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TPG reader Vincent sent me a message on Facebook to ask about earning rewards to redeem on Aer Lingus:
“Now that the new AerClub has been folded into the Avios program, what’s the best way to collect Avios for use on Aer Lingus?”
I never saw much value in the Aer Lingus Gold Circle program, but the airline has remained relevant to award travelers as a good option for avoiding fuel surcharges on flights to Europe. Now Aer Lingus is scrapping Gold Circle for the new AerClub program, which will use Avios as its reward currency. While you could already redeem Avios on Aer Lingus, this move should inspire British Airways to show Aer Lingus award availability online, making the points a bit easier to use.
The options for earning Avios haven’t changed much. You’ll now be able to earn points on paid Aer Lingus flights — AerClub will be revenue-based, so you’ll earn 3 Avios per euro spent. Those opportunities should extend to alliance partner flights once Aer Lingus returns to Oneworld — of course you can already credit those flights to British Airways, but Aer Lingus may offer a better earning structure depending on your fare.
I tend to earn more rewards from spending than I do from travel, and there are plenty of options for stockpiling Avios that way. The British Airways Visa Signature card up to 120,000 bonus Avios. earn 4 Avios for every $1 spent on all purchases within your first year up to $30,000. That’s a good way to jump-start your account. However, the card only earns 1 point per dollar spent on purchases outside the airline, so it’s not the best choice for everyday spending.
British Airways is also a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, so credit cards in those programs can effectively be used to earn points that you can redeem on Aer Lingus. Last year, Amex lowered its British Airways transfer ratio by 20%, which means you now get only 200 Avios when you redeem 250 points. Amex offers several cards with higher earning rates as well as occasional transfer bonuses, so Membership Rewards remains a viable option despite the lower rate.
Every Starpoint you earn is essentially worth 1.25 Avios, since you get a 5,000-mile bonus when you transfer 20,000 points from SPG to most airline partners (including British Airways). Chase doesn’t offer transfer bonuses, but there are several Ultimate Rewards cards with good earning rates, so you can still get a good return on your spending overall. The Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5 points per dollar, and those points can transfer evenly to British Airways (if you also have a premium Ultimate Rewards card). That’s a great baseline if your goal is to earn Avios.
There are some concerns about how the new AerClub program will affect Aer Lingus’ partnerships with British Airways and other carriers. Surcharges could be added to award tickets, and some partners (like United) may no longer be available in the future. For now, though, the move should create more opportunities to redeem Avios inexpensively.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
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Aside from the 75,000 points welcome bonus, Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at Amextravel.com and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.
- Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
- Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
- Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
- 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
- Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
- Get one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork. With this membership, you can access 300+ premium, inspiring workspaces in 75+ cities. To get this exclusive offer, enroll between 2/15/2019 and 12/31/2019.
- Terms Apply
- See Rates & Fees