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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:

    I’m probably way off here but could this have anything to do with the TATL JVCO EI are joining with BA et al

    Other than a press release or two i don’t think EI are integrated yet

    EI are also updating some of their fare types beginning 1 Oct

    • Rob says:

      Could be. I see the odd comment again from staff about EI joining the JV so perhaps it finally happens.

      • Will says:

        Aer Lingus have sent out an email this afternoon,
        aer club will be taken offline for a period of time to allow next week for some improvements to be implemented

        • Mikeact says:

          We wanted to let you know that we plan to make some technical improvements to AerClub, between 8pm on 26th of September 2023 and approximately midday on 27th of September 2023. While those upgrades are underway, it will impact some of the functionality on your account. During this time you will be able to do the following without logging in:

          make a booking on aerlingus.com

          manage your booking

          check-in

          collect Avios and Tier Credits

          During this time you will not be able to:

          access your AerClub account

          make a Reward Flight booking

          amend a Reward Flight booking during that time

          use Pay with Avios to discount your flight

          For your convenience, we’d recommend that if you plan to make a reward booking using Avios or make any updates to an existing Aer Lingus reward booking, that you do so before this time.

          Thank you for your patience and understanding whilst we make these improvements.

        • Ironside says:

          At least Aer Club is famous for its robust IT and should have absolutely no problems coming back online, that’s the main thing…

    • rob keane says:

      is that the same JV that AA are part of ? DUB-PHLredemption in biz on AA direct 67K AA + £33

  • Bernard says:

    Time to use your remaining avios and move on.
    Usual IAG greed in evidence here. All focused in short term profit with no thought of the future.

  • Mikeact says:

    FWIW. Following on from the recent Emerald (AerLingus) flights from the provinces. I’m just about to book out and back from SOU to DUB, on Avios.com, for a wedding next May. For each of us, it’s 8000 Avios + £39.65, compared to revenue around £150. Of course, if I book it now, I don’t get the BA, 24hr cooling off period if we want to change by a day or so, which then means an add on of an additional £35 per person.

  • Pockets says:

    I have to say, thank you for this timely article! I was excited about transferring some of my Chase Sapphire Reserve points to avios to take Aer Lingus trans-atlantic in the spring, but now I’m not doing it. It is crazy Aer Lingus just lost me as a customer before even becoming one since adding those money-grabbing fees. My plan was that after the initial redemption (trial of the trip) I was going to pay cash tickets in future US-UK trips for my wife and I to thank them for the reduced fees and ween off BA. I think Virgin might be my next airline (but the trouble is what to do now with having One World status? ugh). Maybe I will just give up all hope and use Icelandair and just fly economy with quirky snacks and drinks.

  • Novice says:

    I can never find Avios seats to begin with. I’m sat on a lot of Avios and honestly I’m thinking of starting to randomly fly to random places just to get rid of them. I know everyone of you always say book a year in advance but seriously with the amount of wars, natural disasters etc I would never book a year in advance unless I get a full refund.

    Do you get a full refund for booking a whole year in advance?

    • drdan says:

      BA.com.avios bookings cancellable for £35 up to 24 hours pre-departure…all avios and Fees back less £35 each passenger.

      • Novice says:

        Ok thanks for that info. I wasn’t completely sure. I don’t know why I thought that only the Avios would get refunded.

    • Harry T says:

      Where the hell are you trying to go then? If you’re trying to go to Australia or Singapore, then you will have to hustle to find seats. If you want to go West, it’s easy pickings. In Europe, Avios redemptions usually open up last minute.

    • Aliks says:

      What is wrong with Mexico City?? Always plenty of availability.

      • QFFlyer says:

        Nothing imo, I was there last year and had a great time. Nice colonial charm to some parts of it too.

  • Carl says:

    I flew Manchester to New York last week with Aer Lingus for £345 return then upgraded with 74k points to business.

  • John says:

    Lol, love all the comments about ba greed. Perhaps if it wasn’t for everyone’s greed and things like this posted on here these loopholes would still be there lol lol

  • Tom R says:

    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

    Now everyone is overpaying instead when the real cost of the airport / govt imposed taxes are a fraction of the full value as you pointed out. Since moving to the US I’m now tending to use BA miles only for domestic AA flights where at least I’m only paying the real taxes (about $5) and recently some fares have been $500+ for just 9000 Avios. Definitely a good spend rate. Screw these ludicrous carrier imposed charges, which on occasion make it worthless not just paying a couple hundred quid more for an actual ticket and earning miles and TP in the process

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

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