Aer Lingus announces AerClub – and it will be REVENUE BASED. BA to follow?

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Aer Lingus has now formally announced the plans for AerClub, its new loyalty scheme, which were trailed in the Irish press recently.

Some – but crucially not all – details can be found here on the Aer Lingus website.

AerClub

Some points are clear, others are not so clear:

DEFINITELY:  The currency used will be Avios

PROBABLY:  You will be able to move points back and forth between British Airways, Iberia and avios.com

DEFINITELY:  There will be a wide range of airline, hotel and other partners to earn miles

PROBABLY:  The airline partners will come from Aer Lingus rejoining the oneworld alliance

DEFINITELY:  There will be three status levels (Silver, Platinum, Concierge)

PROBABLY:  These will match BA Bronze, Silver and Gold with similar oneworld benefits

DEFINITELY:  AerClub will use a revenue based model for earning:

“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.”

Aer Lingus will be the first European airline, I think, to award Avios / miles based on spending rather than a mix of distance flown and travel class.

PROBABLY:  This is a trial for a switch to a revenue-based model for British Airways and Iberia. 

What Aer Lingus is doing here is a little odd.  By making AerClub revenue based, frequent flyers in Ireland will have two options, assuming Aer Lingus does rejoin oneworld:

Credit their flights to AerClub and get status and Avios based on € spent, irrespective of travel class

or

Credit their flights to British Airways Executive Club and get status (which would be valid on Aer Lingus) based on travel class and distance flown

Timetable

AerClub will not be launching until next year so it may be a while before we get the answers to all of the questions that the current holding page throws up.

Gold Circle, the existing programme, is now closed to new members.  The scheme will close completely on 31st March 2016.

Members will be emailed about the transition to AerClub.  The conversion rate of Gold Circle points to Avios is not known.

The launch date for AerClub is “Spring 2016”.  I would imagine that it will be earlier than 31st March in order to encourage all existing Gold Circle members to move across in time.

I will keep you up to date with developments on Head for Points.

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Comments

  1. Just analysing the language on the site: note it talks about ‘Tier membership points’ which will be earned ‘based on frequency and spend’ with Aer Lingus.

    1. ‘Tier points’ – the fact they’ve called them ‘tier points’ suggests the scheme will dovetail with BAEC… Which gives me foreboding of a revenue based model for us!
    2. Based on ‘frequency and spend’ – this is interesting as it doesn’t mention class of travel. Could speculate this is because the majority of AI is shorthaul which doesn’t have the cabin choice unlike BA and IB.

    It’s inevitable Avios are moving to spend based awards (they practically are already) but we can only hope BA Tier points remain tied to class of travel plus frequency. I guess BA are doing the maths… Someone who regularly flies full fare economy is probably more lucrative than another who occasionally does a cheaply business trip to Hawaii 🙁

  2. If BA does make further changes (harder to attain GOLD etc.) then I’ll just go back to buying the best seats at the best price from any airline. From what I have read this seems a likely outcome for some of AA’s customers, AA had what was regarded as the best scheme and as a result the loyalty of it’s customers, it was able to differentiate itself from it’s competitors, now they are much the same and only time will tell if this was economically sound practice or shooting themselves in the foot. BA has bigger issues for me in terms of hard product in that it’s worst than most of it’s one world alliance members. If BA had the best product out there then fair enough, but all the comments on here and on FT tell me they don’t. BAEC has me committed to BA for the moment so the scheme is working.

  3. A table of the benefits was emailed out to members. At this point it doesn’t really tally with OneWorld:

    – Only the highest level gets any ‘partner lounge’ access
    – Elites at the higher levels get a pre-determined number of upgrades a year
    – Seat selection, luggage etc isn’t as per OW rules

    It’s slightly strange, you’d have expected it to fit right into the OW model. Maybe it’s going to take quite some time for OW integration.

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/aer-lingus-gold-circle-club/1725365-wiki-aerclub-member-benefits-tier.html#

  4. All I wanna know is if (larger) YQ will be put onto EI’s TATL award flights, whether booked via EI or BA. Currently they are among the best Avios redemption because of the lack of YQ.

    • BA will once they join the transatlantic JV.

      Whether Aer Lingus will if you redeem via AerClub is a different question. BA adds fuel surcharges to Iberia flights which Iberia does not add if you book at iberia.com.

  5. This feels all very disappointing… Also as someone on Flyertalk said – doesn’t really seem to be “in with the One World ‘spirit'”. My overall impression is this is all very negative, but I don’t get a clear sense of where you stand on this Raffles? How bad would these changes be if extended to BAEC and what exactly would it mean more clearly for the BAEC members?

    • I covered it in this article – http://buyingbusinesstravel.com/feature/1124682-loyalty-will-changes-rewards-affect-travel-programmes

      To simplify – airlines are not like a supermarket, where people are spending their own money.

      The people buying the most expensive airline tickets are not spending their own money. They often have no choice of airline if their employer has a BA or oneworld deal. So what is the point of rewarding these people disproportionately, which is what happens here?

      We also saw in 2009 what happens when you build a business which is reliant on investment bankers for customers.

      Meanwhile, the person who may spend a few thousand of their own money each year is shafted – and that persons custom, long term, is more reliable and their loyalty more easily swayed. What sensible business abandons these people?

      Next year, an economy flyer on American will need to spend $50,000 to get BA Gold equivalent. These people can never obtain status now and are likely to drift away as their loyalty erodes. The banker who is forced to fly AA due to his company contract sees his miles earned increase by over 200 per cent. It makes no sense to me.

      • This is pretty much how I saw things – and I was hoping I was reading it completely negatively but missing the positives but seems I was right as that is your view as well.

        In the past I wasn’t sure if frequent flying schemes really offered more value, but having researched (including coming across this handy blog of yours!) I genuinely thought Avios is the best frequent flying scheme there is – made even better personally when QR joined oneworld which is a carrier I favour in using when travelling east. There aren’t many schemes in the world that offer genuine reward, and I suspect as someone says above that it has kept a large proportion of people using BA which has a very diminished hard product compared to the slick middle-eastern and far-eastern operators. There has been a number of things which decimated the scheme and I suspect this might go a step too far and leave little incentive to keep flying BA.

      • (I should add, I do fly BA domestically and short-haul in Europe for leisure, but find it hard to justify long-haul as on product, service and cost alone it feels poor value)

      • Speaking as an IB – we have a choice of airlines (not as wide as it was, but okay). The extra airmiles are less important to me than the seat (I’ll try and fly on Virgin metal over BA if I have to fly J, even though I’m EC Gold and Virgin red). But most of my colleagues don’t care at all, they fly on what they’re put (even United :o), so I don’t really get the strategy.

  6. Moonman85 says:

    Assuming any revenue bases system would distribute the same total avios (which you may deem a big assumption) I think it is a no brainer for the airlines as they will be rewarding those that spend the most (very sensible business model).

    The people who read this blog and try and play the system as best as possible (myself included) make the smallest profits for airlines so probably don’t care too much about ostracising

    • They are not rewarding those people though. If they were, the Avios would go to the corporate travel manager who signed off the BA route deal which forces staff to use BA if possible.

  7. Jerry Mandel says:

    Can you find out if it will be having fuel surcharges same as BA and when AA miles can be used for award flights?

  8. Lady London says:

    Oh dear! If the entire airline world goes revenue-based what will American bloggers be able to blog about ?!

  9. In terms of the move to a revenue based scheme BA have already done this for their OnBusiness scheme. The result was to make the scheme pretty much pointless for everyone except the large corporate clients. I guess the exec club scheme seems destined to move in the same direction.

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