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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.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel 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 10,500 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 £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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.

  • James says:

    Vueling also serves Newcastle.

  • Stephan says:

    OT but relating spending avios. For the companion voucher is it possible to book one way with Business and return with economy?
    And I think this may be the case but just to confirm, you can use household avios towards to the purchase of the ticket?

    • Anna says:

      Yes, you will be given the option when you choose your flights. It should show available Economy, PE and Business seats, unless you select First, when it shows First, Business and PE. I’ve not yet worked out how you would fly First one way and Economy the other without making 2 separate bookings or calling!

      • Stephan says:

        Thanks Anna. I do seem to see the options but for some reason I get an error. I may try calling them up and seeing if they can by pass that issue.

  • Discount Mike says:

    The biggest news for me is Vueling is pronounced “bwelin”…

    • Phil says:

      Yeah. Thanks for the heads up, Rob – I’ve always wondered how it should be pronounced! 🙂

      • the real harry1 says:

        well, the V & the B sounds are interchangeable, so ‘vwellin’ / ‘vwelling’ is OK as well – they are trying to be cool and assume many passengers will understand the ‘-ing’ ending in English, ie they are trying to say ‘flying’ in a hip Spanish way

        • Callum says:

          It has nothing to do with being “cool” or “hip”. They’re an airline based in Catalonia and they pronounce “V” as “B” there, as they do in several Spanish regions. Same way you would pronounce “vivo” (I live) as “bebo”.

          • the real harry1 says:

            yo vuelo – I fly
            vuelo – flight
            vuel-ing = ‘flying’ in cool Spanglish if you like
            the same way the French talk about le shopping, thinking they are being hip because they use a bit of franglais
            btw your ‘vivo’ would be ‘beebo’ but I assume you know that and messed up typing

          • the real harry1 says:

            oh look what a quick google turns up – I didn’t need to see this to work it out for myself 🙂
            https://www.saffron-consultants.com/projects/vueling/

            Adopting the simple ethos that cheap flights don’t have to mean lower standards, we created a brand idea that embraced simplicity and straightforwardness as well as a quirky and down-to-earth personality. We called it ‘Espritu Vueling’.
            A bi-lingual brand
            With ambitions that reached beyond Spain, it was vital that the brand embraced the English language. The name Vueling itself is a composite word, made by joining ‘vuel’ the Spanish for fly and the ‘ing’ from flying.
            From this unexpected starting point, we developed an amalgamation of the two languages that has become a fun and friendly tone of voice that is completely aligned with the positioning.

  • Dave says:

    OT
    I have an ANA flight coming up. Can I credit the miles to Virgin Flying Club rather than ANA Mileage Club?

  • Sanjay says:

    Was supposed to fly Vueling in July from LGW-BCN at 14.45. That was the day when the AC tyre burst on the runway and shut LGW down. After an absolute horrendous handling of the situation (including going through immigration 3 times at LGW and LHR but never leaving the country and then at 01.00 saying “sorry…you’re not flying…go fend for yourself”), would never ever recommend Vueling. Yes cheap…but abysmal handling on-the-ground and after. They don’t want to compensate so the class-action lawsuit led by others has started!

    • Nick says:

      Why should they compensate when a completely unrelated airline suffered a burst tyre? What should AC have done, landed in a field or the Bristol Channel just so you could get to Spain?
      I would expect them to pay duty of care stuff, i.e. hotels, meals and calls. But not full EU261 compensation.

  • lgflyer says:

    With the current Punto scheme, you get 1 point every 2€. If 1 point will be converted to 9 avios, you are essentially getting 4.5 avios per €. With the new scheme, you will only get 3 avios per € for Basic and 4 avios per € for Optima. So it is a bit of a devaluation…
    Also something to note is that with Punto you get the points when you buy the ticket, not when you fly. You get the points even if you do not show. It would be interesting to see if this continues once it integrates into Avios.

  • Really says:

    O/T

    Is it recommended to keep at least ONE Amex card ahead of future applications? I’ve mistimed a churn cycle with Mrs. R., and I’ve currently got an SPG card which I’m deriving limited value from.

    I want to cancel it so I can start the 6 month counter but that would effectively leave me Amex-less (except for a supplementary card from the Mrs). Would Amex look unfavourably on this come the next application round i.e. impacted credit history with them? Would my online amex account be effectively closed as I have no cards?

    Any input appreciated.

    Thanks.

    • Genghis says:

      I was Amexless for about 3 months earlier this year. No probs getting all cards again. Online account remains open.

    • Rob says:

      Doubt it makes much difference. What DOES make a difference is having one long-term card showing on your credit report. Someone who has a credit report with no card older than 2016 and someone who has a credit report where they have had a specific card since 1999 will be treated differently.

    • KevMc says:

      You can have an SPG card as well as a Gold/Plat card – you just have to have not had an MR account in the previous 6 months to get the signup bonus

  • Really says:

    Thank you both for your prompt replies! Much appreciated.

    I’ve got an old Natwest Visa credit card which I’ve had for quite a while now, but is basically useless except for the sole purpose in your comment Rob. I channel a very tiny amount of spend here and there on it but the bare minimum tbh – not sure if this is affecting my credit score.

    Already cancelled the SPG and now just waiting for the clock to tick – something which unsettled me a bit was the customer service agent identified the supplementary card on my wife’s account to me. Hope this doesn’t affect the sign-up bonus…

    Thank you both again.

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