Credit & Charge Card Reviews (6): Flybe Mastercard
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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.
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.
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 23kg baggage allowance, cabin baggage and reserved seating.
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.
Is this a good card to use when travelling?
As Creation adds a 3% foreign exchange fee, you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad. Unfortunately there are no travel rewards card without a foreign exchange fee. One option is to get a free Curve Card – see this HfP article – and link it to a miles-earning Visa or Mastercard.
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 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.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – April 2023 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.