There are three credit cards in the United States that earn Avios, which is the points currency of International Airline Group (IAG) carriers. These three cards include the:
- Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card (review)
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card (review)
- Iberia Visa Signature® Card (review)
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.
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:
- The Aer Lingus Card earns Aer Lingus AerClub Avios
- The British Airways Card earns British Airways Executive Club Avios
- The Iberia Card earns Iberia Plus 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.
What all three Avios credit cards have in common
All three credit cards earning Avios have a lot in common, including:
- A welcome bonus of up to 100,000 Avios (Earn 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening and an additional 25,000 Avios after spending $20,000 within the first 12 months of account opening)
- A $95 annual fee
- 3x Avios for purchases with British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and LEVEL
- 2x Avios on hotel accommodations when you purchase directly with a hotel
- 1x Avios on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- Travel and purchase protection
All of these cards are considered separate products, so you’re potentially eligible for each card (including the welcome bonuses). Just keep in mind Chase’s standard credit card application rules, including the 5/24 rule.
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
Let’s take a look at how those benefits 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 United States
- 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
Advantages of the British Airways Visa
- Just for having the card you receive a 10% discount on paid British Airways flights
- Just for having the card you receive up to $600 per year in reward flight statement credits toward carrier-imposed surcharges
- For spending $30,000 on the card in a year you receive a British Airways companion ticket, whereby you can take a companion with you in any class of service when redeeming Avios, and you just have to pay the taxes and carrier-imposed surcharges for them
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
- 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
Which Avios credit card should you apply for?
Given that Avios points can be transferred between the various programs, and given that all three cards have have the same bonus of up to 100,000 Avios, I’d recommend choosing the card based on the perks that you value most. Everyone will have a different take as to which of the above are most valuable based on which airline they’re loyal to or most likely to fly with.
Personally, I’d rank the card perks as follows:
- 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)
- 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
- The Aer Lingus Card offers the weakest perks, in my opinion, both for having the card (priority boarding to & from the United States) and for spending $30,000 on the card (an economy companion voucher for a paid ticket)
As you consider which cards to apply for, remember 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. That could be another deciding factor between these cards.
Which Avios credit card product do you value most?