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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.

Avios Aer Lingus United

United Airlines of the US is a long-standing Aer Lingus partner.   Under the old Gold Circle loyalty programme – before Aer Lingus was bought by IAG – 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 taken over, 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):

Avios chart Aer Lingus United

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’.

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


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points 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 – 30,000 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

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

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 (24)

  • Baji Nahid says:

    United are only flying from Edinburgh and London Heathrow since its dropped Manchester.

    A little off topic but i wonder why the US airlines cant make the UK regions work like the Middle eastern airlines do (well emirates and qatar)

    • Marcw says:

      Because connections in the US are a PITA. everyone prefers to connect in an European airport.

      • Alex W says:

        Who’s connecting in Cardiff etc? Suspect most connections are at the hub, i.e. Doha.

        • Marcw says:

          Clearly, you didn’t understand or I didn’t explain myself good enough. It’s very challenging to fill a plane just based on demand origin-destination (from the regions), so airlines rely on connections. Now, everyone knows how bad us connections are… Or you do it once and no more. Do you prefer to travel via an European hub when travelling west.

          • Baji Nahid says:

            I’ve connected in Raliegh and it was easy, cleared immigration, chucked the bag at check in where the baggage carousels are, and then went up cleared security and went to the gate. But I understand thats not for anyone and it can be a hassle.

          • Lady London says:

            Raleigh-Durham is nicer than most though.

      • Doug M says:

        Not sure I agree US connections any worse than elsewhere.

        • Andrew says:

          US connections involve clearing immigration, customs, security which can take 5 minutes to 5 hours, and then waiting in a domestic terminal, always a significantly worse experience than any international airport

        • callum says:

          Having to collect your baggage and check in again half way through the journey is definitely an inconvenience to me.

        • marcw says:

          You can have a very nice quick connection in Euope. Why do you think KML is SO succesful with all of their regional UK destinations? Many people travelling to Amsterdam? Clearly not. But AMS is a nice place to connect, efficient, and a LARGE number of worldwide destinations, including many many in the US.

          Connecting from int-dom in the US is an experience you do once. After, you think twice when you have to connect in the US.

        • flyforfun says:

          All my experiences of connections in the US have involved a heart rate raising race off the plane to get even one or two people ahead for immigration. The worse ones involve a change of terminal where there’s little in the way of signage to get you on the way. Having to use the machines to re check in and bag tag is a PITA!!

          Compare that to Sydney. Bag is normally tagged all the way to the destination. Exit immigration, drop bag at transfer desk and board bus to the domestic terminal. I do prefer to fly direct to my destination in Oz but its not always possible.

    • Kip says:

      United haven’t dropped Manchester as far as I can see.

    • Charlieface says:

      As everyone says, no-one is going to connect in the US if they can help it.
      The big questions is why can no UK airline make Manchester work?

      • Baji Nahid says:

        Apart from football what else is there that the north can offer, thats honestly the view of folk in the south and the airlines have the same view.

        • Charlieface says:

          Come here and see. Media and manufacturing are quite major for a start. This is part of the problem: the perception of the south.
          My father told me when he was living in south London anything over the Thames was the North and past Watford was the provinces.

          • Baji Nahid says:

            Thats exactly it charlieface, I grew up in manchester and I know its surrounding areas have a lot to offer! Rip the benefits

  • JoeM says:

    You can redeem them on united flights from dub with an aer lingus code share.

  • Rupert says:

    Qatar airlines and AF KLM connect from Cardiff.

  • Andrew says:

    With BAEC another oddity of flying on a discounted economy ticket and having a gold card is that you don’t earn 100% bonus you earn a 500% bonus. A blue member would earn 25% of miles flown whereas a gold member earns 25% of miles flown plus 100% of miles flown – earning 5 times what a blue member would. This came as a surprise to me when I became gold a few years ago and started earning this big bonuses on economy tickets as I would be expecting a 100% bonus of the earning rate rather than millage, ie 25%+25%.

    • marcw says:

      With BAEC, the bonus is based on distance, not based on the actual fare class earnings.

      • Andrew says:

        The base Avios is based on mileage, but cabin and tier bonuses are not.

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