British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus are part of the International Airlines Group and use a miles currency called Avios. Each of these airlines has their own Chase co-branded personal credit card with perks specific to each airline: the British Airways Visa Signature Card, the Iberia Visa Signature Card, and the Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card. While the value of each card's benefits may vary, the generous sign-up bonuses make these cards worth a look. Although each of British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus have their own separate award charts, you can transfer Avios from one airline to the other. This means each airline presents valuable uses for their Avios and sweet spots, making Avios a currency worth having on hand. We'll take a look at the commonalities between the cards and the differences below.
Each of the three Avios-earning cards currently offer a 100,000-point sign-up bonus that is split in two tranches. You can earn 75,000 Avios after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, and an additional 25,000 Avios after spending $20,000 in the first 12 months.
Each of the three cards has a $95 annual fee. Like other Chase cards, each of these cards is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule.
All three Avios cards share the same earning structure.
- 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus flight purchases
- 2 Avios for every $1 spent on hotel accommodations booked directly with the hotel
- 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases
Each of the cards offers a different set of benefits tied to its respective airline.
- Up to 3 reward flight statement credits, worth up to $600 total (statement credits are per reward flight booking, with economy and premium economy rewards receiving a $100 statement credit, and business and first class rewards receiving a $200 statement credit)
- 10% discount on British Airways flights
- Travel Together/Companion Ticket (each calendar year after spending $30,000)
- 10% discount on Iberia flights
- $1,000 Airfare Discount Voucher (for two tickets) (each calendar year after spending $30,000)
- Priority Boarding for you and any authorized users
- Economy Companion Ticket (each calendar year after spending $30,000), valid for 12 months
Each card also includes the following benefits:
- Baggage delay reimbursement for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over 6 hours by passenger carrier up to $100 a day for 3 days
- Lost luggage reimbursement: if you or an immediate family member check or carry-on luggage that is damaged or lost by the carrier, you're covered up to $3,000 per passenger
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
After stacking all three cards against each other, British Airways looks to be the best of the bunch. The British Airways card offers some relief from BA's egregious taxes/surcharges on award tickets with the card's 3 reward flight statement credits. The statement credits are worth up to $600. However, we would much prefer a full $600 credit on taxes/surcharges without breaking the benefit into $100/200 increments. Also, British Airways cardholders can use Avios to pay for taxes/surcharges on redemptions as well.
Iberia's card is a close second, but could easily be the most valuable depending on your travel habits. The $1,000 discount voucher looks nice, but it only applies to the base fare. Couple that with the fact that you can't use this for a single ticket (it has to be for a pair of tickets), and it quickly becomes harder to use.
The Aer Lingus card offers the least valuable benefits and should only really be considered if you already hold the other two cards.
Unfortunately, almost all of the benefits look a lot better on the surface than they actually are. The companion ticket vouchers and 10% discount benefits on each card come with lots of conditions for use. The complexity of the benefits really diminishes their value. For example, the Aer Lingus card‘s companion ticket is valid for 12 months and you must book the trip 30 days before departure. It's critical to read and understand the terms of the benefits if they are influencing your decision to apply for any of these cards. It's easy to get lured by some of these benefits, but they are so specific that most won't get much or any use out of them.
The earn rate on these cards are also pretty weak. Since these airlines are all transfer partners of either Chase, American Express, or both, you can earn more with other cards and transfer as needed. As always, we at ToP highly recommend earning transferable currencies over specific airline miles in most cases.
Ultimately, these cards make the most sense for people who fly one of these particular airlines. If you often book British Airways awards, the credits towards taxes/surcharges could easily justify keeping this card. Same with the Iberia card, and even the Aer Lingus card.
Despite these cards not getting the attention some of the more popular Chase cards, they definitely can be valuable. If you often fly any of the airlines, then it's worth seeing if these cards may save you some money.
What is your take on each of the three Chase co-branded IAG cards? Come share your thoughts in our Facebook group!