Aer Lingus expects to launch its AerClub frequent flyer program before the end of this year, replacing the airline’s long-running Gold Circle loyalty program with not just a new rewards scheme but a new currency.
The Irish flag-carrier will adopt the same Avios points as used by siblings British Airways and Iberia.
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.
AerClub will offer four status tiers starting with Green, then Silver and Platinum before topping out at Concierge.
Concierge-grade members will enjoy four free upgrades each year, free WiFi on international flights and partner membership at the Silver level
Kearney confirmed that AerClub tier credits “will be awarded on distance and fare type,” using an increasingly popular mix of mileage and revenue to see AerClub members work their way up the frequent flyer ladder.
He also acknowledged a string of delays for the new rewards scheme, which was initially slated to launch on March 31 and then June.
“It’s been said that if something’s worth doing, then it’s worth doing well, so with this in mind, we’re taking a little more time to ensure we deliver the best possible loyalty programme for our members.”