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How to book low cost flights on Avios points to Montreal with Aer Lingus

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We told you last week that Aer Lingus is launching Montreal and Minneapolis for Summer 2019.

What I didn’t spot at the time is that Aer Lingus is NOT fudging Avios pricing to Montreal.

This is what I mean.  Dublin to Boston is 2,993 miles.  This was a generally agreed fact at Aer Lingus when it was a British Airways Executive Club partner.

However, when Aer Lingus launched its Avios programme 18 months ago, Boston mysteriously moved.  Aer Lingus suddenly decided that it was over 3,000 miles from Dublin.  This meant that the cost of an Avios redemption in Business Class on a peak date jumped from 75,000 Avios to 120,000 Avios.

Aer Lingus new livery

Dublin to Montreal is 2,973 miles.  And, for once, Aer Lingus is not disputing this fact.

Montreal, which starts on 9th August 2019, is correctly pricing up in the cheaper Avios Zone 4.  This means that an Economy redemption using Avios is just 10,000 Avios each way off-peak and 12,500 Avios each way peak.  Taxes will vary depending on whether you book on (£188 return) or with BA via the telephone (should be under £100).

A Business Class redemption to Montreal will be just 31,250 Avios each-way off-peak and 37,500 Avios each-way peak.  That said, Aer Lingus only usually makes one Business Class seat available and even that isn’t yet showing for Montreal.  You can book Economy redemptions however.

You can read more about the new Montreal and Minneapolis routes on the Aer Lingus site here.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2024)

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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable 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, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year 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.

Comments (184)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Robert says:


  • Ols says:

    O/T – I’m looking to upgrade my gold card to platinum to take advantage of the 20k upgrade bonus . My gold card is in it’s first year so currently no fee paid. I read somewhere that on upgrading to plat you get charged the annual gold fee. So my question is if I upgrade from gold to plat, take advantage of the 20k bonus and then cancel plat, what are the fees likely to be?

    • Genghis says:

      Anything from nothing till your Gold anniversary to £450.

      • Ols says:

        Thanks – so if I complete it all before gold anniversary I may be charged nothing?

        • KevMc says:

          You will likely be charged at the point of your Gold anniversary (this happened to me and my wife once each when we upgraded after about 6 months. One of my wife’s upgrade, which also upgraded after 6 months, was not charged the fee until 12 months after the upgrade).

      • Ali says:

        I upgraded in July and was charged the full annual fee

        • Binks says:

          I wasn’t aware of the charge kicking in upon the gold card anniversary – that’s a very good perk. I upgraded to platinum in early July and have not been charged the annual fee yet. I took out my gold card in January 2018. Should I assume I will not be charged until end of December or if I do, it will only be the gold annual fee if £140? Thx

  • Steve says:

    OT – apologies as I am sure this query has been posed (many times!) previously but reference using a 241 voucher, am I able to book the out leg first without stating/booking the return flight?

    From memory I can then call up BA to book the return flight when seat(s) open up with no additional charges etc?


  • Simon says:

    OT – I am about to have 2 x 241s in my account. Can I use them for 4 of us to travel together ? Or do I have to be on each one separately ?

    • Ols says:

      You can use them for four people on one booking. I think they need to be named on your household account. I booked for four of us to NY in Biz next May using 2 x 2-4-1.

    • Kipto says:

      I am sure you cannot. You have to be flying as the named passenger for the 241. Your voucher only entitles you and a companion.

      • Genghis says:

        Term 12 “If the Cardmember has two valid Companion Vouchers on their account they have the option to redeem both of them together for one flight booking allowing the Cardmember to travel with 3 companions and pay the Avios flight price for only 2 people travelling on the booking.”

      • Andrew says:

        T&Cs specifically state that if you have two vouchers you can use it for a booking of four so long as the voucher holder is one of the people travelling.

        • Tom1 says:

          Where do the vouchers appear in your BA account?
          My amex app confirms I have earned it, but I can’t see where to find it. Shall I just call up?

  • Paul S says:

    So I don’t throw my points away, can someone spell out what was wrong with this email? Is it just the fact that booking economy is not a good use of points because of the taxes BA charge?

    • Anna says:

      Yes, after paying BA’s taxes and fees the economy fare portion is very low so you are not getting a good deal. Read some of Rob’s introductory articles which explain this in depth. It’s a bit like buying wine – the cheaper the wine, the greater proportion of the price is tax, if that makes sense!

      • swhostring says:

        Not just that. Think ex EU, better reward availability/ cheaper in Business or PE on partner airlines etc – also had a lot of a valuable currency – 421000 Amex MR points – and turned wine into water.

      • JP says:

        Hence why I only ever buy Petrus!

      • marcw says:

        There are multiple things to keep in mind though. Sometimes even in economy is worth it, specially at short notice and/or your travel does not include saturdary night.
        However, I agree. The example above is not (was not) a good way of using Avios.

        • swhostring says:

          if you are a penniless pensioner, the example in the article was a way to improve personal cashflow & get a ‘free’ Economy flight out – don’t forget they came back in Business so that’s where most of the points went.

          Perhaps they know their time on this good Earth is limited so couldn’t care less. Can’t take it with you! (Signed, Gotmy55yrsendoscopytodayman&theyfoundsomething!)

    • lazypeople says:

      why don’t you try reading some of robs articles?

  • Arkadius says:

    I wonder whether you could expand a little bit on opportunities for booking flights with Avios from USA to UK. I only remember your article about AirBerlin, which does not exist any more. Is Iberia the only cheap option as I find taxes demanded by BA excessive?
    Warmest regards,

    • Rob says:

      Iberia and Aer Lingus are the low tax options. You can obviously do Finnair too but taxes are not low and it is a major diversion.

  • Nigel says:

    Apologies if already mentioned here, but this news seems interesting re Emirates and Etihad:

    • Rob says:

      This has been rumoured for years – there is some logic in it, especially if they both use DWC and not the two existing airports.

    • BJ says:

      Posted again later Nigel, sorry, I missed your comment.

  • Trent says:

    Aer Lingus intend Montreal to be in Zone 5. A reader sent me this –

    Just in case you want to do something with it.

    • Rob says:

      Thanks Trent, interesting. Not entirely surprising but they should have done it from the start.

      • Trent says:

        I agree, it’s a bit shoddy to have it in the computer incorrectly, but attention to detail is not everyone’s forte apparently.

    • Kipto says:

      o/t bits. Currently on hold waiting for Marriott “ customer services” to answer the phone. Luckily I was transferred via Amex 0800. Been waiting 55 mins for them to answer the phone. I am still waiting for my SPG points to be x3’d so I can make a reservation. I can’t believe how poorly managed the merger has been. What seems to be the problem with multiplying people’s SPG points balance by 3 ??

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