Credit & Charge Card Reviews (6): Flybe MasterCard

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 most 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 Tesco Clubcard MasterCard Low Rate card. This has a very attractive representative APR of 5.9% variable – and you can transfer your Clubcard points into Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles.

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 Creation Financial Services, which also operates the IHG Rewards Club cards. Creation may not be a familiar name but it is owned by French bank BNP Paribas.

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.

Any other benefits?

A few, but nothing radical.  10% off Avis car rentals worldwide and some travel money benefits. Nothing you couldn’t beat elsewhere with a little research.

Flybe MasterCard credit card review

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 give Avios points to passengers. The ONLY way to earn Spend&Fly points is from the credit card.

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)
  • £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 well 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.

However ….

As a budget airline, taxes and charges make up a large percentage of the fare. I checked a random return trip from Manchester to Dusseldorf which had over £50 of taxes. The actual saving over a cash ticket is therefore much lower than you may expect.

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.

Conclusion

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 after paying the taxes.

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 and expensive 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.

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Comments

  1. I was booking flights to Belfast City yesterday and for two priced up 16k avios + £70 on BA from LHR or 18k avios + c. £180 from LCY with Flybe. Cash was only just over £200. Despite LCY being much easier for us to get to, of course I chose BA. At least we’ll get some lounge time.

  2. Small correction: ‘Get more’ tickets don’t have lounge access, you need ‘all in’ tickets for that.

  3. Without doubt the Flybe credit card offers a very poor rewards programme. You need to spend a disproportionate amount of time sourcing the “free flights” I managed out of sheer determination to get two return flights from Southampton to Newcastle but ditched the cards immediately afterwards.

  4. David Ibbotson says:

    I’ve had 2 Just Fly ticket redemptions, been trying to find a flight since Jan, they expire in Dec, so striving to earn them is completely pointless (if you excuse the intended pun)!