This review was updated in September 2016 and all the information is correct as of that date
This is my review of the Flybe MasterCard credit card.
It is part of my series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for. These articles will be linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page. My other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.
If you want to check your credit record before applying for a new card, click here to get your free Equifax credit report and score. Your first 30 days are free then it’s £14.95 per month. You can cancel at anytime.
As with all rewards cards, this is not a suitable product for you if you do not clear your balance in full every month. You should focus on a credit card with a low interest rate such as the AA Low Rate Card. This has a very attractive representative APR of 6.4% variable on purchases and balance transfers.
Key link: Flybe MasterCard application form
Key facts: No annual fee
The representative APR is 18.9% variable.
About the card
The Flybe MasterCard is issued by Sygma Bank. Sygma is part of Creation, who also operate the Marriott Rewards card and numerous retailer and football club credit cards. Creation may not be a familiar name but they are behind many store cards and are owned by a joint venture between French bank BNP Paribas and French store chain Galerie Lafeyette.
What is the sign-up bonus?
This has been the trickiest card to evaluate so far, to be honest. Flybe and its credit card loyalty scheme completely passes most of us by – but have we been making a massive mistake?!
The current offer is for one free return flight on any Flybe route to / from the UK. Taxes and other charges are still due – this is a key problem, as we will see.
The sign-up deal varies from month to month, and is a combination of 0-2 free flights and 0-2 lounge passes! The current offer is literally in the middle of the pack.
Any other benefits?
A few, but nothing radical. 10% off Avis car rentals worldwide, 10% off selected items at Flybeshopping and some travel money benefits. Nothing you couldn’t beat elsewhere with a little research.
What is the annual fee?
There is no annual fee.
What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?
It’s not as simple as that. The Flybe credit card has a reward scheme called Spend&Fly. This is totally separate to the rewards you earn for flying with Flybe as they are now giving Avios points to customers. The ONLY way to earn Spend&Fly points is from the credit card.
Remember that the Flybe card has an FX fee of almost 3% for foreign currency transactions. You may want to consider getting a separate card to use abroad which charges no foreign exchange fees. I recommend the Lloyds Avios Rewards card which also earns Avios points – even on your 0% FX transactions! It comes with a 4,500 Avios sign-up bonus if I refer you. My review of the Lloyds Avios Rewards card is here.
What is a Flybe point worth?
The Spend&Fly scheme is outlined here. The rewards are:
- £4,000 spend = 1 Just Fly or Get More return flight within the UK (Get More supplement applies)
- £4,000 spend = 1 Just Fly Loganair return flight within the UK
- £5,500 spend = 1 All In return flight within the UK
- £6,000 spend = 1 Just Fly or Get More flight between UK and an EU member state (Get More supplement applies)
- £7,500 spend = 1 All In return flight between UK and an EU member state
On the face of it, this compares OK with the Avios scheme when looking at the spend required for a redemption flight. Note that Flybe has baggage charges for Just Fly flights. A Get More flight gives you a decent free baggage allowance, as well as lounge access and free drinks and snacks.
As a budget airline, taxes and charges make up a huge percentage of the fare. A random return trip from Southampton to Dusseldorf, for example, was £100 of which £76 was taxes. You would therefore only be getting £24 of value from the £6,000 of credit card spend required to redeem for this flight.
You also need to remember that, with Avios redemptions, taxes are capped at £35 with Reward Flight Saver. This is a massive disadvantage for the Flybe programme. Unless you are flying to or from a region not served by BA it is difficult to see the value of a Spend&Fly redemption.
Other points to note
There is a nasty expiry policy on points earned from the credit card – they disappear 12 months after they are earned and cannot be extended. There are some other painful tweaks:
- you cannot book one-way redemptions
- date changes will cost £70 per ticket (ie £35 per sector)
- reward flights are non-refundable
There is also this interesting comment on the website: “Discounted web fares may occasionally be available at a lower cost (including taxes & charges) than equivalent reward flights“. This means that you may end up being asked for £100 in ‘taxes and charges’ to book your redemption flight, whilst a cash ticket for the same flight is available for £80!
I have no idea how good or bad ‘free’ flight availability is with Flybe but feedback from Head for Points readers is that it is poor. It is different to the award availability offered to Avios customers via avios.com.
It is difficult to value the ‘free flight’ you receive for signing up to the card for the reasons I outline above. You will probably receive £30-£40 of net value.
You are unlikely to get much value from the on-going earnings rate. Whilst free flights are relatively easy to achieve, the level of taxes that are still required means that the value you get is restricted. The nasty 1-year expiry policy on your spend points is also a negative. That said, if you regularly fly on a specific Flybe route then you may value the points more highly.
The application form for the Flybe MasterCard can be found here.
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.