Oneworld Miles and Status Benefits on Vueling Flights Booked as Codeshares

vueling

Vueling is a curious hybrid. Its origins are as a Barcelona-based low cost carrier but several years ago it merged with Clickair, an entity that Iberia had set up as a low cost subsidiary. This left Iberia – and subsequently International Airlines Group after the British Airways merger – with a substantial stake in Vueling. Finally in 2013, IAG decided to fully take over Vueling.

Prior to the full takeover of Vueling, Iberia had strategically decided to abandon Barcelona, except for Puente Aereo / Air Bridge flights between Madrid and Barcelona which would connect to the Iberia route network in Madrid. However, the two companies agreed to offer most Vueling flights as Iberia codeshares. (for those unfamiliar, codeshare means that a flight is sold with an Iberia flight code – i.e. IB5555 – even though the flight is operated by Vueling)

This leads to some confusion. Despite being fully owned by full Oneworld members British Airways and Iberia, Vueling is NOT a member of the Oneworld alliance. Therefore, no Oneworld benefits will apply, even on Vueling flights booked with an Iberia (or BA) flight code. So, American Airlines AAdvantage, Air Berlin Topbonus, Cathay Pacific Marco Polo etc. members with elite status will NOT earn miles or receive lounge access, excess baggage, free seat selection, fast track security, etc. when flying on Vueling. That said, if you are the type who likes to “try it on”, you can always test and see whether a lounge attendant will let you into the lounge nonetheless – just know that the formal rules are not on your side.

Members of Iberia Plus, however, do have some way of benefiting from Vueling flights, particularly those booked as Iberia codeshares. In limited circumstances, members of British Airways Executive Club also can enjoy some benefits from Vueling flights.

Of course, most savvy Avios collectors know that they can earn Iberia Plus Avios and “Combine Your Avios” to move them across to British Airways Executive Club.

For information about seat selection on Vueling, please read this post.

Iberia Plus

Earning miles

When booking a Vueling flight as an Iberia codeshare, this automatically books into what Vueling calls “Optima” class. Besides coming with an allowance for one checked piece of luggage, Iberia Plus members will earn Avios totaling 50% of the actual miles flown.

When booking via the Vueling website (not as a codeshare), Iberia Plus members can earn 150% of miles flown on Excellence fares (a quasi business class product with guaranteed empty middle seat). When flying on a “Basic” fare, no Avios are earned.

It is important to remember that only Iberia Plus Avios can be earned (no other form of miles including BA Avios) when you book directly with Vueling or as an Iberia codeshare.

Spending miles

Iberia Plus members can book award flights on Vueling, whenever an Iberia codeshare is available. These award bookings are entirely non-refundable. (you will even struggle to get taxes refunded, which in theory should be allowed)

I rarely find it to be good value to burn Avios on Vueling flights. Besides the non-refundable nature, I find that award availability tracks cash fares. So, one will never find a Vueling award seat on an otherwise expensive flight.

Status Benefits

Iberia Plus members can earn Elite Points when flying on Vueling.

Iberia Plus members with Gold or Platinum status receive lounge access when flying Vueling. They should also receive fast track through security. However, no additional luggage allowance applies.

British Airways Executive Club

British Airways now also offers most Vueling flights as British Airways codeshares.

Whenever a Vueling flight is purchased as a British Airways codeshare, Executive Club members can:

It is still a grey area as to whether BA elites can gain access to lounges whilst travelling on BA codeshares operated by Vueling. The formal rules on BA’s website state that elite members must travel on Oneworld airlines to enjoy lounge access. However, I pick up occasional reports of Gold-level members (not Silver) successfully receiving lounge access on Vueling flights, so it’s worth making an effort to ask.

In terms of baggage, standard Vueling rules apply (1 checked item for Optima fares). However, if the BA codeshare is booked in connection with a BA long haul flight – i.e. New York to London to Florence – then Vueling will honour the long haul baggage allowance, which will include elite status benefits.

Posted in American Airlines AAdvantage, Beginner Basics, British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus, My Favourite Posts Tagged with: , , , ,
12 comments on “Oneworld Miles and Status Benefits on Vueling Flights Booked as Codeshares
  1. the_real_a says:

    Nice write up. Thanks

  2. FrequentFlyer says:

    I just got denied at the lounge with my BA gold card at FCO in Rome. I had changed my BA flight back to LGW to an earlier one which had a BA flight number, but which was operated by Vueling. Despite the fact that my gold card worked at priority check in (maybe a fluke – I wasn’t trying to be pushy) and the fact that the boarding pass has “Sold as BA 8841” on it, the lounge turned me down. When I sat outside to at least access the wifi, the grumpy receptionist let me in, plainly giving me the impression that I was NOT welcome but she would rather not have me sitting outside. You would have to be psychic to realise the shortcomings of changing to a Vueling flight, first time round. Won’t make the same mistake again – Vueling to be avoided unless you are really pushed.

    • Flying Piggie says:

      Yes. Lounge access is hit-and-miss, even when booking under a BA code. And on-board service and seat with Vueling are a level below BA’s already mediocre product. I would never fly Vueling when I have the choice of BA and I agree that BA risks damaging its brand by putting its code on Vueling flights. That said, I still prefer Vueling to Ryanair or Easyjet…

    • Sunil says:

      Fco, Rome Itsly, checking in on the Vueling flight to Gatwick on Juky 9th, 2016, was checked in by this young chap, who had no respect for travelers.

      I presented by passport and after checking it in, he threw the passport on the counter like if he was dealing cards at a poker game. He also threw by aa mileage card the same way.

      Without saying anything to indicate the check in process was completed he just started to fiddle around.

      The passport is the most revered document given to a person and is to be treated as such, what awful service at Vueling.

  3. Freaking Flyer says:

    Thanks for the great post. To add to your list, I took a fligth from BCN to AMS with BA codeshare (booked via BA site) last Friday. Some Avios awarded (386 yeah!), no Tier Points as far as I can see. I also prefer them to Ryanair and Easyjet for sure. During check in on the Vueling site I upgraded tot priority seat for about €15, gaining priority boarding however no lounge access.

    • Flying Piggie says:

      Thanks for the update. The Tier Point situation is really strange. The BA calculator indeed shows zero tier points for that specific route, but 5 tier points for other Vueling codeshare routes such as Munich or Rome to Barcelona.

      • Freaking Flyer says:

        Thanks for checking and confirming the Tier Points situation, comes across as rather random!

  4. Karina says:

    Thank you for this write-up. My husband and I travelled through Europe in Sept. 2016 and we bought all our flight tickets from Iberia (a total of 6 each), but they were operated by Vueling to our surprise. We are LAN (now LATAM) miles members and thought, that because IBERIA was part of the One world alliance, we will accumulate miles. After putting in my request, LAN has denied the miles on the basis that the flights were operated by Vueling and since they are not an One World member, we cannot accumulate miles. Do you know if this legal? I’m about to ask them to provide me with the document or point me to where in their website says that the flight has to be operated by the One World airline in order to earn mileage. After all, the ticket was sold by IBERIA, and it even has an IB code and IB class code.

    • Flying Piggie says:

      Unfortunately this is very legal, and is sort of stated on the LATAM website because there is no mention of Vueling as an associated airline and it definitely isn’t a member of Oneworld.

      Flying

      Every time you fly on LATAM Airlines, oneworld alliance airlines or associated airlines, you earn KMS.

      Your complaint, if you have one, is that Iberia doesn’t really make it 100% clear that the flight will be operated by Vueling and that this low cost carrier isn’t a member of Oneworld and doesn’t offer the same service, miles earning, etc. Codeshares (where one airline sells tickets on a different airline) are one of the most confusing things in the miles hobby, but every programme I know insists that both the marketing/selling airline and the actual operating airline need to be partners / members of the alliance.

      But you can’t even claim Avios now, since Vueling don’t allow retroactive claims. Sorry to confirm the bad news, but you won’t get any miles/kms for those flights.

  5. Flying Dutchman says:

    The BA lounge in Amsterdam will not accept Silver members when flying on a Vueling codeshare, only Gold.

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