Following on from yesterday’s article about multi-carrier redemptions with Avios, I thought it would be useful to look at a couple of other the airlines that you may not have thought about using for an Avios redemption. Using multi-carrier redemptions can reduce the cost of a redemption significantly and reduce the cost of taxes and charges too.
You could also book with another oneworld or BA partner airline if you can’t find availability on BA. However, there is a downside in that the redemption prices are higher during BA off-peak times as other airlines are charged at peak prices all year apart from Iberia and Aer Lingus. Iberia and Aer Lingus have different off-peak charts to BA. There is more detail about redeeming Avios on other airlines in this article. The other downside is that if connecting flights are required they may cost more Avios than flying direct with BA.
Today I will look at 3 airlines that you may not have considered for an Avios redemption before.
Ironically although you may not have considered SriLankan, they are operating more modern seats on their London route than BA! The London route is operated with an A330-300 aircraft. All the A330-300s feature the newest business class seats, which are superior to the older seats on SriLankan Airlines’ A330-200 planes. Be sure to look at what aircraft is on the route you are redeeming on before you buy!
There are 7 rows of 4 Business Class seats in one cabin on the A330-300. The seats are the Cirrus reverse herringbone style used by Qatar, AA, Cathay and many others. This means direct aisle access and a 1-2-1 configuration. The bed goes fully flat and there is a modern entertainment system with a large 15.4″ TV screen. Food and service are generally very good.
SriLankan is a useful alternative to Qatar and BA on routes to the Maldives, Seychelles, Melbourne and the Far East.
Aer Lingus is now part of IAG but not part of the oneworld alliance currently. Despite some changes to the number of miles needed recently, Aer Lingus still provides a good alternative to BA and AA for Business class Avios redemptions to the US. This is due to the low taxes and charges and their decent business class product.
Business class product
All Aer Lingus’s A330 and B757 now have their new business class product. 90% of the seats have direct aisle access which is a definite improvement on the average BA aircraft. The new business class includes:
- Seats that convert to two metre lie flat beds
- Touchscreen seat controls
- In-seat massage function
- Personal AC and USB charging points
- IFE 16 inch flat screen monitors with AVOD (from Inflight Dublin)
- Storage space for shoes or laptop, tablet, water bottle
- On demand food and beverage service
- Courtesy WiFi
Here is a promotional video that shows the new seats.
Aer Lingus fly to a range of destinations in North America: Toronto, Washington, New York (EWR & JFK), Boston, Orlando, Los Angeles, Hartford, CT, Miami and Chicago.
Redeeming with Avios
The actual number of Avios is comparable to BA. For example, New York or Boston from Dublin is 100,000 Avios off-peak and 120,000 Avios peak. However, the taxes and charges are very different at around £200 versus £500 on BA. The other advantage is that the peak pricing dates are different to BA, so it may pay to book with Aer Lingus on some dates. Also, you may get availability on dates where there is none on BA or AA.
Aer Lingus peak dates for 2017:
- 17 June – 10 September
- 16 – 31 December
Pre-clearance at Dublin
For those that hate queuing at US immigration after a long flight, this is a major advantage when flying to the US from Dublin or Shannon. You clear not only U.S. immigration, but also full U.S. customs and agriculture controls. This means that you land as a domestic passenger and only have to get your luggage before you head out of the airport which can save a great deal of time and hassle. For those that enjoy their lounge time there is an additional business class lounge at Dublin after US immigration called 51st & Green.
If you are heading to the Far East JAL could be a good alternative to consider. I have flown on them in business class between Japan and China and had an excellent flight. The seats were good, the food was excellent and beautifully presented plus the cabin crew were very gracious and professional.
JAL Sky Suites are the best JAL business class seats. Each seat is located in its own private space, while still offering direct aisle access. Each seat comes with a privacy partition which can be lowered if you are travelling with someone and plenty of storage space. There is also an enormous 23″ (58 cm) TV screen.
JAL provide premium bedding too with an airweave mattress and pillow. The menu includes both Western and Japanese options which are dine on demand. You can order meals from the touch-panel controller, at any time and as often as you wish.
The Sky suite is available on the London-Tokyo route currently and this useful page will show which routes offer the Sky suite each month.
Have you used your Avios to travel on an airline other than BA? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments below or on social media.