NEW: Book Aer Lingus flights with Avios on ba.com – but there’s a £50 surcharge
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To give it credit, the Avios IT infrastructure on ba.com isn’t bad. Anyone who has experience of booking awards – especially on partner airlines – via other frequent flyer schemes will know that what BA offers (online booking for all oneworld partners) is virtually unheard of.
There was always one big hole, however.
Yes, you could book Royal Air Maroc redemptions on ba.com. You couldn’t, however, book Aer Lingus, even though it is a sister airline.
Those days are now gone.
You can now book Aer Lingus redemptions online at ba.com. I’m not sure when this went live, but no-one had flagged it to me before yesterday.
This includes the flights from Manchester to New York, Orlando and Barbados operated by Aer Lingus UK.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that you are being ripped off on taxes and charges for the privilege.
What are charges like when booking Aer Lingus on ba.com?
Here is Manchester to Dublin:
Whilst you can’t see the pricing in the screenshot, a return off-peak flight is 8,000 Avios plus £98.77 in Economy.
This clearly isn’t a bargain compared to a cash ticket, but it does include a 20kg checked suitcase. I’m not sure about seat allocation.
Here is Dublin to Philadelphia:
A return off-peak flight in Business Class costs 100,000 Avios plus £276. This is around £500 cheaper than booking a British Airways flight from London, although you need to make your own way to Dublin.
(You don’t want to have London – Dublin – USA on the same ticket, because it would trigger the £170 Air Passenger Duty charge.)
Here is Manchester to Orlando, direct:
I struggled to find Business Class seats from Manchester on any of the three direct routes (New York, Orlando, Barbados). An off-peak Economy redemption from Manchester to Orlando is 32,500 Avios plus £325.
But here’s the catch ….
You will pay more in taxes and charges if you book these flights at ba.com vs avios.com.
If you’ve never been to avios.com, it is the website used by Aer Lingus AerClub and Vueling Club members to book Avios redemptions. It doesn’t show oneworld partner redemptions – only airlines inside the IAG family.
You can use avios.com to book flight redemptions even if all of your Avios currently sit in a British Airways account.
This is a bit more of a faff, of course:
- you would need to open an Aer Lingus AerClub account at aerlingus.com
- you would need to log in at avios.com using these details and use ‘Combine My Avios’ to move your Avios from British Airways Executive Club to avios.com (this is free and instant)
- you can then make the booking via avios.com and pay less in taxes and charges
I’d flag one thing: historically, availability has been different between the BA telephone booking service and avios.com. I don’t know if this is still the case now that BA lets you book online. Check both sites because it might be that the flight you see over at BA is not available at avios.com, meaning that you have to pay the extra.
Dublin to Philadelphia – save £49
For example, here is the identical Dublin to Philadelphia flight that I looked at above, when booked on avios.com:
As you can see, you are paying £49 less (£227 vs £276) per person than booking it on ba.com.
Manchester to Dublin – save £54 (over 50%!)
What is even more shocking is that the same £50 difference applies to short-haul redemptions.
Here’s Manchester to Dublin, return, booked at avios.com:
Yes, avios.com only wants £45 of surcharges, whilst ba.com wants £99.
Manchester to Orlando – save £16
The saving is smaller on an Economy redemption, but there is still a saving.
The Manchester to Orlando flight has £325 of taxes and charges when booked at ba.com but only £309 when booked on avios.com:
It is a major improvement to finally see Aer Lingus flights available for booking on ba.com.
It is just a shame, and slightly embarrassing, that British Airways has decided to add additional surcharges (which it pockets) when you book, compared to what you will pay if you book on avios.com.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 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:
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review
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 £12,000 Read our full review
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
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
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! 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
Get a 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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
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 bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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.