Update (22 March 2019): Qantas is ending its partnership with Aer Lingus on 30 June 2019. You can still earn and redeem Qantas points for Aer Lingus flights until this date.
Based in Ireland, Aer Lingus is one of the little-known Qantas partner airlines. The Irish carrier operates many flights between Ireland and the rest of Europe. It also serves a range of routes to North America, giving Qantas Frequent Flyer members another option when redeeming Qantas points for trans-Atlantic flights.
Many Aer Lingus flights have both Economy and Business class awards available. It’s possible to book Aer Lingus award flights in Economy on the Qantas website. But to redeem Qantas points for Aer Lingus Business class, you’ll probably have to call Qantas. For some reason, Aer Lingus Business award seats on most routes are not displayed on the Qantas website – even though they do exist!
Aer Lingus flies to most major cities across Europe from its base in Dublin. It also operates a range of short-haul routes from the Irish cities of Shannon and Cork, as well as Belfast in northern Ireland. On most short-haul flights, there are up to 7 Economy and 7 Business class award seats available if you book well in advance.
Although Aer Lingus doesn’t have a proper Business class cabin on its short-haul flights, we believe Business awards book as “Advantage” fares which include lounge access, security fast-track and priority boarding. That said, it would rarely make sense to spend the extra points on a short-haul Aer Lingus award unless connecting to a long-haul flight (where lie-flat Business seating is available).
From Dublin, Aer Lingus flies to many cities across North America. The airline also flies from Shannon to New York and Boston. Most Aer Lingus trans-Atlantic flights have a few Economy award seats available, but long-haul Business class award availability is much harder to find. If you’re lucky, you might find a flight with one Business award available. For example, we found this flight from Shannon to Boston with 1 Business seat available using Expert Flyer:
Fuel surcharges do apply to Aer Lingus award flights. On some short-haul flights, these are actually quite significant. For example, a one-way Economy award ticket from Dublin to Amsterdam costs 10,000 Qantas points and $99.40 in charges. A Business award on the same route would cost 18,000 Qantas points and the same amount in charges.
A ticket on the same flight from Dublin to Amsterdam can be purchased for as little as €29 (~$47), albeit with checked baggage not included. So do check the cost of a ticket before redeeming Qantas points.
But on trans-Atlantic routes, the charges are quite reasonable. (This is especially the case when compared to the charges for British Airways flights!) On a one-way award from Shannon to Boston, for example, an Economy seat costs 28,000 Qantas points and just $89 in charges. A Business class seat would cost 53,000 Qantas points plus $89.
In most cases, you’ll need to call Qantas to book Aer Lingus Business Class seats using Qantas points. But it is possible to check Aer Lingus Business award availability without calling the airline. You would just need a subscription to Expert Flyer to conduct an “Award & Upgrade Availability Search”. As an example, we searched for Aer Lingus award availability from Dublin to Amsterdam on a random date next year:
These were the results in Expert Flyer:
If you were to search for the same flights on the Qantas website, you would only see Economy award availability…
But a quick call to Qantas will confirm that all these flights do in fact have Business award seats available for booking with Qantas points.
There are some exceptions. An AFF member points out that Business awards from Seattle to Dublin are available on the Qantas website, for example.
Aer Lingus award flights can be booked up to 330 days before departure.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Booking Aer Lingus using QF points?
Would you like help with redeeming your frequent flyer points?
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Award Flight Assist can help you to find the perfect flights using your points. Just let the team know how many points you have and where you would like to go, and they’ll prepare an itinerary for you.