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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!
I’ll show you how to find and book these cheap award tickets to Ireland!
Award Flights to Ireland
Link: Aer Lingus
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:
- 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.
So one-way, off-peak awards cost 13,000 British Airways Avios points and peak awards 20,000 British Airways Avios points.
Note: There’s a specific exception for Boston to Dublin and Shannon on the new award chart, putting it in Zone 5.
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.
From there, you’ll be able to see which dates have saver award seats. There are lots of available award seats in May 2017!
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!
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
And British Airways is a transfer partner of 3 of the 4 major flexible points programs:
- American Express Membership Rewards (5:4 ratio)
- Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1 ratio)
- Starwood Preferred Guest (1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 Starwood points you transfer)
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.
3. Earn British Airways Points Directly With the Chase British Airways Card
4. Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points
Lastly, you could transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points from cards like the AMEX Business Platinum 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.
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.