News in brief:
Get 5,000 Avios with the Aer Lingus credit card
Whilst we don’t write about it much, Aer Lingus has its own Avios-earning credit card.
Our full review of the Aer Lingus Aer Credit Card, issued by Bank of Ireland, is here. It’s not very attractive – a terrible earning rate of 1 Avios per €4 spent and a €125 annual fee when you include the Government Stamp Duty.
On the upside, there are some decent soft benefits:
- 2 free Aer Lingus tickets EVERY YEAR for spending €5,000 on the card (taxes apply)
- 2 Fast Track & Priority Boarding passes every year
- 2 lounge passes
- Worldwide multi-trip travel insurance including winter sports
I’m not going to analyse the value of these soft benefits in detail because our review does it well enough.
For the first time ever, I think, Bank of Ireland is offering a sign-up bonus on this card.
Until 13th February 2022, new cardholders who spend €1,000 by 14th May 2022 will receive a bonus of 5,000 Avios.
When you factor in the lounge passes and the two free short-haul flights, I think the card now becomes reasonable value for the first year. Whilst UK residents may find the earning rate very weak, there isn’t a lot of competition in the Irish market. I’d be reconsidering my options after the first year, however.
You can find out more, and apply, on the Bank of Ireland website here.
New Avios routes coming to Belfast City Airport
Emerald Airlines has confirmed that it is launching flights to the UK mainland from Belfast City Airport.
As we covered on HfP recently, Emerald Airlines is the start-up carrier which is taking over the Aer Lingus Regional routes from the defunct Stobart Air.
Emerald Airlines has already announced the routes which it will launch from Dublin from March 2022. As an Aer Lingus franchise, the aircraft and crew will be branded as Aer Lingus and you can earn and spend Avios on these flights.
Emerald has now announced its first batch of routes from Belfast City Airport. Whilst there is no start date yet (“later this year”), the airline intends to fly to:
- Leeds Bradford
Whilst no deal has yet been agreed, the plan is that these routes will be operated under the Aer Lingus Regional brand and will also codeshare with British Airways.
Flights to London Heathrow and London City Airport from Belfast City will not be part of this agreement. These routes will continue to operated directly by Aer Lingus and British Airways.
You can find out more on the Belfast City Airport website here.
Emirates releases some (overpriced) Arsenal VIP packages for Skywards miles
Emirates has released another batch of Arsenal football tickets for Emirates Skywards members who have miles to redeem. You can also use American Express Membership Rewards points via a transfer.
The Emirates box remains at 60,000 – 65,000 miles per seat. This is a lot less than the ludicrous 100,000+ miles that Emirates tried to get at the end of last season, but still at least 20,000 miles pricier than I think they are worth.
I mean, you can fly in Emirates Business Class to Dubai for 62,500 miles. Over at Arsenal, you can redeem for:
- Brentford on 19th February (60,000 miles)
- Liverpool on 26th February (65,000 miles)
- Leicester City on 12th March (60,000 miles)
The Emirates Box is VERY good. It is the best located box in the stadium and you get good quality drinks and hot food before, during and after the game. Here is a review of a past trip although I have been 7-8 times since. I tended to take the cheapest games, because my son would prefer to see Arsenal hit four past a weak team than watch them draw 0-0 against Manchester United.
The pricing has crept up in recent years and pre-covid I was using 40,000 miles per seat for the last few I have attended. This was still not cheap (80,000 miles for me and my son, which I got by transferring 80,000 American Express Membership Rewards points) but was worth it as a treat once or twice per season.
60,000 miles is too high though. At a notional value of 1p per mile or American Express point, we are talking about giving up £1,200 of free flights to watch a game.
Full details and booking is available on this page of the Emirates website.