How to use Avios to FULLY pay for Aer Lingus flights – no cash required
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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).
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?
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?
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)
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.
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.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (April 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
25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.