Ireland is one of the most popular destinations for American travelers journeying abroad. Fortunately, there are several quality options to get to Ireland, including with Avios awards bookings with Aer Lingus and its partners.
Tip: see this post on Google Flights if you want to pay for your Aer Lingus flight with cash.
About Aer Lingus
Fortunately, Aer Lingus is not operating alone. It exists in a partnership with British Airways and Iberia (not to mention smaller airlines Flybe, Kulula, Meridiana and Vueling). All of which use the award currency Avios to book award flights.
It’s best to book British Airways Avios flights on British Airways.com and Iberia Avios flights on Iberia.com.
Aer Lingus flights can also be booked using a United MileagePlus account and miles, though the process is a bit different and usually doesn’t make sense.
Aer Lingus flies from 5 East Coast cities, including Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, and Washington D.C., plus Chicago for 13,000 Avios one-way during off-peak travel times.
Collecting Aer Lingus Avios
To collect Avios to use on Aer Lingus, you must first be a member of the AerClub frequent flyer program. Do this even if you already have an account with British Airways, which is part of the Avios family, because BritishAirways.com doesn’t display Aer Lingus awards. You’ll also need an account on Avios.com where you’ll actually be doing any booking of Aer Lingus award flights.
Naturally, you can collect Avios by flying with Aer Lingus and it’s partner airlines, but there are lots of other ways to rack up points. Booking rental cars with partnering rental companies, staying at participating hotels, using online booking sites, even online shopping will help you earn a reward ticket faster. Many participating retailers are ones you probably shop at regularly, making earning miles even easier.
If you already have a British Airways Executive Club account with Avios, you can transfer them to Aer Lingus and back again without any fees or restrictions. This increases the possibility of finding the award flight you want.
You can also transfer miles from Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards if you have credit cards enrolled in those programs (like the popular Chase Sapphire Preferred or AmEx Premier Rewards Gold card). Simply go to your rewards portal, click on “Transfer miles” and select Aer Lingus as the receiving program. Then select how many miles to transfer and the miles will show up in your Avios account nearly instantly.
Avios as currency
The Avios you spend on reward flights with Aer Lingus depend on the route (distance in miles), the date of your flight (peak or off-peak), and the fare class (economy or business). The route is based on mileage, which is grouped into zones numbered 1-6.
Off-peak flights make up two-thirds of the year and the higher the fare class, the more Avios points are needed.
Note that you cannot book award travel directly from AerLingus.com. You must go to avios.com to book Aer Lingus award flights.
You can also choose to use fewer Avios and pay the rest of the cost in cash.
Aer Lingus, British Airways, and Iberia flights are all displayed on Avios.com when searching for award flights. However, British Airways has its own award travel booking portal on BritishAirways.com.You will log into your account, search for your preferred travel dates, and select the flight you want. The surcharges and taxes will show at the bottom of the screen. In this case, for off-peak travel from JFK to Dublin, that fee is $283.13. Considering the flight, paid in cash, is $374, this may not seem like the best choice. You’re only saving about $90.00 and using Avios. But usually, these flights will cost around $600 to $700 making using Avios a good deal.
You can also book Aer Lingus flights on United.com using MileagePlus points. The flight will require twice the number of miles (around 30,000 each way), but the fees and surcharges are only $47 for the same flights. I don’t recommend using United miles for Aer Lingus flights, but you can search United.com for Aer Lingus availablity.
Of course, you can also book Aer Lingus flights with British Airways Avios at the same cost of Avios. However, you can’t book online, and the taxes and surcharges can be lower when you call and ask the agent to wave the phone booking fee if the partner flight you want wasn’t listed on BritishAirways.com.
Final Thoughts on Aer Lingus Avios Flights
Aer Lingus award flights are a pretty good deal if flying from the East Coast to Ireland. Just remember, before you click Purchase compare all the sites to guarantee you’re spending the least amount of Avios and cash.
Geoff is a value maximizer always on the hunt for the next great deal. He has created multiple consumer guides about rewards redemption, travel hacking, and consumer value opportunities.