This is our first in a series of ‘travel rewards tips’ designed to showcase some of the amazing deals you can get by using credit cards to maximize travel rewards. While this particular tip might not apply to you if you don’t live near Boston, it shows how ridiculously good some of these credit card signups really can be:
Aer Lingus is a partner airline of British Airways’ Avios program, and the great part about that is that BA’s Avios system is distance-based on the actual miles flown. Boston to Shannon or Dublin fits in the sweet spot of only 25,000 Avios points per round-trip ticket in economy, which is an unbelievably good deal!
I’d argue this is the single best way to get from the US to Europe using points; for instance, this exact same flight would cost you 60,000 United airline miles. Importantly, you never want to use British Airways Avios points to actually fly on British Airways routes, because they hit you with ~$500 in “fuel surcharges” on each flight, which basically makes your point redemption worthless. That makes this Aer Lingus redemption even better: there are no fuel surcharges — just the normal (unavoidable) taxes.
The flight we priced out cost over $1,800 round-trip for two tickets from Boston to Dublin, and you’re getting them for only 50,000 Avios! (Important note: there are always unavoidable government taxes and fees with award tickets, so this is a “nearly” free trip)
Here are some options to earn Avios:
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card
- American Express Membership Rewards points which transfer to BA
- Chase Ultimate Rewards points which transfer to BA
Steps for two free tickets from Boston to Ireland:
- Sign up for a free British Airways Executive Club account (2 minute signup)
- Sign up for a British Airways Visa Signature® Card
- Spend $2,000 on your credit card within 3 months of opening the account to earn a 50,000 Avios bonus. $95 annual fee not waived the first year
- Wait until your 50,000 Avios have been deposited into your BA Executive Club account and then call the BA Executive Club number 1-800-452-1201 to book your flights on Aer Lingus (for some reason the Aer Lingus flights do not show up on the BA website, so you have to know this tip in advance that you can in fact book these flights by calling the Executive Club number. The BA website says, “Please contact your local Executive Club Service Centre to spend your Avios on Aer Lingus and Alaskan Airlines flights”). You should also ask for the $25 phone booking fee to be waived since you are unable to book this flight online; the representative I spoke with said they would honor that request.
And it really is as easy as that! Four simple steps and you get two round-trip flights for just the small taxes and fees!
Please Note: This is an extremely popular route for award flights, and there is limited availability on each flight at the “saver” level where you can book for 25,000 Avios. If you intend to use this method, which absolutely works, you must plan your travel at least 6 months in advance in most cases.
This tip will not seemingly apply to most people outside the New England area, but if you can inexpensively make your way to the Boston airport, you can still take advantage!
We also priced out tickets from New York or Chicago to Ireland direct on Aer Lingus and those were 40,000 Avios; this makes a dream trip to Ireland very accessible for just about anyone on the eastern half of the United States.