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avios.com adds up to £700 of new charges to Aer Lingus redemptions

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Back in early August we published a long article about booking Aer Lingus flights using Avios.

What we showed was that – assuming you didn’t want to use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher which requires booking at ba.com – you would save a substantial amount of money by booking at avios.com.

This is no longer the case, and the gap between BA and partner airline surcharges on Aer Lingus has now become crazy. But we’ll come to that later ….

Booking Aer Lingus flights with Avios

A quick reminder of how to book flights via avios.com

avios.com is the platform where members of Aer Lingus AerClub and Vueling Club go to book redemptions on other IAG airlines.

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

Comparing ba.com vs avios.com pricing for Aer Lingus

Here was the pricing we showed you in August for business class flights using Avios between Dublin and Philadelphia.

Using ba.com:

  • 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

When we swapped over to the avios.com website to book exactly the same flights:

Using avios.com:

  • 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 were huge. The really scary saving was the one you got if booking a one way flight from Philadelphia to Dublin. The £691 taxes and charges bill dropped to £108 if you used the avios.com website.

This loophole has now been closed

The days of making big savings at avios.com seem to be over.

Pricing now matches the pricing you see at ba.com. A fat pile of surcharges have been added.

Here is the same one way Philadelphia to Dublin flight I screenshotted last month, but repriced last night:

The ticket which used to have £108 of taxes and charges now shows £791.

Yes, taxes and charges on this one way flight have risen by almost £700 in six weeks!

You’ll note that, back in early August, the taxes were £691. I actually expected to see it jump from £108 to £691 but, no, someone has decided to throw in an extra £100 of charges on top! The same applies if you book via ba.com.

The good news for UK readers is that charges for trips starting in Ireland have not increased. Dublin to Philadelphia had £419 return of charges last month via ba.com and £241 via avios.com. Both sites now show £419.

£791 …. or £4?

Here’s a little joke to end with. Remember the one way flight above from Philadelphia to Dublin with £791 of taxes and charges?

Here’s the EXACT same Aer Lingus flight booked via the United Airlines website using United Airlines miles:

Taxes and charges? £4 one way.

Where does the extra (£791 – £4) £787 go? Almost entirely into BA’s pocket. Here’s the proof:

To be totally fair, we should note that the Avios ticket only requires 50,000 Avios whilst the United booking requires 88,000 United MileagePlus miles. Not that a different of 38,000 miles justifies a £787 difference in taxes and charges ….

Conclusion

There is no longer any justification for booking Aer Lingus redemptions via avios.com, as the taxes and charges now match those shown at ba.com.

The only ‘good’ news is that anyone using a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher to book an Aer Lingus flight via ba.com will no longer feel they are overpaying on taxes and charges vs avios.com ….

How IAG can, with a straight face, justify the level of taxes and charges on Aer Lingus flights vs what United Airlines charges is another question.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2024)

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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

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

40,000 bonus 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.

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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

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) 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 (87)

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

  • Paul says:

    For as long as people refer to these as Taxes and charges BA will rip you off.
    The tax and airport fee elements of these charges are a tiny fraction of the total as your United example demonstrates. Even from the U.K. BAs rip off fees are 2-3 times the total taxes and airport charges.
    Like much else in the U.K. the Avios scheme is broken and in my view BA abuses their near monopoly of FF schemes and this should be investigated by the competition and marketing authorities. You cannot get an AA miles credit card here, you cannot transfer Amex points to AA and aside from VS I cannot name another FFP that has day to day earning opportunities in the U.K. ( perhaps LH)
    Of course it won’t be and we will continue to be ripped off.
    Pop corn at the ready as I await the pile on from those who defend BA position.

    • CS says:

      Totally agree with your comments. A market investigation is called for as this appears to be a clear abuse of market power in the UK market. No doubt BA will have rehearsed all the arguments with its legal team but a salvo needs to be fired across their bows. The BA loyalty customer is at their mercy. Perhaps buying the best business class ticket for our journey is the only solution and, for me, that does not put BA top of the list.

      • dougzz99 says:

        What is the best business class ticket though. BA is essentially a Transatlantic airline long haul. Virgin, suits some, but limited route network, and when did they ever really compete on price. AA, putting cash in BAs pocket anyway, and pretty much a wash with BA in terms of overall service. UA, nice seat and hard product, appalling food according to many commentators. DL, flies loads of crappy old 767 transatlantic, poor air quality and humidity. Regionally you can connect via AMS or CDG for their candidates, but are they really any better.

    • dougzz99 says:

      Interesting you mention Lufthansa as their position at Frankfurt and Munich is a greater monopoly than BA’s at Heathrow. Virgin offer much greater competition to BA than anyone does to LH/AF/KL.
      I don’t want to pay these fees either, but sometimes people need to take a breathe. Ultimately you work out what the real cost to you is and decide whether it’s worth it for you.
      I rather admire BA’s actions here, they’ve expanded Avios and sell them to Barclays/Amex and I guess others, then when people go to use this faux currency BA want a bag of cash for their fees. Proper having your cake and eating it.

      • Paul says:

        This is not about market dominance at you base airport. This is about the wider competative environment. Nor does it matter that the same dominance exists for others.
        You cannot transfer to AA from
        Amex in the U.K. because BA have a relationship with Amex that stifles competition. It’s this wider competitive environment I would like to see investigated not BAs stranglehold on Heathrow.
        I think it’s telling that since alliances were permitted and BA allowed to swallow competitors such as BMI, BCal, DanAir etc etc the quality of BA service has declined.

        • Rizz says:

          “ You cannot transfer to AA from
          Amex in the U.K. because BA have a relationship with Amex that stifles competition” – it’s not about BA, Amex doesn’t offer transfers to AA in any market.

        • James C says:

          “I think it’s telling that since alliances were permitted and BA allowed to swallow competitors such as BMI, BCal, DanAir etc etc the quality of BA service has declined“

          I think that has a lot more to do with the arrival of the low cost airlines and the overall reduction in ticket prices compared to when Dan Air were flying…

    • Andrew says:

      Whilst I don’t disagree with your sentiment it’s unfair to compare BA to American airlines and you certainly can’t blame BA’s high charges on “Broken Britain”. A far fairer comparison is to Lufthansa, Air France and KLM. BA blows these out of the water when it comes to fees for short haul redemptions and isn’t that far off when it comes to long haul.

      • Rob says:

        Not sure you’ve checked Lufty recently. I just paid 50,000 M&M miles for an Economy Eurowings return to Hamburg (inc covering fees).

        • Andrew says:

          By “BA blows these out of the water” I meant that BA’s fees on short haul redemptions were far, far *better* than other European airlines. 50k M&M miles is a lot more than BA’s peak price of 10500 avios + £35.

        • His Holyness says:

          I wasn’t aware Flex Plus was still available? It never shows up for me.
          I see LHR-HAM ranges from 15k to 35k plus £60 or so.

          • Rob says:

            It doesn’t show on search but when you select a 35k + £60 flight and move to payment it gives you the option. Only booked this last week as miles expiry loomed ….

          • His Holyness says:

            So that’s why you value 15k M&M miles at only £60 :). They’d soon be worthless.

          • Jonathan says:

            It’s better to use the points and get something back even if value isn’t at all good, rather than lose them altogether due to the program’s expiry policy

  • AJA says:

    @Rob Have you asked BA’s or Aer Lingus marketing departments why they’ve done this? Or how they justify doing so?

    I mean they can’t even say it’s levelling up with what you pay on BA’s website as those charges have increased by £100 as well? Which is a 14.4% increase. Given official UK inflation has just been reported to be just under 7% that can’t be blamed just on inflationary pressures alone.

  • ExpatInBerlin says:

    I just checked the pricing of the trip I did LHR-ORK on EI last Saturday – Monday having booked through avios.com to save about £91 compared to booking through ba.com. The price on avios.com is still showing as the same 16,000 Avios plus £92.26 for return flights for two people flying out tomorrow returning on Monday, so maybe flights between the UK and IRE aren’t included in this charges hike?

  • JK says:

    Looks like someone at Aer Lingus read your article and decided to do something about it.

    • Mikeact says:

      +1

      • G says:

        Much like loyaltylobby’s constant spotlight on the “unofficial” benefit of expanding Diamond IHG status by purchasing Ambassador. Loophole now closed by IHG.

        What is it with people on H4P, LL (and FT too) constantly screeching about loopholes when they discover them? Stop ruining it.

        • His Holyness says:

          It’s called content creation. It can’t be easy to come up with 3 posts day in, day out.

        • luckyjim says:

          Anyone wanna buy some 3v cards?

          • Rob says:

            Logically, you don’t know what loopholes we don’t discuss so this is an intriguing view 🙂

            You’ll actually find we don’t cover anything sensitive because our scale is so huge that nothing survives more than a few hours after we cover it.

  • Tony says:

    Nah…thanks. It’s too friggin complicated!

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    Ideal time for Rob to ask the current BA head of customer experience (seems to change monthly like hospital administrators) for a statement of fact as to why BA act in a Lyin’ Air manner when it comes to true ticket costs. Just add your BA fees and charges into the ticket price and leave the rest of the govt taxes and UK airport taxes as taxes. Be transparent – legally they have to be………. It would also bring some value back to mileage redemptions!

  • Pogonation says:

    This explains it! I tried to book YYZ-LHR one way on Tuesday and taxes and fees were £530 on both BA and avios. I had to laugh as it is just ridiculous!

    • Lev441 says:

      Yep same – thought it was the classic BA misquoting taxes and charges on the initial page before getting to the checkout.. but nope!

  • Lev441 says:

    And remember.. Aer Lingus flights used to be even cheaper when booking via executive club on the phone.

    My first Aer Lingus flight back in 2019 Dublin – Toronto in business had £31.40 in taxes/fees. Return journey was slightly more at around £60

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

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