Be smart and pay less for a plane ticket - traveler’s guide to card payments
Magdalena Parys

Whenever you book a plane ticket, airlines charge a transaction fee, which is added to the ticket’s price. Read our guide to learn how to avoid the fee.

A payment card is the most popular payment instrument when it comes to paying for plane tickets. However, not all cards work the same way and the final price of a ticket may vary depending on your card. In other words, use a credit card and pay more. But use an embossed debit card and no additional fees will be charged. We have analyzed rules concerning card payments and related transaction fees on domestic, international and overseas flights offered by 5 most popular airlines. The infographic below presents the results.

Transaction fees and payment cards

A fee added to a ticket’s price depends on an airline and card type (e.g. a credit card that allows you to spend more than you have on your account or a debit card issued to a bank account and not offering any credit), which means the increase in price (up to 2%) is not a decision made by a bank or card issuer (i.e. Visa, MasterCard or American Express). Read which card to choose when paying for a ticket.

Ryanair

Use a debit card to enjoy no additional fees. When you use a credit card, you will be charged a fee in the amount of 2% of a ticket price.  In other words – a flight from Warsaw to Wrocław will cost you PLN 111.88 if you use MasterCard Debit, Visa Connect, Visa Debit/Delta and Visa Electron. However, you will pay PLN 114.3 (+2%) after using American Express, MasterdCard, MasterCard PrePaid and Visa. The same rule applies to international flights, so a flight from Warsaw (Modlin) to Paris will cost you PLN 3.37 more (+2%) if you pay using a credit card.

Wizz Air

Ryanair’s main competitor has a slightly different approach. In 2013, the company abandoned transaction fees, but introduced a fixed processing fee – PLN 37 – for a one-way ticket for a passenger. It means that PLN 74 will be added to a round-trip ticket, irrespective of your card – Visa, Visa Electron, Maestro, MasterCard, Wizzair or UATP. For example, a round-trip ticket a Warsaw-Paris flight will cost you PLN 254, excluding a processing fee, i.e. PLN 74.

Easy Jet

If you pay for a ticket using a MasterCard, Visa, American Express, UATP/AirPlus or Diners/Discover card, the British lost-cost airline will add 1% of the ticket’s value, which means that a flight from Kraków to London will cost you PLN 465 or PLN 470.

LOT

The Polish airline has very passenger-friendly approach in this regard, as it does not charge any fee for payments made with the following cards:  MasterCard, Visa, Visa Electron, Diners Club, American Express and JCB.

Lufthansa

The German airline has one of the most complicated fee systems. Apart from a card’s type, the company takes into account a place of departure and flight.  To cut a long story short, if you use one of the following debit cards – Maestro, Master Debit, Visa Debit Card or Visa Electron – no extra fees will be charged. Use any of these credit cards – Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club, JCB Card and AirPlus Company Account/UATP – and enjoy a fee-free price, provided that the departure is not from Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland, Belgium, Finland and the Netherlands. Otherwise, a processing fee (slightly more than 1% of the ticket’s price) will be charged. For example, a flight from Berlin to Mexico costs EUR 787.41 when using a debit card or EUR 800.4 in the case of a credit card. A ticket from Amsterdam to Sydney (basic price EUR 1,872.61) will cost you EUR 25 more.

Read now: 9 secrets of finding low-cost flights

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Main photography: Pixabay