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Last week we shared the unfortunate news that the Boston (BOS) – Dublin (DUB) sweet spot using Avios isn’t quite as attractive anymore. British Airways is following Aer Lingus’ new award chart and treating BOS-DUB as part of Zone 5, even though the mileage between the two cities should make it a Zone 4 redemption. This change raises the standard one-way redemption cost on this route by 7,500 Avios in economy and a whopping 22,500 Avios in business.
But there’s a silver lining to this change. Concurrent with British Airways’ move to follow the Aer Lingus chart, BA also started allowing Aer Lingus award flights to be redeemed with Avios at “off-peak” pricing. Formerly, only British Airways and Iberia flights were eligible for the off-peak pricing.
For the BOS-DUB route, this means that award flights on off-peak dates cost just 500 Avios more each direction than before. In business class, the difference isn’t as minor. Off-peak Zone 5 costs 12,500 more Avios each way than the standard Zone 4 business-class redemption.
However, this off-peak change now opens 10 new routes at cheaper rates. Previously, you’d have to pay 20,000 Avios each way to book an Aer Lingus economy award flight on routes between 3,001 and 4,000 miles. Now, if you fly during Aer Lingus’ off-peak dates (caution: PDF link), you’ll pay just 13,000 Avios each way on these routes. For these off-peak dates, that’s a savings of 14,000 Avios round-trip thanks to this change.
For routes between 4,001 and 5,500 miles, the standard Zone 6 award rate is 25,000 Avios. But, you’ll pay just 16,250 Avios each way during off-peak dates.
Figuring the off-peak dates are super restrictive? Good news. The off-peak dates stretch through much of the year — excluding the winter holidays, the middle of April and peak summer travel. The exact off-peak dates are January 5-April 6, April 24-June 16 and September 11-December 15.
|City||Route||Flight Miles||Standard Rate
There’s similar savings for award redemptions in business class. During off-peak dates, Aer Lingus flights between 3,001-4,000 miles drop from 60,000 Avios each way to 50,000 Avios. Meanwhile, 4,001-5,500 mile flights drop from 75,000 Avios to 62,500 Avios.
Interested in booking off-peak Aer Lingus flights using Avios? First, you need to figure out generally when you’d like to travel. To get the off-peak rates, you’ll need to travel between January 5-April 6, April 24-June 16 and September 11-December 15. Next, search for Aer Lingus award availability using United’s website. Finally, call British Airways (1-800-247-9297) to complete the booking.
While we’re still bemoaning the loss of year-round 25,000-Avios transatlantic round-trips, we can now celebrate 26,000-Avios transatlantic round-trips from six North American cities — and 33,000-Avios round-trips from four other cities — during eight months of the year.
H/T: Travel Miles 101
Featured image courtesy of Paul Faith via Getty Images.