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

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

The Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card has a lot to offer high spending travelers — particularly regular travelers to Ireland. But for those who don't frequent the Emerald Isle, other travel cards may offer more value.

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Pros

  • Lots of Aer Lingus partner airlines
  • Solid rewards rates
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free companion ticket from the U.S. to Ireland when you spend $30,000 on your card each year
  • Priority boarding on Aer Lingus flights from the U.S.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Main card perks are mostly useful for frequent travelers to Ireland
  • Lacks a significant amount of additional travel perks
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Quick facts

  • Sign-up bonus: 100,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • $95 annual fee
  • APR of 15.99%-22.99%
  • 5 Avios per $1 spent on Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and LEVEL purchases in your first year of holding the account, thereafter 3 Avios. Earn 3 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations purchased directly with the hotel in your first year of holding the account, thereafter 2 Avios. Earn 1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Earn a free companion ticket on flights from the U.S. to Ireland when you spend $30,000 on your card each year
  • Priority boarding on Aer Lingus flights from the U.S.

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

The Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card can be a great credit card for frequent Aer Lingus flyers and those who often travel to Ireland from the United States. If you don't fall into one of these two categories, however, you're likely to get more value out of another card.

If you visit Ireland regularly or often fly Aer Lingus, this card comes with a multitude of benefits that you may find useful. The card's hefty sign-up bonus can make up for its $95 annual fee many times over. Another nice feature of this card is that it allows you to earn 5X Avios on a variety of airlines in the first year you have the card, including Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and LEVEL. This gives cardmembers a bit more flexibility when it comes to earning rewards, so you're not limited solely to Aer Lingus purchases.

However, the bonus earnings are still limited to purchases on specific airlines and hotels, most of which aren't typically frequented enough by Americans to reach the spending requirement for the bonus. If you don't fly to Ireland at least once a year and don't regularly buy flights on the previously mentioned airlines, you may be better off choosing a different card.

Who is the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card best for?

  • The Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card is best for those who often fly Aer Lingus, and particularly for those who travel frequently to Ireland from the U.S. If you fall into these categories, this card has a lot to offer, including airline perks like priority boarding.
  • Those who spend at least $30,000 on their Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card each year will earn an annual economy companion ticket on a round trip flight from the U.S. to Ireland. The value of the companion fare largely outweighs the cost of the annual fee, so if you're someone who travels to Ireland at least once a year, this card can be hugely beneficial.
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Sign-up bonus

The short-term rewards of the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card are almost unmatched among airline credit cards:

100,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening

It's important to note that while this is a very generous sign-up bonus, the amount you’d need to spend on your card to receive the bonus points is quite high. If you're unable to spend enough on your card to get the sign-up bonus points, then the high amount of points being offered won't matter.

Restrictions: In order to be eligible for the sign-up bonus, you have to make purchases totaling $5,000 or more during the first 3 months from account opening. Previous holders of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this card within the last 24 months will not qualify for this sign-up bonus.

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Earning Avios

Avios are the Aer Lingus version of frequent flyer miles which it shares with British Airways, Iberia and LEVEL.

The Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card allows you to 5 Avios per $1 spent on Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and LEVEL purchases in your first year of holding the account, thereafter 3 Avios. Earn 3 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations purchased directly with the hotel in your first year of holding the account, thereafter 2 Avios. Earn 1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases

Even after your first year of card membership, this is still a solid earning rate compared with other airline credit cards in terms of earning points on flight purchases. That said, while you have a bit of flexibility earning points from several different airlines, if you don't frequently purchase flights on those specific airlines (many of which are based in Europe), then this earning rate may not offer you very much value.

For example, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card only offers 2X miles on airline purchases made directly with Delta, but it's possible that American travelers will get more value from a card that rewards flying with an American-based airline. (It also offers 2X miles on a variety of other purchases, including restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases.) In order to choose the best credit card for you, you'll need to consider how often you plan to use your card and for which types of purchases.

Redeeming Avios

Avios earned with the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card will be added to your AerClub account (Aer Lingus’ rewards program), and can be used to book flights with Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and more on avios.com.

In order to calculate how many Avios you'll need for a particular route, you'll need to know that the amount of Avios required per rewards flight is based on three things:

  • The route (distance in miles)
  • The date of your flight (peak or off-peak)
  • The fare class (economy or business)

The mileage for any given route is separated into zones 1 through 6 — the shortest distances are in Zone 1, with the farthest ones in zone 6. As an example, a regular economy seat on a flight from Dublin to Los Angeles during off-peak season will cost about 16,250 Avios. However, other overseas routes of the same variety — take Dublin to Chicago, for instance — will cost far fewer Avios, coming in at about 13,000 Avios. Note that a flight's taxes, fees or carrier charges can't be covered with Avios, so those charges would need to be paid for separately.

The chart below will give you a better idea of how many Avios these types of routes will cost, based on a departure location in Ireland.

aerclub

Transferring Avios

AerClub members also have the ability to transfer their Avios to Aer Lingus partner airlines Iberia and British Airways. 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:

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

Fiji Airways is a oneworld connect partner, so it too offers benefits on its flights to frequent flyers from other oneworld airlines.

Annual companion pass

The annual companion fare ticket is the most valuable benefit the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card offers, and is 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 benefit carries tremendous value considering these flights can cost more than $1,000. On the plus side, the companion fare doesn’t require taxes or fees — a rare feature for a companion pass.

However it does come with other restrictions:

  • It only applies to economy flights
  • It expires after 12 months
  • You have to book the flight at least 30 days in advance
  • All travel must originate in and return to the U.S. and is only valid on flights between the U.S. and Ireland.

As such, people who don't frequently fly to Ireland may not have much use for this pass.

Priority boarding

With the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card, you’re 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 there 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.

Other benefits

Not charging foreign transaction fees is an essential included benefit for international credit cards. This can save you tons of money on fees over the course of any trip abroad.

The Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card offers contactless payment, which means you can simply tap your card when you see the contactless symbol at checkout. Contactless payment is quick, easy and secure.

Drawbacks

  • $95 annual fee: The Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card charges a $95 annual fee. Though some of the card perks can easily counteract this fee, some of the benefits are only really useful if you plan to spend a lot on your credit card and travel often to Ireland from the U.S.
  • Lacks many additional travel perks: There are some travel benefits the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card lacks, keeping it from 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.
  • Travel benefits are only useful for frequent travelers to Ireland: While the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card does come with some impressive benefits — namely the huge sign-up bonus and the companion pass — there are limitations on their value. While the sign-up bonus is valuable when redeemed for flights on Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia, the companion pass is only useful for those who travel annually from the U.S. to Ireland on Aer Lingus.

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

We always recommend comparing credit cards when shopping for a new card. This will help you figure out what's available, as opposed to just looking at a card's features without any context. Below, we have compared the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card to three other similar cards.

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

Of the two, the Iberia Visa Signature® Card is the better card if you want to earn Avios but don't plan on traveling to Ireland every year. With Iberia, you'll earn an annual $1,000 discount voucher for spending $30,000 per year. While the value of this benefit is capped at $1,000, it’s not restricted to flights to Ireland like the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card's companion fare. Plus, 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:

  • 5 Avios for every $1 spent on flight purchases with British Airways and Aer Lingus within the first 12 months from account opening, thereafter earn 3 Avios. Earn 3 Avios for every $1 spent on hotel accommodations booked directly with the hotel within the first 12 months from account opening, thereafter earn 2 Avios. Earn 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 100,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening

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 offers simpler, more flexible redemption options than the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card. With this card you'll earn unlimited 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. Rewards don't expire for the life of the account.

One of the most valuable ways to redeem your rewards with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is to apply your points to your past travel purchases with the Capital One Purchase Eraser, which lets you get cash back as a statement credit. Redeeming this way gives your rewards a fixed value of 1 cent per mile. In contrast, when redeeming Aer Lingus Avios, you’ll 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 for those who prefer not to put in too much effort in order to maximize their rewards.

Highlights:

  • Earn 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel

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 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases.
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Pay an annual fee of $95.

Is the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card worth it?

Yes, the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card can be worth it, depending on how often you fly Aer Lingus and whether or not you travel regularly to Ireland from the U.S. If you don't usually fly on Aer Lingus but regularly travel abroad (though not specifically to Ireland), you might consider choosing another travel card that has more flexible benefits.

Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card FAQs

Is the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card worth it?

The Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card is completely worth it if you fly Aer Lingus to Ireland from the United States at least once per year. If you aren't a frequent Aer Lingus flyer or visitor to Ireland, this card may not be worth it for you.

Is Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card a good card?

Yes, the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card is a good card. It comes with an enormous welcome bonus, plenty of transfer partners, no foreign transaction fees and some extra perks for frequent Aer Lingus fliers and those who visit Ireland annually.

Is Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card hard to get?

In order to be approved for the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card, you’ll need a credit score of Excellent/Good, and you'll also need to be able to afford the $95 annual fee. If either of these may be challenging for you, then the Aer Lingus Visa Signature could be hard to get.

What credit score do you need to get a Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card?

In order to get the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card, you'll need a Excellent/Good credit score.

Is Aer Lingus a good airline?

Yes, according to a number of Aer Lingus reviews, Aer Lingus is considered to be a good airline. With a multitude of international and overseas flights available and a valuable rewards program, Aer Lingus is comparable to other major international airlines.

The information related to Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® and Iberia Visa Signature® Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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).