Which Avios Credit Card Is Best? Breaking Down the Three Chase Options

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best Avios credit card

Which Is The Best Avios Credit Card?

Back in the day, there was only one credit card that earned Avios: the British Airways Visa. Sure, you could use your Chase or Amex cards that earn flexible points, which is usually a better strategy anyway. But Chase then went and launched two other Avios earning credit cards: the Iberia Visa and the Aer Lingus Visa. Now with three co-branded credit cards that all earn the same currency but with slightly different perks, it makes me wonder: which is the best Avios credit card?

The Three Avios-Earning Credit Cards

If you’re not aware, there are multiple airlines using the same Avios loyalty currency: British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus. They are all owned by the same parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG). Oddly enough, they are also all flag carriers for their respective countries of the United Kingdom, Spain, and Ireland.

Chase has offered the co-branded British Airways Visa in the U.S. for a long time, but the co-branded products for the other IAG airlines are a relatively recent addition. The cards essentially all earn the same currency, as you can transfer Avios freely between your accounts with each of the airlines. Let’s walk through what each card offers.

British Airways Visa

The British Airways Visa Signature Card offers both a hefty welcome offer and perks with the UK’s flag carrier. Besides earning 3x Avios on British Airways flight purchases, the card has you covered with no foreign transaction fees, reduced fuel surcharges on award flights between the U.S. and London, and the ability to earn a companion ticket if you spend enough on the card.

Here are the details on the card:
  • 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 total on purchases within your first year of account opening (for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios).
  • 3x Avios on flights purchased directly with British Airways
  • 2x Avios on hotel accommodation booked directly with the hotel
  • 1x Avios on all other purchases
  • Save 10% on British Airways flights purchase at: www.ba.com/Chase10 with code CHASEBA10 and paid for with your card.
  • Earn a “travel together” ticket after spending $30,000 on your card in a calendar year
  • Statement credit of $100 for economy/premium economy or $200 for business/first when you book a British Airways award flight between the U.S. and London and pay for the taxes and fees with your card (up to $600 total per year)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee of $95
  • Learn More

With the addition of the statement credits for awards flights, the British Airways card gained some value, as it reduces the fees for award flights significantly, putting even economy awards in the realm of reasonable during off-peak times.

The travel together ticket may sound like a nice goal, especially the first year when you’ve already put $20,000 on the card. But it comes with some hefty fees. Expect to pay over $1,000 for a round-trip companion ticket on top of your own award ticket and fees for business class. It’s a deal, but not as nice as you might imagine.

best Avios credit card

Iberia Visa

The Iberia Visa is another option, also issued by Chase. The card has the same earning structure as the British Airways Visa, except that you’ll earn 3x Avios on purchases with Iberia instead. The card also has the same large welcome offer of 100,000 Avios.

Here are the details on the card:
  • 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 total on purchases within your first year of account opening (for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios).
  • 3x Avios on flights purchased directly with Iberia
  • 2x Avios on hotel accommodation booked directly with the hotel
  • 1x Avios on all other purchases
  • Save 10% on Iberia flights purchase at: https://iberia.com/Chase10
  • Earn a $1,000 discount voucher after spending $30,000 on your card in a calendar year. This is good for the purchase of two tickets on the same Iberia flight in the same class of travel.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee of $95
  • Learn More

The $1,000 discount voucher sounds compelling. Assuming you’re booking a nonstop Iberia round-trip between Miami and Madrid early next summer for $1,308 for two ($654 per person, current Google Flights price), you could potentially pay just $308 for these tickets. Not a bad deal. I’d love to know more about the taxes and fees levied and whether this covers those as well.

best Avios credit card

Aer Lingus Visa

The Aer Lingus Visa is the last flavor of Avios credit card. As I have a good amount of Irish heritage, I’m a big fan of Ireland’s flag carrier, if only for their lovely accents of their crew. But is the co-branded credit card compelling?

Here are the details on the card:
  • 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 total on purchases within your first year of account opening (for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios).
  • 3x Avios on flights purchased directly with Aer Lingus
  • 2x Avios on hotel accommodation booked directly with the hotel
  • 1x Avios on all other purchases
  • Priority boarding on Aer Lingus flights originating in the U.S. and Ireland.
  • Every calendar year you make purchases of $30,000 on your Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card, you’ll receive an economy companion ticket good for 12 months. This can be booked in conjunction with a paid Aer Lingus flight and only good on flights between the U.S. and Ireland.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee of $95
  • Learn More

The ticket you get for spending $30,000 in a year is similar to what you receive with British Airways, except the Aer Lingus one is good for paid flights. It is also only good for economy, which is a bit of a bummer. At least the card’s welcome bonus is just as good.

Which Is The Best Avios Credit Card?

As you likely noticed, all three cards have the same welcome offer of 100,000 bonus Avios. Each card also charges the same annual fee of $95. As these would be a major differentiating factor for getting a new card, it really now comes down to card perks.

As the earning rates and foreign transaction fees are the same, what we have left to compare are the vouchers earned after spending $30,000 in a calendar year. Let’s compare what each card offers:

Of these, the Iberia $1,000 voucher seems the most compelling at face value. I know the voucher excludes the taxes and fees, but what I’m not sure about is whether it covers “carrier charges” (i.e. fuel surcharges) on tickets. If so, you could pay very little for two seats to Spain, which would be magnificent.

The other options offer less value, unless you’re willing to shell out some cash and enjoy flying in a premium cabin. Then British Airways can hook you up, and you’d likely be able to fly in business for about $2,000 out of pocket plus 100,000-155,000 Avios for two people from most U.S. gateways. Aer Lingus is a solid option if you already book paid nonstop flights to Ireland. Otherwise, it’s a solid pass from me.

The other big difference is the British Airways Visa perk that rebates you $100-$200 of award taxes and fees. If you already tend to book BA flight and pay these, this is an excellent perk. However, many in this hobby (including myself) are loathe to pay the massive surcharges levied by British Airways. This might move the dial a bit. Premium cabin prices in Avios are also high, though.

Finally, both Iberia and British Airways offer 10% off their flights if you book with the specific link and/or code. Not a massive perk, but still a perk nonetheless.

Final Thoughts on the Best Avios Credit Card

Overall, if I planned to meet the $30,000 spend requirement, I would definitely go with the Iberia Visa. It is clearly the best Avios credit card, in my opinion, all other things being equal. British Airways with the rebates on award flights and companion ticket good for premium travel is the runner-up, and likely the winner for some. The Aer Lingus card is pretty lackluster unless you find yourself flying nonstop to Dublin routinely. That’s probably not may of us.

I’m in the market for another Chase card, and I’m actually leaning toward the Iberia Visa. We’ll see if I pull the trigger or if something else catches my eye in the next couple months.

Have you picked up either the Iberia Visa or Aer Lingus Visa? What are your thoughts on those cards? 

Ian Snyder
After igniting his passion for award travel while planning his honeymoon, Ian now enjoys using points and miles to see the world with his wife and three internationally adopted kiddos. He loves dissecting loyalty programs to find maximum value. His goal is to demonstrate that extraordinary travel is possible for the ordinary family.

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4 COMMENTS

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Besides the heavy taxes ( in my case, $2,034.00 on 6-1 way award tickets between VIE-BOS) on BA Business Class award tickets, I had to pay for my seat selections in order to keep a group of 6 together which totaled another $925.00 for the 2 segments we reserved. So this becomes another expense when redeeming that I never see mentioned when redeeming for BA flights. Seat selection becomes free as you close in on your flying date but I couldn’t take that chance so I paid. I also believe, but I’m not sure, if seat selections are free at the time of ticketing if you have elite status. I don’t.
    The reservations were still made because it’s still a pretty decent price all in all, but keep in mind that the redemption is anything but free.

  2. Expect to pay over $1,000 for a round-trip companion ticket on top of your own award ticket and fees for business class. It’s a deal, but not as nice as you might imagine.

    That’s not a deal at all. Try a little less shilling.

    • If you’re someone who does pay cash for business class, then it is a deal. You’re looking at 180,000 Avios and ~$2,200 from the West Coast for two tickets, versus ~$6,500 if paying cash. A great deal? Definitely not. And most people obviously don’t shell out the cash for these tickets.

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