Aer Lingus Confirms Gold Circle To Avios Conversion Rate

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As a British Airways partner airline Aer Lingus has allowed travelers to use Avios to book award flights for quite some time and now the Irish airline is about to revamp its loyalty program and adopt Avios as its own currency too. Not only will Aer Lingus adopt Avios as its currency but it will also be giving its existing Gold Circle members a bonus as a welcome to the new program.

Over the past decade Aer Lingus has gradually become a more and more important transatlantic airline thanks to its cabin improvements, reasonable Business Class fares and expanding route network….but those aren’t the reasons why the airline has been so popular with miles and points enthusiasts.

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-12-05-40Aer Lingus Business Class

Aer Lingus’ greatest gift to the miles & points community has long been the fact that you can redeem Avios on its flights without any of the horrendous surcharges that British Airways levies and, because Aer Lingus flights across the Atlantic originate in Ireland and not the UK, travelers aren’t charged the high airline taxes that you see out of airports like Heathrow.

Ireland is a great jumping off point both for US  travelers looking to explore Europe as well as UK and European travelers looking to fly to the US and Aer Lingus has done well to make the most of that.

Aer Lingus was recently bought out by IAG – the parent company of British Airways – so we’ve been waiting to find out what is to become of the airline’s loyalty program.  IAG’s two biggest airlines (Iberia and BA) both have their own separate loyalty programs but both use Avios as their currency and both have very similar rewards charts so we’ve been expecting more of the same from Aer Lingus….and now we’re getting more news.

aer-lingus-business-class-2Aer Lingus Business Class

Aer Lingus AerClub

Aer Lingus has announced that it expects to finally launch its much-delayed AerClub loyalty program before the end of 2016 and that it will be adopting Avios as its currency – no surprise there.

As a bonus to Aer Lingus’ existing Gold Circle members Gold Circle Points (GCP) will be converted to Avios in a ratio of 1 GCP to 2 Avios.

This is what Aer Lingus’ Director of Communications told Australian Business Traveller:

When AerClub launches we want to recognise our members’ loyalty and will offer 2 Avios for every 1 Gold Circle point our tier members have at the (Gold Circle) closing date.

In the interests of all of our existing members, Gold Circle will continue to remain open until AerClub launches towards the end of 2016.

This is confirmed on the Aer Lingus website:

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-11-48-08AerClub will have 4 membership tiers (similar to British Airways)….


…and the higher the tier, the more Avios you get from your flights:aerclub-tiers-bonusRight now there doesn’t appear to be any information on how flyers can attain those tiers but we do know that flyers at the Concierge level will be given 4 free upgrades per year, free WiFi on international flights and will be able to give AerClub Silver status to their partner.

On the negative side AerClub will award Avios in a similar way to British Airways, i.e. the distance you fly and the fare you buy will decide how many Avios you earn:


On the bright side AerClub will be pretty closely associated with the British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus and the stand-alone Avios program so the “Combine My Avios” option will be available.

Per Aer Lingus:

If you have an existing Avios account, British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus or AerClub accounts, you can use the ‘Combine my Avios’ feature to combine your Avios points into one account or transfer Avios points between your accounts. To transfer Avios points please visit

Bottom Line

There’s both good and bad news here.

The bad news is that AerClub Avios will be earned based on what fare you buy and what distance you fly rather than just on distance. With Aer Lingus now owned by IAG this is hardly a surprise but it’s still not good news.

The 4 free upgrades for Concierge members is a nice touch and the 1:2 conversion ratio looks ok too although I’d be interested to know what Gold Circle members think of this. I’ve never used Gold Circle so I’m basing my thoughts on how a 1:2 conversion ratio would look for a regular mileage-based system (like American once had) moving over to British Airways Avios…and a 1:2 ratio looks ok from that standpoint.

Any Gold Circle members care to weigh in?

Featured image courtesy of Mark Harkin via Flickr