Why flying LEVEL is decent value for long-haul Premium Economy Avios redemptions

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Two years ago, IAG, the parent of British Airways, launched a new low-cost airline – LEVEL.

Whilst we ran an article at the time we have barely mentioned it since, except for the day it decided to sell all of its tickets to Vienna for 2p return!  This is partly because it is a low cost airline and doesn’t fit into our premium travel focus and partly because it doesn’t have any bases in the UK.

However, LEVEL is still a viable option for earning and spending Avios so we thought it was worth another look.  In particular, there are some decent value Premium Economy Avios redemptions available from Barcelona.

Level airline A330

Where does LEVEL fly?

A lot has changed since LEVEL was launched with just four short-haul destinations from Barcelona.

Most significantly, the airline has grown outside its initial hub.  LEVEL now also flies from Vienna, Amsterdam and Paris.  It’s clear that IAG is trying to turn the screw on its key rivals Air France-KLM and Lufthansa Group.

Here’s where you can fly:

From Barcelona

  • Amsterdam
  • Boston
  • Buenos Aires
  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Santiago de Chile
  • Vienna

From Paris

  • Boston (ends 31st March)
  • Fort de France
  • Las Vegas (ends 1st March)
  • Montreal
  • New York
  • Pointe-a-Pitre
  • Vienna

From Vienna

  • Alicante
  • Amsterdam
  • Barcelona
  • Bilbao
  • Calvi
  • Copenhagen
  • Dubrovnik
  • Florence
  • Genoa
  • Hamburg
  • Larnarca
  • London
  • Majorca
  • Malaga
  • Olbia
  • Paris
  • Porto
  • Rome
  • Rostock

From Amsterdam

  • Alicante
  • Barcelona
  • Bilbao
  • Florence
  • Fuerteventura
  • Ibiza
  • Lisbon
  • London
  • Majorca
  • Malaga
  • Milan
  • Rome
  • Santiago
  • Valencia
  • Vienna

How are LEVEL’s long-haul aircraft configured?

LEVEL long-haul flights are operated as two-class aircraft but those classes are Economy (293 seats) and Premium Economy (21 seats) – there is no Business Class.

LEVEL’s seating is 2-4-2, which is standard for the A330.  Premium Economy is 2-3-2.

Level airline seating

LEVEL claims to offer a “modern approach to flying”.  How modern?  Try, in Economy:

you pay for all food and drink

you pay for all checked luggage

you pay for seat selection (€15 for a middle seat at the back up to €70 each way for a window or aisle exit row seat)

you pay for a blanket, pillow and / or amenity kit

you pay for internet (fair enough on that one)

you pay for IFE

Premium Economy passengers do not pay for food and drink, seat selection, IFE or checked baggage.

There are no status benefits.  If you have British Airways status, for example, you still cannot use fast track or a lounge.

Level airline

Can you earn Avios on LEVEL?

In general, no.

There is one exception:

if you are flying to/from Barcelona and

you booked via Iberia and your flight has an IB flight number

…… then you can earn some Avios in Iberia Plus.  LEVEL is not a British Airways Executive Club partner.

This means that you need to open an Iberia Plus account and then use ‘Combine My Avios’ to move them across to British Airways Executive Club.  Note that your Iberia Plus account must be 90 days old before you can transfer in or out of it.

This page of the Iberia website shows what you will earn.

For clarity, LEVEL is not part of oneworld and is not a British Airways partner.  You will not receive any benefits at all when flying with LEVEL irrespective of your British Airways or oneworld status.

How do I redeem Avios on LEVEL?

The key thing to know is that you can only redeem Avios on LEVEL flights to or from Barcelona.

For long haul, this means that you are restricted to:

  • Boston
  • Buenos Aires
  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Santiago de Chile

LEVEL is pricing off the standard Iberia Plus redemption chart.  However, there are two ways of booking LEVEL – via iberia.com and via avios.com.

Here is an example booking LEVEL from Barcelona to New York in Premium Economy:

Via iberia.com (11th March to 19th March, off-peak dates):

Economy (Blue Class) – 34,000 Avios + £135.10 return

Premium Economy – 51,000 Avios + £135.10 return (see below)

LEVEL Avios redemptions

Via avios.com, where they show as Iberia services:

Economy – 34,000 Avios + £162.90 return

Premium Economy – 51,000 Avios + £162.90 return

As you can see, it is cheaper to book on the Iberia website.  The only reason to book on avios.com would be if your Iberia Plus account was not 90 days old and you were not allowed to transfer Avios across to it.

This article shows you how to transfer Avios from British Airways to avios.com or Iberia.

These Avios flights can only be booked via Iberia Plus (iberia.com) or avios.com.  They cannot be booked with Avios on the BA website.

Is this a better deal than booking World Traveller Plus on British Airways?

Now …. is it worth booking Premium Economy on LEVEL from Barcelona to New York for 51,000 Avios + £135 when you could book World Traveller Plus on British Airways from London to New York for £462?

You are saving £327 per person in taxes

You need to pay for a positioning flight to and from Barcelona

It adds a lot of hours to your trip to go via Barcelona

Some people might consider it a bit of fun – and there are worse places than Barcelona to transit.  If you don’t live near Heathrow and would need to transit in Heathrow from Edinburgh etc then it is also a different story.  It is up to you.

You can learn more on the LEVEL website here.

PS.  If you missed it, take a look at our recent article on 10 good reasons to consider the FREE British Airways American Express credit card.

(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. It sounds a thoroughly sub standard product, not sure why anyone would bother frankly.

  2. a9504477 says:

    If the pricing for Level is the same as for IB flights, then not sure why this would be interesting compared to booking on IB from Madrid and having the usual OW benefits?

  3. Eli gold says:

    Thanks Rob for a very Level some up of the airline it’s routes and benefits.

    I just wonder why have Vueling and Level, can’t one do the job of both?

  4. Slightly OT. I have just taken a flight from Buenos Aires to Santiago. Booked through BA seat 1a on a LATAM 787 cost me 15000 + £50. However just noticed I have been awarded 25 tier points and 708 Avios. Not complaining just wondering why.

    • Genghis says:

      IT error. Shhh.

      • I don’t think it’s an error. The thing is redemptions on LATAM are booked on fare categories which award Avios & TP – which are different from X, U, Z,… traditionally used for redemptions.

    • David S says:

      Yep. Keep quiet about it and enjoy it.

  5. Michael C says:

    Friends from BCN have just bought tickets for Boston as we’re meeting there…VERY cheap, though not sure, with their kid, if they knew everything that’s NOT included. So not even any water, for 3 people, for 8 hours?

    • Everyone in BCN is aware of this. It’s cheap, you can take some sandwiches with nice Serrano jam from home. +You buy some drinks at the airport or you do it in the air.

      • You can’t beat a jamon serrano sandwich, except maybe if you add thinly sliced queso manchego! But yes, buy a couple of big bottles of water after security – or bring re-fillable drinks containers, I don’t know if they have drinking fountains at BCN but there’s nothing wrong with Spanish tap water.

      • Michael C says:

        That’s true, although 8.5 hours with sandwiches for a 2-yr old won’t really wing it.
        And the jam could get sticky

        Reminds me of the original long-haul low-cost from Barcelona to B. Aires with nothing included (an Air Europa offshoot? Around the year 2000/2002?).

        Went once, took off so late that catering had closed in BCN, and we had to land in MAD to “load the sandwiches”).
        Took off again, were told a few hours later we’d used too much fuel and couldn’t make it to EZE, so had to stop in Recife to refuel. Took about 3 hours, with the doors open, and 40º outside. No-one allowed off, and all the food and drink (including water) onboard had finished. 2 Spaniards, saying they weren’t going to wait any longer, started to smoke…while the refuelling was going on!
        Arrived 8 hours late. Cheap, though!

  6. Been using them for AMS-LTN when BA/KLM has been expensive. It’s basically like flying Vueling. Short haul space seats can be good value. The flight is only 45 mins anyway.

    I also don’t understand why they needed an extra brand, especially as you still can’t book via them anyway, you have to use the Vueling site. Maybe as a hedge against future pay negotiations with Vueling?

    I also don’t understand why Level/Vueling get to use the low numbered D gates at AMS, while BA is at the end of the pier every bloody time!!

    • I think the Vueling brand has been so badly trashed it made sense to start fresh.

      • That doesn’t explain why they have two brands though. If Vueling’s reputation is too bad to use, then why are they using it at all? Re-brand the entire thing Level.

        • Lady London says:

          If the Air Europa deal is allowed through by the regulators perhaps that is the time to roll Vueling’s operations into one of the other IAG brands and extinguish the Vueling brand name.

        • Problem is Vuelings brand acceptance. In Spain and Paris, it’s doing well. Outside these places, the brand penetration did not work. That’s why LEVEL SH was launched. Also, Vuelign had problems running an efficient EU hubs – since all their flights must run with crew hired in Spain. LEVEL, can open bases and hire crew locally.

        • Lady London says:

          Not worth doing until they sort out the operational issues with Vueling. Otherwise would bring down whatever other brand its rolled under.

    • My guess is because of the toxicity of the vuelling brand

  7. Patrycja says:

    Need you advice on how to resolve the issue. I booked my flights from Frankfurt to Sydney in business 6 days ago in Qatar sale that HFP promoted. I found my fare on Kayak which I use for all my bookings for flights and hotel and have never had any issue. The company Kayak linked me to was Dream World Travel. I booked with confidence because they featured on kayak. After booking I had to call to get my booking reservation as none of the details sent worked on Qatar Airways app. Once I had a booking reference I relaxed but now it looks like my booking has been cancelled and it no longer shows on my Qatar Airways app. Looking at web they get 1 star reviews and are infamous for not paying for tickets at the time of booking, cancelling flights at the last minute etc, I know I can get it reported through Amex and get my money back if they don’t refund me but I would rather get the tickets I originally bought. What would I have to get from them to guarantee a booking that they cannot cancel. Would getting e ticket guarantee my booking? Help.

    • IMHO always a dumb ass move to book through these third party jokers. Always book direct with airlines, irrespective of alleged savings.

      • Patrycja says:

        We travel a lot and I have never had a problem booking through travel agents so never crossed my mind that I might have problems. Anyway, now it is done so I just need to work on resolution and would really appreciate advice on what I need to ask them for to guarantee my flights.

        • Shoestring says:

          first of all, check your booking reference on https://www.finnair.com/gb/gb/manage-booking-login

          (yes, Finnair)

          & see if it is there

        • You may well have received a booking reference but it doesn’t seem as though it was ticketed. That could be because the price had increased and this company was caught out and was unwilling to bear the cost themselves. From what you say, this seems to common practice with the company.

          As Shoestring says, check Finnair and see what details you can pull up. What do the company say when you call?

      • Agreed.

        • Patrycja says:

          I’ve spoken to Qatar Airways and they said the ticket was never purchased and as long as I go through Dream World Travel they will always have control over my booking so could cancel at any time. I think the only way to guarantee my flight is to get money back for this booking and keep looking out for offers throughout the year to book directly with QA

          • Get on to Amex and explain what has happened – Dream World Travel offered tickets at XXX price, they’ve taken your money but can’t fulfil the booking at that price and have cancelled the reservation. You should get your money back quicker. Have you called Dream World Travel for an explanation or to request a refund? You should do this first before calling Amex.

            There are a number of sites, such as Goole flights, that will monitor the fare and send you an email when the price increases or decreases. Also, not all of the companies you come across on aggregators (such as Kayak) are unscrupulous. Expedia, for example. You will, however, always have issues booking via a third party if the are any problems with you reservation, as you’ll have to go through the agency that you booked with to resolve anything. They in turn will have to contact the airline and this is where matters get protracted. It’s one more link in the chain, so it might be worthwhile to spend a little more, at times, and book direct.

      • Have to agree but my son frequently uses third party sellers and in twenty years had not had a problem.

        • When you have an issue, you really don’t want to be forced to go via an intermediary – if you ring the airline direct, they will refuse to help.

        • I’ve used Expedia a couple of times to book fares that were not available direct from an airline, but had problems back in 2005 going to S America. Booked LGW – BCN – MAD – EZE and SCL – MAD – LGW.

          Checking in at BA LGW we only got boarding cards to BCN, even though our luggage was checked through. Told to go to the transfer desk in BCN for onward boarding cards. At BCN, when we eventually found the transit desk, and an IB guy who spoke no English turned his screen round to show we were wait listed! We got on the flights but were seated far apart.

          Flying home from SCL, we arrived at the airport early, luckily, to find the flight time had changed and been brought forward by an hour. Expedia hadn’t informed us. I had checked the IB site that morning and it didn’t show the change in flight time. Flight was a LAN flight, IB codeshare. We just made it, but again were seated far apart.

          I would think twice about using Expedia again for flights. Although I did get a one way from LGW to MCO in 2012, sold as an IB flight by Expedia, but actually the BA direct flight. That all went well and was good value (about a quarter of the price of buying directly from BA if I remember correctly).

    • Riccatti says:

      Raise the dispute with American Express IMMEDIATELY. Or be prepared to part with your money, when AMEX will have no recourse on the merchant. (Yes there is Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act protection but that means American Express paying themselves).

      Qatar Airways already told you the ticket was never paid for — and they will not re-create the sale fare once the payment terms expire.

      • Patrycja says:

        Thank you. I just did that. AMEX were great. They said that they will refund me on my next statement day and will deal with DWT directly. They gave me a ref number for this as well so should be all good.

        • Lady London says:

          If you paid with an Amex charge card then s.75 does not cover charge cards so you are reliant on what’s in Amex ts ad cs.

          However attentive readers will recall Harry’s comment that he now books all tickets on credit cards not charge cards as this gets them covered by s.75. Amex cover is good in such situations but will never cover consequential losses as s.75 does.

          S.75 consequential loss would have given you the option to get a replacement ticket fully paid by the credit card company even at. different cost. This is because s.75 makes the credit card jointly liable for fulfilling the contract.

          FWIW I nearly made the same mistake booking a ticket with eDreams through an OTA. Luckily I checked the reviews before clicking and walked away. I think the other one that gets really bad feedback is Gate Travel.

          Glad Amex picked it up for you @Patrycja.

          • Patrycja says:

            This is very helpful. I never considered the difference until this happened. I might get a Gold card just for flight booking and forget the bonus. I guess with BA Premium I won’t be in the position to ask?

          • P…Yes BA premium plus is also a credit card, best use a credit card for all flight and hotel bookings. However plat were good when we had problems couple of years ago. Just not quite the same level of cover as a credit card. Their charge back is good tho, and you won’t be out any cash.
            It’s just as LL points out you could still have got your flights, even at a higher price cost to the card.

    • Charlieface says:

      You need to ask Amex to cover a NEW ticket, as they are also liable under S.75 for consequential loss and must fulfil the contract.

      • Patrycja says:

        Really? How does that work? I was just delighted they wanted to give me my money back without hassle.

      • Lady London says:

        Not as a charge card. If it was Amex Gold Credit card or another credit card not charge card (such as Plat) then s.75 would be applicable.

        • Patrycja says:

          It was my BA Premium Amex so a charge card. I cancelled my Gold card so I can get a bonus in 24 months

          • BA premium card is a credit card and not a charge card.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            BAPP is a Credit card.

            The charge cards are AMeX own branded Green and Platinum (members may have an old gold charge)

          • Just FYI – if you’re keeping the BAPP my understanding is you won’t get a bonus on a new gold card, only platinum!

        • Patrycja says:

          I just called AMEX back and asked for replacement tickets rather than refund. They added it to my case pending investigation but didn’t commit to it. Fingers crossed!!!

          • Lady London says:

            Assuming the type of card you booked on is a credit card and not a charge card, I can imagine Amex would look into it carefully before committing to giving replacement tickets as this is likely to cost a chunk more :-).

        • Patrycja says:

          This has been extremely helpful. Thank you so much for all your advice!

    • Dreamworld travel are terrible, never go near them. Their suggestion to resolve an issue was to lie to the airline, then had them on a conf call with the airline when the airline said a change could be made but the ota had to issue it, they said they would and did nothing.

      They lie on every call. Talked to 5 different ppl, then one forgot to put mute on so we heard them talking amongst themselves arguing about how each person we talk to gives a different story.

      Then they were saying there would be a 150 change fee, which then then didnt action.. then the change fee was 500 on the next call. Then they started to forward the calls to an inactive voice mail rather than on hold.

      Absolute scum company.

      • Patrycja says:

        So I’ve learnt! Sounds like they have been reported a number of times but are still allowed to operate. I am going to report them to Trading standards.

        • And record all your calls, they record them too, but sometimes “lose the recordings”

  8. Matthew says:

    Do you mean Aer Club rather than Avios.com? Or is the latter still accessible for some?

    • Peter K says:

      Avios.com is now a portal to allow you to access Veuling and Aer Lingus booking.

      The old Avios Travel Rewards Programme accounts are gone.

      • The old Avios accounts are still there if you were also a member of Aer Club. For me, nothing has really changed.

  9. OT: same old offers on Amex cards

    Why don’t they inject some variety in these Amex offers, and wouldn’t it be fabulous if they were smarter about what they offered card members by type/location of spend?

    There seem to be continuous offers for certain coffee shops, shirt shops and a particular jewellery shop, and whilst it is nice to have them, it just seems repetitive after a while

    :-/

    • Charlieface says:

      Got a feeling that these companies are not paying extra to have them targeted, mainly because it makes no difference to them because they have no competitors in their tiny niche. Whereas other companies have competitors so want to target them to their competitors’ customers etc.

    • We’re only looking at the offers from the “outside” though.

      Some are clearly “dumb” offers that are used to sell Amex merchant facilities to smaller retailers. You can be sure that there are plenty of stats to indicate how much trade “Shop Small” drives to independents every December.

      Others seem to highlight the troubles in the hospitality industry. I must have 20 different restaurant offers at the moment – but rarely eat out as I have a fantastic office canteen where everything is freshly prepared on site every day.

      Some are definitely “smart” though, they are the ones that you really want but don’t get. What’s the point of targetting you with an offer when you are going to spend the money whether you have the offer or not?

  10. And from the 1rst of march this year, LEVEL has annouced it will end its boston and las vegas services from Paris.

    Those two routes must not work well then.

  11. It would appear you can no longer move avios from Iberia to BA, only the other way around

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