The Flybe credit card gets its own reward scheme! Is it any good?

With Flybe Rewards4All points being abolished (see my lead story today for the timetable), Flybe had a problem – what does it do with its branded credit card?  Avios seems to have put its foot down over making it the 13th UK credit card to earn Avios points!

The clunky solution has been to create a new reward scheme just for the Flybe credit cardSpend&Fly.

Flybe Spend Fly

Full details on Spend&Fly can be found here.

The new reward scheme is very simple.  Flybe will track your accumulated spend and, based on your past spending, you can apply for free flight vouchers:

£4,000 of spend = Just Fly or Get More (with a suitcase) domestic return flight

£5,500 of spend = All In domestic return flight (changeable, food included, lounge access included, fast track security included)

£6,000 of spend = Just Fly or Get More (with a suitcase) European return flight

£7,500 of spend = All In European return flight (changeable, food included, lounge access included, fast track security included)

These spending targets are identical to the old Rewards4All scheme.  For example, under the old scheme you got 1 point per £250 spent and needed 30 points for an All In European flight.  30 x £250 = £7,500 which is what the same reward now costs.

The devil is in the detail so you need to go through the small print.  And this is what you find:

Your accumulated spend only runs for 12 months.  This means that you need to be redeeming for flights on a regular basis or you will find your ‘accumulated spend’ starting to expire.  The current Flybe credit card also works like this – Rewards4All points from the credit card expire after a year, whilst Rewards4All points earned from flying do not!

Flights to Spain, Croatia and Portugal are excluded.

You cannot book one-way redemptions for half of the spend target.

This is the kicker – “All Spend & Fly Bonus Flights are subject to availability at the time of booking and are limited per flight.  We reserve the right to limit, increase or decrease the number of Spend & Fly Bonus Flights available.  Members are advised to be flexible with the travel dates to avoid disappointment.”.  Since Rewards4All availability has historically been very poor there is little evidence that Spend & Fly will be any better.

The better news is that redemption flights can be booked online.  You input your voucher code on the website and it will highlight flights which can be booked.

And this – “Discounted web fares may occasionally be available at a lower cost (including taxes & charges) than equivalent Bonus Flights.   In such circumstances We will not be under any obligation to match the cost of the Bonus Flight with the full web fare on offer.  We recommend customers are flexible with their travel dates when searching for Bonus Flights in order to avoid disappointment.”

In plain English, this means that the taxes on your reward flight might be HIGHER than buying a cash ticket outright!  This is because Flybe artificially reduces their fuel surcharge on paid tickets at quiet times to generate a lower cash price.  If you try to redeem on the same flight you are asked for the full fuel surcharge.

The better news is that All In redemptions are potentially NOT capacity controlled.  Because you can make free changes to those flights, you can redeem for any random date – whether or not it is showing for redemption – and then change it for the date you want.  (EDIT: there is some confusion in the comments about whether this is actually the case or not.  It is possible that you are not meant to be able to switch to ANY flight, only those flagged for redemption, but many Flybe telephone agents do not fully understand this and have been making changes they should not.)

No refunds are allowed.  If you cancel a redemption, you lose the accumulated spend.

What is good about the programme is the low level of spend required.  £4,000 of spend gets you a UK flight which would cost you 9,000 Avios – assuming the taxes and charges are the same, which is not certain, and assuming availability is the same.  These are fairly big assumptions at the moment especially given how restricted Rewards4All availability was and I think you would be unwise to assume that Avios availability = Spend&Fly availability.

Since it is not possible to check availability without getting the card, making some spend and redeeming a voucher, it may be a while before I get any feedback on how easy it is to redeem for Just Fly or Get More seats.  HFP readers have historically been very dismissive about availability.

In two ways this new scheme is worse than the old credit card programme:

Under the old scheme, you could also use your Rewards4All points towards an annual lounge pass.  Your only option now is flights with an opaque set of rules about what flights are available.

Since you can only earn Spend&Fly points from the credit card and not from flying, it will be harder to earn enough for a redemption before they start expiring under the 12 month rule.

Full details of the Flybe credit card can be found here.

(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Is it worth redeeming Avios points on Flybe?
NEWSFLASH: Flybe to become full Avios 'earn and burn' partner, scrapping Rewards4All
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Comments

  1. When you put it like this: “What is good about the programme is the low level of spend required. £4,000 of spend gets you a UK flight which would cost you 9,000 Avios” it almost sounds reasonable

    But then I never think about spending £9000 to get a BA redemption. The 9000 would come from things like Amex bonuses / compensation, or from double/triple/quadruple points on purchasing a £1500 flight and then flying it.

    The Avios I earn from regular spend very rarely amounts to much unless I see a way to manufacture it e.g. V3 cards

  2. £4000 spend to earn 1 UK domestic flight? Shocking. By actually flying with BA you could earn the avios needed in just 2 cheap HO fares. Looks pointless to me.

  3. Wondering whether all in flights are really fully flexible under the new scheme.

    I have over the years earned a substantial number of Rewards4all points and have only recently whittled down the balance. I have only redeemed for economy plus (the old name for all in) because they were fully changeable without penalty.

    However, they were only changeable to flights which had points availability (fare class “O”) and most agents would check points availability before rebooking. Sometimes they would not, but the rules were clear. Rebookings had to be into the same fare class (which was not the same as the two fare classes for cash bookings – corresponding to the last 4 and 2 available seats on the plane).

    If all in bookings are truly fully (last seat) flexible it would be worth putting spend on the credit card to redeem for all in tickets as ticket prices are frequently £200 a one way sector on last minute fairly full Flybe flights.

  4. It sounds no better than the old awful scheme…

    And while the flights require less spend than via BA, the taxes and charges are much higher and availability is much lower.

    The reaction to Flybe has been almost universally negative in the comments, are they really worth dedicating four posts in a row to!

  5. the Ecomony Plus (now All-IN) Option works exactly as described. I have done 3 such trips on all flexible reward tickets and could change dates around as I pleased, and to dates where no reward availability was given. The fare rules are pretty clear for ALl-In that your ticket is fully changeable, with only a tax difference applicable if at all. This did work well for me with Rewards Tickets.

  6. Chris,

    Can I ask you when you made these changes. The fare rules for Economy Plus were also fully chnageable with only taxes difference payable. However, economy plus rewards tickets were booked into a different fare class from cash bookings which meant that there could be no EP rewards rebooking availability even though cash bookings rebookings were available

    I have made about 25 to 30 economy plus reward bookings over the last 5 years (a lot of bum in seat Flybe flying over 10 years plus CC spend) most of which needed to be changed (date and time as well as routes). Flexibility brilliant but the old reward rules were clear could only rebook if reward seats available. Unscientific memory recollection says about 50% of the time Flybe agent would check “rewards availability” (which they had to do outside the booking rebooking process – either by quitting out of the rebooking and checking independently or by asking a colleague to check) and once or twice I had to accept non optimum times or rebook to a forward “holding date” because of unavailability of reward seats.

    However, I have not booked a rewards booking on Flybe for 3 months now and my last rebooking was to a flight which had plenty of reward seats and so I would be interested if the change to “all in” means even reward tickets have last seat availability.