

    Are there any other benefits other than bring extra avois for being a premium member?

    • Adam Brown says:

      As well as the Double Points (Soon Avios) you recieve:
      Premium Check In
      Priority Boarding
      Fast Track where Available
      Exclusive Customer Service Line
      Advance Preview of Special Offers
      and a free companion ticket each year

  • Chelseafi says:

    Sorry O/T I’ve upgraded gold to Plat via the 20k bonus link my online account card changed straight away to Plat, received card 10 days now, registered, so far £700 spend but I don’t have the spend bar showing, I want to complete the £1k spend in next day or so get points and then cancel, should I contact them now via chat to ask about the spend bar, so not to delay things or should the bonus just appear on account when I hit the spend? Thanks

  • Alex W says:

    Great. Another 2 million people fighting for the already limited number of Avios redemptions.

    • Worzel says:

      Exactly my thoughts Alex!

      Who knows how many more Avios will be put into the Hopper?

      Will the shute be widened to allow better flow-I doubt it.

      Looks like a further devaluation is ahead.

    • Drav says:

      to be fair… im sure many of those 2 million are already BAEC or Iberia members

    • Melvin says:

      @Alex W – I assume you live near an airport where Avios redemptions are already a possibility. For people living in the regions, such as myself, this is a welcome move by Vueling

      • Melvin says:

        I retract my statement – just accidentally found out that a booking i made with Vueling in April for a flight in October (BHX-TFS), was cancelled in May. They have put me and my family on a later connecting flight (via BCN) which ends at TFN and not TFS. Called customer services and asked why that hadn’t told me. They said that they would have done, 15 days prior to departure!!! No compensation offered because an alternative journey has been arranged (despite finishing at a different airport).

    • Lady London says:

      Plus a lot of offers to get more have been around recently. That people who don’t actually do the miles in airline seats, can get.

      My gut feeling is something anti-consumer is in the offing so far as Avios is concerned.. This cannot end well.

      • the real harry1 says:

        it’s not a Ponzi scheme, at least 🙂

        however, it’s not that different to the mill-owners part-paying workers in tokens that are only redeemable at the company shop…

        whilst there are ways to get wine delivered @ 0.5p, I’m not that concerned about a healthy bank balance – but yes, devaluation or worse is a niggle of worry

  • Marc says:

    The only real novelty here is the ability to earn Avios on the cheapest Basic fare. We could already get Avios on Excellence and Optima via Ib+, and redeem avios for Vueling flights via Ib+. It’s likely that you will still earn more Avios if you credit your flights to Ib+, instead to VuelongClub/Avios, except for Basic fare where you can only eat. avios via Vueling Club

  • Simon Fisher says:

    Sorry if this is a dumb question, but do I have to join Vueling Punto (or the Avios future equivalent?) When I did this for Aerclub, they mixed up mine and my wife’s accounts and my account got her name on it. I have only just got it back ;-(

    I suspect the fact we had a family account on Avios caused the confusion, but either way don’t want that hassle again.

    • Rob says:

      If it is like AerClub, you will need to register for Vueling Club to access their website but your membership number will remain your current avios.com (and AerClub) number. At a guess.

    • Cate says:

      Same with my partner and I on Norwegian – we’ve even got the same account number, but Norwegian insist two people can’t possibly have the same account number so the conversation went to a dead stop. It ‘s nice that the rewards are pooled though 🙂

  • Tony says:

    Would be nice if this was a precursor to them joining Oneworld and thereby awarding tier points as well as Avios…

    • AH says:

      Yes, being based in BCN I dream of the day they somehow convert into something that means I can somewhat use OW benefits as normal.

    • Lewis Watson says:

      And lounge access for us lowly silvers

  • BigDave says:

    I’ve used vuelling a couple of times… excellent value for money – nice to have another way to spend avios as reward flights for the dates I want are nearly always unavailable… and as the article says part or full pay with avios not so bad on a budget ticket…

  • Ammar says:

    Ot- would like some advice on whether these redemeptions Are good value or of should convert to cash bookings to get points etc
    1) 3 nts at hilton for 30k pts total, cash price is £245. I am diamond.
    2) 3 nts four points by sheraton for 9k spg total or £125 cash in Sandakan. No status in spg.

    I think better to book all of them for caah as doing China, Japan and hk next year and may use them then.

    • Rob says:

      1) Yes, excellent value, I normally expect 0.33p per Hilton point so I’d be happy with £90 of free rooms let alone £245

      2) No, SPG points are worth 1.5p to me so I would be tempted to pay cash, but it is close enough that I wouldn’t cancel your HFP subscription if you told me you’d used points 🙂

      • Ammar says:

        Thanks Rob…..Im doing ok with the Hilton redemption it seems!

        Just wondering whether you know of any SPG promotions upcoming that i should hold out for before booking or do they usually allow future promotions to apply to bookings?
        Regards
        Ammar

        • Rob says:

          Only Accor usually insists you book after a promo launches. You won’t have any issues with SPG.

    • Genghis says:

      Hi Ammar. From your comments yesterday you’re off to Borneo. I’ve never been but I’ve read good things about Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa at 10k Marriott / night.

      • Ammar says:

        Thanks Genghis! Just had a look at this, no time on my current trip to check this resort, but will definitely be thinking about this next time i am in Borneo! Looks a brilliant redemption….shame I do not have longer this time! Some good options in the far east…..

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