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 card – Spend&Fly.
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.
(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.)