Bad news, good news:
The bad news is that the year-round 12,500 Avios award from Boston to Dublin or Shannon, Ireland on Aer Lingus is dead.
The good news is that those awards from Boston as well as awards from New York, Newark, Hartford, Toronto, Washington-Dulles, and Chicago to Ireland are now only 13,000 Avios for more than two-thirds of the year. This larger group of awards used to be 20,000 Avios one way all year.
Aer Lingus Part of British Airways and Iberia
Aer Lingus, the Irish flag carrier, is now owned by the same company that owns British Airways and Iberia.
Previously Aer Lingus was a non-alliance partner of British Airways Avios, so you could redeem Avios for Aer Lingus flights by calling British Airways at 800-452-1201.
Now the airlines are even more integrated. You still have to call British Airways to book Aer Lingus, but when you do, you can redeem at discounted off peak dates that weren’t previously available.
The Boston-Ireland Widening
Avios is a distance-based award program. The number you need for an award is based only on the distance and cabin of each award segment. Contrast that with region-based miles like United; the number of United miles needed for an award is based on the cabin and regions of origin/departure of the entire trip.
Here are Aer Lingus’ zones to determine the price of an award, which is identical to British Airways’. Note the exception at the bottom.
Despite Boston to Dublin and Shannon being less than 3,000 miles flown, you get charged the price for 3,001 to 4,000 mile flights when redeeming Avios on Aer Lingus.
The Cheapening of Other Aer Lingus Awards
But the good news is that 3,001 to 4,000 miles Aer Lingus flights are only 13,000 miles one way at off peak prices, and this distance covers several American cities to Ireland.
Off peak dates for 2017 are in white below. You’ll notice that they are all of the year except Summer, mid-April, and Christmas/New Year.
Aer Lingus flies several routes that cost 13,000 Avios one way on off peak dates.
In addition to Boston to Shannon and Dublin, you can fly from much of the Northeast plus Chicago for the cheap price.
For only 16,250 miles one way on off peak dates, you can fly from Orlando, Miami, San Francisco, and Los Angeles to Dublin.
On peak dates those awards are 20,000 and 25,000 miles one way respectively.
Remember that Avios awards are priced per segment. If you don’t live somewhere that Aer Lingus flies, you can add American Airlines or Alaska Airlines flights to get to the Aer Lingus destination, but you’ll have to pay at least 7,500 Avios per segment, which makes these awards a much worse deal.
Taxes, Fees, Fuel Surcharges
Aer Lingus flights booked with Avios have a tiny fuel surcharge and low taxes. For instance, Chicago to Dublin roundtrip, which would cost 26,000 Avios for most of the year has a $25 fuel surcharge and only $114 total in taxes plus fuel surcharges.
There are no additional fees to book the award.
How to Search and Book
Aer Lingus is not searchable on ba.com; surely it will be soon. It is searchable on united.com and Expert Flyer, a paid service, though I sometimes find BA’s award access not to match United’s.
If you’re booking at an off peak time in economy, you can probably just assume there will be Aer Lingus award space on your dates and skip the searching step.
Call British Airways at 800-452-1201 to book.
Bad news for Bostonians, but good news for people who live in New York, Chicago, Washington, Newark, Toronto, and Hartford: for most of the year, you can book awards from your city to Ireland for 13,000 Avios one way.
Roundtrip awards are 26,000 Avios plus about $114 in taxes and fuel surcharges.
From Dublin, connect to the rest of the world on Ryan Air.