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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.

How you can use Avios points to book flights on LEVEL

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.

How you can use Avios points to book flights on LEVEL

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 you can use Avios points to book flights on LEVEL

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:

  • Economyfrom 34,000 Avios + £134 to 8,500 Avios + £274
  • Premium Economyfrom 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

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2024)

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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

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 £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable 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

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 (22)

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

  • Catalan says:

    “ ignoring England’s 2nd city”
    I take it you are referring to Birmingham then?

    • Douglas Woods says:

      That was my thought too.

    • jjoohhnn says:

      It would make sense that it was a reference to second city in an aero-nautical sense since this was in regard to British Airways? Manchester is second largest city in the UK in terms of aircraft movements, and in Passenger numbers. Birmingham airport would be 7th in passenger numbers, and had only half the aircraft movements (last month) compared to Manchester.

      Comparing cities based on population is non-sensical due to the city boundaries being defined largely in Victorian times so they are largely irrelevant now.

  • lumma says:

    It’s always nice to have options, but surely the bigger comparison is Vs the same routes on Iberia from Madrid. For New York for example, economy is slightly more avios (37,000) with similar taxes and premium is more points (60,500) but lower fees.

    Additionally, you can fly business, use a 241 and have your status recognised when flying Iberia. I’d probably trust Iberia more to fix things if something goes wrong too

    • DW says:

      As far as I know, Level is actually operated by Iberia.

  • plunet says:

    “Level never operated from London”

    I remember taking flights with LEVEL from London to Vienna return on some silly cheap promo deal, €0.99 each way.

    • Peter K says:

      There’s a difference between operating *from* somewhere, and *to* somewhere.

      In your example it operated from Vienna (the base) to London (the outreach destination).

    • Londonsteve says:

      +1. Great deal and great flight that was. They started selling seats quite late in the day, resulting in a bargain flight in peak season. I think the plane was only 50% full despite tickets costing tuppence and haypenny. Can’t have helped LEVEL’s operation from VIE to be running such loss-making flights.

  • Richie says:

    Is LEVEL just a brand or an airline?
    Does LEVEL have an AOC?
    Under EU261:2004 who is the operating air carrier?

    • JDB says:

      LEVEL flights from BCN to Buenos Aires and Santiago at least are operated by Iberia, but that doesn’t especially help with EC261 as Iberia is one of the very worst payers of compensation and does not participate in any arbitration so you have to take them to court. If it is for a UK passenger for flights between Spain and South America there is a question mark over jurisdiction for MCOL, something LEVEL is very aware of.

      • Richie says:

        Thanks JDB, good to know.

        • Nick says:

          It’s a brand, they don’t have an AOC. All their different operations ran under different AOCs – the Paris one was actually the old BA openskies AOC.

  • CraigyC says:

    I’m not sure how this works with Level, but I ended up on their metal (A321) coming back from Madrid yesterday on an Iberia flight. The business class seats were the same as Iberia long haul, no premium economy.

    • Nick says:

      Level don’t have A321s so that wouldn’t have been possible. It’s not uncommon for the A330s to turn up on LON-MAD though. Indeed IB doesn’t advertise their widebodies as flat-bed services so they can use PE as Business if this happens.

      • CraigyC says:

        Sorry, I meant A330, it was a wide body. Definitely the same lay flat business class seats though, as I had flown in on an Iberia one from Cuba earlier in the day, identical. I’d never heard of level before.

    • marcw says:

      Many planes used by LEVEL are “owned” by IB. Due to COVID, some LEVEL planes made it back to IB Mainline: cabins were retrofitted/refurbished to IB standard, but planes were not repainted (or are being repainted at a later time).

  • Alex says:

    I’ve had a level a330 operating in place of iberia on mad-mvd and premium economy feels far more premium given it’s the front cabin than on a normal 3/4 class aircraft so defintley worth a try if the route works

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