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Aer Lingus gets US approval to join the BA / AA / Iberia / Finnair transatlantic joint venture

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The US Department of Transport has now given its final approval to the Aer Lingus application to join the British Airways and American Airlines transatlantic joint venture. Iberia and Finnair are also part of the agreement.

Approval by the European Commission is expected to follow shortly but is not expected to create any issues.

This means that all five airlines will be able to co-ordinate scheduling and pricing on flights between Europe and the US.

Aer Lingus A321LR

In such a joint venture, all revenues are pooled and re-distributed based on an internally agreed formula. When you buy a flight to New York on British Airways, part of your fare goes to Iberia, American Airlines, Finnair and now Aer Lingus.

According to the US DOT, Aer Lingus currently has a 44% market share of flights between Ireland and the US. The joint venture will now have a 60% share as the American Airlines services to Ireland will be included.

There is, however, strong competition (given the size of the domestic Irish market) from other carriers. This is expected to increase now that the new generation of single aisle aircraft have the range to fly from Ireland to the US East Coast.

This is good news for those of us in the UK. As part of the joint venture, transatlantic Aer Lingus flights will now give full Avios and tier points even if other Aer Lingus flights do not. Aer Lingus flights previously did not earn British Airways Executive Club tier points so this is a big improvement.

This will be particularly good news for readers in the Manchester area, with direct Aer Lingus services to New York, Boston and Orlando due to start next Summer.

You need to assume that the Aer Lingus partnership with United is now on the way out. This will remove one of quirks of the Avios programme – you were able to earn Avios by flying to the USA with Star Alliance member United, as long as you credited them to Aer Lingus AerClub.

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 (42)

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

  • Anna says:

    Does anyone know without having to look it up, how many avios it will be for MAN-NYC/BOS on Aer Lingus? I’m hoping that off peak it might be doable even without being able to use a 2 4 1!

  • Nick_C says:

    It’s 10 years since I flew Aer Lingus in economy, but I found the service friendly, the seats comfortable, and the free food and drink perfectly acceptable for an economy product.

    Aer Lingus offer cheap one way tickets to the US, and pre clearance in Dublin or Shannon is excellent. I would rather clear the border in Ireland than at JFK.

    Reputation? They’ve been flying the Atlantic for 60 years. My dad used them regularly in the 60s and 70s and spoke highly of them. They have better customer ratings than BA on SkyTrax.

    Like most of the legacy airlines, their reputation has been devalued by following the LCC model on short routes, but to the best of my knowledge they always remained a full service airline on the long haul routes. And if you want something better than an economy meal, you get pre order a business class type meal for €27

    I hope Aer Lingus do well in their expansion from Manchester. People living in the north deserve more options.

    For me, the most exciting thing about EI being in the JV is that I may be able to fly outward to JFK via Ireland and pre clear the border, returning on BA on the daytime flight.

  • Nick_C says:

    It is being reported elsewhere that in addition to the two new A321s, Aer Lingus will be transferring two of its A330s to Aer Lingus UK.

  • Tiff says:

    Accor also offering 15% extra value on gift cards, plus bonus points, valid for UK hotels only.

    • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

      Good spot – I picked up on this offer this week too – got a £290 voucher for £250 plus a 1,500 point bonus (worth another €30) so I reckon overall around a 23/24% discount.
      The Sofitels at Gatwick and LHR are decent and being from Guernsey we often have to overnight in London as part of travel connection plans. The only issue with this is that the vouchers must be used within 12 months of purchase and 2021 outlook is still pretty dodgy …

      • Rich says:

        I would be shocked couldn’t go anywhere all year. I’m predicting it may be similar to last summer again, but who knows?

        • Paul says:

          Hopefully vaccine certificates don’t become the norm as based on the Covid vaccine calculator online for me – 48 yr old male with no existing conditions- I’m going nowhere until August 2021. 😷🙁

          • Nick_C says:

            I’m hoping something like vaccination certificates do become the norm, but the logistics would be interesting. The NHS are not providing them anyway. Presumably, a vulnerable person who gets a complete NHS vaccination should not then be vaccinated a second time. And people needing a vaccination purely to travel abroad should be paying for it privately. But then while supplies are limited, they could be robbing a vulnerable person of an opportunity to get vaccinated in order to get back to a normal life.

            Perhaps certificates showing antibodies and a negative covid test might be the way forward. People who have recovered from Covid may not need to be vaccinated.

          • marcw says:

            They won’t do it. It’s a global virus – it can live everywhere. Hence, all countries will vaccinate their citizens. Once an important % of their vulnerable population has been vaccinated, they will slowly open their borders (if they haven’t yet).
            Vaccine certificates won’t be available.

          • Jack says:

            I’m 26 but with two pre-existing conditions, it has me between February 2021 – March 2021, just in time for summer ;).

  • Rhodesgolfer says:

    Dearest HFP members,
    Would you recommend buying BA flight now (in the Sale) or do you think there shall be a better deal on Boxing Day?
    I would value your opinions.

    • NoItall says:

      I would NEVER recommend buying BA.

      This “sale” is -as usual- a con.

      Look elsewhere

  • Andrew says:

    So, with the potential end of United credits to Aer Lingus, am I better off crediting miles to United, Air Canada or somewhere else?

    It’s probably just one transatlantic United flight a year I do on Star Alliance, with one planned Air Canada trip for 2022.

  • Jack says:

    Did I miss BA offering COVID test discounts?!

    Good to know anyway.

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

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