A roundtrip award ticket to Europe from the United States usually costs an average of 50,000 miles in coach or 100,000 in business class. There are some exceptions, like a 40,000-mile American AAdvantage off-season award ticket to Europe. There is also a way to fly to Ireland for only 25,000 miles. You just have to use a distance-based program rather than a regional one.
With a regional-based award chart, which is what the major domestic airlines use, it doesn’t matter how far you want to fly as long as it’s in the same geographic region. United, Delta, and American will all charge you the same 25,000 miles whether you fly the short distance between New York and Boston, or the long haul from Seattle to Fort Lauderdale. Distance-based programs, like British Airways, are different. Their award levels for long-distance flights are not usually the best redemptions, but short hops offer great value for your miles.
How short? The distance between Boston and Dublin is under 6,000 miles for a non-stop roundtrip, and that distance puts this route within the 25,000 Avios redemption threshold. But since British Airways adds huge fuel surcharges to tickets on its own planes going overseas, you need to find a partner of British Airways that flies directly to Dublin from the U.S. And that partner is Aer Lingus.
It is not the part of the One World Alliance, but they do have a direct partnership with British Airways. That means if you want to visit Ireland, or make it your base for touring Europe, you’re in luck. This is what your award will cost you:
Boston to Dublin or Shannon
- Coach: 25,000 Avios
- Business: 50,000 Avios
Chicago/New York/Orlando to Dublin or Shannon
- Coach: 40,000 Avios
- Business: 80,000 Avios
So if you live in or close to Boston, using this award is especially lucrative. But even a slightly longer flight from New York or Chicago (which pushes it into the next distance category) is worth it.
You also will save on London’s Heathrow Airport taxes. The taxes on your roundtrip award flight using Avios on Aer Lingus to Dublin will only be around $150, while flights routed from Heathrow cost nearly twice as much in fees.
Searching for an Aer Lingus award can be a tricky though. Look for the code EI on United or Quantas sites, since both of them are Aer Lingus partners.
Their search engines are not perfect though, and you’ll still have to call British Airways to make your final reservation. It might be a good idea to save time and call them to find availability. Just make sure to tell them to look only for Aer Lingus flights. The number is: 800-452-1201.
Exploring Europe from Dublin is easy. There are a lot of low-cost airline options from there including Ryanair and Easyjet. You can also use Avios to fly British Airways within Europe, because unlike trans-Atlantic flights, they do not impose heavy fuel surcharges for travel on the continent.