Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card Review: A Great Airline Card for Big Spenders

Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card Review: A Great Airline Card for Big Spenders

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The information related to the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. This offer and/or promotion may have since changed, expired, or is no longer available.

While not for everyone, frequent Aer Lingus travelers can expect to get excellent value with the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card. This card features fantastic rewards for Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, OpenSkies and LEVEL purchases as well as some attractive bonuses and benefits—especially for big spenders who can spend at least $30,000 per year and earn the companion fare.

Review: Our Thoughts on the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card

The short-term rewards of the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card are almost unmatched among airline credit cards: Earn up to 100,000 Bonus Avios in your first year as a cardmember. 50,000 Bonus Avios after $3,000 spend within first 3 months plus 25,000 Bonus Avios after $10,000 spend within your first year. Plus a further 25,000 Bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening.* This is enough to cover the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card's $95 annual fee for almost 16 years.

The annual companion fare ticket is the most valuable benefit the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card offers, and it's worth much more than this card's annual fee. The companion fare—which cardholders can earn each year they make at least $30,000 in purchases—can be redeemed for a free ticket on Aer Lingus economy flights to Ireland originating from the U.S. This is tremendous value considering these flights can cost more than $1,000.

There are some travel benefits the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card lacks that keep it competing with some of the top airline credit cards. For example, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® offers free checked bags for up to four traveling companions as well as a 25% discount on in-flight purchases. These benefits are not usually the main draw of these cards, but they can still be very valuable.

Bottom Line:

The Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card is a good card, especially for those who can spend enough to earn its massive first-year spending bonus and annual companion fares. However those who don't fly to Ireland often (at least once per year) will likely get better value from a different travel card.

Benefits and Features

The main draw of the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card is that it allows cardholders to earn free flights for making purchases with their cards. Avios is the Aer Lingus version of a frequent flyer mile that it shares with British Airways and Iberia.

The Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card also features a number of first-year spending bonuses that can be extremely valuable for travelers who can meet the requirements. Earn up to 100,000 Bonus Avios in your first year as a cardmember. 50,000 Bonus Avios after $3,000 spend within first 3 months plus 25,000 Bonus Avios after $10,000 spend within your first year. Plus a further 25,000 Bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening.* We estimate this bonus is worth $750 when redeemed for Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia flights.

Redeeming Avios

Avios earned with the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card will be automatically added to your Aer Lingus AerClub account and can be used to book flights with Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and more on avios.com. We estimate that using your reward flights gets you a value of around 1.5 cents per Avios. Using this valuation, we estimate the rewards rate for this card to be between 1.5% and 4.5%.

Transferring Avios

AerClub members also have the ability to transfer their Avios to either their Iberia Plus or British Airways Executive Club accounts. This opens up a much greater pool of redemption options, as British Airways and Iberia are both part of the Oneworld® alliance. This means you can redeem your Avios for travel with the following airlines.

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

Avios transfers are usually immediate, and there is no limit to how many Avios you can transfer. However, you cannot transfer Avios to or from the Iberia Plus program within the first 90 days of opening an Iberia Plus account.

Annual Companion Pass

Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card cardholders who make at least $30,000 in purchases within a calendar year can earn a free companion ticket voucher. Companion tickets are one of the most prized benefits among airline cards, as they allow you a free ticket for a companion on a round-trip flight. However, the companion fare that Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card cardholders can earn is restricted to economy tickets on flights operated by Aer Lingus that originate in the U.S. and fly to Ireland. Because of these restrictions, some cardholders might have a hard time using this voucher.

Priority Boarding

With the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card, you are eligible for priority boarding on Aer Lingus-operated flights. However—similar to the companion pass—this benefit is restricted to flights departing from the U.S. and returning to the U.S. from Ireland. To receive this benefit, all you have to do is present your Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card at the gate prior to boarding.

How Does the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?

We always recommend comparing credit cards when you're shopping for one. This will help you figure out what's available as opposed to just looking at a card's features with no context. Below, we have compared the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card to three other cards.

Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card vs Iberia Visa Signature® Card

The Iberia Visa Signature® Card is the better card if you want to earn Avios but might not travel to Ireland every year. You'll earn a $1,000 discount voucher for spending $30,000 per year. While the value of this benefit is capped at $1,000, it is not restricted to flights to Ireland like the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card's companion fare. Additionally, the discount can be applied to any two same-flight, same-class tickets and isn't restricted to economy seats like the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card's companion fare.

Highlights:

  • 3 Avios for every $1 spent on Iberia purchases. 2 Avios for every $1 spent on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel. 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus earn an additional 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year of account opening. Plus earn an additional 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year of account opening.

The information related to the Iberia Visa Signature® Card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card vs Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is easier to use than the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card because it doesn't require extra effort to maximize mile value. This is because the miles earned with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card can be applied to past travel purchases for statement credits where they will have a constant value of 1 cent. In contrast, when redeeming Avios, you will get varying value depending on which flight you choose to redeem them on. For this reason, we recommend the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to those who aren't willing to put in effort to maximize their rewards.

Highlights:

  • Earn 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Review

Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is our favorite travel card because of its enormous range of redemption options. As part of the extensive Chase Ultimate Rewards program, you can transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to several airline and hotel programs, including United MileagePlus and Hyatt Gold Passport.

Highlights:

  • Earn 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn a $50 statement credit towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Pay an annual fee of $95.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Review

Bailey is a Research Analyst at ValuePenguin, covering insurance. He graduated from Occidental College with a B.A. in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science. Bailey's analysis of the insurance industry and driver behaviors has been featured by CNBC, the Houston Chronicle and the National Transportation Bureau Safety Board.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).