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.
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 (September 2023)
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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
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.
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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.