How to book Aer Lingus award tickets with Avios
Aer Lingus sits in a curious position. It is owned by the same parent company as British Airways (IAG) but yet is not a Oneworld member. This doesn't preclude a loyal British Airways Avios collector from benefiting from Aer Lingus, as the Irish flag carrier also uses Avios as its frequent flyer mileage currency.
What's more, you can freely transfer Avios between your British Airways Executive Club Account, and your Aer Lingus Aer Club account.
Further reading: How to Transfer Your Avios Between British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus Accounts
But how do you use Avios to book Aer Lingus flights?
Why should I use my Avios on Aer Lingus?
Aer Lingus provides a fantastic way to use Avios with lots of route options and, most importantly, low taxes. In fact, the taxes payable are generally far lower than what you would see on similar routes with BA.
The product can also be pretty great. I tried out the Aer Lingus A321 business class from Dublin (DUB) to Philadelphia (PHL), which cost just 50,000 Avios and $151.60 in tax and it was a fantastic flight. TPG U.K. social media lead Liam was on the same flight in economy and paid just 13,000 and $129.70 for a clean and fresh cabin and nice experience.
Related: The ultimate guide to British Airways Avios
Aer Lingus has a comprehensive North American route network, and when flying Aer Lingus from Dublin or Shannon to the U.S., you have the added bonus of being able to clear U.S. immigration in Ireland. So when you arrive in the U.S., you do so as a domestic passenger without having to clear immigration or customs.
How do I book an Avios ticket on Aer Lingus?
There are some nuances to understand if you want to book Aer Lingus tickets using Avios.
Firstly, you can't search availability or book Aer Lingus tickets on BA.com. You also can't book reward tickets on the Aer Lingus or Aer Club websites.
To use your Avios on Aer Lingus, you need to call up British Airways, which is becoming increasingly difficult at the moment, given the coronavirus crisis.
But in order to avoid long wait times on the phone with BA, the trick is that you can easily search availability and book tickets on Avios.com.
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to book Avios.com tickets:
1. Sign up for an Aer Lingus Aer Club account. It's free, fast, easy and you can do so right here.
2. This is the counterintuitive part. You will need to head to Avios.com and log in to your Aer Club account from there.
3. Once you've logged in, you can search availability to find the Aer Lingus flights you want and check how many Avios you will need for your route and class.
4. Assuming your Avios are sitting in a BA Executive Club Account (or Iberia Plus account), you will then need to transfer the Avios into Aer Club using the Combine my Avios function, which can be found here. You must sign in to each of your accounts and then transfer the points into the correct place.
5. Finally, you can head back to the search page, find your flights, and book. Easy peasy.
The whole process is a little fiddly, but the rewards of more routes, low taxes and a great product make this method a must in the arsenal of any miles and points collector.
If you want to increase the number of Avios in your account, remember that you can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards to British Airways Executive Club at a 1:1 rate. In other words, 5,000 Membership Rewards points can be transferred to become 5,000 Avios.