Frontier Airlines launched a new frequent flyer program in 2018 and it was a real improvement, with elites receiving waived fees from the most fee-based airlines, and one dollar of credit card spend counting as one mile towards status. (Then, last year, much of that spend started counting double.)
During the pandemic their rival ultra low cost carrier competitor Spirit Airlines created a new program, too and it’s remarkably similar.
- Except that Spirit is generally the better airline
- With fast inflight wifi (for purchase) on most flights
- And the ‘Big Front Seat’ you can pay extra for, basically a domestic first class seat that doesn’t recline or come with free drinks
Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat
Each of the past couple of years Frontier Airlines has offered generous status matches. In typical Frontier fashion you had to pay a fee to participate in the match. But you could get top tier status that waives all fees and makes your tickets refundable, and they even allowed for re-matches and offered to match hotel loyalty status not just airlines.
Spirit Airlines, which has a deal to be acquired by JetBlue, is now matching status, too. Only perhaps since the program is cleverly called ‘Free Spirit’ they don’t have a fee to submit for the match.
- Sadly you don’t get a year of status (like with Frontier), you get it for 3 months and then need to earn a quarter of the usual points required for status during that time in order to keep it.
- If you have bottom-tier status with your current carrier you get Spirit Silver, if you have anything over that you get Gold. Gold includes free carry on and checked bags, free exit row seats, and even a snack and drink on board.
It’s harder to earn status in a revenue-based program when you don’t pay fees, and fees are often much of the cost of travel on the airline. So to generate 500 points (Silver) or 1250 points (Gold) in 3 months many of you will need to fly the airline quite a lot and pay for the Big Front Seat, or get their co-brand credit card since spend counts towards status.
I find travel on Spirit to be a value but I am not likely to fly them in the next 3 months, and certainly not enough to requalify after the 3 month status match, so won’t pursue this myself – but several of you will find this helpful.
Update: within an hour of writing this, before hitting publish, I found myself considering… a flight on Spirit. Status matches work to make a company focal! That, and American wants $399 while Spirit wants $68.