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International Airlines Group (IAG), which owns British Airways and Iberia, is completing a takeover deal of Aer Lingus, currently owned by the government of the Republic of Ireland. Now, this may not seem like big news to those accustomed to flying business or first. For several years, Aer Lingus has been known for its low-cost, Ireland-based routes after having changed its strategy several years back. But it has quietly been working to become more competitive when it comes to premium service, even recently unveiling a new business class that should be up to snuff for discriminating travelers.
Once it’s finalized, this takeover will put Aer Lingus back into the Oneworld alliance. It’s unclear how this will affect the airline’s current partnership roster:
But with the Oneworld alliance addition, it also means you’ll be able to redeem American AAdvantage miles for Aer Lingus flights. This may just become a great new long-haul travel option, bringing another compelling transatlantic partner to AA’s network. You can check out Aer Lingus’ route map here. And IAG CEO Willie Walsh has hinted at four extra transatlantic routes being added after the takeover is completed.
So you will soon have the option of redeeming American AAdvantage miles in addition to Avios and United miles (or the possibility of either if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus cards, which earn Ultimate Rewards points that are transferable to either program). And if you have a Membership Rewards points-earning card from Amex such as the Premier Rewards Gold or EveryDay Preferred, you can also transfer those points to British Airways.
As we mentioned earlier, the reason you might want to use your BA Avios on Aer Lingus instead of on British Airways (and to fly to Dublin instead of London) is that Aer Lingus does not levy fuel surcharges on award tickets the way BA does, so you can end up saving hundreds of dollars on awards. Not only that, but the Boston-Dublin route also falls within BA’s fourth award chart mileage band of 2,001-3,000 miles, requiring far fewer miles than many other awards to Europe.
H/T: View from the Wing