The Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card credit card is an affordable choice for frequent travelers between the U.S. and Ireland. You can earn a generous welcome bonus and a companion ticket, plus enjoy plenty of other perks. To get the most from this card, you need to know how to maximize its best benefits.
Know the perks
For an annual fee of $95, the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card currently has the following welcome bonus opportunities and perks:
Welcome bonus: Earn up to 100,000 bonus Avios. 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 on your purchases within your first year of account opening.
5 Avios per $1 spent on purchases with Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and LEVEL within your first 12 months from account opening, thereafter 3 Avios.
3 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel within your first 12 months from account opening, thereafter 2 Avios.
1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Companion ticket: After spending $30,000 in one year, earn a companion ticket for flights between the U.S. and Ireland.
No foreign transaction fees.
Earn the full welcome bonus
While it’s not too tough to earn 50,000 bonus Avios by charging $3,000 to the card in the first three months, it’s harder to get the second batch of 50,000 bonus Avios because you need to charge $20,000 on the card in the first year. So strategize your spending for a year so you can get all 100,000 bonus Avios without incurring interest charges.
» Learn more: 10 ways to meet the minimum spend on your credit card
Fly business class
One-way economy flights on Aer Lingus from the U.S. start at 13,000 Avios points during off-peak times.
Below you will see the Avios points redemption rate between popular U.S. cities and Dublin or Shannon.
Aer Lingus Award Flights
Zone 5 (Dublin to 10 U.S. cities and Shannon to Boston or New York)
Zone 6 (Dublin to L.A., Miami, Orlando, San Francisco or Seattle)
If you’re looking for pure cost-per-point redemption value, you likely won't do better than redeeming your Avios for an Aer Lingus business class ticket.
Looking to head to Dublin from Boston for St. Patrick’s Day? A cheap round-trip economy ticket will cost you $397. However, those same flights in business class cost $3,711. Purchased with points, that economy flight would cost 26,000 Avios round trip (approximately 1.5 cents per Avios point). The business class flight comes in at 100,000 Avios points round trip (a 3.7 cents per point value).
Conversely, traveling from Boston to Dublin in economy during a peak time period will cost you $843 or 40,000 Avios points, meaning you get a value of 2.1 cents per Avios point. In business class, a round-trip award ticket is 120,000 Avios but the cash price is still about $3,711, making that redemption value about 3 cents per point.
Though the value of your points varies by route and date, Aer Lingus business class will usually give you the best per-point value and therefore the best use of your welcome bonus.
Plus, the Avios you earn and redeem with Aer Lingus are the same currency used by British Airways and Iberia Airlines. When you redeem your points at avios.com, you can book award flights not just on Aer Lingus but to almost anywhere British Airways or Iberia flies.
Get the most from bonus spending categories
The Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card offers only a few bonus categories. To maximize the value of this card, use it on flights purchased directly from Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and LEVEL. This will get you 3 Avios points for every dollar spent. Use your Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card to also pay for your hotel, and you can earn an additional 2 bonus Avios points per dollar.
Remember, because you have to spend $20,000 in the first year to get the full 100,000 bonus Avios points, you’ll have at least 120,000 Avios when you’re done. If some of that $20,000 was spent on hotels or flights, the rewards could be even greater.
Use your companion ticket well
After you spend $30,000 in a calendar year, you can bring a companion on your next trip for free. The companion ticket provides a voucher for a free economy ticket when you book your own economy ticket from the U.S. to Ireland, round trip. You must be present to use the companion ticket — in other words, you can’t send your two best friends on the flight without you.
Since the companion ticket has no black out dates, surcharges or restrictions, you get your best value when you use it in peak times when economy flights are most costly.
The best of the rest
No foreign transaction fees: Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees are fairly common; however, for a card specializing in international travel, that perk can’t be ignored.
Priority Boarding: Cardholders get priority boarding on Aer Lingus-operated flights. Simply show your credit card at the gate, and you’ll soon be relaxing on your flight. Anxious travelers and those who like a little extra time to settle in should make sure to use this benefit.
The bottom line
If you’re a frequent traveler between the U.S. and Ireland and especially if you’re a regular in Aer Lingus business class, this card is a great way to earn and maximize rewards. The value of the welcome bonus and companion ticket easily overrides the annual fee. However, if your journeys take you elsewhere or on other airlines, look at some of NerdWallet’s best travel credit cards to find one that best meets your travel needs.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card