British banking giant Barclays have teamed up with Irish flight moguls Air Lingus to bring American credit card holders the Aer Lingus Rewards MasterCard. The majority of Air Lingus flight routes are within Europe (with over 60 participating airports throughout Europe and North America) so the Aer Lingus Rewards MasterCard is a rewards card that is aimed at American business people with great credit that frequently fly outside of the US. The Aer Lingus Rewards MasterCard card is both issued and managed by Barclay’s US subsidiary company, Barclaycard. This is one of the only frequent flyer mile rewards cards that does not have an annual fee, but still allows you to earn double miles. There is no cap on the amount of miles that card holders can obtain either, which makes a rare and attractive feature for this otherwise lacklustre card.
What are the special features of the Aer Lingus Rewards MasterCard?
The special features of the Aer Lingus Rewards MasterCard are not that great for what it is. Of course the lack of annual fee is always a plus point for any credit rewards card, but leading competitors usually have some other worthwhile features to back it up. The points system works out as 1 point per dollar spent on regular purchases and 2 points per dollar spent on all Aer Lingus purchases which, as mentioned above, is quite a rare feature for an annual fee free card.
The signup bonus for the Aer Lingus Rewards MasterCard is a pretty standard 5,000 points, which are awarded after the first purchase or balance transfer, and basically equates to $40. Redemptions begin at 15,000 points, but in reality only a minimum of 25,000 points will offer any real benefit. Card holders can redeem 25,000 bonus points for $200 off of any transatlantic ticket or special vacation package purchase, or card holders can redeem up to $420 for 45,000 points, which equates to one roundtrip economy flight ticket. 65,000 points can earn card holders an upgrade to any business class ticket with the purchase of a roundtrip economy class ticket. Although the terms and conditions do state that you must call to redeem points at least 30 days in advance.
There is an auto rental collision damage waiver, applicable when you pay for your rental using the Aer Lingus Rewards MasterCard, but other than that, there aren’t any other special features at all.
Okay, so what are the standard features of this card?
The standard features of the Aer Lingus Rewards MasterCard take an already uninspired card and make it worse.
- The minimum credit limit is $5,000.
- Car rental insurance
- 0% introductory APR for balance transfers for 6 months
- 25.24% APR for cash advances
- 30.24% penalty APR
The interest rates are high considering the fact that card holders can only qualify if they have excellent credit and the penalty APR is much higher than on any other card. The APR rate is reduced on old purchases, as long as those payments are made on time for a full six months, but the penalty APR stays in full force for all new purchases.
As the Aer Lingus Rewards MasterCard is only available to applicants who are residents of the United States (with the exception of Iowa, Puerto Rico and the US territories) Barclays and Air Lingus’ attempt to include a massive market of credit card holders has simply alienated the majority of users that would actually sign-up. The Aer Lingus Rewards MasterCard may also not be available if you have, or ever have had, an account with them before. Check out the website to be sure.
Is this credit card overall a no-no?
A lot of competing airline credit cards waiver the interest rate for the first year, as opposed to six months and offer the card holder multiple other perks, such as one free checked bag, free foreign transactions and priority boarding when flying. The Aer Lingus Rewards MasterCard has absolutely none of these features and that really does let it down. Couple that with the fact that the redemption of bonus points for airline tickets to Europe face a fuel surcharge fees and the cons just keep getting worse. Of course Barclays and Air Lingus can’t be held responsible for the surcharge fees, but it certainly doesn’t help their plight. There is a 3% charge on all foreign transactions, again, another feature that many of the competing travel rewards cards waiver.
Annoyingly, the bonus points are separate from Aer Lingus’ Gold Circle frequent flyer points program and therefore other award options in Gold Circle are not available. Air Lingus does offer credit cards that do allow card holders to interchange points balances with Gold Circle activity, but this one does not.
If you fall into the niche of regular Air Lingus user (regular being four or more times a year) than then this card could be ideal for you, but even then, so many other cards will offer you more for those same flights.