Update: The Aer Lingus credit card is no longer available. We’re leaving the following review up for educational purposes only.
Since the vast majority or Air Lingus flight routes are within Europe, not many Americans are even familiar with this carrier, let alone the fact that they have a US credit card offer. For the most part it’s only marketed to Americans who fly to/from Ireland.
Managed and issued by Barclay’s US subsidiary, Barclaycard, the Aer Lingus MasterCard is available without an annual fee.
Are the rewards worth it?
Here’s the credit card in a nutshell:
- 1 point per dollar on regular purchases.
- 2 points per dollar on Aer Lingus purchases.
- The signup bonus is 5,000 points, awarded after your first purchase or balance transfer. And if you carry a balance, the interest rate (as of the date of this review) is 15.99% or 24.99% and you do NOT get a 0% intro offer.
- No special benefits. Many airline credit cards give you perks when flying such as a free checked bag or priority boarding. Not the case with this one, you don’t get anything extra. Those points are the only purpose for having the card.
But how much are Air Lingus points/frequent flyer miles worth?
You can redeem 25,000 points for $200 off a transatlantic ticket or vacation package. A quick calculation reveals that each point in this scenario is worth just 8/10th of a penny.
With that math, it means you’re getting…
- 0.80% on regular purchases
- 1.60% on Aer Lingus purchases
- A signup bonus worth $40
Like they say, you get what you pay for. With no annual fee, it’s no surprise you’re getting such little value in return.
You will do better by going with a general travel rewards card. Not only can you earn high rewards elsewhere, but you can also get more benefits like no foreign transaction fees (you will pay 3% with the Aer Lingus card).
My favorite one in 2013 is the new Barclaycard Arrival MasterCard. You earn 2 miles per dollar spent and you can use those to pay for any travel purchase (including Aer Lingus flights) at a conversion of 1 mile = 1 cent.
That means you’re basically earning 2% back on your spending.
And it gets better. When you redeem the miles, 10% are given back to you to use again. That means your net rewards value is 2.2%.
The one appealing thing about the Aer Lingus credit card is that it has no annual fee. But if that’s what you’re after, your best bet is still going with a general travel rewards card. There are a couple on the market that have no annual fee and give a better rewards value than Aer Lingus.
Last updated April 4, 2014