Which US Airline Credit Cards Earn Avios?



  • Avios is Europe’s 2nd largest loyalty program, offering three co-branded credit cards in the US.
  • Three different Avios cards offer a welcome bonus of 75,000 Avios and accrual rates up to 5x on gas, groceries, and dining.
  • Avios cards provide perks like no foreign transaction fees, 10% off US flights, and up to $600 in statement credits.



Avios, the International Airlines Group (IAG) ‘s loyalty program, is among the largest and most prominent on the European continent. It offers members dozens of opportunities to redeem their points for flights and other rewards. According to a recent analysis of European loyalty programs by Simple Flying, Avios ranked as the second-largest on the European continent, sitting only behind Lufthansa Group’s Miles & More program.


Photo: British Airways

Like almost all airlines, IAG offers several cobranded credit cards across Europe that incentivize passenger loyalty through unique rewards offered by spending on such accounts. However, IAG, like many European airlines, goes above and beyond and provides several cobranded credit cards available in the United States.

The number of credit cards available also exceeds most European airlines, with three co-branded cards offered through the airline’s banking partner, Chase. In this article, we will look deeper at the three credit cards offered in the United States that one can use to earn Avios.

Why offer cards in the US?

Before exploring the specifics of the three credit cards offered by the Avios loyalty program, it is crucial to understand why marketing credit cards in the United States is a good idea for a European airline program. The answer is slightly nuanced and underscores the solid economic and cultural ties between the United States and Western Europe.

A British Airways Airbus A380

Photo: Markus Mainka | Shutterstock

Under most circumstances, the average American consumer would unlikely be interested in opening an account with a foreign airline’s cobranded credit card. For instance, a card like the Delta American Express SkyMiles Gold card offers far more applicable benefits to the average consumer and allows them to earn miles that can be redeemed on more US flights.

However, as Europe is among the most popular destinations for tourists from the United States, the prospect of free tickets to these popular vacation destinations can prove an incredibly appealing factor. Furthermore, the diaspora of English, Irish, and Spanish immigrants in the United States further drives demand for these credit cards.

Aer Lingus Airbus A330 at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Photo: Wirestock Creators | Shutterstock

IAG sees far stronger potential in this market than its competitors on the continent at Air France-KLM and Lufthansa Group. While Air France-KLM offers an impressive cobranded credit card through its Flying Blue program and Lufthansa offers a middle-of-the-road card, Avios goes beyond with three cards, each affiliated with British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Iberia, respectively.


Bilt Rewards Now Offers Status Matching For Air France-KLM Flying Blue

Eligible customers can now match their status with the loyalty program of the Dutch and French flag carriers.

The cards themselves

The Avios cobranded credit cards are all roughly the same, with only a few key distinctions to set them apart. The cards, which are each targeted at loyal flyers of a given airline, are the following:

  1. British Airways Visa Signature Card
  2. Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card
  3. Iberia Visa Signature Card

All three of these cards currently have the exact welcome bonus offers and a roughly similar mile accrual schedule. Compared to most other legacy airline credit cards, the welcome offer is relatively generous, likely due to a cardholder choosing a foreign airline over one that may be more convenient for them, like United or Delta. Currently, the welcome offer consists of two parts:

  1. 75,000 bonus Avios are paid out after spending $5,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening.
  2. A special accrual rate of 5 Avios per $1 spent on gas, groceries, and dining for the first 12 months.

The first of these two benefits is pretty standard across the industry. However, 75,000 Avios is significantly higher than comparable cards like Delta’s American Express Gold, which offers a welcome bonus of just 40,000 miles. However, $5,000 does stand out as a relatively high minimum spending requirement, especially for a period as short as three months.


Photo: Iberia

The special accrual rate offered by the card for the first 12 months is also unique and highly incentivizes cardholders to prioritize their gas, grocery, and dining expenses on the card. After the first calendar year, however, accrual rates on the card will revert to the following:

Spending category:

Accrual rate:

Purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, or partner airlines

3 Avios per $1 spent

Hotel bookings made directly with the hotel

2 Avios per $1 spent

All other purchases

1 Avios per $1 spent

On top of these benefits, these cards will also give you the standard perks one would expect from an airline-cobranded credit card. Alongside no foreign transaction fees, the card also offers an exclusive 10% discount on flights to the US and up to $600 back in statement credits, according to the Chase website.


Competition: Win 1 Million British Airways Avios With Uber

The promotion requires just one Uber booking before midnight on Sunday, with double entries on train journeys, including the Eurostar.

A comparison

Among the most popular cobranded credit cards European airlines offer in the United States is Air France-KLM’s World Elite Mastercard. When determining which is ideal for you, make a few critical comparisons between this card and the three major Avios credit cards.

For starters, the Air France-KLM card offers a lower annual fee of just $89 compared to the $95 that comes with an Avios card. Regarding welcome bonuses, the Avios cards are better, with 75,000 bonus Avios compared to just 50,000 Flying Blue miles, according to Bank of America.

However, suppose one is looking to build up status on an airline rapidly. In that case, the Flying Blue card is the way to go, as it offers up to 100 experience points (XP) upon approval and qualifying purchases. Lastly, the Flying Blue card offers an impressively higher 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all purchases except for Air France-KLM, which earns 3 miles per $1 spent.


Read More: Which US Airline Credit Cards Earn Avios?

2024-04-14 20:03:00

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