One Mile At A Time points out that Aer Lingus availability looks pretty good right now, even in the summer, to Dublin. This is one of the better points deals out there using British Airways distance based award chart, where I have noted some sweet spots from my home airport of Chicago O’Hare, but also some other sweet spot routings.
In particular, BOS-DUB is 25k points economy, or 50k business – and there is a fair amount of availability; I’m pretty easily finding it out in June just randomly clicking around the green dates on United’s site (note the image shows United’s points cost – not BA).
It wasn’t that big a deal to find it back either. June 9th to June 16th, 19th, 23rd – all good. Business class round trip to Europe here for 50k miles – avoiding LHR and it’s silly fuel charges. Aer Lingus is not visible/bookable on BA’s website, but a phone call will locate the ticket and the phone fee should be waived given the ticket cannot be booked online.
For my Chicago folks, I found ample availability of direct flights on AA’s website in economy for ORD to BOS in economy, bookable for 15k points round trip in BA’s zone 2. Since the award is simply distance based, stopovers are allowed, so it would be possible to stop for a few days in Boston on the way out, or on the way home. There will be additional taxes and fees – government gotta get paid yo – but they’ll likely be in the range of $50-80.
I’d like to see and have yet to visit Ireland – this is an easy way to get there and poke around England as well, or just use the trip as an entry/exit and take a cheap local Euro carrier to somewhere else in Western Europe.
All in all quite a cheap ticket – 50k business if you are in Boston, or if you’re in Chicago, 65k – for economy to Boston, and business class on the long route over (7 hours) – with a stop in Boston if you want. Although Aer Lingus also flies from Chicago direct, I had a much harder time finding seats, particularly in business class. A decent non-stop redemption still to be had here for only 40k miles round trip, in economy class.
British Airways avios are pretty easy to get – Chase has a card with a sign up offer ranging from 50k to 100k points, and they are also a 1:1 transfer partner with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. They are a transfer partner for SPG points at a 1:1 ratio – although 20k transfer will yield 25k avios – a 25% bonus at this increment. Amex is always at least a 1:1 transfer partner, but at times has offered, 20, 30, even 40% transfer bonuses. At that rate, the Chicago itinerary outlined above could be had for less than 47k amex points.