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Since the advent of the “frequent flyer programme” in the 1980s, people have been earning “air miles” by flying. Although the opportunities to earn miles have increased exponentially since then, there is still one fundamental requirement for earning miles from paid flights – actually flying! If you no-show for your flight, you cannot earn miles or elite status credit.
When all frequent flyer programmes awarded miles based on distance flown, this policy made perfect sense. But now that many airlines award miles based on the ticket price, it doesn’t make quite as much sense that miles are awarded ONLY if you fly. If you purchase a non-refundable ticket on a major airline and simply don’t show up for your flight, you will NOT earn miles based on the ticket price – despite the fact that the airline will usually keep your money…
However, I have recently found that one airline where you can earn Avios even if you miss your flight.
Spain’s low-cost carrier Vueling is a part of the International Airlines Group with British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, etc. As a result, you can earn Avios when flying on Vueling. However, because Vueling is NOT a member of the Oneworld alliance, you CANNOT earn miles with American Airlines AAdvantage, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, etc.
There are two ways of earning Avios when flying on Vueling.
Method 1 – Book a Codeshare
If you book a Vueling flight as a BA or IB codeshare, you can earn Avios based on distance flown. This is the chart for earning Avios from Iberia Plus when flying Vueling as an IB codeshare.
Method 2 – Credit to AerClub or Vueling Club
If you choose to book your flight directly from Vueling, you can choose to earn Avios with AerClub (Aer Lingus) or Vueling Club. You won’t earn very many Avios, especially when booking a Hand Baggage Only “Basic” fare…
But You Can Earn Those Avios Even Without Flying…
Earlier this year, I purchased some cheap Vueling flights for a weekend getaway. Life intervened… and the change fees would have been higher than the fare I actually paid – so I was a no-show.
However, I did complete online check for my flights. And a couple of days later I found this in my AerClub account:
Most notably, the transaction dates listed are the dates of BUYING the ticket, not the actual flight date. As a result, Vueling is somewhat consciously rewarding the purchase of the ticket, not the actual flight. (although the Avios did not arrive until after the scheduled flight date)
Earning 2 Avios per Euro spent is not life-changing, to say the least. But it is better than nothing, especially when you cannot receive a refund and will be a no-show for your paid-for flights.
Because there are no status implications (for me at least) of crediting to Aer Club, I have no idea what would happen if you no-show for flights that were due to be credited to Iberia Plus or British Airways Executive Club. Perhaps if I find a suitably cheap Vueling fare in mid-winter, I’ll check it out…