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.
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:
…. 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.
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.
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 UK credit cards (September 2022)
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.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
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 10,000 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.