EXCLUSIVE | Aer Lingus’ partnership with the Qantas Frequent Flyer program will end on July 1 2019, when the airlines part ways and the ability to earn and redeem Qantas Points on Ireland's national airline is withdrawn.
On the earning side, Qantas cardholders can collect Qantas Points on eligible Aer Lingus airfares for travel up to and including June 30 2019, although flights flown from July 1 – including those already booked prior to today – will not be eligible for Qantas Points.
Using Qantas Points to book Aer Lingus flights will remain possible until June 30 2019, for travel through to June 2020 – so if you’re planning any trips to Ireland with Aer Lingus over the coming year, get those bookings in before July 1 or you’ll lose the opportunity.
As Aer Lingus isn’t a Oneworld alliance airline or a close strategic partner of Qantas, there are no frequent flyer tier benefits affected by this change, as perks like priority check-in and lounge access are not currently offered to Qantas Frequent Flyer members by Aer Lingus.
Any claims for missing Qantas Points from Aer Lingus flights flown until June 30 2019 this year must be lodged with Qantas Frequent Flyer by June 30 2020.
"No retrospective Qantas Points claims can be made after 30 June, 2020 ... for eligible travel on Aer Lingus (EI) flights operating on or prior to 30 June 2019," Qantas affirms.
Aer Lingus reward flights can be booked via the Qantas website for travel in economy class, although Aer Lingus business class bookings using Qantas Points can only be made by calling Qantas Frequent Flyer (13 11 31).
A possible future return to the Qantas fold for Aer Lingus?
The Irish flag carrier – a former Oneworld alliance member until 2007 – has been very on-again, off-again with the prospect of returning to the alliance, declaring its intentions in 2015, reversing that claim in 2017 and then in February 2019, hinting that the new ‘Oneworld Connect’ model as adopted most recently by Fiji Airways could be a better fit.
A full return to Oneworld would resume the ability to earn and redeem Qantas Points with Aer Lingus and pave the way for the full set of benefits frequent flyers expect like airport lounge access, priority check-in, priority boarding and a boosted baggage allowance.
However, that reduced Oneworld Connect partnership would only guarantee priority check-in and priority boarding for eligible Qantas Frequent Flyer members, without extending to the earning and redeeming of Qantas Points or other benefits like airport lounge access, unless the airlines signed a new direct partnership.
But for now, at least, expect the Qantas + Aer Lingus partnership to end as planned, from July 1 2019.
Aer Lingus alternatives on flights to Ireland
Australian travellers using their points to book Aer Lingus flights would mainly be taking shorter hops from the UK and Europe to Ireland, and at least from London (and seasonally from Manchester), the option of using Qantas Points with British Airways remains on flights to Dublin.
Passengers jetting from Australia straight to Ireland retain the option of one-stop connections with Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong; Emirates via Dubai; and Qatar Airways via Doha.