How to earn Avios when flying United Airlines – at higher rates than BA for Economy

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As there are four separate Avios airline schemes* – British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus, Aer Lingus AerClub and Vueling Club – which each have their own partners, you would expect some oddities to turn up.

This is one of the biggest ones.  Bizarrely, Aer Lingus AerClub lets you earn Avios when flying United Airlines, which is a member of the competing Star Alliance.

(* OK, technically there are five Avios airline schemes if you include Italian group Meridiana, but you cannot move Avios in or out of that scheme.  There will be six Avios airline schemes when the Flybe programme launches soon.)

Avios Aer Lingus United

United Airlines of the US is a long-standard Aer Lingus partner.   Under the old Gold Circle loyalty programme it was possible to credit United Airlines flights to Aer Lingus.

To be honest, I was expecting this feature to go away when Aer Lingus was bought by IAG, closed the Gold Circle scheme and adopted Avios.  I was wrong!

As you can see from this page of the Aer Lingus website, United Airlines remains a partner.  You can earn Avios points in AerClub when you credit United Airlines flights at the following rates (click to enlarge):


The % figures are based on the number of miles flown.

What is interesting about this chart is that it is very generous for discounted economy tickets:

If you fly British Airways to the US in a cheap economy seat, you will earn either 25% or 50% of miles flown, irrespective of whether you credit the flight to BAEC or AerClub

If you fly United Airlines to the US in a cheap economy seat, you will earn either 50% or 75% of miles flown when you credit to AerClub

If you have British Airways status then these numbers will change.  However, if you have no BA status and are flying to North America on a non-refundable economy ticket, you will be better off flying on United and taking Avios in AerClub.

You cannot use a BAEC number.  You need to join AerClub and move the Avios across to British Airways Executive Club via ‘Combine My Avios’.

There is one bit of bad news – you won’t be seeing those Avios points from United for a while.  The AerClub site says:

“Please note: We are currently working with our partner airlines to ensure that you receive your Avios for flights flown. This process is taking some time and the Avios will be credited as soon as possible. In the meantime, your travel activity will be captured and stored once you enter your AerClub membership number when booking.”

This note has been there for almost two years now …..

PS.  It is no longer possible to redeem Aer Lingus miles for United flights.  That would have been very interesting indeed!

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

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  1. Just saw my 4 UA flights from May 2017 have posted! Yay!

    Did Rob perhaps get a quiet word that this was about to start? Otherwise, good timing site!

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