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easyJet Plus card – is it worth it?

October 22, 2015

Short answer: probably not.

If you fly more than 5 round trips (10 sectors) a year on easyJet, AND you book the most expensive allocated seats then it may be worth considering it. Otherwise don’t bother.

How do I know?

Well, I won one.

Yes, I entered a Twitter competition and won a free easyJet Plus card in October 2014. I’ve been using it for a year. It’s now renewal time. My question is – is it worth paying for?

my easyJet Plus card

my easyJet Plus card

At the time I won one, the price was £149 to join and £139 to renew. However during the year they’ve changed the Speedy Boarding and Plus Card rules, and the price has gone up to £170 per year (£160 if you join on board – but of course if you do that you have at least one flight where you can’t use it). And there’s no discount for renewal.

So in the year since I got the card would I have saved money? I’ve flown 10 sectors in that year, but two were before the card arrived so I couldn’t use it. So 8 sectors. Even if I had chosen the most expensive allocated seat (£15.99) on each flight then the current annual fee for the card significantly exceeds the amount I would have saved.

Surely there are some benefits you don’t get if all you do is pay for seat allocation?

Yes, but only fast track security. Not all airports have one, and we’ve found on at least two occasions that it’s faster at Gatwick (our normal originating airport) to go through regular security rather than Fast Track.

Shame there isn’t a Fast Track arrivals – that would be worth paying for!

But the other benefits: Speedy Boarding, two carry on bags and dedicated bag drop are all available to those who just pay for seat allocation either upfront or in an exit row. Most of mine would have cost £10.99 rather than £15.99, so I’d have had to fly 16 sectors to make it worthwhile – that’s twice as many sectors as I actually flew.

So for me a paid for easyJet Plus card doesn’t work. At the old renewal price of £139 I’d probably just have done it, but at £170 it really doesn’t make economic sense. And since there’s no discount for renewal, if I decide next year that I will be flying enough to make it worthwhile, I’ll simply join again – I can save money by not being a member when I don’t fly – and there’s no penalty for leaving and joining again several months later before your next flight.

Thanks for the freebie easyJet, I really enjoyed it. And I will occasionally miss using the fast track security, but overall it’s just not worth paying for. Sorry.

6 comments

  1. Lucky you, but then free is always good value. I normally fly around 20+ sectors pa with EJ and I am thinking of buying a plus card. I always reserve a seat but that does not guarantee you ‘local’ space for a bag so the likes of those like me try to get on the plane sooner rather than later, I am usually right behind the speedy boarders. The extra bag allowance also seems useful. Despite understanding the system well I find the whole airport ritual stressful so anything I can do to reduce stress seems like a good idea. I know that overall I will be paying a bit more for each flight but I think that it may be worth it. Do you remember the scramble for seats days? That was so bad that I wrote to EJ telling them they should have seat reservations as they now do. That was a big step forward in the civilisation of EJ. In the end, my conclusion is that everything has a price.


    • Hi DRS, your comment highlights exactly how they’ve introduced allocated seating without compromising turnaround times.

      Before they did that I had a long Twitter conversation about seat allocations with eJ’s head of customer service. Basically their low cost model is based on short turnaround times. To be able to guarantee that, they have to ensure all the passengers are at the departure gate just as the plane’s ready to board. If no-one has an allocated seat they’ll all be there early ready for the scrum to get on board.

      But passengers (like you and I) dislike the scrum this involves; so we put pressure on eJ to change the system. Now they’ve got allocated seating, but (and you’ve hit the point exactly) they’ve increased the hand baggage allowance so there isn’t enough room on board for everyone’s hand baggage. The result is we all get to the gate early and queue up for the scrum just like the old days, but this time it’s to ensure our carry-on bag doesn’t go in the hold.

      So eJ gets the benefit of being able to advertise allocated seating, and they get to charge us extra for being able to choose our seats in advance, but they still encourage us to get to the gate early rather than stay in the bar because we want to get our hand baggage into the cabin. So they get away on time. And they take more money off us.

      Clever, eh?
      Mike


  2. We generally fly 10 times a year with EJ (20 “sectors”) and I don’t know what I would’ve done without EJ+. We fly out of Stansted at around 0700 when a lot of flights depart and therefore the place is insane. Fast track security (£5 to buy as an extra at the airport) and then the speedy boarding make it considerably less stressful. We also always book front row seats give our lanky legs a bit of space and to lets us make a quick get away at arrival (anyone whose arrived at Stansted can vouch for the mayhem that involves) and that would normally cost us around £32 each per return trip – essentially the “free” seats and fast track security “saves” us £37 each time we fly – so we only need to do 5 return trips to make EJ+ worth it.
    Bear in mind that if you have the facility you can buy your membership in Euros – last year doing that saved us approx £20 on the membership itself – this will depend on GBP to Euro rates at the time though. I think you also get a discount on the second persons membership if you buy it together (I can’t quite remember and the website is down at the mo.)
    And if you still don’t fancy paying for EJ+ then a tip for not having your hand baggage taken from you – take a soft bag not a wheeled case. Depending on the route the number of wheeled cases is restricted – on our route to 60 cases in the cabin – but there’s no limit set on soft bags so the chance of you having to hand it in is small to non-existent (but please don’t tell anyone else or they’ll all start doing it too and ruin the plan! 😀 😀 )


    • After due consideration I decided to buy a Pluscard. Paying for anything is always a pain but I don’t regret it one bit and I will renew the card in due course. I would say that the main criteria is how often it’s going to be used?. This year I have so far made around 10/12 return trips, 4/5 would definitely be an extravagance.


      • Ironically, despite singing its praises in December I am now going to cancel my membership when it comes up for renewal next month! But not because I don’t like the benefits but because the flight times for our route have changed – until Easter this year they have been flying out 7am Friday and returning 9pm Sunday – 3 full days for 1 days leave – extremely convenient for us to get to our European house one weekend a month. Now they’ve changed to Friday afternoon/Sunday morning – not really much use to weekend commuters. So we’ve decided to drive down more and fly for longer breaks less often – meaning the membership just isn’t worth it – especially now its £350 for the two memberships.
        I’m still weaning myself off the idea – can I sit anywhere else but seat 1A?! And fast track security – got to pay on the day, Stansted just doesn’t function at 7am.
        If the flights return to a sensible time in the future then I’ll renew then – or the Euro really drops and I can get a big whack knocked off the membership price! 😀


  3. Rachel,
    Sorry to hear they’ve mucked around with the flight times, that’s a pain. But when you do fly you’ll still be able to get seat 1A, speedy board, and take two bags into the cabin just by booking (and paying for) that seat. It’ll be about £12 per person each way.

    As I said in the original post, the only thing you don’t get that’s in eJ+ by booking an extra legroom seat is fast track security.

    Mike



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