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NEW: Use Avios to FULLY pay for Aer Lingus flights – no cash required

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Aer Lingus has launched a major change to its ‘Part Pay With Avios’ model. It is possible that British Airways will follow down the same route at some point.

Effective immediately, you can pay for 100% of your Aer Lingus cash flight ticket using Avios. This includes taxes and charges.

Free really does mean free.

Unfortuately, it also means ‘terrible value’.

Aer Lingus Part Pay With Avios

How did ‘Part Pay With Avios’ work in the past?

Until this week, Aer Lingus had a similar ‘Part Pay With Avios’ set-up to the one used by British Airways.

After you had selected your cash flight, you would be offered a couple of options for reducing the cost.

For example, last time I checked a typical flight from Dublin to Frankfurt, I was offered:

  • €62 off for 10,175 Avios (0.60c per Avios)
  • €125 off for 21,925 Avios (0.57c per Avios)

You could not pay for the entire flight with Avios. You were restricted to the options offered to you, and they would never cover the entire base fare, yet alone the taxes and charges element. You always needed to spend some money.

Frankly, I always found this a bit of a joke. Either:

  • Aer Lingus is happy with people using Avios to part pay for flights, in which case you should be allowed to pay the full amount, or
  • Aer Lingus is not happy with people using Avios to part pay for flights, in which case they should scrap it entirely

The airline has now decided to go with the first option above!

How does ‘Part Pay With Avios’ work now?

Vueling, IAG’s low cost carrier based in Barcelona, has allowed you to pay for 100% of the cost of your flight in Avios for some years. It is odd that it has taken Aer Lingus so long to catch up.

‘Part Pay With Avios’ bookings need to be made at aerlingus.com.

Note that, at present, this doesn’t work for the new Manchester to USA flights because they are legally operated by a different entity, Aer Lingus UK. They will even have their own airline code, EG.

You make your booking as usual. Seat selection and luggage fees are included in the total which can be paid with Avios.

On the final payment screen you now see something like this:

Aer Lingus Part Pay With Avios

The total of my basket is £125.96. I can settle 100% of this amount, leaving me with absolutely nothing to pay, if I redeem 26,225 Avios.

This works out at a shockingly bad 0.48p per Avios.

You get the same result if you book a flight out of Dublin priced in Euro. In a test, I was offered €113.98 or 20,100 Avios. This is also 0.48p per Avios.

What is the small print?

Here is the small print on using ‘Part Pay With Avios’:

Pay with Avios cannot be used to:

(i) pay for third party ancillaries, for example, DAA Fast Track, DAA Car Parking,

(ii) pay for the addition of other passengers to an existing booking,

(iii) pay for bookings which contain a codeshare segment,

(iv) pay for bookings through one of our customer contact centres,

(v) discount the purchase price of flights or ancillaries in existing bookings, or

(vi) discount any fees related to making changes to an existing booking or discount any booking for 7 or more people (i.e. the maximum number of passengers in one booking that can be paid for using Pay with Avios is six people).

Can you still do ‘standard’ redemptions?

Yes.

Confusingly, standard redemption flights – priced off the standard Aer Lingus reward chart – are still bookable.

You go to avios.com and log-in. You can select your redemption flights as usual if there is availability, paying taxes and charges.

Isn’t this making me do a lot of work?

Yes.

Before you book an Aer Lingus ticket with Avios you now need to visit two websites and compare two pricing options:

  • aerlingus.com to see what it would cost using ‘Part Pay With Avios’
  • avios.com to see what it would cost using the standard redemption chart, plus taxes and charges
Nectar Avios light

And the curse of Nectar strikes again …..

It’s ironic that Aer Lingus has launched this shortly after the launch of the Avios / Nectar partnership.

You get 0.8p per Avios if you convert them into Nectar points at the rate of 1 to 1.6. These can be spent as credit at Sainsbury’s, Argos, eBay.co.uk etc.

If you live in the UK, you would be crazy to redeem for Aer Lingus flights via ‘Part Pay With Avios’ to get 0.48p per Avios. Why wouldn’t you redeem via Nectar and get 0.8p?

In my example above, for example, I am using 26,225 Avios to buy a ticket from London to Dublin costing £125.96.

Why would I do this, when I could convert 26,225 Avios into £209.80 of Nectar points? I could buy the flight ticket for cash and be £83.84 better off.

I accept that, if you live in Ireland with no access to Nectar, it is a different discussion. 0.48p per Avios is still very poor, however.

Conclusion

It never does any harm to give people more redemption options, and Aer Lingus can now claim in its marketing that your flight can be ‘free’. This doesn’t mean it’s a good way to use your points.

You can find our more on the AerClub website here, where you will also find a video on how ‘Part Pay With Avios’ works.


British Airways BA Amex American Express

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

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios 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 10th 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 (32)

  • RussellH says:

    I would think that plenty of people who do not study points schemes like readers here will just see “Free Flights” and think “Great”.
    To them, an avio is worth whatever it takes to get a genuinely free flight. Particularly if you do not have a vast number of avios.

    Exactly the same logic worked for us when we took completely free flights MAN-DRS in 2017 on M+M miles. No way were we ever going to get a lot of miles, but we could get completely free flights for (I think) 32 000 M+M miles each.
    Things might have been different if all the free (ie paid for by German tourist authorties) flights I used to get to Germany gave me any miles, but they were always in N class and no miles.

    • lumma says:

      Exactly. I was sitting on around 60k virgin miles for ages and often considered cashing them out for a free economy flight to the USA (in the end I used 90k for ANA business).

      The usefulness of smaller amounts of Avios and the ability to cash out to Nectar changes it a bit here however.

  • ADS says:

    Any idea why this isn’t offered through Avios.com ?

    I just had a look at a LHR-DUB flight and it’s offering me

    4,000 + £35
    3,676 + £40
    3,136 + £45
    2,055 + £55
    1,600 + £70
    1,276 + £80

    This compares with the better value BA flight of 4,750 + £20.50 RFS (an extra £3 compared to BA.com)

  • Rob says:

    Being avios rich, and only collecting Avios for flights, this is great! I’m happy to get 0.48p per avios for a genuinely free flight!

    • cinereus says:

      But why don’t you do what Rob suggests and cash out at 0.8p on ebay and then used the cash saved for a equally free flight?

      • Chris Heyes says:

        cinereus But if your Avios rich most don’t bother checking what a few bob extra you can get
        Example never bought from ebay don’t even look
        Only ever bought 1 thing from Argos years ago don’t even look
        Sainsburys only recently but not impressed
        Now i do look at the value for Avios plus taxes instead of free as per Robs recommended value
        But not interested in converting Avios into Nectar more interested in Avios to First/Business seats and never having to Travel economy even on short European trips
        But each to his own

  • James says:

    OT: anyone know exact how UK gov is calculating the 10 days in which, if you’re in an amber or red country, you have to quarantine upon arrival in the UK? If I’m a few hours short should I just wait it out in the transfer zone at Heathrow?

    • bafan says:

      Bear in mind when you arrive is Day 0. Day 1 is your first full day in England.

      • James says:

        That’s the quarantine after you arrive from an amber/red country. Load of information on that. I can’t find information about the travelling from a red country, to a green country, to the UK.

  • Alex Sm says:

    I remember that LH also had an option to pay taxes with miles and the cost was simply 2x of normal fare redemption. This worked well in some cases and poorly in others. Not sure if they still have this option…

  • Sam says:

    A couple of airlines have long been using this dual model: Etihad and some Chinese airlines such as Hainan. Not bad as to offer a different option given the reward inventory is always limited.

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