How to earn Avios when flying United Airlines – at higher rates than British Airways 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. Any experiences on United on service and price (competitive)?
    Is it always best to credit a long haul flight with a oneworld member to Iberia?I remember Rob mentioned it in an article in the past,most times Iberia is more generous than BA avios/Mile flown

  2. Now it’s been published here, I’m sure it’ll speed up the closing of the loop hole.

    • I’m not sure you can call something that’s openly publicised on their website a loop hole… if they wanted to cut the earning rates I’m sure they wouldn’t hesitate!

    • The only ‘loop hole’ they need focus on closing is the one which leaves these flights uncredited indefinitely with no timeframe for when they will be!

      Given that they have not actually credited a single mile for almost 2 years now (I have personally been waiting for my points from a UA return flight to Chicago in May 2017), whilst still advertising it as being a possibility is, in my view, nothing short of false advertising and should not be allowed.

    • Really??? Not a single Avios has been credited (yet) for United flights… and it´s clearly not a loophole if openly shown on their website.

  3. 5..6..maybe 7 schemes with Avios SA.

  4. I have been waiting for over 17 months for Avios to credit my AerClub account from my United flight. I contact them monthly and it’s the same story over and over again. “They will credit in the roll out of the next phase of AerClub migration” “I’m sorry, we have no further information to provide”. Set of absolute C U Next Tuesdays.

  5. As per joe, I did a couple of first class United internal flights almost 2 years ago, December 2016, just as I started doing the whole Avios thing seriously.

    Still no points delivered!

  6. Travelled United to Hawaii and back to London in May this year – of course no Avios posted.

  7. Flying United in Jan so this could be useful.

    Concerned at the track record judging by the comments.

    Alternative could be credit / transfer to SPG/Marriott?

    • Over 19 segments now over the last 18 months and not a single one posted.

      Anyone actually had any success?

  8. OT but *A

    Is there any way to buy NH (ANA) miles from UK?
    There are of credit cards or other easy ways of acquiring large miles, is there?

    • Starwood transfer is your best option, so either the Starwood Amex or use an Amex Plat/Gold and convert those points to Starwood and then onto ANA. The Starwood Amex earns more though – 1.25 ANA miles per £1 if you convert in chunks of 60k (=25k miles).

  9. Can we lodge some sort of group complaint against Aer Lingus over their abysmal handling of Avios from partner flights with an independent body?

    • It is bizarre. I mean … we’re looking at only a handful of claims per day surely. Even if it meant getting an intern to manually credit them it wouldn’t be a huge job.

  10. FlyUpTop says:

    Anyone else finding erewards not working today – 502 bad gateway message?

    • Yes – glad it’s not just me! Was getting lots of page not found errors during the week too. I was a bit concerned that they had spotted that I had more than one account going

      • Good to know I’m not banned!

        • Only been doing them for about 10 days and have already banked 2000 avios on one account and nearly have enough for another 2000 on my second one. Any tips on how to get a third account? I’ve got my current two through AerLingus and Vueling – BA don’t seem to have a link anymore on their site and Iberia aren’t doing any referrals at the moment

      • RussellH says:

        Have not tried to connect today, but am annoyed at seemingly having lost 4000 which I transferred to LeClub Accor towards the end of June. The “6-8 weeks” for transfer was up on 23 August, but no Accor points – no problems before this. But any attempt to contact them through the contact us link has been ignored.

        Any ideas anyone?

  11. Prins Polo says:

    Interesting oddity, but is this enough to fly United?

    In discount economy, that’s a roughly 4,000 Avios difference on a return flight LHR-JFK-LHR, so GBP 40 at 1p per Avios valuation…

    • Can’t be any worse than flying BA World Traveller, surely…

      • Lady London says:

        Remember though that if you have a flight from the US to the UK then you are not covered by EU261 if it’s on UA. You’re covered in the outward direction from Europe only.

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