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Vueling launches Heathrow flights to Paris and Barcelona, redeemable on Avios

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Low-cost carrier Vueling is not the next airline you’d expect to launch Heathrow flights, but it is launching two new short haul routes to Paris Orly and Barcelona.

According to Carolyn Prowse, Vueling’s Chief Commercial, Customer, Network and Strategy Officer (CCCNSO anyone?), the launch “has been possible thanks to our strong collaboration with British Airways.”

What is happening here, I think, is that IAG – the group that also owns BA and Iberia – is using Vueling capacity to mop up some Heathrow slots that BA and Iberia are unable to operate due to a shortage of aircraft.

Vueling launches Heathrow flights, redeemable on Avios

Airlines are subject to ‘use it or lose it’ rules when it comes to take-off and landing slots at Heathrow. Whilst suspended during the pandemic, airlines must once again operate at least 80% of their allocated slots or face losing them in the coming season.

As Heathrow slots are extremely valuable, British Airways has leased them to Vueling in the short term as a way of keeping them for the long term.

Both routes will begin on 7th April with tickets now on sale.

There will be one flight per day to Orly (the only Heathrow service to Orly on any airline) and two flights per day to Barcelona.

What about lounge access?

Normally, a British Airways Gold cardholder DOES get British Airways lounge access when flying Vueling – but only if the flight has a BA flight number and was ticketed by British Airways. This is a good benefit when flying Vueling from London Gatwick.

(A British Airways Silver cardholder will never get BA lounge access on Vueling, irrespective of whether the flight has a BA flight number or not.)

However, Vueling will operate from Terminal 4 and not Terminal 5. As there is no British Airways lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4, British Airways Gold cardholders are stuck.

There are, however, a couple of decent Priority Pass options – the Plaza Premium lounge Heathrow Terminal 4 (review here) and the Blush by Plaza Premium lounge (review here).

Earning and spending Avios on Vueling

This is a complex and painful topic, to put it mildly!

To separate out the discussion, we have run another article today on how to earn and spend Avios on Vueling flights. You can read it 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 (73)

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

  • Mohamed says:

    Don’t expect much luck accessing PP T4 with Priority Pass, as AF/KLM and other airlines are using them.

  • Chabuddy Geezy says:

    I got burned by Vueling on the Heathrow route in 2019. I booked the more expensive Heathrow flight as it was easier to get to after work. They then cancelled the route and put me on the Gatwick flight anyway!

  • Lou says:

    I’ve read enough horror stories to know to just avoid Vueling

  • Nick says:

    With the new metro link to ORY this could be very convenient, depending on the time of the flight.

  • Chris says:

    Pity that BA don’t transfer some of their own flights back to LHR from LGW. Unless you live south of London LGW is really inconvenient. It’s a shame that BA gave up direct flights from regional airports some years ago but at least LHR has connecting flights from some northern and Scottish airports. LGW doesn’t offer this.
    I would echo the previous post that Vueling are a terrible airline.

    • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

      LGW has better rail connections than LHR (and had them long before LHR was even on the tube let alone HEX).

      You seem to have forgotten that Thameslink connects it to the likes of Cambridge, Peterborough and Bedford for a single seat ride.

      Cross the plaza at King”s Cross and that’s access from the entire east coast mainline for a two seat trip.

      Or change at London Bridge and you’ve access from Kent.

      And from the South West change at Clapham Junction.

    • Michael Jennings says:

      I live in South London. Gatwick is easy to get to. Heathrow is a bitch. I mean, a lot of people do live in South London.

    • Rob says:

      I live 5 mins walk from a Piccadilly tube station, but even for me I can get a taxi to Victoria in 10 minutes and hop onto a Gatwick train every 10 mins or so. Not tricky.

      Elizabeth Line connections at Farringdon now make Luton and Gatwick even easier.

      • Nige says:

        Try getting to Gatwick from Leeds….. I tend to take the 3hr drive to Heathrow as the simplest and quickest option (traffic dependant) Gatwick is just a no go for me.

        • Londonsteve says:

          What’s wrong with LNER to King’s X then Thameslink from St. Pancras nextdoor direct to Gatwick? Has to be faster than driving to Heathrow and less stressful.

          • Nige says:

            At £120 – £210 per person and 4hrs plus travel time. It’s not a great option, definitely no good for an early morning flight either as it would require a hotel stay.

      • lumma says:

        Small tip for someone living in East London, if you change to Thameslink at Farringdon*, rather than Blackfriars, the system assumes you look the non-zone 1 route to Gatwick.

        *Without going through the barriers

  • Tracey says:

    Only a BA gold card holder gets access, they can’t guest anyone with them.

  • Tony says:

    I also echo, echo how awful Vueling are….so swerve these wierd flights to ORY and BCN!!

  • Bernard says:

    Seems BA are culling useful frequencies to provide slots to this trash.
    Look at the reviews online and you’ll see Vueling is an ‘avoid’ – trigger happy cancelling flights and no help when they do. In the sane league as Wizz Air.

    • Nick says:

      They’ll have the same slot rules as BA. And if as suspected these are IAG-directed flights for the express purpose of slot sitting, you can bet they’ll be prioritised.

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