Sweet spot: Fly to Ireland from eight U.S. cities for only 13,000 British Airways Avios points each way!

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Considering a trip to Ireland? You can currently fly to Ireland from eight U.S. cities, like Chicago, New York, Washington, DC, and more. During most of the year, the price is just 26,000 British Airways Avios points round-trip in coach!

The secret is booking your flights with Aer Lingus. It’s a partner of British Airways, though it’s got its own frequent flyer program (AerClub) and award chart — and their sweet spot is one of the best ways to get to Europe with miles and points.

British Airways Avios points are one of the easiest airline currencies to earn, so anyone can easily take advantage of this deal just by opening one of the best travel credit cards (more on this later!).

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

Use 13,000 British Airways Avios points to fly one-way in coach, eight months out of the year, from cities like Chicago, New York, and Washington, DC, to Ireland. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

Extra-sweet spot: British Airways award flights to Ireland

British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Iberia are all part of the same company. They all earn a currency called “Avios,” which is just their gimmicky name for airline miles.

While all three airlines price their award flights based on the distance you fly, they all have sweet spots that make their award charts unique.

When you fly between 3,001 and 4,000 miles, British Airways will charge you:

  • 13,000 Avios each way in coach (off peak dates)
  • 20,000 Avios each way in coach (peak dates)

Both of these prices are more than reasonable — but 13,000 Avios is an excellent deal for 4,000 miles worth of travel. There are two details that make this award chart absolutely mouth-watering.

It’s also worth noting that you can fly in lie-flat business class for just 50,000 British Airways Avios points each way during off-peak dates. Sounds like a lot compared to 13,000 points, but a transatlantic business class flight for 50,000 points is a great price.

1. Fly from eight U.S. cities to Ireland

You can fly from eight U.S. cities on ten routes to Ireland for 13,000 miles one-way in coach. To compare, United Airlines generally charges 30,000 miles in coach each way between the U.S. and Europe.

You can only achieve this low price when flying nonstop (no connections), and during off-peak dates, which account for about eight months of the year. Here are the routes:

  • Boston-Dublin
  • Boston-Shannon
  • Chicago-Dublin
  • Hartford-Dublin
  • Minneapolis-Dublin
  • Newark-Dublin
  • New York (JFK)-Shannon
  • New York (JFK)-Dublin
  • Philadelphia-Dublin
  • Washington, DC-Dublin

All of these flights are under 4,000 miles (yes, the Boston routes are under 3,000 miles, and therefore should technically price even cheaper, but British Airways charges the same amount as the other routes).

2. Extremely low fuel surcharges

British Airways incurs taxes and fees worthy of the electric chair. Depending on the route and cabin you fly, you could literally pay $1,000+ for your “free” flight. However, if you’re not flying on a British Airways plane, you won’t be taxed so highly.

These ten routes to Ireland aren’t just incredibly inexpensive with Avios points — they also come with very low fuel surcharges as they’re operated by Aer Lingus (NOT British Airways). You may have higher fees on your way home due to European departure taxes, but still nothing comparable to the fuel surcharges passed along by British Airways. All-in, you should expect to pay less than $120 round-trip.

How to find and book award flights on Aer Lingus

Here are the off-peak dates for 2020 — which aren’t much use at present, considering nobody knows when routes will again be operating full-force in the wake of COVID-19.

You can reserve flights for 13,000 miles each way on any dates that are white, so long as there’s award space and flights operating.

Unfortunately, you cannot search for or book Aer Lingus award flights on the British Airways website. Instead, you’ve got a couple options.

First, you can search for “Saver” level award seats on the United Airlines website. Just enter one of the above routes into the search engine, and look for a nonstop flight operated by Aer Lingus (you’ll find it under the flight times).

You can also search for saver level award seats on ExpertFlyer if you have a subscription.

Once you’ve found the flights you want, call British Airways at 800-452-1201, and feed them the flight information (dates, times, flight numbers). This will help them to quickly locate the award seat you’re after. You’ll need your British Airways frequent flyer number, as well. If you get an agent who’s unable to book your tickets, I suggest politely hanging up and calling again.

Be sure to ask them to waive the fee for booking over the phone since it’s not possible to book through British Airways website.

How to earn British Airways Avios points

British Airways Avios points are some of the easiest to earn in all of the miles and points world — in fact, they maybe THE easiest, considering the amount of credit card bonuses you can transfer to British Airways. The airline partners with three major transferable points programs:

You can convert these three currencies into British Airways Avios points at varying ratios (here’s our handy chart detailing which points transfer to each airline, along with their transfer rates).

You can earn points that transfer to British Airways with cards such as:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card –  80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve® – 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express – 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • American Express® Gold Card – 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first six months from account opening

In addition, British Airways has its own cobranded credit card, the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, which comes with up to 100,000 bonus Avios after meeting tiered spending requirements:

  • 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening
  • 50,000 additional Avios after you spend $20,000 total in the first year

As mentioned before, Iberia and Aer Lingus earn the same currency as British Airways. If you have Iberia Avios points, you can convert them to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio. Because of this, you can also indirectly earn British Airways Avios by opening the following cards:

  • Iberia Visa Signature® Card – Up to 100,000 bonus Avios
    • 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening
    • 50,000 additional Avios after you spend $20,000 total in the first year
  • Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card – Up to 100,000 bonus Avios
    • 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening
    • 50,000 additional Avios after you spend $20,000 total in the first year

Don’t get caught up in that gigantic $20,000 spending requirement. Earning 50,000 points for spending $3,000 in three months is a great bonus. You’re not obligated to achieve that second tier! You could just open two different cards at your leisure and earn 100,000 points for spending a total of $6,000.

The information for the British Airways Visa, Iberia Visa, and Aer Lingus Visa has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

With the distance-based award chart from Aer Lingus, you can fly coach from eight U.S. cities to Dublin or Shannon for just 13,000 British Airways Avios points one-way (or 26,000 points round-trip).

This price is for off-peak travel only. Luckily, almost eight months 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. You’ll have to call British Airways to book once you’ve found your flight.

Let me know if you’ve booked this route! I plan to do it myself in 2021. And subscribe to our newsletter for more miles and points sweet spots like this delivered to your inbox!

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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