Aer Lingus Doesn’t Understand How A Distance Based Award Chart Works

Early last year it was announced that IAG would be taking over Aer Lingus. For those of you not familiar, IAG is the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, and Vueling. As part of this, Aer Lingus also announced that they would rebrand their loyalty program, which would be joining the “Avios” scheme. The new program is called AerClub, and was just recently launched.

I find it a bit puzzling that there are so many different Avios currencies, and that British Airways basically runs several parallel loyalty programs, all of which are slightly different. That seems unnecessarily complicated to me, especially since you can transfer points between currencies. For example, there are plenty of instances where redeeming Iberia Avios is a better value than redeeming British Airways Avios.

Anyway, the AerClub program is now live, and while I’ll have a more detailed post about the currency as such soon, there’s one specific aspect of the program that I feel deserves a separate post.

Aer-Lingus-A330
Aer Lingus A330

Boston to Dublin has long been a great value with Avios

As I first wrote about in 2012, one of the best distance based award chart “sweet spots” has been between Boston and Dublin on Aer Lingus. British Airways has a distance based award chart, and awards that are between 2,000 and 3,000 miles in distance price out a certain way. Boston to Dublin is ~2,985 miles, so has long been an incredible use of Avios, given that British Airways Avios could be redeemed on Aer Lingus.

So back in the day you could redeem just 12,500 or 25,000 Avios for a one-way ticket between Boston and Dublin in economy and business class, respectively. Unfortunately last year British Airways devalued their award chart, and raised the price of that award to 75,000 Avios roundtrip in business class (though economy continues to cost 25,000 Avios roundtrip).

Still, redeeming Avios on Aer Lingus’ Boston route is a significantly better value than redeeming to any of their other U.S. cities, since they all span a distance of over 3,000 miles.

Aer-Lingus-Business-Class-5
Aer Lingus’ new business class

Aer Lingus doesn’t know what a “distance based award chart” is

Aer Lingus’ new AerClub program will have a distance based award chart that more or less mirrors British Airways’ award chart. Here are their six tiers of awards:

aer-lingus-zones

 

Here are the corresponding costs:

Under that chart the following exception is listed:

(Please note the exceptions of Shannon/Dublin to Boston which are based on Zone 5)

In other words, Aer Lingus has a distance based award chart, except when it doesn’t suit them. So Aer Lingus is artificially inflating the cost of awards between Boston and Ireland.

I’m not yet sure whether British Airways Executive Club will be making the same change, or else it might make more sense to book Aer Lingus business class awards through Executive Club rather than AerClub.

With these changes, booking Boston to Dublin/Shannon through AerClub will cost:

  • 26,000 Avios roundtrip in economy off-peak
  • 40,000 Avios roundtrip in economy peak
  • 100,000 Avios roundtrip in business class off-peak
  • 120,000 Avios roundtrip in business class peak

C’mon Aer Lingus, this isn’t cool. If you’re going to have a distance based award chart, have a distance based award chart, and not a “meh, we don’t like the distance between those two cities so we’ll artificially change them” chart.

(Tip of the hat to Head for Points)

Comments

  1. It’s a disgrace. It’s tiring when airlines penalise passengers for making small errors in a reservation or such yet when it suits them they just bend the rules for themselves and at the cost of the customer.

    A distance based award chart is just that – distance based. Either change the distance bands or reinstate BOS back where it belongs.

    I really hope you get a reply from Aer Lingus as to why they have taken this action. It stinks.

  2. according to the gcmapper BOS-DUB is 2993 miles.

    It does seem especially unfair for them to create this one particular exception though

  3. Same deal for BA making “exception” to charge 7500 avios for <600 miles flights within north america.

    What a joke.

  4. This didn’t need to be this difficult. Zone 4 should have ended at 2,800 and Zone 5 should have begun at 2,801.

    MIA-SEA = 2,724
    BOS-SNN = 2,889

  5. I agree. What is the point of a distance award chart if it isn’t accurate. I will be giving them less business in the future.

  6. FFS Aer Lingus. For everything it for great, and there’s a lot, they do something shockingly boneheaded. It’s so well positioned to be a JetBlue type sleeper/player and then they just snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    For example… no real intra-Europe business class; doubling-down on Shannon and giving Cork (and Belfast if you’re considering all-Ireland) short-shrift; this interminable Bataan Death March to adopting avios and rejoining Oneworld.

    They’re a legit player in Britain and Ireland, Europe and trans-Atlantic, but sometimes act like a little new country’s vanity project. Learn from Iberia and BA’s missteps and move the hell on. There’s so much potential to be a powerhouse. Where BA and Iberia are going (and contrary to many I actually like both airlines), Aer Lingus could be IAG’s and Oneworld’s silver bullet in Europe if they’re willing to be.

    Sorry, rant over.

  7. I have been a loyal EI FF’r for over 35 years. Starting with TAB, then Gold Circle. With t recent changes I see no point in remaining. They do not value loyalty and in my opinion, are being directed by greed.

    When I saw the changes coming I burned some of my points for a DUB-MCO flight. My “free flight cost me €273.56 which by todays conversion is almost $300.00. When I queried the charges I eventually found out most was a fuel surcharge! & this at a time when fuel has never been cheaper

    Compare that with a recent points trip I did using my AA miles. I routed Dublin-Helsinki-Tokyo in Economy, and returned Tokyo – Paris CDG-LHR-DUB in Business class, total cost €175 which is $160

    With gold Circle, I was “Gold” which gave me lounge access with my wife when travelling, apparently this is now changed to “Silver” with no lounge access for anyone travelling with me. Although I could be wrong, as the company have not communicated with me in any shape or form re the changes

    Aer Lingus have lost the ability to look after loyalty and sadly, after over 35 years I cannot see any reason to stay with the carrier

  8. Looks like their new BDL to DUB route is just over 3k miles..dang, was hoping to fly this route soon and should have pulled the trigger before the changes.

  9. I’ve used 25k ba avios on bos/dub and snn a number of times. Connected to other cities using 4500 avios. This pretty much ends any incentive to use this during “peak” periods. At least I won’t have to put up with their uncomfortable seats and especially their pig food they serve in coach.

  10. Why would anyone have an issue with this? The rules and costs have clearly been defined up front. What if Aer Lingus had made Zone 4 “2000-2800 miles”? Same result, right? Would people still be complaining?

    In a world where some programs devalue without notice and/or fail to post award charts, I find it really hard to get worked up about a program with clearly defined redemption values.

  11. You may want to poke into this a bit more. Several friends have used the BOS-DUB Avios sweet spot as a gateway to Europe. As recently as three weeks ago, I had no problem getting business class seats for them for 75K Avios each r/t plus less than $100+ per. But this week, other friends tried it and were quoted more Avios (I can’t recall how much more, but thinking it was around 90K) and over $400 per ticket – from the BA call center. I’m wondering if BA has adopted the off-chart treatment of this route that Aer Lingus has. It would make sense since the same currency, although I’m not understanding the rationale for the higher surcharge. Any thoughts?

  12. So frustrating. My fam of 3 redeemed avios on EI last summer and was in early stages of planning a future trip around the sweet spot. What do you expect BA to do with their chart?

  13. Glad you read the fine print! I went to find an award ticket from Boston and couldn’t figure out why it kept telling me 100k miles!

    Thanks!

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