Vueling, BA’s sister airline which also uses Avios as its reward currency, has just launched a Visa credit card in Italy. It is worth taking a look as – since Italy has the same 0.3% interchange fee cap as the UK – it is likely to be a similar model for future UK airline cards.
The model is now becoming standard. An annual fee, relatively low earning rate but numerous ‘soft’ and status benefits for people who fly the airline.
For a €49 annual fee you get a Visa card with:
a one-off sign-up bonus of 4,000 Avios
2 Avios per €1 spent with IAG airlines (BA, Iberia, Vueling etc)
1 Avios per €1 spent elsewhere
priority check-in when flying Vueling
20 annual credits towards Vueling Premium status. You will only need 20 x one-way flights instead of the usual 40.
I don’t know anything about the Italian card market so I can’t comment on how willing people are to pay annual fees, or how this card stacks up in the competitive landscape. My gut feeling is that the package is weak given the €49 fee unless you are flying Vueling in the sweet spot where you don’t currently qualify for Premium but would with the 20 extra credits.
IAG has also launched new Aer Lingus and Iberia credit cards in the United States this week, but there is little value in comparing the benefits to EU cards due to the huge interchange fees charged (600% higher than the EU rate) which fund the rewards.
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)