How to get to Ireland on points and miles
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It’s Ireland month at TPG U.K.! The Emerald Isle has so much to offer travellers, from the rugged coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way to out-of-the-way pubs with traditional music to glorious seafood and, of course, lots and lots of rolling green countryside. And with Saint Patrick’s Day falling on 17 March, it’s the perfect time to showcase some of Ireland’s best hotels, hotspots and places to explore. Stay tuned for more content and our readers’ insider tips throughout the month!
If you’re trying to get to Dublin, there’s no shortage of options from around the U.K. In fact, there are 26 airports across the U.K. that have nonstop flights to the capital of the Emerald Isle, meaning that it has never been easier to hop on a flight for a cheeky weekend in Dublin. That’s not forgetting the nonstop flights available to other, smaller airports like Cork (ORK) and Shannon (SNN).
Related reading: Destinations to add onto a trip to Dublin
Here’s a roundup of the options available — and how you can get there for almost free. From points and miles to low-cost carriers and even the odd boat trip thrown in for good measure, there’ll certainly be options for you to get there from pretty much wherever you are in the U.K.
Flying to Dublin using points and miles
Probably the most useful of all of the points and miles options for travellers living in London is BA’s route from either London City (LCY) or London Heathrow (LHR) to Dublin (DUB). On peak days of the week, there are up to five daily return flights from Heathrow, and for those working or doing business in the City, there are up to six daily flights to choose from City Airport.
Thanks to BA’s Reward Flight Savers, you can get one-way flights to Dublin from just 7,500 Avios + £0.50 in economy from either LCY or LHR.
Related reading: The best ways to get to London from Heathrow
You can also treat yourself to Club Europe for as little in cash as £0.50 plus 12,750 Avios. The flight is only around one hour long, so probably isn’t worth the extra Avios, but you will at least benefit from lounge access if you fly from Heathrow’s T5. London City airport, unfortunately, doesn’t have any general airport lounges, only one for private jets or if you’re willing to pay nearly £100.
It’s worth noting that you can alter the ratio of points to cash for flights using BA’s “more pricing options” tool on the summary page when booking flights.
For those who would rather earn than burn, you can expect to find a BA basic economy ticket starting at around £64 for a return from London (LHR) to Dublin (DUB).
As Aer Lingus is owned by IAG, the same parent company that owns British Airways, the airlines share the same air miles currency — Avios. The best way of redeeming Avios on Aer Lingus flights is by heading to avios.com and booking from there. You might need to transfer your Avios to Aer Lingus if they are sitting elsewhere. You can also book Aer Lingus flights directly through the British Airways Executive Club, but the BA website will not show you live availability and you’ll have to do your booking over the phone, making avios.com the easier option!
If you want to try out Aer Lingus from London, then you actually have more choice than with BA. There are up to 13 flights per day to Heathrow, six to City and on weekdays, as many as five return flights to Gatwick.
Aer Lingus — or Stobart Air — also operate flights to 11 other airports around the U.K. This includes Aberdeen (ABZ), Birmingham (BHX), Bristol (BRS), Edinburgh (EDI), Glasgow (GLA), Leeds Bradford (LBA), Manchester (MAN), Newcastle (NCL), Newquay (NQY), Isle of Man (IOM) and Jersey (JER).
Cork and Shannon
Aer Lingus also operates flights from Cork (ORK) in Southern Ireland to Birmingham (BHX), Bristol (BRS), Edinburgh (EDI), Glasgow (GLA), London (LHR) and Manchester (MAN). From Shannon (SNN), there are direct flights with Aer Lingus to Birmingham (BHX), Edinburgh (EDI) and London (LHR).
Low-cost & regional carriers to Dublin
With so many flights, Dublin is the easiest destination to get to from wherever you are in the U.K. In addition to the airports connected by British Airways and Aer Lingus, airlines such as Ryanair, Flybe and Loganair operate flights to more airports from Inverness in the far north of Scotland right down to Newquay on the Cornish coast.
Dublin acts as one of Ryanair’s main hubs and has direct flights to Birmingham (BHX), Bristol (BRS), Bournemouth (BOU), East Midlands (EMA), Edinburgh (EDI), Glasgow (GLA), Leeds Bradford (LBA), Liverpool (LPL), London Gatwick (LGW), London Luton (LTN), London Stansted (STN), Manchester (MAN), Newcastle (NCL) and Southend (SEN).
Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, operates nonstop flights to Dublin (DUB) from four regional airports: Teesside (MME), Cardiff (CWL), Exeter (EXT) and Southampton (SOU). Keep in mind, too, that Flybe will soon become Virgin Connect. Some Flybe flights are already bookable with Virgin, however, once the two are fully connected, you’ll be able to redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for Flybe flights. Keep an eye on Virgin’s site for an idea of when those do become bookable and how many miles you can expect to redeem for the flights to DUB and beyond.
And finally, Loganair, Scotland’s airline, operates flights from both Carlisle (CAX) and Inverness (INV) direct to Dublin.
Related reading: A review of Flybe’s Dash 8 from Heathrow to Aberdeen
Cork and Shannon
Ryanair also has routes between Cork (ORK) and Liverpool (LPL), London Gatwick (LGW) London Luton (Luton), and London Stansted (STN). And finally, from Shannon (SNN), Ryanair operates direct flights to London Gatwick (LGW), London Stansted (STN) and Manchester (MAN).
If you’d rather drive than fly, there are ferry companies with regular sailings from ports up and down the U.K. that will transport you and your car to various places in Ireland.
Related reading: TPG UK special report: The best and worst UK airports
The Stena Line can take you from Holyhead in Wales to Dublin in just over three hours, and Fishguard, also Wales, to Rosslare in just over four hours. Prices start at around £95 one-way for one car with one passenger.
You also have the option of Irish Ferries, which also operates two routes. Holyhead to Dublin takes just over three hours and Pembroke, Wales, to Rosslare takes four hours. Tickets for both crossings start at around £80 for one car with one passenger.
P&O Ferries operates the longest Irish Sea crossing from Liverpool to Dublin, which takes over eight hours. Prices start at £89 each way.
If you’d rather leave your own car at home and you have the Platinum Card from American Express U.K., then you automatically receive elite status with Avis and Hertz, which makes hiring a car and hitting the road a whole lot more tempting.
Getting to Ireland — and beyond — has never been easier. If you’re points rich, you can redeem some of your hard-earned Avios on British Airways or Aer Lingus from various airports across the U.K. Flybe, Loganair and Ryanair also offer flights from many other airports across the country. Failing that, you could always hop on a ferry for a different kind of adventure.
Featured photo by Mikroman6/Getty Images
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