Bank of Ireland and Aer Lingus have joined forces to launch the Aer Credit Card. This is the first consumer credit card in the Irish market which gives you certain perks when flying and also allows you to earn frequent flyer points.

These kinds of cards are quite popular in places such as Australia, the UK and USA. You can link the new Mastercard to your Aer Lingus AerClub account and accrue Avios points on all purchases.

Aer Credit Card from Bank of Ireland

Benefits start as soon as you have the card. People will receive two fast-track security passes, two priority boarding passes and two lounge access passes each year for use out of Dublin, Belfast, Shannon and Cork. Worldwide multi-trip travel insurance with winter sports cover is also included.

Earning Avios is simple also. Card holders earn 1 Avios for every €1 spent with Aer Lingus. All other spend will earn at a rate of 1 Avios for every €4 spent.

Free Flights With A €5,000 Spend

Aer Credit Card holders earn two free return flights on Aer Lingus when you spend €5,000 or more in a year. These are valid on European flights departing from Dublin, Belfast, Shannon and Cork.

It is important to note that taxes, fees and charges still must be paid for and seats are not guaranteed. There are black out dates such as weekends during summer (24 June to 31 August), all of Christmas (20 December to 6 January), midterm breaks, Easter, bank holiday weekends and Six Nations weekends.

Aer Lingus will release a minimum of two seats per flight for the free vouchers. This means if someone gets in before you, you may be told there is no availability, even if they are still selling cash tickets on the service.

Award flights need to be booked 30 days in advance or more. Forward planning is going to be essential for this benefit, so no last minute bookings here.

Is It Worth It?

All credit cards in Ireland attract a €30 annual stamp duty fee. Bank of Ireland’s new Aer Credit Card will also cost you €7.99 a month, bringing the total fee to €125.88.

Doing a quick quote online, annual travel insurance with VHI including winter sports costs €81.00 for someone under 65 at the time of writing. Lounge access costs €30 per visit (€25 outside of Dublin), while fast-track at Dublin and priority boarding cost €6 a piece.

Someone in Dublin therefore will receive €84 in benefits, presuming they depart on Aer Lingus twice a year. This is in addition to the travel insurance benefits.

Earning 1 Avios for €4 in general spend is not great. For example, you earn 1 Avios per Euro with SuperValu Real Rewards and sometimes more in promotional periods.

Another thing is comparing it with UK cards. The British Airways American Express offered in the UK has no annual fee, and you earn 5,000 Avios as a bonus when you spend £1,000 in the first three months.

Therefore, it all depends on your circumstances. If you already have lounge access through AerClub status, that reduces the card benefits quite a bit. The same if you get your travel insurance in some other way. You need to weigh up the benefits for you and you alone.

What About The Free Flights?

I’m quite dubious about this. Searching flights departing Dublin on 4 March to London Heathrow with a return on 8 March, the online pricing is €70.99 one way and €106.99 on the return, which is €177.98. This is on a saver fare with no baggage, seats or anything added.

Of this, the air fare component is €46.98 and the taxes, fees and charges are €113.00, and €18.00 is an admin fee. Presuming the admin fee will still be charged, you will save €46.98 on your ticket.

The example above shows the flights at just over 30 days out, which is a requirement for the reward tickets. I also selected the two most expensive flights on the days concerned.

Many of the flights on those days were at the cheapest rate, the total being €113.98. Of this, the fare component is €1.98 in total, with taxes and fees of €94.00 and an admin fee of €18.00. Therefore, your €5,000 card spend which gets you free flights has the potential to save you €1.98.

Overall Thoughts

As the first credit card in the Irish market that earns frequent flyer points, the Aer Credit Card is a welcome addition. You can apply and check out the details online at Bank of Ireland.

You do need to look at your own specific needs. I have not gone into the interest rates or anything like that as your own personal financial circumstances will dictate whether it is worth it from that perspective.

My current Irish credit card with another bank has no fees apart from the government fee. Therefore, I don’t like the €7.99 a month charge on the Aer Credit Card. You are essentially paying for the benefits you receive, rather than it feel like you’re really winning.

When it comes to the free flight benefits, I think they are not much benefit at all. Had they been actual free flights, that would have been worth something. However since the taxes, fees and charges are often a huge chunk of the online cash fare, you potentially don’t save a lot.

I think those people who have no AerClub elite status yet fly Aer Lingus a couple of times per year and enough to warrant worldwide travel insurance would gain the most from this card. Lounge access, priority boarding and fast-track are handy.

What do you think of the new Aer Credit Card from Bank of Ireland and Aer Lingus? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image and cabin crew image via Aer Lingus.
Mastercard image via Bank of Ireland.