Which US Avios Credit Card Should You Apply For?

Filed Under: Aer Lingus, British Airways
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There are three credit cards in the US that earn Avios, which is the points currency of International Airline Group (IAG) carriers. These three cards include the:

You might assume that there are lots of differences between the cards since they’re all associated with different airlines. However, the similarities between these cards outnumber the differences.

Which credit card is the best fit for your needs?

Why all Avios points currencies are the same

As mentioned above, all three of these cards earn Avios, though they earn different “flavors” of Avios:

While these are all separate frequent flyer programs, you can transfer Avios between all three programs for free, assuming your frequent flyer accounts have been open for at least 90 days.

Therefore when deciding between these cards, I wouldn’t be concerned about which specific program you’re earning Avios with, since you can freely transfer Avios between the programs.

You can transfer Avios between all three programs at no cost

What all three Avios credit cards have in common

All three credit cards have a lot in common, including:

  • A welcome bonus of up to 100,000 Avios
  • A $95 annual fee
  • 3x Avios for purchases with IAG airlines, 2x Avios on hotel accommodations, and 1x Avios on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Travel and purchase protection

All three Avios cards offer welcome bonuses of up to 100K Avios

What’s different about the three Avios credit cards

Most airline credit cards offer travel perks, which is one of the main reasons you’ll want to hold onto these cards. Each of these three credit cards has travel perks tailored to the particular airline:

  • Each card has at least one benefit that you receive just for having the card, with no spending requirement
  • Each card has one benefit that you receive if you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year

How do those perks compare?

Advantages of the Aer Lingus Visa

The Aer Lingus Card offers the following travel perks:

  • Just for having the card you receive priority boarding on Aer Lingus flights to & from the US
  • For spending $30,000 on the card in a year you receive an Aer Lingus economy companion ticket, whereby you can take a companion with you at no additional cost when you book one paid economy ticket

Complete review of the Aer Lingus Card.

Receive priority boarding on Aer Lingus flights

Advantages of the British Airways Visa

The British Airways Card offers the following travel perks:

Complete review of the British Airways Card.

Earn a companion voucher that can be used for first-class

Advantages of the Iberia Visa

The Iberia Card offers the following travel perks:

  • Just for having the card you receive a 10% discount on paid Iberia flights
  • Just for having the card you receive up to $600 per year in reward flight statement credits towards carrier-imposed surcharges
  • For spending $30,000 on the card in a year you receive a $1,000 Iberia flight discount voucher, which can be applied when booking two tickets on the same flight in the same class of service

Complete review of the Iberia Card.

Earn a $1,000 Iberia flight discount voucher

Which Avios credit card should you apply for?

Given that Avios points can be transferred between the various programs, I’d recommend choosing the card based on which perks you value most. Everyone will have a different take as to which of the above perks are most valuable based on which airline they’re loyal to.

Personally I’d rank the card perks as follows:

  1. The British Airways Card offers the most robust perks just for having the card (10% off paid flights and up to $600 in award rebates), and also offers the most valuable reward for spending $30,000 on the card (the British Airways Travel Together Ticket)
  2. The Iberia Card offers the second-best perks just for having the card (10% off paid flights), and the reward for spending $30,000 on the card (a $1,000 Iberia discount voucher) can be valuable as well
  3. The Aer Lingus Card offers the weakest perks, in my opinion, both for having the card (priority boarding to & from the US) and for spending $30,000 on the card (an economy companion voucher for a paid ticket)

Do keep in mind that you’re potentially eligible for all of these cards. For example, I already have the British Airways Card, and I plan on picking up either the Aer Lingus Card or Iberia Card soon. That could be another deciding factor between these cards.

Which Avios credit card product do you value most?

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Comments
  1. Can benefits from cards be combined for same ticket? If get BA and Iberia and put $30k on each, can I use the $1000 voucher and $600 credit toward the surcharges on the award flight booked with the companion ticket?

  2. Under “Advantages of the Iberia Visa” you list the $600 carrier surcharge credit but you don’t when you compare all three cards under “Which Avios credit card should you apply for?” That could make a difference when comparing the two cards, depending on how one uses travel together ticket (BA) or the $1000 credit (IB). The $600 credit for IB is not listed in the link you post for that card.

  3. One major advantage of the BA card is that there is a no-annual-fee version available for downgrading in the future, while there appear to be no similar options for the other two, as far as I am aware.

  4. @Lucky – I got the British Airways Avios card through your link a couple years ago (I mainly use it just as my everyday card while traveling abroad), but I did just get targeted for 7x Avios on dining through the end of September.

    I wouldn’t have even known to check if I hadn’t seen a note about it on another blog. May be worth a quick article so others who have the card but don’t use it regularly can check to see if they were targeted as well! 7x is quite a return in the dining category.

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