Alaska and Aer Lingus to Partner, Miles Usable Between Both Airlines
The CEO of Aer Lingus said that Alaska and Irish carrier Aer Lingus will be forming a new partnership to serve travelers this spring.
In an interview with The Seattle Times, Aer Lingus CEO Stephan Kavanagh announced the partnership, which comes on the heels of the airlines' plans to expand in the US. Starting May 18, Aer Lingus will start year-round service between Seattle and Dublin.
But, the most exciting bit of news is that Kavanagh met with Alaska CEO Brad Tilden recently, and the airlines plan to "announce a formal partnership before flights commence in May."
This would allow for Aer Lingus passengers to connect to Alaska flights that go across the US, and passengers traveling on Alaska can connect to a new European destination. "That means Aer Lingus and Alaska frequent-flyer miles will be usable across the two airlines and Seattle connections can be booked along with the Dublin flight," The Seattle Times reports.
While details are slim, this is a great sign for both Alaska's MileagePlan program and Aer Lingus Avios. Aer Lingus recently partnered with Chase and announced its own co-brand credit card that will launch this spring.
It will likely be a while before anyone will actually be able to use miles for either of the airlines though. Alaska announced partnerships last year with both Singapore Airlines and Finnair, but there's still no news on when fliers will be able to redeem miles on the two carriers.
Alaska has a strong mileage program, both on the earning and redeeming side. If accruing Alaska miles on Aer Lingus flights is anything like it is on its IAG partner British Airways, it could be quite lucrative for business and first-class fliers.
Redeeming MileagePlan miles or British Airways Avios on British Airways flights incurs high taxes and fees, but a way to avoid this is to use British Airways's Avois on Aer Lingus flights because the fees are much lower. It's possible the same will be true for using Alaska miles on Aer Lingus flights.
Flying through Dublin offers pre-clearance, which allows for travelers to deplane in the US as if they're getting off a domestic flight. Aer Lingus has a solid business class product that TPG's JT Genter reviewed last year.