Boston and Dublin Were Just Moved Seven Miles Farther Apart
Update 12/10/16: The original post mistakenly stated that you were able to book at British Airways off-peak rates for Aer Lingus flights. While this wasn't formerly possible, you can now redeem Avios for Aer Lingus flights using the off peak rates.
The distance between Boston (BOS) and Dublin (DUB) just grew by a few miles. No, there wasn't a great earthquake that made the Atlantic wider. With a stroke of a pen, British Airways just stretched the distance between the airports by at least seven miles.
While the Bureau of Transportation Statistics still lists the official distance between the airports at 2,993 miles — which Great Circle Mapper agrees with — British Airways and Aer Lingus are now treating the flight as being over 3,000 miles for award booking purposes. So, the Avios award cost for booking these flights just jumped.
Backing up, one of the long-time sweet spots of the British Airways award chart are Aer Lingus flights between Boston and Dublin or Shannon (SNN). These transatlantic economy flights used to cost just 12,500 BA Avios each way in economy or 37,500 BA Avios each way in business. This means that you could fly round-trip from US to Europe for just 25,000 Avios. With this change, that sweet spot just got a lot less sweet:
|Avios (one-way)||Old Price||New Price||Increase||Approximate Value Lost*|
*Based on the latest TPG valuation of British Airways Avios
This British Airways Avios repricing comes as Aer Lingus is launching its new AerClub Avios program, the AerClub. The mileage bands are identical to British Airways, though there's a small, but important note at the bottom of the chart: "Please note the exceptions of Shannon/Dublin to Boston which are based on Zone 5".
Since AerClub is a brand-new program, it's intriguing that Aer Lingus chose to call out this exception, rather than just setting mileage band 4 slightly narrower (i.e., 2001-2980 miles).
If you're still interested in booking these flights, remember that British Airways' website doesn't show availability. You'll have to check award availability on the United website and then call British Airways (1-800-247-9297) to make the booking.
It's a major bummer that British Airways decided to further devalue these cheap transatlantic award flights on Aer Lingus. With that said, you can still fly transatlantic for just 26,000 Avios (plus about $139) for Off Peak dates and 40,000 Avios for standard dates. While this sweet spot is a lot less sweet, there's still value to be had booking these flights if you're based near Boston. However, positioning to BOS for this award redemption is going to make a lot less sense.
H/T: Rapid Travel Chai