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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.

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

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.

  • Will says:

    lifted from Avios.com – use your avios to get money off Cityjet, ASL booked directly through aerlingus.com

    years out of date

  • Niall says:

    I tried to book LHR to Dublin on Avios.com this morning (as I have done 50+ times in the last year) and there are no longer any Aer Lingus flights whatsoever available after the end of September – only BA at hugely increased cost. I called Avios and they couldnt / wouldnt give a reason why there is no longer Aer Lingus availability. This is a very unwelcome development !

  • David Cohen says:

    Looks like there’s also been a no-notice devaluation of JL and CX awards last night too. I wonder what else AGL devalued that we’re yet to find out?

    • Rob says:

      Some Euro short hauls seem to have moved up on some dates, but it’s not consistent (yet?).

    • His Holyness says:

      JL domestic now a minimum of 21,000 Avios return.
      A British Original.

  • rob keane says:

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

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

    Definitely no cause and effect going no there.

    • flyforfun says:

      You find it, they fix it!

      Question is, would you pay to be part of a secret forum that got the good tips? And then how would you know you didn’t have an airline spy in the group, or how do you stop someone publicising it on travel forums?

      • His Holyness says:

        Such subscription WhatsApp’s Groups exist. I used to pay for access to one. One of the best was one where they would scrape fares from the GDS which are uploaded and disseminate them. This is how some fares, such as say the CMN fare was actually around for about 6 months before it was on the blogs.

  • John says:

    When Nectar/avios devalued I started regarding my avios as being worth 0.66p, which sounds about right for flights too.

  • Chris W says:

    We have redeemed more than one million Avios for flights over the past decade and not a single one has ever gone to Aer Lingus.

    Does anyone bother?

  • TreborMint says:

    Something very strange going on with EI reward flight bookings on avios.com. We regularly book LHR-ORK return but there is absolutely no availability on any flight from 1st Oct until 11th Nov, which based on experience I most seriously doubt. I thought this must be a glitch, like the flights not being loaded in correctly to their system, so I checked DUB-LHR and it’s like Niall reports, no EI reward flights until 11th Nov but BA flights are showing. Didn’t have chance to check other EI routes during this period but I bet it is the same. Am sure something in their IT is broken.

    Tried speaking to Aer Lingus and Avios on the phone but got nowhere. Would love to know if others apart from Niall and I are experiencing the same nonsense lack of availability and who to escalate this to!

    • Niall says:

      Hi – just following up on this to see if you were able to throw any light on what is going on? So far I have drawn a blank with AerClub & Avios. N

  • Kevin says:

    This reminds me of that scene in The Office where David Brent tells his staff that “there’s good news and bad news”. “The bad news is, this moneysaving loophole has been closed. The good news is those wishing to use a 2-4-1 won’t feel aggrieved at having to pay more taxes than those of us who aren’t using a 2-4-1”. That’s not good news. There is no good news. There’s just bad news and irrelevant news!

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

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