The Irish Government, with its 25% shareholding in Aer Lingus, is yet to be convinced that the precious Aer Lingus slots at Heathrow will not be handed over to British Airways to run more long-haul services.
IAG has offered to guarantee services to Ireland for five years, but as it would take five years in any event for BA to purchase new long-haul planes to utilise the slots, this guarantee is not worth much. The Irish Government seems to be keen on a ten-year guarantee.
That is politics, though, and this is not a political site. This is a site about optimising your miles and points earning. Which means the question we should be asking is:
How can I benefit from the takeover of Aer Lingus and the conversion of Gold Circle Club points into Avios?
When British Airways bought bmi British Midland, there were some fantastic arbitrage opportunities – especially for BA flyers who had never previously bothered with the bmi credit cards and their big sign-up bonuses. That will not happen with Aer Lingus under their current scheme:
Gold Circle currently has no car rental partners.
Gold Circle currently has no hotel partners.
Gold Circle has only three airline partners apart from BA and two of those are already partners with British Airways (Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines)
The one exception is United Airlines of the US. Flights on United will earn you Gold Circle Club points as you can see here.
If you taking a United Airlines flight in the future and do not have an active Star Alliance account, you may want to consider crediting it to Aer Lingus Gold Circle. Those points are highly likely to be turned into Avios if Aer Lingus is eventually acquired and your points will not expire for three years.
Even if the deal does not happen, a small amount of miles are no worse off in Gold Circle than they would be in United MileagePlus or any other Star Alliance scheme.
However, things may be about to get better.
Later this month, Aer Lingus is going to unveil an all-new loyalty scheme. We are promised ‘financial partners’ and ‘hospitality partners’.
Effectively, Gold Circle Club will become a stand-alone profit centre for the first time because it will be able to raise revenue from selling points to third parties.
This has the potential to be very interesting if BA does succeed in taking over the airline. There may be some arbitrage opportunities. There may also be status match opportunities, since Aer Lingus will be keen for people to stop crediting flights to British Airways.
More on the Gold Circle Club relaunch to come ….
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.