Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How to use Avios to FULLY pay for Aer Lingus flights – no cash required

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Aer Lingus has a totally different ‘Part Pay With Avios’ model to British Airways or Iberia. It is actually a copy of the Virgin Atlantic part payment model.

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

Free really does mean free.

There are two bits of good news since we last looked at this:

  • the ‘pence per Avios’ rate has improved by 20%, although it still isn’t amazing
  • you can now book the Manchester to New York / Orlando / Barbados flights

How does ‘Part Pay With Avios’ work?

Vueling, IAG’s low cost carrier based in Barcelona, had long allowed you to pay for 100% of the cost of your flight in Avios for some years. It wasn’t a huge surprise when Aer Lingus followed suit a couple of years ago.

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

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 will see something like this:

The total of my basket is £112.03. I can settle 100% of this amount, leaving me with absolutely nothing to pay, if I redeem 19,725 Avios.

This works out at a weak 0.57p per Avios. Interestingly, the rate is better if you only use a smaller amount – at the bottom end, getting £28 off by using 4,400 Avios means 0.64p per Avios.

You get a similar result if you book a flight out of Dublin priced in Euro. In a test, I was offered €93.60 (£82.46) or 13,825 Avios. This is 0.59p per Avios. The lowest option was €23 for 3,025 Avios, so 0.67p.

The exchange rate has improved

Interestingly, Aer Lingus has quietly improved the value you get via ‘Part Pay With Avios’.

Last time we looked at this, you were getting a pathetic 0.48p per Avios. Whilst 0.57p to 0.59p isn’t great, it is 20% better than you could get two years ago and makes ‘Part Pay With Avios’ more competitive.

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).

Aer Lingus Part Pay With Avios

How do I get my Avios across to Aer Lingus?

You need to open an Aer Lingus AerClub account at aerlingus.com.

(If you have an existing Vueling Club account, you can also use this.)

Go to the avios.com website and use ‘Combine My Avios’ to pull your Avios from British Airways Executive Club into avios.com, giving either your Aer Lingus AerClub or Vueling Club account number which will start 3081xxxxxxxxxx.

You can then go to the Aer Lingus website and log in using either your AerClub or Vueling Club details. Your Avios balance will be available to spend on a ‘Part Pay With Avios’ booking.

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 either ba.com (using Avios sitting in British Airways Executive Club) or avios.com (using Avios sitting in avios.com) and log-in. You can select your redemption flights as usual if there is availability, paying taxes and charges.

Confusingly you will often see different availability and/or different taxes across ba.com and avios.com for Aer Lingus flights.

To book via avios.com you need to use ‘Combine My Avios’ as described above.

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 three websites and compare three pricing options:

  • aerlingus.com to see what it would cost using ‘Part Pay With Avios’
  • avios.com and ba.com to see what it would cost using the standard redemption charts, plus taxes and charges (you need to check both because availability and taxes can vary between the two)
Nectar Avios light

And the curse of Nectar strikes again ….

Even after the recent Nectar devaluation, it still makes a mockery of using your Avios to pay for an Aer Lingus cash ticket.

You now get 0.66p (was 0.8p) per Avios if you convert them into Nectar points at the rate of 300 Avios = 400 Nectar, given that a Nectar point is worth 0.5p. These can be spent as credit at Sainsbury’s, Argos, eBay.co.uk etc.

If you live in the UK, you would be losing money to redeem for Aer Lingus flights via ‘Part Pay With Avios’ to get 0.57p to 0.59p per Avios. As long as it isn’t any extra hassle, why wouldn’t you redeem for groceries or Argos or eBay products via Nectar and get 0.66p?

In my example above, for example, I am using 19,725 Avios to buy a ticket from London to Dublin costing £112.03.

Alternatively, I could convert 19,725 Avios into £131.46 of Nectar points. I could buy the flight ticket for cash, earn a few Avios back and be £19.43 better off.

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, although it has definitely improved in the last two years.

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


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 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 card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) 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.

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

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 30,000 points bonus, worth 30,000 Avios, until 4th February 2023 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.

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 sign-up 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.

Comments (14)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Jonathan says:

    BA is prime example of when you use part pay with Avios, the more you use, the less valuable an Avios point is, since I think the top (regular) return is 1p per Avios point, and I think the worst is 0.45p per Avios point, the amount decreases by set amounts each time you use more Avios points, towards the cap

  • Peter says:

    Do you still get Avios and tier points if you 100% pay an Aer Lingus cash flight with Avios? Presumably yes.

    • QFFlyer says:

      I would think so, pretty sure that’s how it worked with BA too – you’re buying a cash fare using a different currency, so the cash fare rules (including no free canx etc.) apply. Qantas is similar, Points Plus Pay fares are regular, points and status earning, but you could end up spending a million QFF points on a flight.

    • SH says:

      Only fair to include this in the calculation really. Especially if you get bonuses by virtue of status.

  • Byron Lewis says:

    I was offered this option with Emirates on my next flight – I bought the flight with miles and then following screen offered the option to pay for the taxes with my remaining miles

  • Lee says:

    Has anyone seen trans-Atlantic reward seat availability on Aer Lingus? If yes, has anyone seen trans-Atlantic point prices on Aer Lingus? If yes, does anyone intend to redeem points at those levels? If yes, see a doctor.

    • Rob says:

      What do you mean? Take Dublin to Hartford, one I picked at random because I knew it would be easy to find seats.

      Business return is 100,000 + £247 (booked at avios.com) or £299 (booked at ba.com). A typical BA redemption for the same distance would be 160,000 Avios (off peak) + £350 or 100,000 Avios + £850. Looks great value to me, especially as you use a 241 now too.

      • Lee says:

        Try Dublin to Hartford business class one-way in December. Let me know if you find anyone because I could not. But, if I did, then take a bus to New York?

  • joe Jordan says:

    I take it if you pay full with avios, then if you cancel, you get everything back, there is no cash fee payable

    • Rob says:

      No. You’re booking a non-refundable cash ticket and so you lose everything. If you booked a standard Avios redemption via avios.com or ba.com then it would be cancellable, but you’d need to find availability.

  • rob keane says:

    That’s a very important detail, and one that I had not considered, although this is entirely paid with avios, it is not a redemption ticket in terms of rules.

    • polly says:

      Yes, agree. That was not clear before your comment. It would worry us, as that’s the beauty of RFS, at least you get your avios back and maybe lose a small fee. Bit naughty, that policy.

  • Emily says:

    Would any of the experts here know if I can make a multi city Aer Lingus booking by phoning Avios? I’m planning a EWR>DUB then AMS>EWR trip as I plan on doing the Ireland to Amsterdam portion by departing from Belfast.
    I looked at booking two one ways, and the taxes were the same as booking return so I’d like to book multi-city. I know I can phone BA but the taxes there are higher. Would anyone know before I sit on hold forever? Thanks!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.