Airline and tour operator Monarch has scrapped its credit card charges for holiday and flight bookings, three weeks after Virgin Atlantic stopped charging the fees on its own flight bookings.

Currently Monarch charges a fee of 3% or £5 – whichever is greater – on bookings paid for with a credit card, but this charge will no longer apply from Thursday 15 December. Virgin Atlantic charged a fee of 1.5% until last month.

While customers with new bookings will benefit, both airlines have confirmed they won't refund fees paid on bookings made before the changes.

Monarch said its decision could save a family of four £40-£60 based on the cost of an average family holiday – though customers with flight-only bookings are likely to save less than this.

Its chief commercial officer Ian Chambers says the change means customers will "get the best value from their flight and holiday bookings – and benefit from the protection that credit cards offer, without having to pay extra for it". 

Bookings made on credit cards may qualify for Section 75 protection under the Consumer Credit Act, which means you're legally entitled to claim your money back from the card provider if there's a problem with the item or service you purchased.

While fees for paying on a debit card are rare, several airlines including Easyjet, Flybe, Ryanair and Thomas Cook still charge credit card fees, typically ranging between 1% and 3%, on flight bookings. However there is speculation that more airlines will reduce or remove them in the coming months.

Flybe told it was preparing to reduce its own 3% credit card fees, though it gave no detail on when, or by how much.

When asked about plans for their own credit card charges, Easyjet and Ryanair told us their fees fairly reflect the cost of processing credit card payments. Thomas Cook was also asked to comment.