The Amex Membership Rewards program is one of my favorite transferable points currencies. Membership Rewards has more transfer partners than Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou, and I’m always happy to see that list expanded.
Amex is adding Aer Lingus as a Membership Rewards partner
American Express has announced that they’re adding Aer Lingus AerClub as their next transfer partner. Points will transfer at a 1:1 ratio, as is the case with most Membership Rewards partners. This will be Membership Rewards’ 17th airline partner. Aer Lingus AerClub is the first new transfer partner since 2016, when Etihad Guest was added.
The capability to transfer points at this ratio is rolling out at the end of this month for the US Membership Rewards program, and later in the year for the UK Membership Rewards program.
With Aer Lingus AerClub being added as a partner, US Membership Rewards partners now include the following:
|Aer Lingus Aer Club||Choice Privileges|
|Aeroméxico Club Premier||Hilton Honors|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||Marriott Bonvoy|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue|
|ANA Mileage Club|
|British Airways Executive Club|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles|
|El Al Matmid|
|Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
Why you shouldn’t get too excited
More airline transfer partners are always a good thing, though I wouldn’t get too excited about Aer Lingus AerClub. Why?
Because Aer Lingus is owned by IAG, the same parent company as British Airways. They have three main frequent flyer programs — British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus, and Aer Lingus AerClub.
With some limitations, you can transfer Avios between all three programs at a 1:1 ratio, so it has already been possible to convert Membership Rewards points into Aer Lingus points, you just had to do so indirectly.
Here’s Aer Lingus’ award chart for redemptions on their own flights:
Aer Lingus has a solid business class product, with fully flat beds and pretty good food. Dublin is also a great gateway to Europe. Furthermore, fees for redeeming on Aer Lingus are much lower than redeeming on British Airways.
However, just because you want to fly Aer Lingus doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the best program to book through. You get just as much value booking through British Airways Executive Club, and as far as I know Aer Lingus doesn’t have any “sweet spot” partner redemptions that make their Avios specifically worth having.
While I like Aer Lingus as an airline, their addition as a Membership Rewards transfer partner doesn’t have many implications. It has already been possible to convert Amex points into either British Airways or Iberia Avios, and then convert those into Aer Lingus Avios. So for those who do want Aer Lingus Avios, this simplifies the process.
More significantly, though, Aer Lingus doesn’t have any redemption rates (at least as far as I know) that represent a better value than booking through British Airways, regardless of whether you’re booking Aer Lingus or one of their partners.
So this is worth knowing about, but don’t get too excited.