Aer Lingus Is Rebranding Their Loyalty Program

This year IAG, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, has taken over Aer Lingus.

Aer Lingus has undergone quite a turnaround over the past several years, by which they went from a struggling airline to one which has a unique identity and is growing at a fast pace, thanks to the turnaround led by Christoph Mueller (who is now the CEO of Malaysia Airlines).

Aer-Lingus-A330

Aer Lingus has also greatly improved their premium product, including adding wifi on their longhaul flights, installing a new business class, revamping their lounges, etc.

Aer-Lingus-Business-Class-5

Anyway, as a customer, perhaps the most interesting part of the IAG takeover is that Aer Lingus will eventually join oneworld and also join the oneworld transatlantic joint venture.

It has been possible to earn and redeem British Airways Avios for travel on Aer Lingus for a long time, though soon it will be possible to earn and redeem American AAdvantage and other oneworld miles on Aer Lingus as well, which is exciting.

The downside is that Aer Lingus will probably have the same fuel surcharges as other oneworld carriers, which means award tickets on them will get considerably more expensive if booked through British Airways. One of the things that makes Aer Lingus travel such a good value when redeeming British Airways Avios is that they have extremely low fuel surcharges.

Anyway, it looks like Aer Lingus will be revamping their loyalty program in the coming weeks, from “Gold Circle” to “Aer Club.” Here’s what we know so far, via the Irish Independent:

The airline is preparing to reveal a new expanded scheme, called the ‘Aer Club’, in a matter of weeks.

It will be a distinct Aer Lingus programme, as opposed to an IAG plan However, it is expected to provide more redemption opportunities with IAG’s other airlines and partners through a new common currency.

“We – independently, but supported by IAG – will be seeking to move beyond Gold Circle to a new programme which will be announced in the early part of next month.

“It will have the benefit of a currency which can be shared across a number of airlines and will also have enhanced benefits of recognition and reward and loyalty for members,” Aer Lingus chief commercial officer Mike Rutter said in an exclusive interview in today’s Sunday Independent.

“It will include a bigger opportunity to spend and redeem points with other airlines but it will still absolutely be an Aer Lingus plan, with a proper Aer Lingus name and a sense of modernity.”

So while Aer Lingus’ program won’t be merged into Executive Club, it sounds like the points may be transferrable between some airlines. This sounds awfully similar to the British Airways and Iberia Avios program, whereby you can transfer points between programs.

My guess is that the Aer Lingus program changes will in many ways mirror the recent changes made to British Airways Executive Club, whereby the program will be more rewarding for premium customers and less rewarding for customers mostly booking discounted economy tickets.

Bottom line

There are pros and cons to Aer Lingus joining oneworld. I’m excited to be able to earn and redeem American miles on Aer Lingus, though I’m less excited about the potential addition of huge fuel surcharges on Aer Lingus awards booked with British Airways Avios.

While the loyalty program rebrand is independent of Aer Lingus joining oneworld, I do think we’ll see some policies which move the airline closer to British Airways’ Executive Club program.

I guess we’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out the full details.

What do you make of Aer Lingus eventually joining oneworld?

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.

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Comments

  1. I wonder what will happen to my Gold Circle miles… I also have Gold Circle status so I bet that will be changed too

  2. @Ben I’m surprised how quickly BA was able to revamp the EI FFP. Do you have any info on when AA will revamp their FFP? I think with the successful integration of US/AA systems, the next thing on the agenda has to be the AAdvantage program.

  3. @Rand – “I am at a loss why airlines would charge a surcharge for fuel when oil is at a 30yr low?”

    $$$

    @02nz – “The UA partnership is probably also not long for this world.”

    My guess is that the end of that is announced at the same time as the date for EI’s eventual joining of oneworld.

  4. Aer Lingus have been promising a revamp to the Gold Circle Club for over a year, before the IAG takeover was in question. I’m guessing whatever changes they are going to make are similar to what they already had planned, but might make tier changes to align better with OW, similar to BAEC. At the moment, the lowest Gold Circle status tier gains access to lounges, so they may move to change that.

  5. I need to get from DUB to AMS early in January. Better to pay cash or wait and hope I can use AA or Avios for the flight?

  6. @Rand~ many airlines have moved away from the notion that the surcharge is a fuel surcharge since fuel prices have slumped. Even so, they are reluctant to abolish it, as it adds mightily to their bottom line, at the same time as making their base fares seem competitive. It’s their heroin; too hard to give up!

  7. I’m trying to put together a Oneworld 140 K award trip which would be so much easier if EI was a full Oneworld member with award flight availability (I particularly would like DUB-YYZ). Do you when/if it is likely to become a full member? Or even, to where could I would best direct my query?

  8. It seems that Air Lingus is STILL not part of OneWorld, even long time after take over by IAG. Anyone has any update? I fly (mostly in the USA) with AA, but start working in Dublin soon, If AL is NOT a part of OneWorld, I will fly with AA.

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