Vueling launches an Avios credit card in France – but is it any good?

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In an interesting move, Vueling – IAG’s low cost short-haul carrier – has launched an Avios Visa credit card in France.  This is, I think, only the second airline credit card on the French market.

The benefits package is worth a look, because it gives an idea of what Avios considers to be ‘affordable’ in the new world of 0.3% interchange fees.

Vueling credit card in France

This is what you get:

€24 annual fee

4000 Avios sign-up bonus, plus a further 2000 Avios for spending €2000 within three months

1.6 Avios per €1 spent with IAG airlines (BA, Iberia, Vueling etc)

0.8 Avios per €1 spent elsewhere – including cash withdrawals!

Other benefits: use of premium check-in desks when flying with Vueling, 25% extra Avios on hotel bookings, 20 flight credits towards Vueling Premium status (requires 40 flight credits)

All in all this is a surprisingly impressive package.  You are getting the equivalent of 1 Avios per £1 spent, and on a Visa card.  This is even more aggressive than the recent UK launch of the Virgin Atlantic Reward credit cards, and we felt those were rich in the new environment.

Interestingly, it is a different balance of fee and reward to the Vueling card launched in Italy earlier in the year – see here.  This card has a higher annual fee of €49 but also a higher earning rate of 1 Avios per €1.  For anyone who spends less than €1000 per month on the card, the French version is better value (and vice versa).

There is no guarantee that Avios would look to replace its current UK cards with something similar, but it is clear that someone believes you can still make money with an earning rate this good.

You can learn more on the Vueling website here.

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  1. Crédit agricole is issuing the Carte Visa Vueling.

    Or more accurately CA Consumer Finance is doing it (in english inside ^^, more modern I guess than the crédit à la consommation, at least they show the Sofinco brand which is still more know for French people).

    It is a card mandatorily attached to a revolving credit.
    You probably cannot refuse that revolving credit.

    This market is dominated by let say three banks only in France despite all the marketing/brands around it.

    They all work the same way.

    You get a revoling credit and card attached to it, here the vueling card.

    You can only pay by direct debit.
    You cannot refuse direct debit.

    But of course because this is a revolving credit, you will be debited only the minimum and the remaining amount will trigger the interests to be pay monthly on top of your use.

    I am not sure if you can change that minimum amount to be debited before it is to be debited.
    You may be able to connect on your internet revolving account to do so but I do not know if it is really possible.
    You can send an additionnal cheque for the remaining amount but this is a manual process.

    Transfers/credit card are not an habit for paying the remaining amount in France and never advertised, unless you are declared bankrupted.


    On the Crédit agricole (CA Consumer Finance) side:
    – they may give you a limit of maybe 1000 euros on te card at the beginning… a bit short for a First class ticket on BA, but works enough for a vueling trip to BCN…
    – they expect you not to pay your full balance every month, and do not help you to do so, (zero transfer balances between cards do not exist in France) and charge you interests where they can generate some revenue from you for them
    – they probably do not target high level spenders and people generating high revenue, I guess, because they want you to use the revolving facility
    – they will propose you a bit later a regular credit/loan not associated with a card, to buy a car or renovate your house/appartment but not to buy a house/appartment : another source of revenue from you

    I see here where Crédit agricole can make it work for them but the target customer may not be a HFP type of consummer :
    – low limit on the credit card
    – intensive use of the revolving facility
    – expectation you will use them to have an additional loan to buy a car.

    On the IAG/vueling side:
    – for sure people have the vueling card in te wallet and may impress people ?
    – non frequent travellers may more use vueling instead of easyjet to go to BCN ? Or even use LEVEL to go to Martinique or Guadeloupe ?
    ( Air France has also that with BNP to get a credit (without a card) to pay your every 5 years trip to your born oversea city for non rich people, and Corsair and Air Caraibes have a similar credit solution)
    – this may increase the brand knowledge in France ?

    BA had in 1998 a visa premier card with Cofinoga (owned by BNP now, which may be the Creation company now in the UK) also attached to a revolving credit.
    But I am not sure it has worked well because they were no marketing campaigns at that time.
    And I guess this card does not exist anymore.

    On the consumer side:
    – you get more avios
    – but maybe limited on the limit of the credit card, so the limit of what you can buy
    – and may have to pay interests on top of your expenses
    – but get your avios being alive…

    At the same time, I know someone being refused to have the Galeries lafayette card, not a carte bancaire, just because he was rich enough that Cofinoga/BNP behind it estimated he will never use the revolving facility.

    And revolving credit have bad reputation in France with the consummer associations and the people in general.

    But well it might work…

    • Any way you could put that in English we might understand rather than siphoning it off google translate? I appreciate English isn’t your first language but it really doesn’t make a lot of sense here.
      What – for example – is ‘revolving credit’?

      • ‘Revolving credit’ is an overdraft.

        • RussellH says:

          Not really an overdraft, I would have thought. It is (or was, when I lived there) common American usage, applied to store cards and the like rather than Visa/M/Card.

          The idea is that you should always be in debt to the card firm, and there always paying interest. Paying off the full balance, as we do here with our cards, was difficult, or maybe impossible, without closing the account.

        • Thanks RussellH

          I would not have been able to explain clearer than you.

          This is exactly what you write.
          That’s the point.

      • Er it is called revolving in France or “crédit renouvelable”…

        I understand overdraft is more for current accounts thna for loans but Rob may be right: that maight be the name in the UK.

        Basically if you have a credit limit of 1000, you buy something for 400, your credit limit is then 600 minus the interest.
        You pay 10 by direct debit so now your limit is 610 and you can only buy for this amount now.

        How does it work in the UK?

        Crédit renouvelable ,in an automatic way, is that.
        It is a loan first before being a credit card.

        You have a free to use loan withou futher question inside your limit.
        You pay nothing if you do not use your limit at all, apart from the fee of the visa card every year.
        If you use your loan, you pay interests except maybe the first month (I may be wrong even for the first month).

        Well this is why Rob says overdraft probably.

      • And by the way I do not use google, I think directly in english with my english knowledge inside my brain…

        Is this called artificial intelligence?


      • In France you apply for a loan not a credit card, with the exception of Amex.

        Either you open a bank current account.
        And you may have some means of payment such as a cheque book or a card.

        Either you “ask” for a loan and you may have a card attached to it, but not always.
        That’s the case here for the vueling card.

        It is mandatory to put this sentence:
        Un crédit vous engage et doit être remboursé. Vérifiez vos capacités de remboursement avant de vous engager.
        And vueling has put it on ist web site.
        (You commit to a loan, you need to pay back this loan. So check you are able to pay).

        And on the crédit agricole site, where you are going to create your commitment, you read:
        Offre de crédit renouvelable réservée aux particuliers, sous réserve d’acceptation par SOFINCO, marque de CA Consumer Finance
        It is a loan service.

        Your deal is with Crédit agricole, not a new-tech payment company.

        I hope this helps a little bit more.

        • guesswho2000 says:

          We have similar here in Australia, although standard credit cards are the norm. Generally, when you apply for store finance (via Apple, Fantastic Furniture, or whatever), you open an account to finance the goods at whatever rate. Alongside that, you get a credit limit and a card (a debit card bizarrely, with some) which allows you to keep re-borrowing the amount you repay. They hope you’ll continue to do so, and they can charge you a fortune in interest.

          The plus side with them here is that the payment platforms tend to accept PayPal, which means you can pay them off using Amex cards. They make no attempt to make it easy for you to repay what you borrow, but it’s possible to use them to your advantage. That’s maybe not the case in France though.

          As an aside, my understanding of ‘revolving credit’ is any credit you can borrow and repay over and over again, a credit card being a form of revolving credit, for example.

  2. Chris L says:

    OT, anyone been affected by this? British Airways cancels ‘incorrectly’ cheap tickets

    • Steve says:

      Seem to recall Rob recently commenting on ‘Fare Errors’ and the fact/prospect that BA and others would honour the tickets where the differential wasn’t so large as to be ‘manifest’ (as seems to be the case here as the story infers). BA however clearly didn’t feel the need to do that on this occasion!

      • They are saying that it IS a massive differential because of the usual cost of a REFUNDABLE ticket. Technically they are correct.

        • David says:

          Pretty sure my ticket says it’s non-refundable though (despite being in B class)

    • Lev441 says:

      Yep – was supposedly flying next week – flight now doubled in price even after taking into account the evoucher

  3. Mark2 says:
  4. I understand that when Avios closes Lloyds upgrade vouchers will be redeemable over the phone through BA. Is that possible now? My Avios account is an Aer Club linked one, so will presumably stay open.

    • No they are still with if your account is still open and I think that once it’s closed you’ll have to ring to redeem it.

  5. OT – has anyone had their account closed and moved over to BAEC yet? There’s been no movement with mine or OH’s account since the original email notifying us of the changes.

    • I can’t get into mine any more. Had assumed it had been moved across. Need to contact avios and find out what’s happened though as my Lloyds points haven’t hit my BAEC account. Might be like someone reported the other day that there was just a logging in problem.

      • Mark2 says:

        I could not login to one of my accounts, but could fetch the points from BAEC.

      • The Original Nick says:

        Logged into! Avios account last night and moved Avios over to my BAEC account.

  6. Eddie says:

    OT. Just cancelled my AMEX gold with view to churning in 6 months and securing new signup bonus but was informed by Rep that rules have changed (from February 2018?) and i’ll now have to wait 24 months to be eligible for any sign-up rewards with ANY AMEX rewards cards including Platinum and new Gold Credit Card. cant remember receiving any notification of changes. Has anyone else fallen foul of this “new” approach?

    • Mark2 says:

      My wife and I have received several sign up bonuses since Feb 18 after waiting six months.

      • +1. I’ve also just recently cancelled a gold and a platinum and this wasn’t mentioned.

    • Mark2 says:

      The referral page for BAPP states ‘This offer is not available if you currently hold or have held any other Avios enrolled American Express Cards in the past 6 months.’ the same on Gold and no doubt on all of the others.

    • No

    • Jonathan says:

      Straight off the Amex welcome offer widget “Introductory offers are not available if you currently hold or have held any other British Airways American Express Cards in the past six months.”

      It wont be the first time an Amex CS adviser is wrong although these Rumours were rife earlier in the year they seem to have stopped now.

      • the real harry1 says:

        Wrong, perhaps – but indicative of the fact that they know something like this is coming soon

        • Or more likely that you got one of the agents in the Pacific and they read the rules that apply to US users not GB ones.

  7. Spurs Debs says:

    I’ve got a large purchase to make a new kitchen, it’s on interest free for a year but wanted to know if anyway I can earn some BA points of it when I have to pay up or pay interest .They don’t accept Amex which was my plan My back up plan is my two Tesco cards I could put it on for points. My plan is to put it on cards for points then pay the cards of with my cash.

    Am I missing a trick with another card I have plenty of time to apply for one?

    • Hsergio10 says:

      It might be good to see if you can you pay with paypal.
      If “YES”, you can link your amex with Paypal.

      • Spurs Debs says:

        Great I’ll have a look!

      • Spurs Debs says:

        I haven’t found out if I can use pay pal to pay off Barclays partner finance yet; but thanks for the tip as I can pay for all my new fencing supplies with pay pal as they don’t take Amex and I’ve got 100 ft of new fencing to do!

    • the real harry1 says:

      Virgin? ‘The earning rates are EXCELLENT. 0.75 miles per £1 on the free card and 1.5 miles per £1 on the fee card.’

      On the premium card, there’s a link to get 15K joining bonus + 3x £15K/ month for first 3 months if you spend £1500/ month – you’re not eligible for this unless you were an existing Virgin cardholder but they still let you sign up for it, worth a gamble for little risk.

      Want the link? Any Virgin cardholder invited to apply for the new Virgin credit card can get it legit anyway.

      • You won’t get it. The bonuses are being done done manually in Crawley. I know the exact people doing it!

        • Rob MC says:

          Is there anyone we can speak to and confirm if we are on the list? I had the premium card but cancelled it around November last year

          • You’re not on the list then! That is too far back. They do seem to be contacting people who cancelled a couple of months ago though.

        • the real harry1 says:

          Far stranger things have happened 🙂

        • I’ve still got the Virgin White card although it’s largely been gathering dust for a long time -though I have used it this calendar year – I’ve heard nothing from them. Am I likely to?

          • Emails are going out over 2 weeks UNLESS you opted out of receiving marketing emails from Virgin Flying Club. If you did, you’re stuffed. Opting it now won’t fix it.

      • Hi
        Yes please can I have the link?

        • the real harry1 says:

          toggle to Premium Card (right hand box)

          if you’re an existing cardholder who has been sent an invitation to apply for a new Virgin credit card but have a lesser offer, take screenshots of this offer and the T&Cs – as things stand you qualify 100% for the 60K Virgin miles offer (ie they don’t say you can only apply for the offer you were sent)

          • That is a big mistake in my view. I know how they are doing this and you are likely to end up with nothing. The people getting 60k have been specifically selected.

        • the real harry1 says:

          not nothing – 15K only

          the risk is minimal

    • I’ve just paid for some roofing work via Billhop on a new BAPP – the Billhop fee was offset by the card sign up bonus plus a big chunk of the way towards a companion voucher so it’s worked for me.

      • Sorry this was a reply to Debs re her kitchen!

      • Spurs Debs says:

        I don’t think it’s going to work in this case.
        But I’ve leant something new today as I’ve never heard of billhop before so will take a look at that properly.

        Blocked recipients
        Card issuers
        Collecting agencies
        BitCoin/Cryptocurrency marketplaces
        Casino and Gambling
        For American Express, the following additional payments are not allowed

        Banks and financial institutions
        Loans and credit payments

    • RussellH says:

      Do please remember that if you try some of these creative ways of getting a nice chunk of avios, you can lose your section 75 rights if the kitchen firm fails; just as the one my sister used about 18 months ago after she paid some £15K. Fortunately she had paid around £500 on a Tesco Credit Card (I think – may have been AA) and after a lot of foot dragging got a full refund.

      I am happy to pay someone like HMRC using Billhop, for example, if the payment scheme works for me, but if I am paying cash in advance for goods that should come later, I stick to a straight credit card payment.

  8. RussellH says:

    There is one rather surprising bit in the General Conditions for the Vueling Visa:-

    Condition 3 states quite clearly that you will get avios on cash withdrawals(!), but not on direct transfers from the card a/c to your personal bank a/c. (nor, for that matter on interest or pre-authorisations, which is not surprising.)

  9. Crafty says:

    OT: We have recently changed from being employed to being self-employed. As such I am nervous to make a new Amex application, despite a long history with them, for fear of having a rejection hit my credit file. Clearly my household income is now unpredictable.

    Does anyone have any reassuring (or otherwise) anecdotes on how Amex has looked upon such changes in employment status for them, or advice on how to fill in the form faithfully yet favourably?

    • Do they even check your employment details? My employer has never mentioned to me that Amex have been in touch and I do 6 monthly churning!

  10. This card seems too good to be true. Getting free avios with cash withdrawals on a VISA is suspicious to me.
    I guess the credit attached to the card will be expensive. It might be like a constant overdraft.
    If it is like the Amex where you pay the credit every month automatically with no fee, then it would be fantastic. But I try not holding my breathe.

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