Sweet Spot: Fly to Ireland From 6 US Cities for Only 26,000 British Airways Avios Points Round-Trip!

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Considering a trip to Ireland?  Via Travelmiles101, you can now fly Aer Lingus to Ireland from 6 US cities, like Chicago, New York, Washington, DC, and more.  It’s just 26,000 British Airways Avios points round-trip in coach!

That’s because Aer Lingus recently joined the Avios program along with British Airways and Iberia, and released it’s own frequent flyer program (AerClub) and award chart.

And British Airways is using this new award chart to price flights on Aer Lingus using British Airways Avios points!

Award Flights To Ireland

Use 13,000 British Airways Avios Points to Fly One-Way in Coach, 8 Months Out of the Year, From Cities Like Chicago, New York (JFK), and Washington, DC, to Dublin. And Visit the Stunning Cliffs of Moher!

I’ll show you how to find and book these cheap award tickets to Ireland!

Award Flights to Ireland

Link:   Aer Lingus

Link:   Aer Lingus Distance Based Award Chart

Ireland’s national airline, Aer Lingus, is partners with British Airways, meaning you can redeem your British Airways Avios points for an Aer Lingus award flight.

But with the new distance based award chart from Aer Lingus, it’s no longer possible to fly from Boston to Dublin for 12,500 British Airways Avios points one-way in coach.  That was one of the top 5 cheap ways to get to Europe using miles and points!

Instead, those tickets now costs 20,000 British Airways Avios points one-way in coach during the peak season.  But it’s just 500 Avios points more than the previous price during off-peak times, or 13,000 British Airways Avios points.

The good news is, the new chart DID open up sweet spots from 5 other US cities to Dublin.  And you can now fly from these cities to Dublin for 13,000 British Airways Avios points one-way in coach during the off-season:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Hartford
  • Newark
  • New York – JFK
  • Washington, DC

I called British Airways to confirm these award ticket prices myself, because there’s conflicting information on the internet.  And it turns out, British Airways is indeed using the new Aer Lingus award chart prices for flights operated by Aer Lingus, even when using British Airways (not Aer Lingus!) Avios points for a ticket.

Tickets between these cities and Dublin used to cost 20,000 British Airways Avios points one-way in coach (except for Boston) throughout the year.  So you’ll save a lot of points with the new award chart for flying during the off-peak times!

That’s because the distance between these cities and Dublin puts them in Zone 5 of the new award chart.

Award Flights To Ireland

The Great Circle Mapper Shows the Distances Between 2 Cities

So one-way, off-peak awards cost 13,000 British Airways Avios points and peak awards 20,000 British Airways Avios points

Award Flights To Ireland

Flights Between 3001 and 4000 Miles Are In Zone 5 On the New Aer Lingus Award Chart

Note:  There’s a specific exception for Boston to Dublin and Shannon on the new award chart, putting it in Zone 5.

Award Flights To Ireland

Zone 5 Flights Require 13,000 Avios Points One-Way In Coach During Off-Peak Times

Plus, off-peak times include nearly 8 months out of the year.  So there’s plenty of opportunity to take advantage of the cheaper award seats. 😉

And Aer Lingus also has very low fuel surcharges, so the fees on your ticket will not be a lot.  Although you may have higher charges on your way home due to European departure taxes.

To compare, United Airlines charges 30,000 miles in coach one-way between the US and Europe.  Or 60,000 miles for a round-trip coach ticket.  So this is a really good deal!

How to Find and Book Award Flights on Aer Lingus

You can NOT search for or book Aer Lingus award flights on the British Airways website.

But you CAN search for saver level award seats on the United Airlines website (or use ExpertFlyer if you have a subscription).  Then call British Airways to book at 800-452-1201.  You can even ask them to waive the phone fee because it’s not possible to book online. 

Step 1.   Find Saver Award Seats on United Airlines

Let’s look for a ticket between Chicago and Dublin in May 2017.  The entire month of May is considered off-peak by Aer Lingus.

Enter your travel information on the United Airlines site and click the “Search” button.  Be sure to check “award travel” and “nonstop.”  And I like to search for flexible dates too, to see my options.

Award Flights To Ireland

You Can Search for Saver Award Seats on Air Lingus Through the United Airlines Website

From there, you’ll be able to see which dates have saver award seats.  There are lots of available award seats in May 2017!

Award Flights To Ireland

Nearly Every Day in May 2017 Has One-Way Non-Stop Saver Award Seats Available Between Chicago and Dublin

Click on the date you want and check to make sure the flight is operated by Aer Lingus.

I found a coach saver award seat operated by Aer Lingus on May 7, 2017, from Chicago to Dublin for 30,000 United Airlines miles and ~$6 in fees.  This same ticket would cost just 13,000 British Airways Avios points and ~$35 in fees!

Award Flights To Ireland

You Can Save LOTS of Miles & Points by Booking Certain Aer Lingus Flights With British Airways Avios Points Instead of United Airlines Miles!

You can repeat the same steps to find a return flight or search for a round-trip ticket from the beginning.  Just be sure to write down the flight information, because you’ll need this to book the tickets!

Step 2.   Call British Airways to Book

Once you’ve found the flights you want, call British Airways to book your ticket at 800-452-1201.

You’ll need your British Airways frequent flyer number, and the numbers, dates, and times, of the flights you want.

If you get an agent who’s unable to book your tickets, I suggest politely hanging up and calling again. 😉

And if they try to charge a phone booking fee, you can ask for the fee to be waived, because you can’t book these flights online.  I can’t guarantee this will work, but it’s worth a try!

How to Earn British Airways Avios Points

There are many ways to earn British Airways Avios points!

And British Airways is a transfer partner of 3 of the 4 major flexible points programs:

1.   Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

To earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you could consider a card like the Ink Business Preferred or Sapphire Reserve.  After meeting minimum spending requirements, you can earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Ink Business Preferred and 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Sapphire Reserve.

2.   Transfer Starwood Points

Or you could earn transferable Starwood points with the personal and business versions of the AMEX Starwood card.  Both cards are offering a 25,000 Starwood point sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements.

And check out my post to see why these cards beat the Chase British Airways card for regular spending.

3.   Earn British Airways Points Directly With the Chase British Airways Card

With the Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card, you can earn 50,000 bonus British Airways Avios points after meeting minimum spending requirements

4.   Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points

Lastly, you could transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points from cards like the Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN or Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express to British Airways Avios points.  But this isn’t as good a deal as it used to be.

I’d rather save my AMEX Membership Rewards points for transfers to airlines with a 1:1 ratio, like Air Canada, Delta, or Singapore Airlines.

But this could be a good option for folks who need to top-off their British Airways account for an award.

Bottom Line

With the new distance based award chart from Aer Lingus, you can fly coach from 6 US cities to Dublin for just 13,000 British Airways Avios points one-way.  Or 26,000 British Airways Avios points round-trip.

This price is good for off-peak travel only.  Luckily, almost 8 months out of the year are considered off-peak according to Aer Lingus!

To find award seats, you can search United Airlines for available saver award seats.  But you’ll have to call British Airways to book your flight.

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26 responses to “Sweet Spot: Fly to Ireland From 6 US Cities for Only 26,000 British Airways Avios Points Round-Trip!

  1. This was a super helpful post. Now we can use our many Southwest points to get to one of these hubs and Avios to get to Ireland!

  2. How many Avios points for first class/business class?

  3. Can you book a round trip ticket or does it need to be two one way tickets?

  4. Is it not also true that you can transfer BA Avios to Aer Lingus Avios and book the flights directly on the Aer Lingus website? I haven’t checked yet, but I assume the award levels will be the same. Also, booking Aer Lingus flights through the BA call center will frequently result in the seats disappearing if the agent doesn’t know the ‘trick” to keeping them alive through the process. If you aren’t aware of that, I’m happy to share.

    I love the blog. Great resource for the community.

    • Thanks for the nice feedback. 🙂 Currently, you can NOT transfer Avios between the different programs, like British Airways Avios to Aer Lingus Avios. Though that may be an option in the future. We’ll keep you posted!

  5. Still a very shady move on their part. The award chart is clear…unless they don’t like that a particular route. Then they’ll make an exception to exclude it. Disappointing and telling.

  6. Wonder if its worth cancelling my flight when I booked at 20k to get 14,000 miles back.

  7. Does the trip need to be non-stop in order to fall under the certain mile limit?

  8. still 50k each way for business…and no matter how cheap, coach to Europe isn’t worth it….call me spoiled.

  9. How about from West coast?
    And what is the trick to keep the ticket? @Mark. I am planning a trip to EU next year, wonder if I should use this or wait for Air France promotion.

  10. You can also search for award availability for aer lingus in avios.com.

  11. Let’s suppose one doesn’t live in an Aer Lingus US final destination. For instance, if one wanted to travel from Eugene, OR to DUB, I’m assuming the only way to do that on points would be to use UAL, which flies in and out of Eugene. I’m thinking that if I try to use BA, I can get from DUB to SFO, but then would have to purchase or use separate points to fly from SFO to EUG. Am I correct in that assumption? Thanks in advance!

  12. Just tried this and couldn’t find a thing under 30k one way. All were 30k or 65k. What am I missing?

  13. We were wave to book successfully for 3 people for 21K Avios each round trip from ORD to Dublin.

  14. Thank you for this advise! I just booked our trip to Dublin in May for 26,000 avios points per person! I have a question, I am a BA silver member can we get access to the Aer Lingus Lounge at JFK terminal 5? for myself and spouse? or should we go to BA terminal 7 hang out and then go to Terminal 5 when we are ready to leave? which one is better? we will have a 3 hour wait. Love your posts they are extremely helpful.

  15. This worked great for my fiancee and I for our return to DC from Dublin for our honeymoon. You rock!

  16. iamalighthouse

    Gahhh! I’m 2000 points short, I got a referral bonus with Ultimate Rewards but no longer have the Chase Sapphire Preferred. So, I can’t transfer those. I don’t have any of those above cards. Any thoughts on how to *simply* get those other 2000 points?? Thanks!!