Reminder: Redeem your British Airways Avios for travel on Aer Lingus!

Back in April I wrote about the discovery that British Airways Avios could be redeemed for travel on Aer Lingus without fuel surcharges. Initially I thought it was just coach award availability that was wide open, though quickly discovered that business class was wide open as well.

This is awesome because virtually all other transatlantic award tickets booked with British Airways Avios are subject to huge surcharges, which on a roundtrip business class ticket come out to over $1,000. A roundtrip business class booking on Aer Lingus between Boston and Dublin, on the other hand, costs just 50,000 Avios and $150.

So I was simultaneously delighted and disappointed (in us collectively) when I called British Airways Executive Club the other day to make an Aer Lingus booking for a client, and found award space to be wide open. Virtually every flight I inquired about had coach and business class award space, so obviously you guys aren’t doing your part to take advantage of this.

As a reminder, the roundtrip cost of Avios redemptions on Aer Lingus 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

There’s no way to search award availability for Aer Lingus using Avios online, so you do have to call British Airways’ Executive Club call center, though they can pull up availability in a matter of seconds. Boston to Dublin using Avios is the cheapest transatlantic award redemption there is (with any airline) in both coach and business class.

I recently flew to Ireland using this deal and had an amazing time. Ireland was absolutely stunning, Dublin was an awesome city, and Aer Lingus business class was a surprisingly nice product (I’ll have a full trip report shortly).

To those of you that haven’t yet taken advantage of this, what are you waiting for? Whether you want to visit Ireland or connect elsewhere in Europe, this is a deal that really can’t be beat. Keep in mind that both American Express Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points are transferable to British Airways Avios, so you don’t have to have Avios to take advantage of this.


Aer Lingus business class


Aer Lingus business class lounge Dublin


Dublin

Comments

  1. @ Hayden — You can, though it doesn’t match what BA has access to. In my experience BA has access to a lot more business class award space than ExpertFlyer shows.

  2. Interesting. I recently wanted to book on Aer Lingus, following your original post. Didn’t find availability on EF, so just let it go, heh. Guess it’s important to emphasize that, you must call. Thanks!

  3. So ExpertFlyer, United, Qantas, etc. aren’t good for searching for even coach award space?

  4. @ Michael — In my experience coach award space matches on most flights, simply because Aer Lingus releases a ton of coach award space. But for business class none of the search tools accurately display space.

  5. Its one thing to point out a loophole, and even do a trip report on using it. But it seems a bit much to exhort folks to use it no? Your faithful readers already know about it, and newbies can read the archives. Please don’t poke the bear!

  6. Thanks Lucky — then I guess BOS-DUB is all out for the month of August — EF was pulling up nothing most days 😉

  7. Lucky,

    Positioning ideas from ATL? How did you position from TPA while managing out of pocket $/throw away miles redemptions? The math might not work from non-AA hub cities

  8. Lucky,
    Any info on some bargain flights from Dublin to other parts of Europe (Spain, Italy, France)? Dublin sounds like great trip, but it would be even better if we can take advantage of being so close to some other great destinations.

  9. @ fauxblogger — I actually just booked a separate paid ticket from Tampa to Boston and back. Still ended up being a LOT cheaper than paying fuel surcharges or instead paying 100,000 miles for a similar award in another program.

  10. Lucky — did you get a sense how many seats they open for each flight? Any hope of finding avaiability for a family of 4.

  11. @ Larry — Sorry, unfortunately I didn’t, I’ve only searched as many as two. If you do some investigating, let us know, please!

  12. Summer award availability for summer 2013 is open? Expert flyer says aer lingus has not released them yet. They are only up to mid june. Would like to book for end of june/early july if it’s truly available already.

  13. i was wondering how i could take advantage of this out of dc, and it looks like air lingus operates a flight dulles to madrid that’s in connection with united — lucky, do you know whether we can use avios for the dulles-madrid flight, or if the connection with united causes a problem?

  14. I just called and they have availability mid september from Boston and the taxes are $250/per person. Is that about right for the taxes? That is pretty high.

  15. Ben,

    How would you do this if you are leaving from LAX? A position flight? A reward ticket with Avios or AA?

  16. DBest said,

    Its one thing to point out a loophole

    ===============

    not a loophole – avios is mileage based, BOS-DUB is just under 3k miles so a return j-class award is 50k

  17. @ dcacoaster — No, you can’t redeem Avios for the United joint venture. You can, however, redeem 4,500 Avios each way to fly DCA-BOS to position yourself.

    @ Maury — You would need to purchase a separate ticket from Miami to Boston, so can do that with cash or redeem Avios for it as well.

  18. @ Gene — Roughly 335, though not sure exactly.

    @ Maury — Should be around $150 per person, I’d call again.

    @ Michael — A reward ticket with Avios from LA to Boston would run you 12,500 each way in coach, so that’s probably what I’d do. Or you can purchase a revenue ticket if fares are reasonable.

  19. I took advantage of it and you are correct about EF and KVS availability not matching BA. They both showed Econ availability for my dates, but I called BA and they had Biz avail for my outbound from BOS and also for my inbound to ORD. I originally planned to get to ORD Thursday for the Chicago Seminars, but I opted to take the economy flight on Friday, giving me one more day in Ireland.
    Did you know …that for $50/person, you can get a better exit row seat on Aer Lingus ? They also have 2/4/2 config, so the 2 seats by the window work for us in the exit row. To make it even better, we matched our BMI status (which we just applied for the 1,000 Avios)to Aer Lingus Gold Circle Club which gives access to their lounges…
    So, I probably would have booked biz on the return, had it been available, however we are saving 80,000 Avios by returning on economy, yet still have decent seats in the front and lounge access in Dublin.
    BA waived the telephone ticket charge on a split class itinerary, so our taxes were $237/person.
    We’ll see everyone in Chicago on Friday night, albeit a bit jet lagged…

  20. P.S. Regarding lounge access…”Current Gold Circle members can bring one guest free”

  21. Also…”Don’t forget, as a Gold Circle member, you are also eligible to use the Fast Track security channel in Terminal 2 (Dublin). Simply present your Gold Circle membership card and Aer Lingus boarding card to access the Fast Track security channel.”

  22. So, are you saying that it basically has to be on Aer Lingus metal? Can use avios and ride on code share metal? Any way to get DEN-DUB on one Avios res?

  23. Has anyone been to the Ritz in Dublin? If so, was it nice and would you recommend it? I have some cheap vouchers for a Ritz.

  24. @ John — The Ritz is actually in Powerscourt and not Dublin, which is about 30 minutes out. I stayed there during my stay and will have a trip report on it in the next week.

  25. @ bartman9 — There are VERY cheap revenue tickets from Dublin to many other points in Europe on Ryanair if you’re that adventurous, or otherwise you can use Avios to fly BA or Aer Lingus to other points in Europe.

  26. what about upgrading an existing Aer Lingus coach booking to business with Avios? Is that possible?

  27. @ Michael — Short of canceling your current booking and making a new one on points in business class, there’s no way to do that. Sorry!

  28. Worth pointing out the ironic truth that flying NYC-BOS-DUB is always fewer avios than flying JFK-DUB direct.

  29. Is Air Lingus like US Air, where you have to fly R/T? Or can I book a one way, and use my AA miles for the other flight? If so, that would make my AA miles more usable, since I can often get an award flight on AA in one direction, but they seem to make availability such that you just can’t arange a RT itinerary.

  30. @lucky — in case you’re still monitoring these comments, have you seen a recent drop in biz award availability on this route? I’ve been looking on Unite and Qantas for biz class BOS-DUB and tried many different days during the next six months…nothing! Only coach shows up. What happened here?

  31. @ rick — You can’t search the Aer Lingus award space that British Airways has access to online. Space was almost always non-existed in business class through United and Qantas. You have to call BA to ask about availability, and you’ll find there’s a lot of space.

  32. @lucky — thanks for the clarification. Those few times earlier this year when space did show up on United that was probably just a glitch. They now don’t even show Standard awards, which I found odd, but it makes sense as you explain it.

  33. @ rick — Keep in mind that standard awards can only be booked for travel on United, as all space shown on partner airlines is saver space.

  34. How far in advance does Aer Lingus business award availability show up and become bookable using Avios? I want to plan a trip for next August, but didn’t know when to call.

  35. Hi, Just phoned BA exec club and they said i cannot use Avios on loghaul flights unless i have a BA connecting flight booked. I am trying to fly Manchester UK to JFK

  36. I, too, have just been informed by BA Executive Club that I cannot use my BA Avios points on Aer Lingus transatlantic flights! I am sure this is nonsense but he said this was in the terms and conditions but I have been unable to find that restriction. Any advice?

  37. I was calling them in the US (where I am based) but because my executive club account is a UK one, I was transferred to the UK exec club office and they are the ones who said it was not possible. Does that make a difference then?

  38. @ Stewart — It shouldn’t make a difference, but was just curious. Have you tried calling back to see if the second agent gives you a different answer? That would be news to me, and very bad news at that!

  39. I will try again tomorrow s they are now closed and will post what happens. I have gone through terms and conditions and there are no such restrictions as far as I can see!

  40. Right…a second call to UK exec club and the same answer. I asked to speak to a supervisor but was told none was available. So, I transferred my Exec Club account to my US address, phoned up the Exec Club here and booked BOS to DUB no problem whatsoever! Obviously the UK office has been told to be difficult regarding this!

  41. Hope I am not being stupid about this, but am interested in doing a BOS-DUB-BOS in late November/early December. Am I correct that I can book biz BOS-DUB, coach DUB-BOS at 37.5K Avios for each seat? And that it’s best to call the US BAEC number because the US folks may have more space to release and because there is more space to release online for business seats in any case?

    I don’t mind paying the phone booking fee or the surcharges, which appear higher out of Dublin no matter the class, but I’m spending my Avios for several people, including myself, and I’d love to save the extra 12.5K for each ticket coming back.

  42. @ Lee — Correct that one direction in coach and one in business class would be 37,500 Avios.

    Some people have reported the UK call center having issues seeing transatlantic Aer Lingus award space, while the US call center doesn’t have issues. That being said, you can only use the US call center if you have a US based Executive Club account.

  43. Does this work the other way also – DUB-BOS-DUB for 25K + positioning flights to dub is much better than LHR-BOS prices, AND you get to pre-clear immigration in DUB?

    So can this be used DUB-BOS-DUB for 25K also?

  44. I don’t understand how airlines can give away flights like this. How does Aer Lingus make money giving away flights to British airways customers?

  45. @ Ronan — First of all keep in mind that award space is limited, and chances are that the seats would have gone out empty otherwise. But also keep in mind that they’re compensated by British Airways for these seats. I don’t know how much, but I suspect proportionally British Airways is taking more of a loss on these than Aer Lingus is.

  46. @ KP — You have to call Aer Lingus to select your seats. British Airways can give you the Aer Lingus locator so that you can identify the booking more easily when calling.

  47. Have tried using Qantas to search for these flights in June/July next year, I can see plenty of availability through to May and then from August onwards but none in June/July? Does this mean they are all gone or have they yet to be released?

  48. Unfortunately, EI has pulled all economy seats from their award portfolio from June 1 to August 31 BOS-DUB-BOS and BOS-SNN-BOS.

    A very limited number of business seats are still available.

  49. Economy seats are back up, just booked BOS-DUB-BOS from late July – early August tonight. Thank you for posting about this, my dad’s never been to Ireland and thanks to this we are going there together this summer!

  50. If I wanna continue on from DUB to London, can I also redeem BA Avois on EI flight? I know I can fly BA on this leg but figured it will be safer in case the BOS>DUB segment gets delayed. Also, I know transit passengers need to clear immigration at DUB. I am not a US citizen but the passport I am holding does NOT require a transit visa. So as long as I have a UK visa, I should be all set, I assume? And for the UK-Ireland Common Travel Area thing, do I need to clear immigration again after arriving in London from DUB?

  51. HI, I just tried this & BA mentioned it is 35,000 Avios for Economy return from Dublin to Boston as the route is operated by Air Lingus. It would have been 25,000 avios if BA was doing the route. Any war around this? Thx

  52. Just booked this itinerary for June 21, 2014. Was told by the BA agent that there were 9 economy and 2 business seats available for Avios redemption.

  53. @ gomike — I don’t think so, at least not in recent memory. They do operate Chicago to Dublin, though.

  54. I’ve been searching DUB > JFK in economy OW on 1/4/14 for months, to no avail. Did Aer Lingus clamp down on award availability? Am I missing a tactic? Was really hoping to snag two seats coming back after New Year’s.

  55. @ Rachel — Where are you searching for space? Keep in mind the only place to accurately find award space on Aer Lingus using British Airways Avios is by calling them.

  56. Thanks for responding, Lucky! Yeah–I’ve been calling and searching on ExpertFlyer. Oh well, I guess :-/

  57. Hi.

    I am going from London to NY next week. I would love to avoid the charges. Is this still possible from the UK or is it only for US accounts?

    If its only for US, is there a way to make myself a US account holder?

    Also, separate question. I assume one cannot use companion voucher on the Aer Lingus flight. Assuming I fly on BA, how much ni advance do i need to book a companion? can it be done the night before or does there have to be 24 hours etc. The reason I ask is because I see there is suddenly lots of availability for flights leaving tomorrow in business class, but nothing in 2 days time. Is suspect if i wait till the night before there may be higher class opened up.But I dont want to wait and discover I can no longer use my companion voucher…

    Thanks in advance

    Maurice

  58. @ Maurice — You absolutely can book it with a non-US account. You just have to call your local Executive Club phone number to book. You can’t use your companion certificate on Aer Lingus, however.

    If using a companion voucher you have to book the companion the same ticket you book your ticket, as there need to be two award seats available.

  59. Wow – quick response!!! Thanks

    Ill try tomorrow to speak to the local Exec Club office – I only asked because I saw some comments from a bout a year ago saying the agents weren’t allowing it.

    With regards to companion. I know it needs to be booked together, I have not booked my own ticket yet. If I was flying Sunday morning, would I be able to go online and book my ticket and the companion on Saturday night (subject to availability) or is there a 24 hour / 48 hour in advance period required?

    Thanks

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