Qantas, Aer Lingus end frequent flyer partnership

Qantas, Aer Lingus end frequent flyer partnership

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1 2019, when the airlines part ways and the ability to earn and redeem Qantas Points on Ireland's national airline is withdrawn.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.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

10 comments

  • henrus

    henrus

    19 Mar, 2019 09:42 pm

    Never booked points flights on Aer Lingus but also was never able to earn any points.

    Despite several flights having my QF number on the boarding pass and being in a valid fare category the points never came through. Given the potential earn was 100 points I didn't bother past the 1st request for additional documentation at each missing points claim.

    Hopefully others were able to get something out of this disfunctional partnership but I won't be sad to see it go.
    No member give thanks

  • Himeno

    Himeno

    19 Mar, 2019 10:12 pm

    I guess that means that QF won't be a possible oneworld connect sponsor for Aer Lingus then
    No member give thanks

  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    20 Mar, 2019 11:51 am

    I think we will definitely see Aer Lingus joining Oneworld Connect with the backing of parent BA plus BA's JV partners Finnair and American Airlines, but I hope Qantas signs up afterwards because the benefits of being a 'backer' of a Oneworld Connect airline are pretty good if you are a frequent flyer.
    No member give thanks

  • kimshep

    kimshep

    20 Mar, 2019 03:17 pm

    I'd be wary of suggesting AA (American Airlines). It seems that apart from JetBlue, EI's other partner in the US is now .. United Airlines (complete with logo et al on the newly designed EI website). Nearly fell off my chair when I saw that! It seems that while AA is a founding member of OW - and may have fallen out of favour with EI.
    No member give thanks

  • AJW

    AJW

    20 Mar, 2019 07:06 pm

    And why would the my be anyway?
    No member give thanks

  • kimshep

    kimshep

    20 Mar, 2019 10:54 am

    Strange move by QF. Over the years, I've often travelled LHR-DUB and v.v, as well as using DUB-Rest of Western Europe on EI and have always seen plenty of Aussies doing the same.

    These are the times when you'd love to be a fly on the wall of 'strategy' meetings in Coward Street.

    We'll never know, but I wonder whether Rob Guerney (CEO of OW and ex-QF) was involved here or whether IAG luminaries had a quiet whisper with QF about putting some pressure on EI (Aer Lingus) towards making a firm decision on OW membership? If a similar move by AA (American Airlines) occurs in the near future, this would make a highly interesting co-incidence.

    The other alternative is though, that QF may be trying to help bolster EK (Emirates) code-share traffic through Dubai to Dublin.

    No member give thanks

  • les harvey

    cambriamarsh

    20 Mar, 2019 11:38 am

    Are you sure it was QF that ended it? Maybe it was EI.
    No member give thanks

  • kimshep

    kimshep

    20 Mar, 2019 12:12 pm

    Perhaps it was EI, but somehow I doubt it. There's not a shred of information of it on the newly designed EI website, which I would expect to find if EI was the initiator. Similarly, since EI's recent move towards a more upmarket, non-LCC approach, they have rejigged their Frequent Flyer program from a tired, unique back-end to a seamless Avios-linked BA system. That alone yells better OW integration.

    As a focussed European carrier, EI's marketing has moved towards an interesting set of partner agreements with smaller, like-for-like, upmarket carriers including JetBlue in the USA, Air Canada and also Etihad.Their primary OW focus partners are BA, Cathay and Qantas, according to their website. EI's recently announced new fleet fit-outs (see the recent AUSBT article) for inter-Europe and US service align precisely with the QF J Class product too.

    I am happy to be corrected on who was the initiator but I suspect that we may see EI re-join OW (either as a Full or Connect member) before we find out.

    No member give thanks

  • AJW

    AJW

    20 Mar, 2019 07:09 pm

    Ummm Aer Lingus is owned by IAG. So why would IAG want Qantas to put pressure on Aer Lingus?
    No member give thanks

  • Himeno

    Himeno

    22 Mar, 2019 12:47 am

    To make it look better for Aer Lingus to rejoin oneworld.

    Due to the Avois FF system and IAG ownership, IB and BA can't cut ties with EI, but if other oneworld members with FF ties pulled them, it can impact the amount of travel EI gets, which it can easily get back by joining oneworld.
    No member give thanks

Guest

18 Jun, 2019 07:21 am

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