Seasoned transatlantic travelers know Aer Lingus as an Irish airline that’s owned by the same parent company as British Airways, Iberia, and LEVEL airlines. Aer Lingus uses the same loyalty program as those other carriers, one built around loyalty currency called Avios.
You can earn Avios on eligible Aer Lingus airfare, but what if you want to accelerate your progress toward award travel or heavily discounted fares? For that, you’ll need the Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card, an airline credit card with some notable perks and benefits.
What Is the Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card?
The Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card is an airline credit card that offers an attractive sign-up bonus, no foreign transaction fees, and a few additional benefits.
First, the sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 Avios after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Earn an additional 25,000 Avios after you spend $20,000 within the first 12 months of account opening.
From day one, this card earns:
- 3x points on Aer Lingus, Iberia, British Airways and LEVEL purchases
- 2x points on hotel accommodations purchased directly with the hotel
- 1x point on all other purchases
The most noteworthy nonrewards cardmember benefit here is an Economy Companion Ticket good for 12 months when you spend $30,000 in one calendar year on your Aer Lingus Visa Signature Credit Card. Plus, you and any authorized users on your account are eligible for priority boarding on Aer Lingus flights departing from and returning to the U.S. from Ireland, subject to availability.
There’s a $95 annual fee for this card, which is not waived for the first year. There’s no foreign transaction fees.
What Sets the Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card Apart?
This card has several features that help it distinguish itself from other airline credit cards.
- Attractive sign-up bonus. This card has one of the best sign-up bonuses in the airline rewards category, which is saying something given the competition.
- Opportunity to earn a complimentary companion ticket each year. Every calendar year that you spend $30,000 on your Aer Lingus Visa Signature Credit Card, you will earn an Economy Companion Ticket good for 12 months. If you use this as your primary credit card, that’s definitely doable.
- Priority boarding. You and any authorized users on your account are eligible for priority boarding on transatlantic Aer Lingus flights, subject to availability.
Key Features of the Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card
The Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card has a great sign-up bonus, a solid rewards program, no foreign transaction fee, and a few additional benefits.
Earn 75,000 Avios after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Earn an additional 25,000 Avios after you spend $20,000 within the first 12 months of account opening.
This card earns rewards as follows:
- 3x points per $1 spent on Aer Lingus, Iberia, British Airways and LEVEL purchases
- 2x points per $1 spent on hotel accommodations purchased directly with the hotel
- 1x point per $1 spent on all other purchases
You can redeem your miles for award flights operated by Aer Lingus and its partners. Partner airlines include Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, jetBlue, and United.
This card changes a balance transfer fee $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. There is a late payment fee of up to $40.
This card has a $95 annual fee. There are no foreign transaction fees for this card.
Annual Economy Companion Ticket With Qualifying Spend
Every calendar year that you spend $30,000 on your Aer Lingus Visa Signature Credit Card, you will earn an Economy Companion Ticket good for 12 months. That’s good for one economy fare, less taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges.
You and any authorized users on your account are always eligible for priority boarding on Aer Lingus flights departing from and returning to the U.S. from Ireland, subject to availability.
This card requires good or better credit to qualify. If your FICO score is much below 700, or your personal credit history is limited, then you’ll likely have trouble being approved.
Pros & Cons
The Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card has some clear benefits along with a handful of notable downsides.
- Economy Companion Ticket with qualifying annual spend ($30,000)
- Priority boarding for you and any authorized users where available
- Expansive airline partner network
- Economy Companion Ticket requires high annual spend
- Potential for fuel surcharges on award travel
- Weak bonus categories
This card offers significant advantages when it comes to earning discounts on Aer Lingus flights, and using rewards on partner carriers.
- Earn an Economy Companion Ticket with qualifying spend. Each year that you use your card to make over $30,000 in purchases, you’ll earn an Economy Companion Ticket good for a significant discount on eligible airfare. This voucher’s exact amount varies depending on the actual face cost, fuel surcharge, taxes, fees, and other incidentals that aren’t covered by the fare waiver.
- Priority boarding when available. This normally isn’t a big deal, but sometimes having this benefit means the difference between having your carry-on bag checked (because the overhead bins are full), or getting to actually carry it on.
- Use rewards for partners. Iberia Avios points can be redeemed for flights on its OneWorld Alliance partners including American, Alaska, British Airways, Japan Airline and others. So this isn’t just a card for people who mainly fly on Aer Lingus.
There are a few downsides to this card, including bonuses for spending and costs for redeeming rewards.
- It’s hard to earn the Economy Companion Ticket. If you can’t reliably spend $30,000 in a calendar year, you’ll have trouble earning this benefit.
- Potential for fuel surcharges on award travel. Some Aer Lingus partners impose massive fuel surcharges on flights, reducing the net value of Avios points. British Airways is the biggest offender, but Iberia is notable for this practice as well.
- Few bonus categories. This card’s non-airfare bonus categories are thin. In fact, it only rewards hotel spending directly with the hotel.
How the Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card Stacks Up
The card’s closest competitor is probably the Iberia Visa Signature credit card. Here’s how the two cards compare:
|Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card||Iberia Visa Signature Card|
|Rewards Rate||Up to 3x points||Up to 3x points|
|0% Intro APR||None||None|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||None||None|
|Credit Needed||Good or better||Good or better|
With all due respect to the people who make them possible, the Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card and the Iberia Visa Signature Card are basically the same product. The main difference is which airline backs them (and where it flies, which is important).
Aer Lingus isn’t a household name in the United States like, say, United Airlines, but it does have something in common with its better-known alliance partner: a credit card that’s issued by Chase.
And it’s not a bad card, thanks for a potential free (or nearly so) fare for eligible traveling companions and priority boarding on flights where available. If you’re looking to save on travel to Europe, the Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card could be the spending aid you’ve been waiting for.