As there are four separate Avios loyalty 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.
With United Airlines soon to be the biggest airline between Scotland and the US as we covered this week – and with 22 daily US flights timetabled from Heathrow for Summer 2022 – I thought it was worth taking a look at how this works.
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 IAG bought Aer Lingus, closed the Gold Circle scheme, launched AerClub and adopted Avios. I was wrong.
United Airlines remains an Avios earning partner
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):
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 British Airways Executive Club 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 earn more Avios (but no tier points) by flying on United and earning Avios in AerClub.
You cannot use a British Airways Executive Club number. You need to join AerClub and move the Avios across to BA via ‘Combine My Avios’.
Where will United fly in 2022?
United is slowly building back its London Heathrow schedule. From late Spring 2022 it will be flying:
- one daily flight to Boston
- two daily flights to Denver
- seven daily flights to Newark
- three daily flights to San Francisco
- one daily flight to Los Angeles
- three daily flights to Washington DC
- three daily flights to Chicago
- two daily flights to Houston
These are, of course, routes where British Airways and its partner American Airlines operate too. If United is substantially cheaper, however, it is an option if you still want Avios and are willing to sacrifice tier points.
Daily services from Edinburgh to New York will resume in March with seasonal flights to Chicago and Washington DC resuming in May.
PS. It is no longer possible to redeem Aer Lingus miles for United flights. This would have been very interesting indeed.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2022)
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 with attractive sign-up bonuses.
There are special sign-up bonuses on both of the BA American Express cards until 28th February 2022. The bonus on the free card is doubled to 10,000 Avios and the bonus on the Premium Plus card is increased from 25,000 Avios to a huge 40,000 Avios.
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
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 30,000 Avios.
30,000 Avios is a special offer which runs to 4th February 2022.
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 45,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
45,000 Avios is a special offer which runs to 28th February 2022.
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.)