Aer Lingus Business Class Awards Wide Open This Summer

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As most of you probably know by now, British Airways Executive Club is devaluing their award chart for bookings made as of April 28, 2015. While the cost of their most economical redemptions stay the same (economy on shorthaul flights), premium cabin and longhaul redemptions are in many cases substantially going up in price.

Executive-Club-Changes

Arguably the single best use of British Airways Avios for transatlantic flying is for Aer Lingus’ flight between Boston and Dublin — it costs just 25,000 Avios one-way in business class with minimal fuel surcharges.

I’ve written about this before, and have even flown Aer Lingus business class from Boston and Dublin and from Dublin and Boston.

Aer-Lingus-Lounge-Dublin
Aer Lingus business class lounge Dublin

I think it’s worth posting about this redemption opportunity one more time for a few reasons:

  • The cost of this redemption will be going up for bookings made as of April 28, 2015
  • Aer Lingus is introducing a new business class product, which looks fantastic
  • While business class award availability has been very limited for a long time, I’m seeing tons of Aer Lingus transatlantic business class award availability at the moment — in many cases even nine business class award seats per flight

Aer-Lingus-Business-Class-5

The cost of Aer Lingus awards using Avios

Here’s what British Airways’ distance based award chart presently looks like:

Avios-Chart

As you can see, a flight of under 3,000 miles one-way costs just 12,500 Avios one-way in economy class or 25,000 Avios one-way in business class. As luck would have it, flying from Boston to Dublin or Shannon is just under 3,000 miles one-way.

So for travel out of the US on Aer Lingus, you’d pay the following amounts:

  • Boston to Dublin/Shannon
    • Economy: 12,500 Avios one-way
    • Business: 25,000 Avios one-way
  • Chicago/New York/Washington to Dublin/Shannon
    • Economy: 20,000 Avios one-way
    • Business: 40,000 Avios one-way
  • Orlando/San Francisco to Dublin
    • Economy: 25,000 Avios one-way
    • Business: 50,000 Avios one-way

Also, unlike for travel on British Airways, the fuel surcharges for travel on Aer Lingus are extremely low — you’ll pay about $35 in taxes/fees for a one-way ticket between Boston and Dublin.

Aer-Lingus-YQ

How good is availability?

For a while, Aer Lingus transatlantic award availability was really bad. That being said, in recent days it seems to have gotten much better again.

How good is it?

Here’s a calendar overview with Aer Lingus nonstop business class award availability between Boston and Dublin in June/July:

Aer-Lingus-6

And here’s a calendar with availability between New York and Dublin in June/July:

Aer-Lingus-5

While there’s not award availability every day, I think it’s worth noting that when there is space, there’s often tons of it.

For example, here’s business class award availability between Boston and Dublin for a random date, where there are 16 business class award seats available between the two flights:

Aer-Lingus-1

I see dates with nine business class award seats in the other direction as well:

Aer-Lingus-2

Space is quite good out of New York to Dublin:

Aer-Lingus-4

And out of Dublin to New York:

Aer-Lingus-3

 

I don’t see any availability on the San Francisco to Dublin flight (which has historically been really tough to find space on), but some of the other routes look wide open.

Do keep in mind that not all Aer Lingus A330s have the new business class product yet. To figure out whether your flight is scheduled to feature the new product or not, see if the seatmap reflects a staggered configuration, which alternates between four and five seats per row in business class, like this:

Aer-Lingus-Seatmap

If the seatmap shows six seats per row, then it’s the old product:

Aer-Lingus-Seatmap-1

Aircraft types are subject to change, especially if you’re booking far in advance. That being said, even the angled business class seats aren’t half bad for such a short transatlantic flight.

How to book

Aer Lingus award availability doesn’t show on British Airways’ award search tool, so you have to call to book (and expect hold times to be bad… though they’re not quite as bad as in the past).

That being said, you can search Aer Lingus award availability on either united.com or expertflyer.com, and if they show space it should typically also be bookable through British Airways.

How to accrue British Airways Avios

The great thing about British Airways Avios is how easy they are to accrue. Not only do they have their own co-branded card in the US, but they’re transfer partners with:

  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Starwood Preferred Guest

Here are a few of the best cards for accruing British Airways Avios, outside of the British Airways Visa Signature® Card:

CardCurrent BonusDetails
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months, plus an additional 5,000 points when you add an authorized user and they make their first purchase within three months• $95 annual fee, waived the first year
• No foreign transaction fees
• 2x points on travel and dining
The Amex EveryDay℠ Credit CardEarn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months.
Terms and Conditions apply
• Get 2x points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X). Earn 1X points on other purchases.
• Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
Amex EveryDay℠ Preferred Credit CardEarn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months.
Terms and Conditions apply
• Earn 3X points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X). Earn 2X points at U.S. gas stations. Earn 1X points on other purchases.
• Use your Card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 50% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card25,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $2,000 within three months
Terms and Conditions apply
• $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
• Earn 3x points on airfare purchased with airlines, 2x points on gas purchased at US gas stations & groceries purchased at supermarkets
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American ExpressEarn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Then, earn an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints® after you make an additional $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. Offer ends 4/5.• $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65
• Get a 25% bonus when transferring 20,000 points to an airline partner

Bottom line

If you’re looking to go to Europe this summer it’s not too late. Not only that, but the single best transatlantic business class redemption option is readily available in a new fully flat business class product.

Heck, even if you weren’t planning on going to Europe this summer, you really should consider it, if you can book before April 28. Between the strength of the US Dollar and this being the last chance to book at this rate, there hasn’t been a better time.

Is anyone planning on crossing the Atlantic on Aer Lingus this summer?

Aer-Lingus-A330

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Comments

  1. @Lucky

    The link from your twitter feed to this article does not work Lucky.

    The link from boardingarea works

  2. @ Lucky – have you booked some to try out the new J and write a follow-up to Lucky Charms Ireland? The title would be Lucky Charms Ireland Too 😉

  3. There may be a disconnect here. The UA site shows that U is Economy class on EI but is pricing it as a business award and lists the price at 70,000 miles (but if you click through it will show U – Economy). I just called BA to book an award that showed U availability on united.com but they only saw Economy available for that date.

  4. I’m a girl looking for female travel partners to go together end of July or early August. AA exp

  5. So can i book those at the same rate w/my United miles? i just have to call B.A. to book? thnx

  6. I booked an economy award SHN to BOS FOR 7/2 A while ago–now I see DUB to BOS is open. Do you know how much it will cost to change it? Should I cancel my other award first? I’m wondering about the fees involved (I think the overall ticket price was around $200 for two people)

    The hardest part about booking this award is waiting on the phone…

  7. Ben, so what would be the best way for a west coaster to take advantage of this? Book a separate award ticket from LAX to BOS/JFK?

  8. @Nathan it’s 42.50 EUR for any changes and redeposit and 15 EUR for rebooking over the phone, but you may be able to waive the phone fee as Aer Lingus tickets can’t be booked online.

  9. @ Luis — You’d be best off either redeeming miles to get to Boston or booking a cheap paid ticket if available. That’s still going to be the lowest net cost.

  10. @ Nathan — As KevininRI notes, you should be able to make the change just by phoning them up, and you’d just have to pay the change fee. I’d suggest doing it all at once.

  11. @ andrea ratkovic — Nope, if you wanted to redeem United miles you’d have to pay their rates.

  12. @ AirDoc @ KevininRI — Hmmm, I called several times to verify availability matches, and for the most part it did. Even when calling they say nine business class award seats on some dates.

  13. Will BA let you put an award on hold without miles in your account, and do points transfer in from their partners quickly enough that you can ticket something you have on hold? Or do you have to call up, verify availability, transfer the miles, and then call back and hope that seats are still available?

  14. @ Stan — They don’t allow holds, but points transfer instantly. So you can phone them up and if the availability is there they should be able to hold for a minute while you transfer points. Just make sure you’re on the transfer page and ready to go.

  15. just booked DUB-SFO in J with UA miles … it’s way higher miles than BA Avios but I need the $0-fee flexibility for changes/cancel.

  16. This has happened in the past, where UA sees a lot of availability that BA doesn’t. Normally, though, ExpertFlyer also doesn’t see it. In this case it looks like economy space got mis-coded (?) as business. In any event I was able to switch around my flights that I had booked with Avios — I have 4 people traveling and had booked 2+2 on two different flights, and now we’re all on the same one.

    Charged $55 change fee, $25 phone fee waived because EI isn’t bookable online with Avios. ~$8 refund in taxes (odd).

  17. Lucky,

    What search engine did you use on your screenshots on “How good is the availability?” section, the one that has a blue header on every picture.

  18. Further to my original post — it looks like the seats I gave up came immediately back into inventory, for what that’s worth. Also on DUB-BOS and vice versa, it looks like some flights (there are 2 per day) have as many as 9+ seats open (on my flight I took 4 and there are still 6 left) while others have zero.

  19. Ben, can you check to see what ExpertFlyer says for Mon Aug 3 DUB-BOS 4:15pm? That’s the date I wanted that has biz availability according to united.com (but shows Economy-U when clicked through) but I was told by the BAEC that there is no availability in any class that day. Thanks.

  20. @Lucky

    Your twitter link is still dead, tried reloading twitter and get the same result 3 hours after you posted it.

    Tried “Last Call: Redeem US Airways Miles Today” and get the same page not found on boardingarea com

    Links to onemileatatime boardingarea com/?p=79516

  21. Lucky,

    Thanks for the HU on this! Any idea how to select a seat with EI? BA agent wouldn’t do it for me.

  22. How do you search only Aer Lingus availability on United.com? I only get united and Lufthansa flights when I do a search.

  23. @ Chris — Just tick the “Nonstop Only” box, since United doesn’t operate the nonstop flights out of Boston and New York JFK to Ireland.

  24. @ KevininRI — Hmmm, that’s odd. Agree, it shows two business class seats available. Odd if availability doesn’t match.

  25. @KevininRI – Expertflyer has 2 “U” Biz seats available on Aug 3 DUB-BOS on the 4:15pm flight

    All others even economy are 0

  26. I think I would like to put my parents on of these. They would need to connect to ZRH in DUB. Does United also display EI short haul availability. At least for July I didn’t see any.

  27. I’m hoping the schedule for late November opens soon, since space is available consistently up to only mid November.

  28. @Eric Click on the link in the first sentence of this post, and it takes you to the new award chart. How many miles depends on whether you book off-peak or peak.

  29. Eric/Robert,

    It actually doesn’t depend on whether it’s peak or off-peak, since the new BA award chart charges you the peak rate for all partner awards; the off-peak costs are only for BA flights. So these flights that are 25k each way right now will be 37.5k each way in a month from now.

  30. @Eric and @Robert Hanson – The new BA award chart for redemption on Aer Lingus will price at the peak level, as will all partner award redemptions. Rates for economy class will be unchanged, but business class will price out as:
    -BOS 37.5K avios
    -ORD/JFK/IAD 60K avios
    -SFO/MCO 75K avios
    So the business award prices for these flights are increasing by 50% across the board, after the BAEC devaluation in April.

  31. Trying to take advantage of this but points haven’t posted to Avios account 3 hours after transferring from Chase UR. Tried calling BA and agents couldn’t see points in my account either. Has anyone else heard reports of/experienced issues with UR points not transferring instantly?

  32. Question — I booked two economy BOS-DUB roundtrip tickets in October with Avios a few months ago. I see that there is now business availability on our travel dates. Is it possible to change or cancel/rebook in business class? If so, what fees are involved? Many thanks!

  33. Hi Lucky. Aer Lingus begins a nonstop IAD-DUB service May 1 4 times a week. I can’t see it at all on the United award site–how do I check availability? Thanks.

  34. Just FYI, I don’t know anyone who has ever been able to book 2 J award seats on EI using BA miles despite what UAL.com and Experflyer.com say. Try it – you may luck out. But AFAIK 2 is the max number of J award seats on one EI flight using BA miles. Economy awards are a different story.

  35. Lucky – just called the SIN BA call center and the extremely friendly agent quickly booked 3 seats in Biz class BOS-DUB RT. Availability matched what I saw on UA.com. Total cost was 150K Avios and $339. BA confirmation looks all good. When I check it on checkmytrip.com it shows up as “Fare type: Economy Restricted”
    Are they mis-coding the economy fare buckets that are resulting in this unusual amount of high availability.

  36. @ macworld — I don’t think so, believe that’s a normal site glitch. I’d call Aer Lingus to select seats, and you should be good to go.

  37. @ Ben — Have definitely on several occasions booked more than two business class seats per flight on Aer Lingus.

  38. @ silver springer — You can use ExpertFlyer, or otherwise just select the “Nonstop Only” option on united.com. If you still see nothing then it’s just not available, unfortunately.

  39. @ Jim — It sure is. Just call and they can process it. You’ll just pay the difference in Avios plus a $55 fee.

  40. What happens if you book an Aer Lingus flight w/Avios then immediately transfer to Iberia or book another award before the points are credited? Will BA cancel the award if it has already been ticketed?

  41. @ Matt — I don’t follow? The Avios should be pulled immediately. Either way, that sounds like fraud, so I wouldn’t do it.

  42. Booked two seats BOS-DUB in new Biz class. Any idea for best seat assignment? The product is so new I can’t find any info online

  43. Thanks for this Ben – just got a September holiday lined up.

    As a data point, BA could see three J seats on the DUB-BOS return flight… definitely a whack of availability released here! Appreciate the heads up very much!

  44. Thanks, @Lucky. I just called to upgrade our October tickets to business class and the agent I spoke to said that their system is not allowing them to make the change. He said that (a) the system is saying that the upgrade is 98,000 Avios *each way* and (b) that Aer Lingus is cancelling the bookings immediately anyway. Anyone else having issues like this? The agent said they would look into it and call me back later which worries me.

    I wonder if it makes sense to try booking separate tickets altogether and then cancelling the other tickets? What would the fees be if we tried this?

  45. @ Jim — I’d recommend booking a new itinerary and then cancelling your existing one. Sounds like you got a bad agent.

  46. How do you select seats? I tried entering my Booking Reference in Aer Lingus and it couldn’t find the award.

  47. FYI, I just booked 2 Business class tickets and tax was 228.30 for taxes. They waived the $25 service charge for phone booking per passenger. I thought the taxes were much lower? Your website mentions $35 tax. Still a great deal!

    Thanks for the heads up on availability!

  48. @Lucky, thanks for the advice. That worked like a charm. Booked a new itinerary and cancelled the old one. And it looks like both flights have the new biz class configuration. Outstanding.

  49. Trying to book for my family of 4. United is showing 4 seats on some dates, but BA can only see some of them (2 on one and 3 on another). Anyone know why?

  50. @ Bryan — There does seem to be a bit of a discrepancy in availability. Have you tried searching over more dates? When I called there were definitely dates with four seats available, for example.

  51. To follow up on my posts from yesterday, I called the BAEC back today and they “magically” found the 2 business seats that they couldn’t see yesterday on the DUB-BOS flight that I saw on united.com and that also showed up on ExpertFlyer. Booked and even though it shows “Economy Restricted” on Checkmytrip, I called Aer Lingus to select a seat and sure enough was able to select a J seat (new layout too)! For what it’s worth, I also booked an Economy award for another date, and it also shows as “Economy Restricted” on Checkmytrip but the difference on there is that the economy itinerary shows a 1 piece bag allowance and the business class itinerary shows a 3 piece allowance.

  52. @ Lucky – yes, I found some alternate dates, just not as ideal. Several dates UA shows with 4 seats, that apparently BA can’t see. I also had the same experience as Chris of over $100/passenger taxes (they mentioned $23.xx in fuel surcharges as well).

    Also, I couldn’t transfer Amex MR into Avios, I called Amex and they told me their link with BA is down. Unlucky timing?

  53. Really big thanks to you for the heads-up. I managed to get 2 tickets flying jfk – dub in business class 29th June! I already had economy seats on that flight because there was no business class availability before. I had been checking united.com periodically since booking my original flights in november. A phone call to BA this morning sorted that out for me. The UK call centre hold time was only about 2 minutes!

    @kevininri I found the same thing in checkmytrip. It shows as economy restricted but with 3 bags. Can you tell me about booking seats? Who do you phone and do you need to pay to reserve them?

  54. @Chris and Bryan – the taxes and surcharges for the return are a little higher. Originating from Dublin, it’s about $80 for the one way (about half is taxes and the other half is fuel surcharges). So about $115 or so roundtrip sounds about right. Just make sure they are not charging the $25 phone booking fee as some agents will just lump it altogether in one total.

  55. Can you book separate biz and eco tickets and have BA combine them in case of flight delays? I’m looking at booking BOS-DUB in biz and BA DUB-LHR economy. Aer Lingus has nothing available when I want to return from LHR.

  56. @John just call the Aer Lingus USA reservations number (516) 622-4222 to select seats. Make sure you reference the Aer Lingus booking reference number (can get that using your BA reference number on checkmytrip.com – should start with a 2). And no charge to select seats in advance in either business or economy.

  57. Thanks for the reply on the correct taxes. FYI, sometimes United award chart doesn’t coincide with British. When I asked about a flight with British agent, she couldn’t find the same availability. I was able to get a different time however.

    Also, I had good luck calling British customer service in AM around 9am Eastern. I was ready to wait an hour and only waited 5 min. !

  58. To everyone booking seats, Aer Lingus also has a great email service for doing this:

    preflightcarena@aerlingus.com

    Just send your flight number/date and booking reference along with the seat request (from expertflyer or even their site will show what is free) and you’ll be all set. They responded to my email in about 90 minutes today – easier that calling/waiting.

  59. @ Deborah — That probably should be possible, especially since there is no Club Europe on those flights anyway.

  60. A couple months ago I booked BOS to DUB RT for 2 people at the end of April in economy so I called in (800-452-1201) just now to upgrade and the agent told me he was able to confirm the seats and switch my itinerary but I would have to call in to the executive club line (800-452-1201 since it’s closed right now) tomorrow to finish things up.

    Does that make sense? What kind of fees am I looking at – is it per ticket or per itinerary change? TIA, great find!

  61. @Lucky- I just got a 100000 American Express MR offer. Would it be possible to apply, get the card meet the $3000 spend and have the points post before April 28th?

  62. @ Joel — If you set the payment close date really early when you get the card, it might be possible, but can’t guarantee it.

  63. Lucky – thanks for this reminder it saved my trip. I was struggling to book at short trip to Dublin with BA using a “Travel Together” voucher before it expires in August. Ended up with BA outbound JFK-LHR-DUB in First and EI return DUB-BOS in new C cabin. Not the maximum use of the voucher but got where I want to go and back on preferred dates and for $1000 less money and fewer Avios ($1140 + 119K Avios for 2 persons). Never could have figured this one out w/o your blog. If (when) we cross paths I’ll buy you a glass of champagne (or two, or three…).

  64. I’ve found seats on UA.com for a BOS-DUB roundtrip in late summer. Now I’d like to transfer MR or UR to my Avios account but I was among those whose accounts were emptied. (Ex-Gratia) Should I just attempt to transfer the points and see if they show up or should I call (shudder) BA? Don’t want to transfer points only to have them zeroed-out again.

  65. Have I already missed the boat on this one? I keep getting a red message at the top saying that there are no non-stop flights available for the destination.

  66. Nope, looking on united. I had to go all the way out to october to find anything without that red message at the top. I guess the summer seats just got snatched up quickly.

  67. So I found some space in January next year for Aer Lingus JFK-DUB on United’s website but when I called BA to book it they said there was none. When I asked if they had any Business class availability at all for that route for Jan/Feb/March of next year I was told no. I brought up United’s website showing availability and they of course they can only go by what they show. Anyone else having issues with booking these routes with BA? I have a feeling that once the devaluation happens there are going to be a lot spaces opening up all of the sudden!

  68. @ Adam — Sometimes there is an availability discrepancy, though sometimes there are just misinformed British Airways agents. So I’d try calling back, though it is possible that they have access to different inventory.

  69. Although business class awards were wide open through summer, I cannot find any Nov 15′ – Mar 16′ Any idea of what is going on?

  70. @ Joe — They probably just haven’t gotten around to opening space yet. I’d keep monitoring, as it’s likely space will open up at some point.

  71. Hi guys,

    I’ve got a cash booking (economy RT) with Aer Lingus coming up in couple of weeks – I’m wondering if it’s possible to upgrade with avios? Called the BA agent who was pretty hesitant, but eventually landed on a “no, not possible”. Has anyone else had more success in a similar situation?

    Thanks!

    N

  72. I’m looking at going in summer 2016 with a family of 4. Plenty of Y space open now, but nothing in J. Am I best to book the Y space now, then try to upgrade later if space opens up?

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