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The Traveller's Magazine
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Travellers thinking of booking flights with Ryanair in the future should listen up. When an airline charges you to pay by card online (when is no other payment options available), there is something seriously wrong. To avoid getting slapped on the wrist by the government, Ryanair has introduced its solution: the Ryanair Mastercard.

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If you want to avoid those last-minute fees added to the price of your cheap flights, particularly the £6 fee to pay by either debit or credit at the end of booking, you’ll need to get a prepaid Ryanair Credit Card. Ryanair has been targeted in the past and again recently by the OFT (Office of Fair Trading), demanding that the budget airline drop surcharges on debit and credit card payments and introduce more transparent prices in their advertising.

The situation today

Let’s step back a bit though. Today when you choose what appear to be super cheap flights on Ryanair’s website you are prompted to accept the company’s Terms & Conditions. Once you do that, you are redirected to the payment page. Scrolling down to menu of payment options you’ll notice a few things:

  • Ryanair Mastercard, now available, does not actually benefit those who choose to pay with this card
  • The prepaid Mastercard is the only means currently available to avoid incurring an administrative fee of £6, per passenger each way (an additional charge of £48 for a family of four on return flights!)

The novelty

This is all about to change when Ryanair officially launches its “Cash Passport” credit card which is sponsored by Mastercard. It will be official launched on October 4th, 2011. From November 1st, 2011 all passengers who do not pay with the new Ryanair card, including those with prepaid Mastercards, must pay the £6 fee.

Mastercard

But wait! There’s more…

In Ryanair style, this “Cash Passport” isn’t free, you have to pay for it too! It’ll cost you another £6 administrative fee to get your hands on the card, although with is given back in the form of a travel voucher. The card isn’t exactly the life-saver budget travellers are looking for. Just like its in-flight services, you’re going to have to dish out dearly to use the card as well.

  • £2 fee for using the card at an ATM
  • 50p fee for any transations starting April 1st, 2012
  • £2.50 fee if the card isn’t used in the first 6 months
  • £4 fee for withdrawing cash over the counter at a bank

What can you expect from the Ryanair Mastercard?

  • You can earn up to 5 bonus flights (obviously special terms apply)
  • 0% p.a. for 12 months on Balance Transfers
  • Exclusive cardholder offers (everything from free digital prints to other gifts)
  • Balance cancellation cover
  • Earn more bonus flights when another family member signs up for a card
  • Accepted in 24+ million outlets in the world (for a feee)
  • 56 days interest-free credit
  • No annual fee (that’s a relief)
  • Secure both online and offline (chip and pin)

Is it worth it?

If you’re a frequent flyer then you can certainly save a lot in the long run. If you only use the card to purchase Ryanair flights (thus avoiding the long run of extra fees for its use) and you fly with Ryanair at least once every 6 months, getting this card could definitely be worth it.

What do you think?

Imgs: Mikelo, Andres Rueda / Flickr cc.

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