Annual fees can make or break a credit card. While some credit cards come with enough perks or points to easily outweigh the cost of the annual fee, others may be more difficult to break even on. The most important thing when deciding if a credit card with an annual fee is right for you is to make sure your spending habits align with the benefits of the card you choose.
The Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card has a $95 annual fee but comes with a few sizable benefits to compensate for that cost, provided you have the travel needs and spending habits required to earn those benefits. Here’s a look at the key elements of the card to decide whether it’s worth its annual fee.
After you spend $30,000 in a calendar year on the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card, you’ll earn a companion ticket good for a free economy-class flight between the U.S. and Ireland for anyone you want to bring along — spouse, child, golf buddy, or any friend or family member
Whomever you choose as your travel companion, their ticket will be entirely free. Simply book your own economy class ticket from the U.S. to Ireland, then contact [email protected] at least 30 days prior to flying to lock in your free companion ticket.
Even though one-way tickets from Boston to Dublin can be found in the low $200s, the companion ticket more than makes up for the $95 annual fee. Just remember you’ll need to spend $30,000 on the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card before you get that free companion ticket.
For the frequent business traveler to Ireland, priority boarding can be a huge perk to help you settle in and get ready to fly in comfort. With the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card, simply show your card at the boarding gate and receive priority boarding. For travelers who value being among the first to board a plane, this perk represents real value that could make the annual fee worthwhile.
» Learn more: How to choose a travel credit card
A credit card welcome bonus can usually offset the first year’s annual fee on any credit card. The Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card offers a sizable welcome bonus to attract new card holders: 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..
These welcome bonuses give you an impressive 100,000 bonus points, and the $20,000 spend will put you two-thirds of the way toward your free companion ticket.
How much can you fly on 100,000 Avios? Redemptions for one-way economy flights on Aer Lingus start at 4,000 Avios points during off-peak times. For routes from North America to Ireland, off-peak economy rewards start at just 13,000 Avios points.
The details below lay out the Avios points redemption rates for popular North America routes to Dublin and Shannon. The 100,000 Bonus Avios, paired with the Avios points you’d earn with your spending, would get you over four round-trip, off-peak trips to Ireland in economy class. That’s certainly worth $95.
Zone 5: From Dublin (to nine North American cities) or Shannon (to Boston or New York):
Off-Peak Economy 13,000 miles.
Off-Peak Business 50,000 miles.
Peak Economy 20,000 miles.
Peak Business 60,000 miles.
Zone 6: From Dublin to L.A., Miami, Orlando, San Francisco or Seattle:
Off-Peak Economy 16,250 miles.
Off-Peak Business 62,500 miles.
Peak Economy 25,000 miles.
Peak Business 75,000 miles.
» Learn more: How much are points and miles from these programs worth?
Rake in the Avios points
The Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card card lets you earn Avios points quickly. You’ll earn 5 Avios per $1 spent on purchases with Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and LEVEL within your first 12 months from account opening, and thereafter earn 3 Avios. On hotel accomodations purchased directly with the hotel, you'll earn 3 Avios per $1 spent within you first 12 months from account opening and 2 Avios thereafter, making this a great card for the frequent business traveler. Finally, you’ll receive 1 Avios point per dollar on all other purchases.
Even if you’re only using your Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card for non-travel-related purchases, if you are spending enough to reach the $30,000 required to earn your companion ticket, you’ll also earn at least 30,000 Avios points. These points are a good way to compensate for the $95 annual fee.
The bottom line
The Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card comes with enough benefits to make the $95 annual fee worthwhile, but make sure you will spend enough to meet the requirements for those benefits.
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