How to fly LEVEL for good value Premium Economy Avios redemptions
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Six years ago, IAG, the parent of British Airways, launched a new low-cost airline – LEVEL.
The airline was launched to compete with the likes of Norwegian, who were offering low-cost long-haul flights from cities across Europe to the United States.
Whilst LEVEL never operated from London, it did fly long haul from Barcelona and Paris and short haul from Vienna and Amsterdam. During the pandemic both LEVEL Europe (Amsterdam, Vienna) and LEVEL France collapsed, leaving just a handful of long haul flights operating from Barcelona.
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.
Where does LEVEL fly?
A lot has changed since LEVEL was launched in 2017. After growing in its early years it is now back to a small schedule operating from Barcelona, with the following routes available:
- Boston (summer only)
- Buenos Aires
- Los Angeles
- New York
- Santiago de Chile
- San Francisco (summer only)
It is a similar operation to the one that IAG is running from Manchester via Aer Lingus UK. In the same way that British Airways is London dominated, ignoring England’s 2nd city, Iberia is focused entirely on Madrid. LEVEL is meant to fill the gap.
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 claims to offer a “modern approach to flying”. How modern? Try, in Economy:
- you pay for all checked luggage
- you pay for all food and drink
- you pay for seat selection
- 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.
Can you earn Avios on LEVEL?
In general, no.
However, if you book a cash ticket 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.
You would need to open an Iberia Plus account and then use ‘Combine My Avios’ after your trip 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?
LEVEL prices 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:
Via iberia.com (10th to 17th October, off-peak dates):
- Economy (Blue Class) – from 34,000 Avios + £162 to 8,500 Avios + £362
- Premium Economy – from 51,000 Avios + £180 to 10,200 Avios + £430
Via avios.com, where they show as Iberia services:
- Economy – from 34,000 Avios + £134 to 8,500 Avios + £274
- Premium Economy – from 51,000 Avios + £233 to 10,200 Avios + £483
Weirdly, it is cheaper to book Premium Economy tickets on the Iberia website, whilst Economy prices better on avios.com.
This article shows you how to transfer Avios from British Airways to avios.com or Iberia.
Avios redemption flights can only be booked via Iberia Plus (iberia.com) or avios.com. They cannot be booked with Avios on the British Airways website.
Is LEVEL 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 + £180 when you could book World Traveller Plus on British Airways from London to New York for 85,000 Avios + £280?
- You are saving 34,000 Avios and £100 per person in taxes, but ….
- 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.
Clearly if you are heading to Buenos Aires or Santiago de Chile then Barcelona is more ‘on the way’ which may make LEVEL make more interesting.
You can learn more on the LEVEL website here.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2023)
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 Mastercard
Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £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 famous annual 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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
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
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! 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
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
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 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.