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Aer Lingus redemptions are still far cheaper when booked at (but no 2-4-1’s)

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It’s been a while since we talked about booking Aer Lingus flight redemptions, but a big release of business class reward seats between Dublin and Philadelphia this week (hat-tip to US site Frequent Miler) reminded me to remind you of how you can pay too much.

If you were thinking of visiting Philadelphia next spring, there are two business class seats per flight available virtually every day between January and March on Aer Lingus from Dublin.

I’m not here to recommend Philadelphia in January or not – I’m guessing it could be chilly – but late March / potentially April if the seats are there should be better. I simply want to use it as an example.

Aer Lingus Avios to Philadelphia

If you were planning on booking Aer Lingus in business class, here is my review of Aer Lingus A321LR business class. Here is Rhys reviewing one of the A330 Aer Lingus business class routes from Manchester.

There are two ways of booking Aer Lingus redemption flights

Aer Lingus flights are now bookable on so this is where you would logically decide to start.

If you want to use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher on Aer Lingus (which you now can, plus Iberia), you MUST book on

You’ll get a bad deal, but you’ve got no choice!

This isn’t where Aer Lingus frequent flyers book their redemptions though. They use the website, which is also used by Vueling Club members.

You can’t just go to and log in with your British Airways Executive Club account details. You need to open an Aer Lingus Aer Club or Vueling Club account (free, on their respective websites) and then use ‘Combine My Avios’ on to move your points across from British Airways Executive Club.

Moving Avios is free, instant and can be reversed if needed.

A full HfP article on using ‘Combine My Avios’ is here.

Booking Aer Lingus flights with Avios

Look at how rips you off when booking Aer Lingus flights

I did dummy bookings for business class flights using Avios between Dublin and Philadelphia. By starting in Dublin and not London you can avoid long haul UK Air Passenger Duty, albeit that you need to buy a ticket to Dublin.


  • Dublin to Philadelphia, return in Business: 100,000 Avios + £419
  • Dublin to Philadelphia, one way in Business: 50,000 Avios + £221
  • Philadelphia to Dublin, one way in Business: 50,000 Avios + £691, screenshot below
Booking Aer Lingus flights with Avios

If we swap over to the website to book exactly the same flights:


  • Dublin to Philadelphia, return in Business: 100,000 Avios + £241 (save £178)
  • Dublin to Philadelphia, one way in Business: 50,000 Avios + £132 (save £89)
  • Philadelphia to Dublin, one way in Business: 50,000 Avios + £108 (screenshot below, save £583!)

The savings in taxes and charges are huge. A couple flying from Dublin to Philadelphia and back in business class would save £356 in charges by booking at

The really scary saving is the one you get if booking a one way flight from Philadelphia to Dublin. The £691 taxes and charges bill drops to £108 if you use the website.

Even is a bit of a swizz though ….

United Airlines is, intriguingly, an Aer Lingus partner. This is despite the fact that United Airlines is in Star Alliance and Aer Lingus, whilst not in an alliance, has a parent aligned with oneworld.

Let’s look at what it would cost to book using United Airlines miles. Here is a screenshot showing Philadelphia to Dublin, one way, in Business:

Aer Lingus redemption via United miles

The same flight which costs 50,000 Avios + £691 via, and 50,000 Avios + £108 via, costs just 88,000 United MileagePlus miles + $5. is still pocketing over £100 of random charges.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

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.

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 a huge range of valuable 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.

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 an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 (39)

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

  • Kevin says: is the worst website in the history of the internet. Ever! Has anyone got any tips for easier use? Different browser or something?

    The EI options for DUB-USA are a real benefit for us Brits living in Northern Ireland. Remember also that an Amex BAPP is not available in RoI but IS in NI so no need for a positioning flight to DUB. Using a 2-4-1, lower taxes and APD, onward connections, United and Jet Blue links and the Pre-clearance facility at DUB. Although this is less important if one has Global Entry, which strangely enough can’t be done with an Irish Passport.

    Can someone explain to me how and why it is 50,000 Avios + £691 via, and 50,000 Avios + £108 via I get United Airlines charging 88,000 points + $5 as I assume the extra points offsets the T&C. Thanks.

    • Rob says:

      Remember that the surcharge is pocketed by the ticketing airline. BA sees it as an easy way of making roughly £650 of risk free profit off gullible bookers. The website is, I think, run by IAG Loyalty which has a different attitude to price gauging …

      • Pj92 says:

        Interesting you mention ticketing airline over the difference in price. Don’t know if you have booked on but the ticket numbers you get are BA ticket numbers even for Aer Lingus bookings. I hadn’t realised until I had an issue with a ticket I booked, couldn’t get through to and tried Aer Lingus directly and they can’t access the ticket as they start with 125.

    • ADS says:

      yeah is a challenge – i regularly have to log out and log back in again to perform a new reward flight search

      Amex used to never work for payments – but it finally worked for me a few weeks ago. But if your payment won’t go through, it’s worth trying a non Amex card

    • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

      “Global Entry, which strangely enough can’t be done with an Irish Passport”

      It is a reciprocal programme. You have to be willing to give US passport holders something equivalent in return to get Global Entry privileges. But in Ireland, passport e-gates are limited to EEA passport holders (possibly UK too) whereas US arrivals have to queue for a manned booth. So long as that continues, no Global Entry for Irish passport holders.

      • ADS says:

        last week arriving into Dublin airport a staff member was pleading with people to use the manned immigration desks, as everybody wanted to use the e-gates !

        i guess they need more e-gates before they can open it up to americans

  • Ian says:

    I regularly book MAN-DUB through for 4,500 Avios and around £11 taxes. You get a check-in bag and a carry-on bag for that as well. The only annoying thing is that you can’t then reserve a seat through Aer Lingus ‘manage my booking’, you have to call them….though last time I did that they gave me the reserved seat for free, even though it says you have to pay for it on the Aer Lingus website!

    • Anna says:

      Thanks for posting this, I think I will have a look, haven’t used since they closed the accounts (and I still don’t really understand how they did that but are still operating 🤷‍♀️). Planning a trip ex DUB at some point but luggage would be an issue if using an LCC to position as we do not travel light!

    • PGR says:

      I’m seeing 4000 Avios and £40.37 in taxes for MAN-DUB on – what am I doing wrong?

  • teaboy says:

    👀 Three hat-tips in 48 hours!
    Crazy times…

  • Kathryn says:

    I got into a right pickle when I tried to open an Aer Club account using the same email address I had on my original account. If you can try and use a different email to avoid a half hour phone call to their support. If you *do* need to call them, call the Ireland phone number. UK one just tells you is closed and to call BA 🙈🙈

  • John says:

    Interestingly, EI redemptions booked on flying EI metal are ticketed as 125- BA sequence. This turns out to be a right PITA as 125- tickets cannot be managed on the EI website. Your Avios baggage allowance (which exceeds EI’s own allowance) will not be visible on the reservation (but is visible to checkin staff) and you cannot make seat selection on EI website or app. The odd encoding of baggage prevents the use of self-checkin or bag drop. If flying business ex DUB (or with EI status) you can use sometimes use the priority area — if staffed. Added to the complexity of using the website (short timeouts, failed payments, etc) redeeming Avios on EI is a PITA.

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

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