Aer Lingus business class WIDE OPEN using British Airways Avios points!!!

You’ll love this one, folks. I don’t use three exclamation points for no reason.

Yesterday I posted about the possibility of using British Airways Avios points for travel on Aer Lingus. The major benefits of doing so were twofold:

a) Aer Lingus only imposes very mild fuel surcharges, so instead of paying $600+ in taxes/fuel surcharges for a redemption on British Airways, you end up paying under $150 for a redemption on Aer Lingus.

b) British Airways has a distance based award chart, and Boston to Dublin/Shannon is just under 6,000 miles roundtrip. As a result, a roundtrip award ticket costs just 25,000 miles in coach or 50,000 miles in business — by far the lowest redemption rates of any airline for transatlantic travel.

I also outlined methods for searching  Aer Lingus award space using both ExpertFlyer and the Qantas tool, noting that while coach award availability is wide open, business class availability is virtually non-existent. Some pointed out that united.com can search award availability on Aer Lingus as well, and they showed a bit more space, though not much. I assumed it was a glitch, since united.com tends to display “phantom availability.”

Well, something changed overnight, and I don’t know why. Yesterday there were a few dates available in Aer Lingus business class using the United website. Today virtually every date is available in business class on Aer Lingus, even throughout the busy summer season.

Just use united.com to search for availability, and you’ll find that British Airways has access to the same seats by phone.

On united.com just enter your origin and destination, select “Award Travel,” and click “search.” I also suggest clicking “Nonstop Flights Only” so they display only Aer Lingus availability.

And you know what’s incredible? Every single date in July and August has business class award space on Aer Lingus on all of their transatlantic routes!

And that’s not just united.com being glitchy, but literally every single date has business class availability, and almost every date has coach availability as well, at just 25,000 Avios points roundtrip in coach, or 50,000 Avios points roundtrip in business class, for Boston to Dublin.

And every single date that Aer Lingus operates Boston to Shannon has business class award availability as well:

And the same goes for New York to Dublin:

And New York to Shannon:

And Chicago to Dublin:

And even Orlando to Dublin (which is only twice weekly service):

Seriously folks, this is no joke. Every single transatlantic flight has business class award space. I’m not sure if this intentional or a glitch, so book NOW! As a reminder, the redemption costs using British Airways Avios points are as follows:

Boston to Dublin/Shannon

Economy: 25,000 Avios points
Business: 50,000 Avios points

Chicago/New York/Orlando to Dublin/Shannon

Economy: 40,000 Avios points
Business: 80,000 Avios points

As a further reminder, American Express Membership Rewards is running a 50% transfer bonus to British Airways through May 31, so this can be an amazing deal even if you don’t have British Airways Avios points. Using American Express points, the costs would be as follows:

Boston to Dublin/Shannon

Economy: 17,000 Membership Rewards points
Business: 34,000 Membership Rewards points

Chicago/New York/Orlando to Dublin/Shannon

Economy: 27,000 Membership Rewards points
Business: 54,000 Membership Rewards points

As a reminder these awards can only be booked by phone. British Airways’ Executive Club phone number in the US is (800) 452-1201, and they’re open daily from 7:30AM-8:00PM eastern.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that this is even a great use of United miles. Transatlantic business class award space is virtually non-existent at this point, so being able to find anything in business class to Europe in summer at this point is a great deal.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

Comments

  1. So if I wanted to use amex points, just transfer to BA (I think there is a special), and then call BA to book the flight for 50k in business?
    So for two tickets I would need less than 100k amex points.

  2. @ Craig — That’s correct. Out of Boston, you’re looking at just 35,000 Membership Rewards points per person for business class to Europe given the 50% transfer bonus.

  3. Noticed that Aer Lingus flies beyond Dublin to e.g. Amsterdam. So does this mean that os would it takene could use Avios to fly them BOS-AMS for a lower surcharge than BA? Would this work, would BA allow it, and how many Avios points would be needed?

  4. @ davidr — The fuel surcharges are definitely much lower, so that would be a great deal. That being said, award availability between Dublin and the rest of Europe isn’t nearly as good as award availability between the US and Ireland. Either way, since the total cost is under $150, it would still be much cheaper to book an award as far as Dublin and then booking a separate revenue ticket from there to somewhere else in Europe, given that you’re saving $400+ in fees/fuel surcharges compared to flying British Airways.

  5. Lucky, could this work, assuming you have no miles to start and BMI miles will be swapped 1:1 with Avios;

    – open two BMI accounts
    – you get 1,000 free miles with each account
    – buy the maximum miles for each account, which is 24,000 @ £303
    – pool the accounts later
    – 50,000 Avios for just over £600

  6. @ Craig — No worries, I actually added that part just because you brought it up, so thanks!

    @ Mike — In theory, yes. There are two things to keep in mind:
    a) We don’t know for how long business class award availability will be so good on Aer Lingus.
    b) We don’t have a timeline for when Diamond Club miles will be converted into Avios points and at what ratio (hopefully 1:1, though you never know).

  7. @ Mac — ExpertFlyer shows nothing, though I called British Airways and based on sampling about ten different flights, British Airways saw all of them (even though they were “U0″ on ExpertFlyer).

  8. Ben, if I have 50k UA miles – can that get me
    Boston to Dublin in biz on a linguis? Leaving from Los Angeles so I’d book separate award ticket on AA to Boston I guess

  9. WOW! Major Gamechanger

    If this sticks then Avois just became one of the most valuable TATL currencies.

    50k +$100 in J during the Summer is outrageous.

  10. Mac got it right, this is a game changer (assuming it sticks). Aer Lingus business class product looks pretty poor, but at this pricing point, who can complain? Little or no YQ is also a big deal. My family is from near Dublin and going back there is darn expensive via Heathrow

  11. @ Michael — Only one-way in business class, since you’d be going by the United award chart. Though you could include the segment between Los Angeles and Boston on the award ticket.

  12. @ gpapadop — Hah! Well hopefully I’ll have a report really soon. ;)

    The seat is angled flat, so not perfect, though the food/service seems to be pretty good. Then again, given that the flight time is only a bit over five hours, how much time is there to really enjoy it?

  13. Weird that Expert Flyer is showing no availability! But if this is for realz, I think I’ll be taking my mom and aunt to Dublin this fall!

  14. @ Anon — Yes, that’s the weird part. I just find it really strange that overnight just about every business class seat became available. Can’t even begin to rationalize that…

  15. great legwork by the blogger. this will be a big help to everyone. the trip report in post no. 17 shows even economy class ain’t that bad.
    flights from Dublin to London, Paris and other cities are fairly cheap. There is also a train/ferry option to get to London that is low-cost, and you’ll get to see the country.

  16. @ Gene — Unfortunately not. Awards are priced one-way, and SNN-JFK is over 3,000 miles one-way.

  17. @ Anon — You could pending availability, though it would be an additional 4,500 Avios points each way.

  18. dude you are a genius, I found Air france dub-lcy for $210 roundtrip, plus you can buy BA miles for 1.7 cents factoring in 50 percent bonus from amex

  19. So what does this say about expertflyer??? Do they have a glitch or are they unable to see award inventory now????????

  20. Thanks Lucky for the blog info! Just scored two business seats for August BOS-DUB, 100k avios-$292. Very excited and you just earned my next CC sign-up for sure. Had to work to find availability and the United search engine was showing bad info, but the BA csr came in there for us.

  21. @ Jethro — Thanks, and congrats! Hope you have an amazing time. Am trying to figure out my dates right now.

  22. I’m planning on applying either the Freedom or the ink bold on Monday. Your post from yesterday won me praise. I will definitely use your link.

    Thank you for doing all those legwork.

  23. Booked! Thanks, Ben. The agent was rather rude. He insisted that BOS-DUB was 80k r/t . I had to ask ‘How many miles is it from Boston to Dublin’ before he finally realized that it was less than 3,000 and that the ticket was only 50k r/t!

  24. Lucky, I understand that your genital herpes outbreak may be painful, but it does not affect your typing ability. Post your trip report.

  25. @ Angeleno228 — Thanks for the kind words! :)

    @ Gene — Congrats, and happy it worked out. I’m guessing the agent figured it was too good of a deal. I’m actually kind of surprised to hear they manually priced awards. I figured the computer auto-priced them.

  26. @ Frank — Okay, I’ll bite, cause this is just too entertaining. Why do you think I have genital herpes?

  27. Thanks lucky. Got 3 biz class ORD-DUB using UA miles. I have the Avios, but I did not want to risk waiting until morning until their call center opened.

  28. It is very common among Thai “ladyboys.” Seeing as how you have clearly fornicated with many of those “ladyboys” it is likely you have genital herpes.

  29. Hi Lucky,

    Wow, amazing deal! Since I’m based in LA I would probably do the CHI-DUB route. When you say it’s ‘angled flatbed’ do you mean like AA biz class angled flatbeds? Or worse? Would you rate the Air Lingus biz class product on par with AA (Europe routes)?

    Thanks!

    Stacey

  30. @ stacey — I haven’t flown Aer Lingus, though from the looks of it the business class product seems to be very similar to American’s. From the trip report linked above in the comments (#17), I’d say the food looks pretty good as well.

  31. I flew Aer Lingus longhaul once, in coach. In 2005 after Live 8 / U2 concert / 7-7 bombings in London, I needed a last minute one way from DUB or LON to the west coast. DUB-LAX was by far the cheapest and the coach product was quite nice at the time. A332 seating was 2-4-2 with seatback IFE (not AVOD then) and surprisingly 34″ of legroom. No idea if that remains, however.

  32. So pathetic to have great posts by Lucky interrupted by idiots who throw out lame brain accusations

  33. The new united sucks, why would anyone want to fly on them? Lucky thought Tilton was bad and even wore around t-shirts saying so. I’d take Tilton over Smisek in a second. I’m printing up “Bring Tilton Back” t-shirts.

  34. Dear Frank,

    Enjoy this big fat FUCK YOU from all of us blog readers.

    Go be a 13-year old troll somewhere else.

    Regards,
    Non-assholes

  35. Does anybody have experience with an arrivals lounge in Ireland. Nothing beats a hot shower after a long flight!

  36. I see this is being “reblogged” (ie blatantly copied) all over the other blogs this am, sadly I don’t think this is going to last

  37. I see availability on United but when I called BA, then couldn’t find the seats in business class. Anyone else having this problem?

  38. With three exclamation points, you had me worried for a.second that I had clicked on Dans Deals by mistake :) This is great to know about though!

  39. FYI

    I just finished booking on the phone; $296 and 67k MR points a/i for 2 biz tix BOS to DUB in August. For folks interested in weekend trips BOS-DUB in C, basically every weekend April-July is now booked up in C, plenty of Y still available though. Seems like this news traveled fast. Big hat tip to Lucky.

  40. Thanks, just booked 2 biz class <$300 for BOS-DUB for a long weekend in AUG. BUT UA's site does not match BA's availability 100%, so you need to be flexible on days/flights. Still, great article, and deserving of 3 exclamation marks

  41. United was showing reward saver availability for the dates I wanted in June and July but when I called BA they said there was nothing available (business or coach)even though I could see it on united!!

  42. @ Ernie — To the best of my knowledge they don’t have an arrivals lounge and there isn’t an arrivals lounge in Dublin.

  43. There is no Arrivals lounge in Dublin, just the Departures lounge, which is accessible to GoldCircle elites or BA elites on an Aer Lingus flight (BA or EI ticket)to LHR or LGW.

    However, some people with OneWorld elite status have also been known to get access to the lounge when flying on other EI flights, so its definitely worth asking.

  44. Friend just tried to book on United.com and said Aer Lingus wouldn’t confirm his reservation. Told him to try calling again but not a good sign.

  45. Lucky — awesome as always. Not just that you note the opportunity, but also walk us through exactly how to use it.

    This opportunity raises an issue that I think is crying out for coverage in the travel bloggosphere that, if you ever have the time or inclination, would be great to see — interlining bags. I think many of us to take advantage of this would need to make our own way to ORD or BOS. The mysteries of when one can interline bags is not well covered. I think most of us understand that it’s a challenge when it’s separate PNRs, yet it seems to be possible even then in some circumstances, but it’s just not really covered anywhere. Just a thought.

  46. Surprised no one mentioned this but JFK-BOS-DUB is only 34,000 RT in Y using avios. Which actually costs less than JFK-DUB nonstop(40,000)

  47. I saw the seats available on united.com. However, when I called BA, they told me they were not able to see the available seats. For example, 05/25/2012, BOS-DUB

  48. @ Chin — Unfortunately at this point a lot of the space you’re seeing is “phantom” space which just hasn’t been pulled yet. So united.com is no longer a completely accurate indicator of Aer Lingus award availability when using Avios points.

  49. Thanks for the confirmation Ben. I’m originally from Jacksonville, and know exactly where that BA call center is located :-P I’m hoping to get in on the deal, but haven’t been able to get my hands on Avios points yet…

  50. Is there a way to utilize AVIOS miles to get to Boston from SLC as well? I’m not really up on all these tricks. I never would have thought of checking United to see Aer Lingus availability to utilize British Airways rewards points. That’s amazing. Maybe the same can be done somehow US domestically?

  51. @ Nick — You absolutely can. The best way to look at space from Salt Lake City to Boston would be to go to aa.com and look for “Mile Saver” award space. If you find it, it should also be bookable on ba.com using Avios points. The place to figure out the cost of those flights using Avios points would be here:
    http://www.britishairways.com/travel/avios-calculator/public/en_us

    It can be rather cheap to go in coach from Salt Lake City to Boston, so the Dublin deal could still turn out to be great.

  52. JFK-DUB-ORD 80k Avios EI biz class confirmed. Calling BA was ok. Long hold time – Agent was pleasant.

    DUB-LHR-DUB separate ticket.
    Multiple choices.
    4500 avios or GBP40 will get you EI o/w into LHR / LGW.
    40euro will get you Ryanair o/w into LON Stansted, Luton or Gatwick
    Mid July Olympic week(s) – No way to stay in London central. Probably basecamp at LHR.
    Oyster card to downtown.

  53. Space showing available on united.com, but not available according to BA. I have seen a few people post this same issue. Lucky, do you know if United has additional inventory that BA does not?

  54. I can’t find availability onward from Dublin to other points in Europe. For example, say Dublin to Brussels

  55. I’m trying to use Avios and or a free companion ticket to get from Los Angeles to London, Dec 14-17 returning Dec 29-Jan 2.
    But I can not find a way to book a return (nothing available)?
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks Bob

  56. @ Bob — My best suggestion would be to keep checking back, as BA is pretty good about opening up award space closer to departure. You could otherwise just book a random return date sometime in the future, and then change the date as more space opens up for your preferred dates.

  57. Daughter just finished residency. Thanks to you and our Avios points- daughter and hubby in business class bos-dub now.
    Love sharing with family.

  58. Maybe this is a dumb question, but in your photos you’re booking Aer Lingus, with BA Avios, via United booking tool? When you go to actually book do you use the BA site or United? Is this still available? I have MP miles and Avios, would love to get a 25k roundtrip! Tia

  59. @ Sean — Yes, it’s still available and if you want to use BA Avios you have to make the booking via the British Airways call center.

  60. Searching united.com for Aer Lingus award availability today yielded nothing–just United and Lufthansa award flights. Is this functionality gone now? Do you have any advice for someone trying to use Avios on Aer Lingus? We’re trying to book a one-way from DUB to BOS.

  61. @ TS — British Airways has always had access to more/different Aer Lingus award space than United, so it has never been an accurate indicator for availability.

  62. Just to follow up on TS. I am checking with Expert Flyer and United. No biz class is showing up on either. Any recommendation? Just call BA and ask if a certain day is available? EI flights still don’t even show up in the Avios system at all. Thanks!

  63. @ Mike — BA has access to different award space. You’ll want to call because the space on United’s website and ExpertFlyer doesn’t reflect what you have access to with BA. Availability through them is MUCH better.

  64. Never mind! I just read your other post on how to book saying it’s pretty much a crap shoot. Thanks Lucky!

  65. Just checked united website with plenty of open space in business class (IAD-DUB) on my travel days. Called BA to use avios and they claim nothing is open for my days. Any advice?

  66. @ Emmett — Aer Lingus doesn’t fly from Washington to Dublin. Are you sure you’re not looking at award space for the United flight?

    As a reminder, the only way to search Aer Lingus award space as it’s available to British Airways is by calling British Airways. The space can’t be searched online.

  67. Is this page obsolete? When I use the Avios calculator on BA it is showing me 24500 points for BOS-DUB one way economy. Please advice.

  68. @ Kate — The Avios calculator shows the number of Avios required for travel on British Airways. If you book by phone for travel on Aer Lingus you’ll still get the rates I listed above.

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