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Aer Lingus confirms Philadelphia route – and how to redeem Avios with minimal taxes

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Aer Lingus announced a new route from Dublin to Philadelphia yesterday.  This offers a new way to spend your Avios points and a new way of getting to the US without paying heavy taxes and charges.

The Philadelphia service will start in late March with the Summer timetable and operate four times per week.

Services will operate on a Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  The outbound will leave Dublin at 13.50, arriving 16.15.  The return leaves Philadelphia at 17.30, arriving at 05.10 the following day.

Seating

Unfortunately the service will not use an Airbus A330 with the impressive new Aer Lingus 1-2-1 business class seating.  It will use one of the chartered single aisle Boeing 757 aircraft which have only 12 business class seats.

This is not a bad product, however.  Business class looks like this:

Aer Lingus Philadelphia

…. with decent options for both solo travellers and couples.  What I don’t know is how much reward availability is released, given the 12-seat premium cabin.

Aer Lingus has also confirmed that the following long-haul services will operate next Summer from Dublin:

  • Miami (3 per week)
  • New York (21 per week)
  • Boston (14 per week)
  • Chicago (14 per week)
  • San Francisco (7 per week)
  • Orlando (4 per week)
  • Toronto (7 per week)
  • Washington (7 per week)
  • Los Angeles (7 per week)
  • Hartford (7 per week)

Philadelphia flights are already available for purchase at aerlingus.com.

aerclub-membership-cards

How to redeem Avios for Aer Lingus

It used to be the case that Aer Lingus seats could only be booked with Avios via a telephone call to British Airways Executive Club, with no way of checking availability online.

This changed in December 2016, when Aer Lingus reward availability was loaded into avios.com.

At the same time, Aer Lingus introduced peak and off-peak pricing.  The list of peak dates does NOT match the British Airways list of peak dates.  You can see the Aer Lingus 2018 peak and off-peak calendar here (the BA and Iberia calendars are here).

Taxes are very low when redeeming Avios for Aer Lingus long-haul flights.   Avios has still found a way to make it confusing, however.

There are now TWO ways of booking a redemption on Aer Lingus:

Option 1 is to use avios.com.  You can book online and you get the widest choice of dates.  You will pay around £200 in taxes and charges for a long-haul flight from Dublin to North America.

or

Option 2 is to use ba.com.  You cannot book online, only by telephone.  Anecdotally, there is less availability than you see via avios.com, and you cannot check availability online before you ring.  However, you will only pay around £75 in taxes and charges for a long-haul flight from Dublin to North America.

Remember that these taxes figures assume you start your trip from Dublin.  If you add in a connection from the UK on the same ticket then you will be hit for long-haul Air Passenger Duty of over £100.  You will probably want to buy or redeem for a separate connecting ticket to Dublin, although you should try to stick with Aer Lingus as they will be more inclined to help if your inbound flight is delayed.

Coming soon …. a series of Aer Lingus flight reviews

At the end of month we will be running a series of Aer Lingus flight reviews, including the Heathrow lounge, the short haul service, the Aer Lingus Dublin lounge, the new independent US pre-clearance Dublin lounge and the A330 business class seat and service.  Keep an eye out for it.


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (45)

  • Trent says:

    The Boeing 757 product seen above is the exact same product as the “impressive new 1-2-1 business class seating”.

    During the first year with the differing products, they decided it was working so the Boeing 757 fleet at Air Contractors were refitted with the exact same seats as on the A330 fleet.

    Just to let you know.

    • Rob says:

      Still a small single aisle plane though ….

      • Alan says:

        Although it can be quite fun/different being in a lie-flat seat on a single-aisle plane 🙂 Best I’ve had was AA Domestic F JFK-LAX – 1-1 layout was very pleasant.

        • will says:

          I’m a fan of narrow body lie flat cabins too. I did HEL-LHR/LCY-JFK-LAX-HNL a few years back without getting on a widebody!

          • Alan says:

            Haha nicely done – still not been on LCY-JFK, went tech when I was scheduled to be on it!

        • Barry cutters says:

          first on JFK-LAX on the A321 is great , although last time i did it i was so drunk i can hardly remember it . similar seat to AA 777 fleet in business, but agreed something special about being lie flat on a small plane. Kind of a bit like the baby bus is such a great experience.

  • Matthew says:

    I’m trying an aer lingus flight booked with Avios next Thursday to Chicago. As it was a last minute booking I had no choice but to use my avios. The flights in cash with BA/American were over £1200 and a reward flights on BA was still over £370 in taxes. The reward flight on aer lingus only came to £190 and 26k avios. I’m getting a connecting flight to Dublin with Flybe from Cardiff for £40 so all in all a big saving. Let’s hope economy long haul on there is bearable.

    • Scottydogg says:

      By reading the article above , am i right in thinking that if you would have booked this over the phone with BA , you would have paid £70 tax instead of £190 ?

      • Rob says:

        Correct, assuming BA had availability (not guaranteed as it is worse than avios.com shows).

  • Barry cutters says:

    i think thats the same as the a330 from memory?
    anyway if those are the seats id be happy to take the ‘flying pencil’

  • gomigo says:

    Avios redepemtion on Aer Lingus via BA Call centre follows peak & off peak table.

    I have a booking made via BA Call centre and been charged off peak rate for October Half term. I also changed the booking within same zone after few days and they were happy to accommodate and still with off peak rate.

    • Rob says:

      Thanks. Someone told me recently they had paid peak but it could have been a bad agent (or perhaps the reader looked at the BA chart).

      • Urs says:

        Would be fantastic. I’ve redeemed miles multiple times with AerLingus to the US, and always paid peak rates.

      • Gomigo says:

        You may be right Rob, it should be bad agent I guess. I checked availability on Avios and phoned BA and gave Date & Flight number and all done in less than 10mins. They charged just £75 tax. They were flexible for Part Pay + Avios for my flight. 21 Oct is Off Peak & 22 Oct onwards it’s peak rate. Later I phoned to change LA route to SF and since it was within same zone happily they changed with just £30 normal change fee. BA was on peak rate for same date. US pre-clearance is an add on for Ex-Dublin.

        • Mikeact says:

          I don’t understand. The Aer Lingus 2018 Calendar is very clear between Peak and Non Peak. How can BA possibly deviate from this ?

          • Rob says:

            Because when you book Aer Lingus via BA, you are still booking it under the same pre-Dec 2016 rules:

            * good news = lower taxes
            * bad news = lower levels of availability than is shown via avios.com
            * bad news (in theory) = they still treat it like a ‘partner airline’ and every day is a peak day

            In some ways it is weird that they have adopted the ‘official’ calendar but are still using ‘unofficial’ partner availability and charging ‘unofficial’ taxes.

        • Mikeact says:

          It might be a darn site easier if we could book Avios flights on the Aer Lingus site instead of all this faffing about between Avios.com and BA.

  • Aeronaut says:

    “Taxes are very low when redeeming Avios for Aer Lingus long-haul flights. Avios has still found a way to make it confusing, however.”

    Of course they have! Sigh…

  • mark2 says:

    Can I have the benefit of your experience please?
    If I book an Aer Lingus business class flight from Dublin to Toronto using Avios and an Aer Lingus economy flight from Birmingham to Dublin maybe using Avios, will I be able to check the luggage through to Toronto? Also will I get the business luggage allowance on the economy flight?

    • Rob says:

      BA would not let you do this. No idea of the current Aer Lingus policy, but of course they are sister airlines. You also would not get the increased luggage allowance on the domestic, unless they are on the same ticket (and so you pay the APD).

      • mark2 says:

        Thanks Rob. Tax avoidance was not the only objective. More important is the convenience of not having to trek to Heathrow.

      • Tom says:

        Could you not pay for extra luggage allowance on the domestic?

      • Alan says:

        Unless you have >24h in Dublin of course 🙂

  • Nicky says:

    Just a tadge confused here: am I able to book an economy ticket for cash on Aer Lingus and upgrade to business using points on a part pay part points basis if I book through BA or if I want to fly business must it be either all cash or all points?. I ask because if I fly BA I pay cash for PE and upgrade to CW with my Avios but I was under the impression that I couldn’t do that with Aer Lingus – can anyone enlighten me?

  • sohan says:

    Also worth remembering Shannon airport over on the west of Ireland – Aer Lingus fly to New York and Boston from there. It’s really small and friendly and they have a lounge. AL connects to Heathrow there too, although flight frequency is much less than in Dublin. It’s worth a stopover for a night to stay in nearby 5 star Dromoland Castle, go to a Munster rugby game, or see the Cliffs of Moher if you are feeling touristy!

    I say this because AL are currently in dispute with Dublin airport as the latter have just increased flight capacity for other carriers and AL are worried about their operational reliability as a result of the airport getting more crowded.

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