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If you have British Airways Avios, and are struggling with the huge surcharges on British Airways and American Airlines flights across the Atlantic, there’s another Avios partner you’ll want to consider.
You can book Aer Lingus flights with British Airways Avios and pay much lower surcharges than those charged on British Airways flights.
A roundtrip from the U.S. to Dublin will run about $220 in taxes and fees in Economy Class, and $260 in Business Class, compared to $500 – $1,000 if you booked on British Airways flights, a big enough savings that Avios can be part of a good value strategy to get to Europe, even by transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Avios.
Aer Lingus flies to Dublin from over 10 cities in North America, and from there you can get lots of low cost flights onward to the rest of Europe, either in cash or with your Avios points. It flies Airbus A330 widebodies and narrowbody Boeing 757 aircraft across the Atlantic, and all of them have fresh cabins with lie flat seats in Business Class.
Aer Lingus flights booked with Avios use the same point price chart as British Airways flights, based on the distance you fly for each flight segment, with both peak and off-peak prices that can save you a lot of points. Off-peak prices are available on these dates.
Here’s the price chart.
And here are the distance zones.
And here are the Aer Lingus destinations in North America, with their award prices for flights to and from Dublin.
Economy: 13,000 points off peak, 20,000 points Peak each way
Business: 50,000 points off peak, 60,000 points Peak each way
Note: The distance from Boston to Dublin is just under 3,000 miles, which should place it in Zone 4, but Avios places it in the more expensive Zone 5, as it’s the only Transatlantic flight that comes in under 3,000 miles.
Economy: 16,240 points off peak, 25,000 points Peak each way
Business: 62,500 points off peak, 75,000 points Peak each way
Award space on Aer Lingus flights is decent, but not great, though much better than the almost non existent space in Business Class on Air Berlin flights, which are your other low fuel surcharge option for trans Atlantic flights with British Airways points.
You can always call Executive Club on 1-800-452-1201 to search and book Aer Lingus flights.
But if you want to search and book online, you’ll need to follow these steps:
Aer Lingus is part of British Airways’ Avios point family, but it operates with separate account numbers and logins. And so far, the British Airways BA.com website won’t display Aer Lingus awards, so you’ll need to check on the Avios.com site.
The Avios.com requires a login you can setup when you register for Aer Lingus AerClub.
Once you’ve setup an AerClub Avios account, you can login to Avios.com and search for flights using the username and password you setup with your AerClub account.
You’ll see Aer Lingus, British Airways, and Iberia flights when you search on this site. Unlike BA.com, it won’t show OneWorld partner flights, because Aer Lingus isn’t a OneWorld member.
Here’s a result for New York to Dublin, with Business Class available for 50,000 Avios plus $114.
That’s a huge savings compared to the $479 in taxes and fees if you book on British Airways flights. And that’s just one way.
Then, you can pay with Avios. You’ll have a choice of all points, or cash and points.
For Business Class flights, cash and points is a pretty bad deal – it works out to being like buying points for over 3 cents each. But for Economy Class, it’s like buying points for about 1.1 cents each, which can be a good deal, especially if you’re booking a flight that’s pretty expensive in cash.
For example, for this Hartford to Dublin flight, you can pay just 7,000 Avios plus $247, which works out to 14,000 Avios + about $500 roundtrip. With airfare often around $900 roundtrip, you’re saving $400 with 14,000 Avios points, getting you almost 3 cents a point in value, which is a very good deal for an Economy class ticket
If you’re planning to book online with your British Airways Avios, you’ll need to combine them with your AerClub Avios.com account before you can book and pay.
It’s easy, and a no-risk move, because you can freely move points back and forth between your British Airways and AerClub Avios.com account anytime.
You can reach the Combine Avios page here and login with your AerClub Avios.com username and password.
Once there, select ‘British Airways to Avios’ and enter the number of points you want to combine / transfer.
You’ll get a chance to confirm the transfer, but there’s no real need, since it’s a completely reversible transaction.
That’s it. Then you can complete the booking process on Avios.com.
If you don’t want to go through all of that, you can always book by calling British Airways Executive Club on 1-800-452-1201.
And if you want to search Aer Lingus award space without a login, you can always use United.com. United is a partner with Aer Lingus, and the United site shows award space for Aer Lingus flights with an easy 2 month calendar view. The prices you see aren’t the prices you’ll pay when you use British Airways Avios, but it’s another way to help plan your trip and gauge whether award seats are available.
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