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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.
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 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
The cost of Aer Lingus awards using Avios
Here’s what British Airways’ distance based award chart presently looks like:
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.
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:
And here’s a calendar with availability between New York and Dublin in June/July:
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:
I see dates with nine business class award seats in the other direction as well:
Space is quite good out of New York to Dublin:
And out of Dublin to New York:
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:
If the seatmap shows six seats per row, then it’s the old product:
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
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:
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||50,000 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 Card||Earn 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 Card||Earn 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 Card||25,000 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 Express||Earn 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
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?