In this post I wanted to take a close look at the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card, which is one of the lesser-known Chase cards. The card is currently offering its best new member bonus since being introduced in the US market a few years ago. It’s a card that many people haven’t had before, and also one that potentially offers a lot of value, so I think it’s worth being aware of.
Let’s talk about everything you need to know about Aer Lingus’ US credit card.
Aer Lingus Credit Card Basics For September 2021
The cards have a lot of similarities. The major differences are that the cards each offer perks for travel on their respective airlines, and the cards also accrue different Avios currencies.
Earn 100,000 Aer Lingus Plus Avios
The Aer Lingus Card offers a welcome bonus of 100,000 Aer Lingus Avios. You can earn 100,000 bonus Avios after spending $5,000 within the first three months of account opening, which is a reasonable spending requirement for such a big bonus.
Personally I value Avios at ~1.3 cents each, so to me that bonus is worth up to $1,300, which is huge.
Aer Lingus Card $95 Annual Fee
The Aer Lingus Card has a $95 annual fee. This is not waived for the first year, and there’s no additional fee to add authorized users.
Aer Lingus Card Eligibility
The welcome bonus on the Aer Lingus Card isn’t available to those who currently have the card, or those who have received a new cardmember bonus on the card in the past 24 months.
However, you are eligible for this card if you’ve had the British Airways Visa Card or Iberia Visa Signature Card, so this is a great complement.
All Chase cards are also subjected to the 5/24 rule, whereby you likely won’t be approved if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months. It’s also worth being aware of Chase’s other general policies on card approvals.
Earning Avios With The Aer Lingus Credit Card
The Aer Lingus Card has no foreign transaction fees and offers contactless payment, but does the rewards structure actually warrant putting spending on the card? Generally I’d say no, but it does depend, as I’ll get into below.
3-5x Avios Per Dollar Spent On Flights
When paying with the Aer Lingus Card, for the first 12 months new cardmembers can earn 5x Avios per dollar spent on purchases with Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and LEVEL. After that, you’ll earn 3x Avios per dollar spent. This is a fairly good return on that spending, but there are other great credit cards for airfare purchases.
2-3x Avios Per Dollar Spent On Hotels
When paying with the Aer Lingus Card, for the first 12 months new cardmembers can earn 3x Avios per dollar spent on hotel accommodations when paid directly to the hotel. After that, you’ll earn 2x Avios per dollar spent. This applies across all hotel groups. That’s better than nothing, but there are better credit cards for hotel purchases.
1x Avios Per Dollar Spent On Other Purchases
For everyday spending, the Aer Lingus Card offers 1x Avios per dollar spent, which isn’t much to get excited about, as there are better credit cards for everyday spending. The exception is if you’re trying to reach $30,000 of spending, for reasons I’ll get into below.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
The Aer Lingus Card has no foreign transaction fees, so it’s potentially a great card to use for purchases abroad.
The Aer Lingus Card features contactless pay technology. This means you can pay using your card without even swiping it whenever you see the contactless pay symbol (in the age of coronavirus, this is something people may value more than in the past.
Aer Lingus Credit Card Purchase Protection
The Aer Lingus Card offers some solid purchase protection, as do many Visa Signature products. As always, make sure you check your cardmember agreement for all of the details, since there are terms & conditions.
What should you expect?
Secondary Car Rental Coverage
The Aer Lingus Card offers auto rental collision damage waiver coverage. Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card.
Coverage is provided for theft and collision damage for most cars in the US and abroad. Do note that in the US the coverage is secondary to your personal insurance, though.
Purchase & Extended Warranty Protection
The Aer Lingus Card offers some useful protection:
- Purchase protection on new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account
- Extended warranty protection, extending US manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of three years or less
Baggage Delay & Lost Luggage Reimbursement
The Aer Lingus Card offers baggage protection:
- Baggage delay insurance reimburses you up to $100 per day for three days for essential purchases when your bag is delayed by over six hours
- Lost luggage reimbursement reimburses you for up to $3,000 per passenger when you or your immediate family members’ checked or carry-on bags are damaged or lost by an airline
Aer Lingus Credit Card Benefits
In addition to the excellent welcome bonus, the main reason I would consider the Aer Lingus Card is because of the great perks that it offers. There are two main perks — one you get just for having the card, and the other you get by spending $30,000 on the card.
Here’s how those benefits work.
Priority Boarding On Aer Lingus Flights
Just for having the Aer Lingus Card you receive priority boarding on Aer Lingus flights to & from the US:
- This is available to both the primary cardmember and authorized users
- To be eligible, cardmembers must show their valid Aer Lingus Visa at the gate prior to boarding
- This is only valid for travel on Aer Lingus flights, and not for travel on partner airlines
If priority boarding is something that you value, this perk is well worth being aware of.
Earn An Aer Lingus Economy Companion Ticket
There’s one major incentive to spend money on this card — the Aer Lingus Card offers an economy companion ticket when you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year.
How does this companion ticket voucher work?
- You earn the companion ticket based on spending $30,000 in a calendar year (eligible spending must post to the billing cycle before December 31)
- When you book a paid economy ticket on Aer Lingus, you can take a companion with you at no extra cost
- No taxes and fees apply for the companion ticket
- The companion ticket will come in the form of a voucher that will be emailed to an eligible member within four to six weeks of completing eligible spending
- To redeem the voucher, you need to email [email protected], and you’ll receive a response within 72 hours
- The primary cardmember must be one of the travelers
- Travel needs to be completed within 12 months of the date of issue, and the voucher has to be redeemed for a ticket at least 30 days in advance
- This is not valid for travel on any partner airlines
While this is better than nothing, personally I wouldn’t get too excited about this:
- There’s quite an opportunity cost to putting spending on an Aer Lingus Card, and spending $30,000 for an economy companion voucher is a lot
- While the cost of tickets does vary, often transatlantic flights can be had for $500 or so, and therefore the value isn’t that huge
- That being said, if you fly Aer Lingus transatlantic in economy with any frequency, this could still be worth it
How To Redeem Aer Lingus Avios
While a lot of people might be familiar with the British Airways Executive Club program, not as many people are probably familiar with the Aer Lingus AerClub program. As a matter of fact, it was only introduced several years ago. So let’s talk about what you need to know about the program.
Redeeming AerClub Avios On Aer Lingus
The best thing about AerClub Avios is the ability to redeem them for travel on Aer Lingus, which is one of my favorite airlines to fly transatlantic in business class.
As is the case with all Avios currencies, Aer Lingus has a distance-based award chart, so redemptions fall in different zones:
The most value you’ll get with Avios is for transatlantic redemptions, which fall into Zone 5 & Zone 6. How much should you expect to pay for reward flights? I think Zone 5 is the sweet spot:
- One-way economy would cost you 13,000 Avios off-peak and 20,000 Avios peak
- One-way business class would cost you 50,000 Avios off-peak and 60,000 Avios peak
- You can see the Aer Lingus peak and off-peak calendar here
One of the fantastic things about redeeming on Aer Lingus rather than British Airways is that the carrier-imposed surcharges are quite limited.
For example, an off-peak one-way award from New York to Dublin would cost you 13,000 Avios plus $97.11 in taxes and fees in economy, or 50,000 Avios plus $119.71 in taxes and fees. Both of those are great values.
Transfer Aer Lingus Avios To British Airways Avios
While there are some good uses of AerClub Avios for travel on Aer Lingus, if you’re looking for other redemptions the good news is that you can transfer these Avios at no cost.
You can transfer Avios between Aer Lingus, British Airways, and Iberia, as long as you have accounts open for at least 90 days, and the accounts have some sort of activity.
In other words, all the Avios you earn with this credit card could potentially be transferred to British Airways, which opens up a lot of great redemption opportunities.
Is The Aer Lingus Credit Card Worth It?
The Aer Lingus Card has a phenomenal welcome bonus, so this is a card that many people should consider, as we’ve never seen a bonus this good on the card.
The bonus after completing minimum spending could be enough for a roundtrip transatlantic Aer Lingus business class ticket, which is an exceptional value.
Personally, this isn’t a card I would use for everyday spending, since you can earn Avios through transferrable points currencies, in particular with American Express and Chase cards.
For some people there may be value beyond the sign-up bonus as well:
- If you fly Aer Lingus with any frequency, the priority boarding perk could be worthwhile
- Some people who fly Aer Lingus may find it worthwhile to spend $30,000 on the card for an economy companion ticket, though personally, that’s not how I would direct my credit card spending
Comparing The Aer Lingus & British Airways Visa
- You are eligible for both of these cards, so you can pick up one if you’ve had the other (or just get them both if you’ve had neither)
- They have the same annual fees, and spending bonus categories
- They have the same welcome bonuses (within their respective Avios currencies)
- You can transfer Avios between Aer Lingus and British Airways through the Avios website, so for all practical purposes the points currencies are the same
- The Aer Lingus Card offers priority boarding, while the British Airways Card offers a 10% discount on British Airways flights, as well as an award surcharge rebate; in fairness, Aer Lingus has much lower surcharges than British Airways, but I’d still say the British Airways Card wins here
- The Aer Lingus Card offers a companion voucher for a paid economy ticket after spending $30,000, while the British Airways Card offers a companion award ticket valid for any class of service after spending $30,000
Personally, I think the British Airways Card is more well-rounded, but anyone who has allegiance to Aer Lingus may prefer the perks offered by the co-branded card.
Aer Lingus Credit Card Summary
The Aer Lingus Credit Card is one of the lesser-known Chase credit cards, though it’s one worth considering. The card has a big welcome bonus of 100,000 Avios, all with a reasonable spending requirement. You’re eligible for the Aer Lingus Card even if you’ve had the co-branded credit cards of British Airways and Iberia (even though they all earn Avios).
Some will find the long-term benefits of this card to be worthwhile — the Aer Lingus Card offers priority boarding on Aer Lingus flights, and if you spend $30,000 on the card in a year you get a companion voucher for a paid ticket in economy.
Aer Lingus Avios are very useful for transatlantic business class travel on Aer Lingus, given the excellent onboard product, low award costs, and reasonable fees. If you’re looking for redemptions beyond that, you can transfer Avios to either British Airways or Iberia.
Personally, this is one of the next cards that I plan on applying for.