A lot of my friends headed to Ireland in March for St. Patrick’s Day. As much as I wanted to join them, timing was bad, as I had just had a baby on Valentine’s Day. Dublin has been on my bucket list for a long time, and I think I am going to finally pull the trigger for sometime in September. The flight from the east coast is not long (actually shorter than flying to LAX), and it looks like award space is pretty plentiful.
United and British Airways miles can both be used to fly the Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus from the United States to Ireland and beyond.
United charges the same amount it charges to fly all of its European partners:
- 30k United miles each way in economy between the United States and Europe
- 70k United miles each way in business class between the United States and Europe
Using British Airways Avios will almost always be a better deal because British Airways always charges a set amount of Avios per flight based on distance and cabin:
(Prices per segment in economy; double them for price per segment in business.)
- Up to 650 miles flown: 4,500 Avios
- 651 to 1,151 miles flown: 7,500 Avios
- 1,152 to 2,000 miles flown: 10,000 Avios
- 2,001 to 3,000 miles flown: 12,500 Avios
- 3,001 to 4,000 miles flown: 20,000 Avios
- 4,001 to 5,500 miles flown: 25,000 Avios
- 5,501 to 6,500 miles flown: 30,000 Avios
- 6,501 to 7,000 miles flown: 35,000 Avios
- 7,001+ miles flown: 50,000 Avios
Two of Aer Lingus’ transatlantic flights fall in the 12,500 Avios band and three more fall in the 20,000 Avios band, making them among the cheapest options in economy and business class to Europe.
Where Aer Lingus Flies
Award Space on Aer Lingus Flights
Award space on Aer Lingus flights is poor this summer, but on most routes it starts to open up in late September or early October.
Below I’ve grouped the routes by the number of Avios needed to fly them. On the award calendars, the color of the dates tells what award space is open that day:
- Yellow dates have at least one economy award seat on a direct Aer Lingus flight
- Blue dates have at least one business class award seat on a direct Aer Lingus flight
- Green dates have at least one business class AND one economy award seat on a direct Aer Lingus flight
12,500 Avios Each Way in Economy / 25,000 Avios Each Way in Business
Boston to Dublin
Boston to Dublin award space is wide open this fall in economy and business class. The cities are just under 3,000 miles apart, so the award costs only 12,500 Avios each way in economy and double that in business class.
The return is about equally wide open this October and November.
Boston to Shannon
The flight from Boston to Ireland’s other major airport is only 5 hours and 45 minutes heading east, which is shorter than Boston to Los Angeles.
Award space is excellent in economy starting in October.
Award space on the return is very good this fall as long as you don’t want to fly on one of the weeklong stretches that are basically blacked out.
20,000 Avios Each Way in Economy / 40,000 Avios Each Way in Business
New York to Dublin
New York to Dublin is less than 200 miles farther than Boston to Dublin, but the Avios price is 67% more. Some people save miles by flying to Boston for 4,500 Avios and then continuing on to Dublin from Boston for 12,500 Avios. For me personally, I’d rather fly directly from NY on a non-stop instead of saving 3,000 Avios.
Award space opens up on the route in September, but the first solid group of business class award space doesn’t open until October.
The same picture emerges on the return.
New York to Shannon
Just like Boston to Shannon, award space is only available in economy from New York to Shannon.
Chicago to Dublin
Chicago to Dublin looks like a lot of the other routes in that award space is very open in both cabins in October and November.
The return award space isn’t as open in October, but is wide open in November.
25,000 Avios Each Way in Economy / 50,000 Avios Each Way in Business
Orlando to Dublin
From Mickey Mouse’s house to Dublin, there is very, very little award space, all of which is in economy.
The return is even worse, not showing award space until November.
San Francisco to Dublin
Aer Lingus’ longest flight from the United States has poor award availability, with just a few economy seats spread across November and December.
Award space on the return is just as bad.
How to Search for Aer Lingus Award Space
Whether you want to book Aer Lingus award space with United miles or British Airways Avios, you should search on united.com for its easy-to-use calendars.
To isolate just the Aer Lingus award space, you can check the “Nonstop Flights Only” check box after searching for any date that has Aer Lingus award space.
How to Book Aer Lingus Award Space
Always book awards with the airline whose miles you are using. If you want to use United miles to book Aer Lingus award space, book it on united.com.
If you want to use British Airways award space, book it by calling 800-AIRWAYS after finding the award space on united.com. Just feed the flight information to the phone agent.
Getting United and British Airways Miles
You can earn 50,000 bonus British Airways Avios after spending $2,000 in the first three months on the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. That’s enough for two economy roundtrips from Boston to Ireland.
You can earn Ultimate Rewards points with the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to United miles, British Airways Avios, and about ten other partners.
You can also earn 40,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Visa Card, which is one of the best personal cards on the market. Tip: add an authorized user on the application for 5,000 extra Ultimate Rewards.
Avios is also a transfer partner with American Express Membership Rewards.
For those who have flown with Aer Lingus before – is it worth it to splurge to fly in business class? Or is economy do-able? I’m leaning towards flying in economy to save on miles. Would love to hear about your experiences.
- New Valuable Avios Redemptions with TAM and US Airways
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