Aer Lingus to Join Oneworld, Add Great New Europe Options for American AAdvantage Miles

The government of Ireland will sell its 25% stake in Aer Lingus to IAG, parent of British Airways, allowing BA to take control of the airline. It’s unclear what Ryanair will do with its nearly 30% stake.

What we do know is that Aer Lingus will join the oneworld alliance, and continue to operate as a separate airline. IAG has provided assurances that Aer Lingus service to London will continue as-present for a minimum of 5 to 7 years (varying by route). They aren’t just being absorbed into BA, and they aren’t just being purchased for parts (slots at London Heathrow). Indeed, IAG says they’ll expand Aer Lingus transatlantic flying.

As I predicted in January, this acquisition will lead to Aer Lingus – already a British Airways partner – joining the oneworld alliance. That means you’ll be able to use American AAdvantage miles to fly Aer Lingus.

They fly from Boston and New York to Shannon, Ireland and they fly to Dublin from:

  • Toronto
  • New York
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Orlando
  • San Francisco

And of course these flights allow for connections in Europe beyond Ireland. Dublin in particular is a great place to connect.

Aer Lingus files fares with very low fuel surcharges so even if AAdvantage somehow wound up adding fuel surcharges to Aer Lingus awards, it will be a non-issue.

And they have a new business class that seems similar to American’s new seat on their 767s.

Aer Lingus is a former member of oneworld — they left eight years ago to pursue a strategy as a low cost carrier. Since then they’ve built back their premium offerings. There’s no timetable yet announced for their return to the alliance, but it’s good news for flyers that they will return.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I thought they started flying IAD (Washington Dulles) to Dublin in May of this year?

  2. What’s to say that Aer Lingus’ fuel surcharges will not go the way of BAs post-acquisition though?

  3. @Brendan nothing’s certain, but looking at Iberia’s changes (if any) to fuel surcharges after forming IAG would be a good indicator.

  4. Is it safe to assume that since they’re joining Oneworld, they will no longer be partners with United, because Star and OneWorld don’t mix?

  5. Surprising to me they aren’t proposing a PHL route with the large concentration of Irish-Americans in the metro area and it being a OneWorld hub. Heck, James Joyce’s original Ulysses manuscript is even housed in a small museum in the city.

  6. You know people. Could you please try to get this expedited for late August when I need return flights from England?

    Thanks! 😉

  7. @Greg N it’s a good bet the United partnership will eventually terminate since they’ll look to American for domestic feed.

  8. @Chris US/AA already run a (daily I think?) PHL-DUB flight – is there really more demand than that? I could see a codeshare, but it would be kind of odd for them to directly compete with a partner airline.

  9. It wouldn’t surprise me to see EI fuel ripoff, I mean surcharge, greatly increase after IAG gets their grubby hands on it. Hope it doesn’t happen, but who knows.

  10. For clarity, EI will join the BA transatlantic cartel. This means that fuel surcharges WILL soon be added (at the BA J level of $500 return) to Aer Lingus redemptions booked with Avios.

    You are unlikely to pay them using AA miles.

    Of course, if Gold Circle becomes Avios then it may be possible to transfer them from BA and redeem that way with no surcharges.

  11. Will we still be able to redeem 25k Avios for BOS-DUB flights with their super low YQ, or will BA jack up YQ to pad their pockets?

  12. There may be a short period where the YQ is small but as soon as BA can manage it they will jack up that fee and pass it along to everyone including those trying to use AA miles TATL.

  13. I’m skeptical anyone will have a “great” new award redemption out of this change. Honestly, the current status of Aer Lingus award redemption is perfect for the type of traveler who reads your blog. It’s basically a loophole. A new owner — especially BA — is likely to close this loophole. I’m not going to cry about it because we all know the best deals always go away, but it’s definitely wishful thinking that any good is going to come out of this.

  14. As an independent carrier, Aer Lingus added genuine competition to the transatlantic market. Passengers should not celebrate Aer Lingus joining an alliance wherein competition drops that much further.

  15. Darn. Living in Boston, I found that EI was a great way to gateway to Europe for United award tickets in business class.

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