Adding Insult to Injury: Elite Status Devaluation Edition

Frontier Airlines isn’t the greatest airline. Regional carrier Republic bought them, along with Midwest Airlines. They’ve cut things to the bone — they even eliminated Midwest’s cookies (gone long ago, the all premium cabin seating and fine dining meals).

They took away advance seat assignments and cut mileage earning for tickets booked through online travel agencies (although in reality they just filed fares to trick those agencies — parallel fares 10 cents cheaper that online sites default to, that take away benefits, while making fares that are pennies higher available to those booking sites which include benefits — but which the sites are incapable of displaying online).

To date they’ve cut either from all customers, or from infrequent customers primarily.

But as customers of the merged carrier learned this week, there’s more to cut. And elite benefits aren’t immune at Frontier.

It’s already tough to be a Frontier elite with no first class cabin and they have no airline partners to redeem on. If you don’t want to use your miles to fly Frontier even more, there’s car rental redemptions, Radisson hotels (25,000 miles for a single hotel night!), magazines, Amtrak, and the Denver Zoo. That’s pretty much it.

And now.. Elites lose their complimentary inflight DIRECTV effective August 1.

Currently first-tier elites get complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, and top tier elites also get a cocktail.

In place of the DIRECTV benefit, first-tier elites will get a cocktail too. And top tier elites will get a buy on board snack.

There’s some speculation that this could presage the end of inflight entertainment on Frontier entirely.

It’s tough to be a Delta Skymiles member, for sure. But it’s really tough to be a Frontier member. (And indeed, Frontier’s Milwaukee members were able to improve their lot in life by transferring their miles to Delta. Unfortunately that did not go smoothly in all cases.)

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Used to fly Midwest on occasion out of Milwaukee. A shame that they couldn’t survive on their own. I enjoyed their flights (and cookies). Amazing how drastically the presence of Midwest/Frontier has completely vanished out of Milwaukee. I miss the fare wars of a few years ago with Frontier, Southwest and AirTran all duking it out. Was one of the best places in the country for great fares.

  2. Good information but this post reads like a Rodney Dangerfield bit. Take my wife please! :~)

  3. There is something about Frontier I like, I don’t know why. I wish I could afford to buy them and turn it around. I know they are for sale. They would be a perfect fit for an Alaska merger or buyout except the routes are all Western US.
    Sounds bad over at Frontier. Sorry Denver 🙁

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