Following the acquisition of Aer Lingus by IAG, the existing Gold Circle loyalty programme is to be closed and replaced by AerClub. This will use Avios as its currency.
I wrote a long piece in November explaining what is known about AerClub. The plan at that time was that Gold Circle would close on 31st March and AerClub would launch on 1st April. That has, clearly, not happened.
A new timetable has now been announced.
According to the Aer Lingus website, Gold Circle will continue to operate until 30th June. AerClub will launch on 1st July.
Earn 250 free Avios for pre-registering
According to this page of the avios.com website, you will earn 250 Avios in AerClub if you pre-register your interest before the launch.
Pre-registering takes all of 10 seconds. All they want is your first name and your email address.
It is likely that AerClub will be part of ‘Combine My Avios’ and that you will be able to move these 250 Avios to BA, and
AerClub is likely to have interesting promotions and partners which will make having an account a necessity for serious UK-based Avios collectors
….. I would pre-register your interest today.
Revenue based REDEMPTION coming?
We already know that AerClub will have a revenue-based earnings model:
“The more you spend on flights with Aer Lingus, the more Avios points you will collect. The move away from our traditional air miles model means you will be able to earn points with every flight you buy, giving you more opportunities to build up your balance.”
However, the avios.com page above implies that REDEMPTION will also be revenue based:
“You can use your Avios to get a discount on the cost of your Aer Lingus flights. You will also be able to spend your Avios with an extensive range of travel and leisure partners.”
If this is the case then it opens up a huge number of questions:
Will it be impossible to redeem Avios via AerClub for ‘free’ flights, or only for discounts? If so, you can say goodbye to long-haul Aer Lingus redemptions in premium classes.
If redemptions are revenue based via AerClub, will Aer Lingus stop being a British Airways Executive Club redemption partner (you couldn’t have points-based redemptions via BAEC and revenue-based redemptions via AerClub)?
Or, potentially, will AerClub points NOT be transferable to BAEC or avios.com – which would be the only way to force people to redeem their points for (at a guess) 1 cent per point via AerClub? (EDIT: the FAQ say that points WILL be transferable)
Is this a trial for the whole of Avios going revenue based on the redemption side? Recent experiments with ‘Part Pay With Avios’ via British Airways Executive Club give the impression that some sort of market testing is going on – although the oneworld element of BAEC means that a full switch to revenue based redemptions is unlikely to work.
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