British Airways parent IAG acquired Aer Lingus and the Irish carrier is expected to join oneworld.
Aer Lingus is a former member of oneworld — they left nine years ago to pursue a strategy as a low cost carrier. Since then they’ve built back their premium offerings. They have a good transatlantic business class, considering the short flights between Dublin, Shannon and the East Coast of the U.S. which are their bread and butter (though not exclusive) destinations.
Their European route network for connections beyond Dublin (with an all-economy product) especially is extensive.
United partners with Aer Lingus. We’ll see if that partnership survives integration. Aer Lingus fuel surcharges are especially modest. We’ll see if that survives integration as one.
One pending step in the progression is that Aer Lingus will retire its Gold Circle club and launch a new AerClub. It will convert points 1:2 into the new Avios program.
On face that sounds like it’s a good thing — and it’s being promoted as though it’s a good thing — but it really isn’t.
The change will be softened by an unexpected Christmas present for Aer Lingus’ frequent flyers, who will see their Golden Circle points exchanged for Avios at a 2:1 ratio.
“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” Aer Lingus Director of Communications Declan Kearney tells Australian Business Traveller.
“In the interests of all of our existing members, Gold Circle will continue to remain open until AerClub launches towards the end of 2016,” Kearney added.
But is converting 1 Golden Circle point to 2 Avios a good thing? We don’t really know until we see Aer Lingus’ Avios redemption chart. But looking at the strong value that Golden Circle points hold today, it’s highly unlikely that this will benefit members.
Here’s their current transatlantic upgrade chart from economy to business class:
A transatlantic business class one-way is just 12,000 points. Europe flights are 4500 points one-way, with no 650 mile maximum as with British Airways. Dublin – Athens, for instance, is about 1750 miles traveled which is a phenomenal deal at that price.
When an airline is acquired, their frequent flyer program folded, and the executives at the acquiring airline tell you they’re doing you a favor watch your account balance closely.
Top tier elites in the new program will receive annual upgrades, at least.