Aer Lingus redemptions to the United States are very popular amongst Head for Points readers. There are two reasons for this.
The first is that they charge SUBSTANTIALLY less tax than British Airways when redeeming Avios.
The second is that, if you fly to Boston, the flight is under 3,000 miles which means it falls into the cheaper Avios pricing zone! A business class return from Dublin to Boston is just 50,000 Avios rather than 80,000 from London.
A further benefit of Aer Lingus is US customs and immigration pre-clearance. US immigration can be a painfully slow process, often taking well over an hour. Dublin has its own branch of US immigration, however, which allows you to clear your formalities before leaving Ireland. On arriving in the US, you are treated as a domestic arrival and can walk straight out of the airport!
The following has now been posted on the Aer Lingus website:
From 27 October 2013 all flights to the US will pre-clear US Customs and Immigration in Terminal 2 (Dublin) or Shannon airport before departure.
At the moment, these Dublin flights do NOT have US preclearance:
EI 125 – Dublin to Chicago
EI 137 – Dublin to Boston
EI 139 – Dublin to Boston
The following Dublin flights already have US preclearance and will continue to have it:
EI 105 – Dublin to New York
EI 109 – Dublin to New York
EI 121 – Dublin to Orlando
EI 123 – Dublin to Chicago
The Shannon flights which retain preclearance are:
EI 111 – Shannon to New York
EI 135 – Shannon to Boston
All in all, this in another good reason to keep Aer Lingus in mind when planning redemptions.