American Express is adding a new airline transfer partner, and it might have some Irish eyes smiling.
By late August 2018, U.S. cardholders enrolled in the issuer’s Membership Rewards program will be able to convert rewards points directly into Avios with AerClub — the loyalty program of Ireland’s Aer Lingus — at a 1:1 ratio. Terms apply.
Avios is the rewards currency used by Aer Lingus. It’s also used by British Airways and Iberia, both of which are already transfer partners in AmEx’s Membership Rewards program. Before this change, if you wanted to use Membership Rewards points to fly on Aer Lingus, you had to transfer the points into the British Airways Avios program, then transfer British Airways Avios into AerClub Avios.
If you can fly during Aer Lingus’ off-peak dates, you can snag a flight for fewer Avios. For example, as of Aug. 7, 2018:
- An off-peak round-trip direct flight from New York’s JFK Airport to Dublin — departing Dec. 3 and returning Dec. 10, 2018 — was priced at 26,000 Avios, plus taxes, fees and carrier charges.
- A similar flight taken at a peak travel time, Sept. 2 to Sept. 9, 2018, is 40,000 Avios, plus taxes, fees and carrier charges.
One benefit of using Aer Lingus Avios is that the fuel surcharges may tend to be lower than the notoriously high fees charged by British Airways.
The addition of Aer Lingus brings the total number of American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners to 19, including 17 airlines and two hotel groups. For a list, click here.