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STILL RUNNING: Get 18,000 Avios for £143 with the Irish Independent – but now with a big catch

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It is a good few months since I last talked about this deal so – as it is still running – I thought I would look at it again today for the benefit of new readers.

AerClub, the new Aer Lingus Avios-based frequent flyer scheme, and Ireland’s Irish Independent / Sunday Independent newspapers, have a very generous deal for taking out a digital subscription to the newspapers.

You don’t even need to have an AerClub account.  The Avios can be dropped into a British Airways or avios.com account instead.

What is the deal?

You will earn 18,000 Avios points when you take out a DIGITAL subscription to the Irish Independent or Sunday Independent newspapers for €160 (£143).

This works out at 0.79p per Avios if you use a credit card with 0% FX fees.  If you use a card with a 3% FX fee the cost rises to 0.82p per Avios.

You can sign up via this website here.

But there is now a snag ….

In theory, the 18,000 Avios deal is now restricted to residents of the Republic of Ireland.  This may be due to the fact that Head for Points readers ordered a few hundred subscriptions last time this offer ran, with little intention of renewing them beyond the (loss making, almost certainly) first year.

If you live outside the ROI, you will only receive 9,000 Avios.  That makes it a poor deal unless you actually want the digital newspapers, although still cheaper than buying 9,000 Avios from British Airways.

I have absolutely no idea how the Irish Independent intends to police this, however.

Sunday Independent

There are only two ways it can be done:

there is a compulsory field on the sign-up form for a mobile phone number – do they intend to ring up anyone who doesn’t give an Irish number?

the credit card fields require your postal address to validate the payment – although that, in itself, does not mean you don’t live in Ireland

You can’t easily get around the 2nd point because the newspaper only takes Visa and MasterCard, who DO require matching country validation to approve your payment.  Amex does not, so if they had taken Amex – which they don’t – you could have set the country to Ireland and it would still have gone through.

(Comments from last time I mentioned this suggested that, if you have a Curve card which is technically a prepaid MasterCard, there is no address verification and it will work with any Irish address.)

So, how can you get around this?  Assuming that they are basing this entirely on the home country of your credit card (you are not asked for your home address at any point apart from on the payment form) you may need to ask a friend or relative in Ireland if they can pay on your behalf.  You would be responsible for cancelling the subscription before your next annual payment was taken, however.

Or perhaps they intend to ring everyone who applies, on the Irish mobile number they give, to check that they really live there?  We don’t know.

It is worth noting that nowhere on the application form are you asked if you live in Ireland or not.  The only way they can decide whether you get 9,000 Avios (as a non-ROI resident) or 18,000 Avios (as an ROI resident) would be from the address you use for the card payment or your mobile number.

And if you do live in Ireland ….

If you live in Ireland, you may find the physical bundles to be more valuable.  These allow you to order a physical home-delivered copy of the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent every day for six months for €349 and earn 30,000 Avios on top.

Perhaps you have a friend or relative in Ireland who would like some free newspapers?  You will get the 30,000 Avios for €349 for this deal irrespective of where you live although the delivery address must be in Ireland.

Note that you will need to cancel your subscription before it expires otherwise it will roll over.

Is 0.79p per Avios a good deal?

Yes.  It is difficult to lose money redeeming Avios for flights on this basis.

This is my general ‘what is an Avios point worth?’ article.  You’ll see that you should be getting well over 1p per point in most redemption scenarios.

Of course, if you are would actually read the digital newspapers then it is a very good deal indeed!

Irish Independent digital offer

How do you get your Avios?

The process is explained on this page of avios.com, which has not been updated to reflect the new digital package.

You will be sent a voucher code by email – a reader in the comments section was told it would arrive within 21 days.  You head to the Avios voucher redemption website here, select which programme you want to drop the Avios into and then input your code. 

There is no closing date currently given for this offer.  The sign-up page is here.


British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 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

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel 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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

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

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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 (9)

  • Jon says:

    I suppose you could set up a SkypeOut number with an Irish area code, perhaps? Not sure whether a Revolut (or similar) virtual card might get around the credit card side of things? All a bit of a faff though 😉

  • Ben Goulding-Huckle says:

    I got the 18k a few weeks back. Paid with my curve card, fake Irish address and phone (google telephone number generator).

    The evoucher turned up like 2 weeks after signing up.

  • Sussex bantam says:

    Is it legal to make a different offer to someone based on which EU country they live in ? I remember Euro Disney getting into trouble sometime ago for having ‘french only’ prices sometime ago

    I genuinely don’t know so interested in replies !

    • Rob says:

      Now you mention it …

      • Nick says:

        Indeed! IMHO there would be a case, in this difference being offered, as unfair under Council Directive 93/13/EEC of 5th April 1993 on unfair terms in consumer contracts.

        Anyone want to make a challenge? 🙂

  • Chris says:

    It would be VERY helpful to have a couple of HFP readers give us their real (not speculative) experiences.
    Firstly someone who paid with a UK card, and used an Irish telephone number. Did you get 18,000 or 9,000 points?
    Secondly, someone who used a curve card with Irish telephone number. Same question?
    I do not think may people want to gamble on this without some real info.
    If you have done one of these, can you reply? Please!
    As for the real newspaper offer, the exchange rate, plus 3% commission on a curve card makes the points cost about 1.1p a point, so only worth it if the actual paper is wanted and of value.
    I am not sure how an Irish paper can be claimed back as a business expense, but maybe if you do business in Ireland, it may be something to think about

  • Lee says:

    I’ve done 2 subscriptions and I spoke with Reach customer services before doing the second explaining my main interest was the Avios/BA. They just said use a difference email address for my subsequent application. I must add though that I do have an Irish address, mobile and Bank of Ireland debit card. No one has ever called me on the mobile, I’ve received all the airmiles on both occasions. My main concern is remembering to cancel on the anniversary as the seem to allow a cancellation prior to that date.

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