aer lingus a321lr

How do I book a reward ticket on Aer Lingus with Avios miles?

This post is also available in: FR

Since a few days, it is possible to book tickets on the new flight of the Irish company Aer Lingus: Montreal – Dublin. And it is possible to use miles!

Booking an award ticket on Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus, an Irish member of Oneworld, will operate a flight between Dublin and Montreal beginning in August 2019. The flight will be operated on a single-aisle aircraft – a brand-new Airbus A321 LR – with not only an economy class but also a business class with seat-beds.

aer lingus a321lr

While Aer Lingus has begun selling tickets, you should know that it is also possible to use British Airways Executive Club Avios miles… although the process is (very) far from simple at the moment.

british airways club

Search via British Airways Executive Club

As Aer Lingus is part of the IAG group of airlines (British Airways, Iberia…) it would be natural to find award tickets directly on the British Airways Executive Club portal. Well… no!

Look at a search for August 19, 2019 (you will see later that this is a date available via other methods): British Airways is unable to show me the direct flight… so they offer me a connection in London with British Airways.

research ba yul dub available

Please note that the British Airways Executive Club portal will not allow you to book Aer Lingus flights online.

 

Search via Avios.com

If we can’t book on British Airways Executive Club, let’s turn to the Avios.com portal, which is the portal for all Avios member programs (BA Executive Club, Iberia Plus…).

avios portal

But first, you need to create an Avios.com account… which is different from your British Airways Executive Club account!

Create an Avios.com account with Aer Lingus

The easiest way to get an avios.com account is through the Aer Lingus website, via their Aer Club program! What’s in it for me? Unlike British Airways Executive Club, Aer Lingus shares the same credentials as Avios.com for its Aer Club loyalty program.

aer club

Link your British Airways Executive Club and Avios.com accounts

Once your Avios.com account is created, go to British Airways Executive Club to link your British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus and Avios.com accounts… so you can freely transfer your Avios miles from one account to the other via the “combine my Avios” feature!

combine avios
Here is an example of a transfer to Avios.com from British Airways Executive Club (to ultimately book on Aer Lingus). You have to choose your program, then you have to enter your identifiers and finally the amount of Avios. We receive an email and the transfer is instantaneous. Of course, the details of the accounts must match.
program selection
first step in the transfer of Avios: identification
choice amount
second step: choose the amount and the direction of transfer

 

before trasnfert
third step: final validation

 

ba avios transfer
last step: confirmation
result avios
on the Avios website you can see that the balance is updated automatically

Aer Lingus award tickets on avios.com

Now that you’ve gone through the whole process, let’s search for an Aer Lingus award ticket on Avios.com (you can see: “
Pay for flights with these carriers using Avios: Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia
“).

research avios yul dub

And then… unfortunately, the flights will not be displayed! Same result as with British Airways Executive Club with a flight via London for 24,500 Avios miles and $325 one way!

research avios yul dub calendar

I know, at this very moment, you are angry with me!

In fact, for some reason, the Dublin – Montreal flight is NOT showing up on Avios.com. Unlike other destinations already served by the Irish company, such as Toronto – Dublin(20,000 miles and $183 one way):

research avios yyz dub calendar

So it’s only a matter of time before the YUL-DUB flight is displayed… so you haven’t done all this process in vain!

Well, if the flight YUL-DUB is not displayed on BA Executive Club, nor on Avios.com… how can I find it? Here are 2 methods.

Search via United

Strange as it may seem, United, a Star Alliance airline, has a partnership with Aer Lingus. This allows United’s site to display award tickets available on Aer Lingus! And like Aeroplan award flights, United is definitely the BEST site to search for award availability quickly with its 2-month calendar feature!

To do this, you will need to set up the search as follows:

  • YUL-DUB
  • Non-stop flight
  • Flexible search

search united yul dub

Bingo! It’s simple: there is availability every day in economy class between August 8, 2019 until the end of the schedule available at the time of this writing, September 6, 2019.

Availability is displayed: points for business class, lines for economy class!

research united yul dub calendar

Take the example of August 19, 2019, available in both economy and business class in the “Saver Reward” category, which is the one available to all Aer Lingus partner airlines.

search united yul dub available

Please note that United’s mileage amounts should not be taken into account. On the other hand, the taxes are quite representative of reality.

Now that we know that seats are available on this flight, all you have to do is call British Airways Executive Club to make a reservation.

Search via Expertflyer

The other method is via the excellent professional website Expertflyer. If you travel frequently, we encourage you to purchase an annual license (US$99). In many cases, Expertflyer has been very helpful:

  • Award ticket availability alert: you set up alerts on specific flights, and Expertflyer will monitor for you by sending you an email when a seat becomes available
  • Alert for availability of a specific seat
  • Information on the occupancy of an aircraft: this makes it possible to estimate whether award tickets will eventually be “released
  • Real time access to the cabin plan (which also allows to see the filling)
  • MPM calculation: this makes it easy to see if our Aeroplan “mini-tour” of the world is working
  • And many other features

For example, here is an automated email from Expertflyer to notify the availability of a flight on Thai in First Class.

thai f expertflyer

This is certainly not the tool we would recommend to the casual traveler. However, if you use your miles several times a year, you should think about it!

There is also a free 5-day trial.

Via Expertflyer, you can search for a flight within +/- 3 days to check availability. Here is the configuration:

aer lingus expertflyer

And this is what it looks like for flights in August 2019 on Aer Lingus between YUL-DUB: at least 4 economy seats available.

aer lingus dispo expertflyer

Calling the British Airways Executive Club

Once you have your flights (and your British Airways Executive Club Avios miles in your account), the last step is to call British Airways Executive Club.

It’s no picnic: the call can be long, very long. This will often be done in English, as French speakers at British Airways seem to be counted on the fingers of one hand. We advise you to call during off-peak hours in North America (Eastern time): 06-08h / 15-17h. If you have Skype, try your luck on Asian or French (France) numbers.

You will only need to mention your flights to the agent who should be able to book them. Since you could not technically do it online, you will not be charged a fee for booking by phone.

Lucky from Onemileatatime confirmed this:

I’ve called British Airways to verify that the availability is actually as it seems (British Airways doesn’t allow Aer Lingus redemptions online), and it indeed is. A one-way business class redemption from Montreal to Dublin shortly after the flight launches is pricing at 37,500 Avios plus $US 69 in taxes.

The rate in air miles is therefore:

  • 10,000 to 12,500 avios miles (low/high season) in economy class
  • 31,250 to 37,500 air miles (low / high season) in business class

Romain, in the facebook group “Travel for free (or almost…!) with your points & miles – milesopedia” was also able to book his tickets by phone using his avios miles. He writes:

I booked for 2 adults and 1 child in August for 75000 avios and $427.

That’s 25,000 air miles and $142 in taxes for a round trip between Montreal and Dublin in economy. A very nice deal!

How do I get airline miles in Canada?

In Canada, there are 3 ways to earn Avios miles.

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Earn Avios miles with American Express Membership Rewards

British Airways Executive Club is a transfer partner of the American Express Membership Rewards program.

You can transfer your Membership Rewards points to Avios miles at a 1:1 rate. So 10,000 Membership Rewards points = 10,000 Avios miles.

And regularly conversion promotions take place! The last one: 30% more airline miles. So 10,000 Membership Rewards points = 13,000 Avios miles.

These 4 American Express cards offer Membership Rewards points:

Please note that although the American Express Cobalt Card offers Membership Rewards points, they are part of the “Select” range: they are not transferable to airline partners such as British Airways Executive Club (only to hotel partners such as Marriott Bonvoy).

book with rbc rewards fr2x

Earn Avios miles with RBC Rewards

Like American Express, the RBC Rewards program allows you to transfer RBC points to Avios miles at a 1:1 rate. So 10,000 RBC Rewards points = 10,000 Avios miles.

Also, regular transfer promotions take place, between 20 and 30%.

Only RBC RewardsAvion cards can transfer their points to programs such as the British Airways Executive Club.

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Earn airline miles with Marriott Bonvoy

Last but not least, Marriott Bonvoy. The hotel program allows you to transfer your Marriott rewards points into Avios miles at a 3:1 rate. For example, 30,000 Marriott points = 10,000 Avios miles.

In addition, for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred, Marriott adds a 5,000 mile bonus. For example, 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points = 20,000 + 5,000 Avios miles.

In Canada, it is of course possible to earn Marriott Bonvoy points with the American Express Marriott Bonvoy cards:

It is also possible to earn Marriott Bonvoy points with the 4 American Express Membership Rewards cards (the transfer rate is 5:6 or 50,000 Membership Rewards points = 60,000 Marriott points)

But the best solution is… the American Express Cobalt Card!

In fact, like its “big sisters”, it allows you to transfer your Select Membership Rewards points at a 5:6 transfer rate. But it is the card that allows you to accumulate the most points on certain common categories of businesses such as grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores (read: gift cards). At these stores you will earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar… that’s the equivalent of 6 Marriott Bonvoy points.

And if your ultimate goal is to earn Avios miles: these 6 Marriott Bonvoy points equal 2 Avios miles!

So, for every dollar you spend at grocery stores, restaurants, and convenience stores with the American Express Cobalt Card, you get… 2 Avios miles! No card will do better, not even the RBC British Airways card!

Bottom Line

So it is possible to book an award ticket with Avios miles on Aer Lingus… but you’ll have to be patient. We hope that Avios.com will soon display the Montreal-Dublin flight… as the Toronto-Dublin flight is displayed!

This post is also available in: FR

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Jean-Maximilien
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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