Full Review of Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card
Excellent one-time offer
Annual companion pass for high spenders
Relatively few Aer Lingus benefits
- Exceptional One-Time Offer: Provided you can meet its requirements, this card’s twin opportunities to earn bonus Avios during the first year of card ownership together provide one of the most valuable bonuses out there, worth an estimated $2,100 when used for flights based on our estimation of the average value of Avios of 2.1 cents each when redeemed for travel on Aer Lingus, British Airways or Iberia Airlines.First, you earn 50,000 Avios bonus points if you spend $3,000 within the first three months after opening an account. We value this initial bonus at $1,050 when redeemed for flights. You can earn a further 50,000 bonus Avios if you charge an additional $17,000 to the card during the first 12 months, which adds an extra $1,050 in value to spend on flights.
- Annual Companion Pass for High Spenders: Cardholders whose spending on the card reaches $30,000 within a year receive another major bonus: a voucher for a companion ticket that can be redeemed for a round-trip economy ticket between the U.S. and Ireland. That's a valuable extra, considering that a round-trip economy flight on Aer Lingus from New York to Ireland can cost $500 or more—and that Aer Lingus also takes care of the taxes and fees, which some such offers make the responsibility of the cardholder. The caveat, of course, is that you must pay for a ticket to accompany your companion; the rules do not allow you to redeem rewards to get it. And you and a companion must want to go to Ireland from the U.S.—and fairly soon, since the pass expires 12 months after it is issued.
- Relatively Few Aer Lingus Benefits: The Aer Lingus Signature Visa entitles the cardholder and other authorized card users to free priority boarding on Aer Lingus flights. But there’s little else in the way of carrier benefits. Competing cards, like the AAdvantage Citi Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, offer such extras as additional free checked bags and discounts on in-flight purchases.
This Card is Best For
Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
Flies often for business or leisure
Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequently
The Aer Lingus Signature Visa is most beneficial, of course, to those who travel often to Ireland, and favor Aer Lingus over other airlines when they do so. But you needn’t travel constantly to the Emerald Isle for this card to pay off. It could also be a worthwhile acquisition if you also plan to travel elsewhere with British Airways, LEVEL, and Iberia, all of which are Aer Lingus partners who use the same Avios rewards currency (American Airlines also has award availability through the Avios platform, though you can’t book travel directly with American with your Avios). You receive the same reward of 3-points-per-dollar spent when buying from them as when buying an Aer Lingus ticket, and Avios earned on those other carriers can be used interchangeably among them all.
So you might, for example, want to acquire the Aer Lingus Signature Visa and spend the required $20,000 over the first year that’s required to earn its huge 100,000-Avios bonus. You could then use those points, worth up to $2,000, plus others you earn from the card’s spending, directly with any Avios partner to fly almost anywhere in the world.After that initial year, you could continue to break even on the Aer Lingus Signature Visa $95 annual fee by spending at least $1,600 or so per year on flights purchased through Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, or LEVEL. Or you could spend just $500 on flight purchases, supplemented by $1,000 on hotels and $1,750 on miscellaneous purchases.
Aer Lingus Signature Visa One-Time Offer
You'll receive 50,000 bonus Avios after making $3,000 in purchases on this card within the first three months of opening an account. Spending another $17,000 within the first 12 months of account opening will earn you an additional 50,000 bonus Avios. We value this bonus offer at $2,000 when redeemed for domestic flight purchases. That’s a significant bonus that can justify the annual fee of this card for many years.
This is an excellent bonus offer, even if you can’t spend the additional $17,000 required to earn the second bonus of 50,000 Avios. The 50,000 bonus Avios you'd earn for spending $3,000 within the first three months still represents a 30% return on the card’s initial spending, and that's after the $95 annual fee is deducted from the value of the benefit.
It takes six to eight weeks after you qualify for the Avios bonus to post to your account.
Rewards Earning Details
Cardholders earn 3 Avios per dollar spent on flights booked directly with Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and LEVEL. You'll earn 2 Avios points for each dollar spent on hotel stays booked directly with a hotel. All other purchases earn 1 Avios per dollar.
Any Avios points you earn during a given billing cycle are automatically transferred after the end of the cycle to the Aer Lingus AerClub program. That means you’ll need to be a member of the AerClub program in order to receive and use awards.
Rewards Redemption Details
You have multiple options for redeeming Avios, including booking rewards flights, hotel stays, rental cars, and various activities and experiences.
As with most rewards currencies, though, Avios are worth the most when redeemed for air travel. We value each Avios at 2.1 cents each when used to book travel with Aer Lingus and its air partners.
AerClub members can transfer Avios to the British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus programs. Both of those airlines are part of the Oneworld alliance, which means you can redeem the Avios you earn for flights on numerous airlines.
To transfer Avios between accounts, you'll first need to log into your account on Avios.com and combine your Avios.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Getting the most value from this card begins with, if at all possible, spending enough in the first year you own it to qualify for both of its one-time offers. Spending at least $3,000 within the first three months of account opening to earn your first 50,000 bonus Avios should be little problem for most cardholders. Charging an additional $17,000, or $20,000 total, within a year will be more challenging, but it rewards you with an additional 50,000 bonus Avios, for a combined total of 100,000 over a 12-month period.
Next, be strategic about earning Avios. Make sure to use the card for all air purchases, booking directly with Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and LEVEL to earn the best rate of 3 Avios per dollar spent. Hotel stays, too, should be made directly with hotels, rather than through third-party sites such as Expedia and Trivago, to earn 2 Avios per dollar. (If you see a lower rate on an aggregator site than on the hotel-chain website, some chains will match that lower price if you ask them to do so.)
Finally, budget permitting, and assuming that traveling to Ireland with a companion interests you, spend the average $2,500 per month over a year that’s required to earn the annual companion pass. Even though flying to Ireland to the U.S. is inexpensive as international travel goes, this bonus is still worth hundreds of dollars.
Here’s a specific example of what you might make in rewards with the Aer Lingus Signature Visa. Let's say you fly once per quarter from the U.S. to Ireland, spending an average of $500 per round-trip flight. Let's further assume you spend two nights per quarter in a hotel at a total cost of $300.
Overall, you'd earn 8,400 Avios: 6,000 from buying four $500 tickets, each earning 3 Avios per dollar spent, and 2,400 from charging eight hotel nights at $150 apiece, with 2 Avios earned per dollar spent. In all, we estimate the 8,400 Avios would be worth $176 when redeemed for Aer Lingus flights.
This scenario assumes a more frequent traveler who takes two $500 round-trip flights per quarter and stays in a hotel two nights per trip, at a cost of $150 per night. We also assume you spend an additional $1,100 per month on the card, including expenses for food, entertainment, clothing, and more.
Overall, you'd earn 30,000 Avios on this annual spending: 12,000 from buying eight $500 tickets, each earning 3 Avios per dollar spent; 4,800 from charging sixteen hotel nights at $150 apiece, with 2 Avios earned per dollar spent; and 13,200 from 12 times $1,100 in miscellaneous spending, which earns 1 Avios per dollar spent. In all, we estimate the 30,000 Avios would be worth $630 when redeemed for Aer Lingus flights.
Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card’s Outstanding Benefits
- Companion ticket for $30,000 in annual spending
- Priority boarding
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Contactless pay
- Auto collision coverage (secondary to your own policy)
- Extended warranties
- Baggage delay insurance
- Purchase protection
- No foreign transaction fees
Chase, which issues the Aer Lingus Visa Signature, is tied for third in J.D. Power's 2019 credit-card customer satisfaction survey, on a par with Capital One but behind Discover, which was in first place, and American Express, which ranked second.
Cardholders get a number of free features that are also standard with most other cards, including 24/7 access to a customer service specialist from anywhere in the world and a free credit tool, in this case called Credit Journey, that automatically alerts you of potential fraud. There’s also a free credit score with the card.
Customers can use Chase’s self-service toolkit on its website to perform tasks like replacing a card, adding authorized users, paying credit card bills, signing up for automatic payments, receiving account alerts, verifying their card, and setting up travel notifications.
Chase’s online customer service information for credit cards indicates no email or chat options for customer service, only assistance by phone or physical mail. The customer service call center is available 24/7 at 800-432-3117. Customers can also message Chase on Twitter at @ChaseSupport.
Credit cards from Chase, which issues this card, have a number of built-in security features that are fairly standard in the industry. Cardholders get 24/7 fraud monitoring and alerts on unusual activity on the card account. If your card is lost or stolen, it will be replaced with a new card within three to five business days.
This card also comes with contactless pay, a feature that allows you to pay simply by tapping your card at any merchant where you see the contactless symbol.
The Aer Lingus Signature Visa offers strong rewards, and comes with an outstanding one-time offer worth an estimated $2,000 when used for flights on Aer Lingus and its partners, including British Airways and Iberia. It does, though, require relatively heavy spending to receive the card’s main ongoing benefit—the annual companion pass, which is restricted to use on a return trip between the U.S, and Ireland.
Before applying for this card, though, consider that the British Airways Visa Signature is likely to be a better option. It, too, has a $95 annual fee, offers 3 Avios per dollar on flights, and has the same 100,000-Avios bonus offer as the Aer Lingus Signature Visa. It also allows you to earn an annual companion pass after spending $30,000, but its voucher is good for two years from the date of issue, not one as with the Aer Lingus Signature Visa. It also allows you to travel from the U.S. to any destination to which British Airways flies, not just to and from Ireland.
Travelers who don't spend heavily and aren't committed to Aer Lingus and its partners may get more use out of a general travel card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card, for example, has a $95 annual fee and offers 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and restaurant dining. It has a 60,000-bonus point offer and Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred on a 1:1 basis to travel partners, including Aer Lingus.