Frontier Airlines is offering its “GoWild!” unlimited flying pass for $599 the first year. If you don’t cancel it will auto-renew for $1999 the second year. It’s a brilliant way for the airline to monetize seats that are otherwise-likely to go empty, and can be a great deal for travelers living in major Frontier cities like Denver, Orlando and Las Vegas.
This lets you buy an unlimited number of domestic U.S. flights, booked the day prior to travel, for just $0.01 in airfare plus taxes and fees (or in most cases less than $15 per flight). While Frontier does fly to Mexico and the Caribbean, the flight pass covers U.S. only.
There 56 blackout dates in the first year, and last seat availability isn’t guaranteed. The idea is they don’t want someone on a $599 pass to displace paying passengers. Instead, booking is only available the day before travel on flights with open seats in eligible booking classes. And they don’t reward thee flights with miles or status credit.
Two common questions I’ve received over the last day – which I waited to write about the offer until I’d learned answers – turn out to make the pass more valuable.
- No booking fees apply. Frontier’s “carrier interface charge” is not billed on bookings made with this pass.
- Elite benefits fully apply. So if you have Frontier’s elite status that waives fees, those fees will be waived when flying on this pass.
As it was put to me by a source, these bookings “will operate essentially like an award flight plus the penny fare.”
My rough model is if you’re going to use this pass monthly, it can make good sense, but there’s risk that if you’re traveling during peak periods you might not be able to get a return seat to fly back after a trip (since you can’t confirm travel until the day before). Think of this as paying for highest priority non-revving, and the people who should be most unhappy about this method of liquidating spoiling inventory are those who actually non-rev.
I have a hard time seeing this pass make sense in the second year though, unless you’re traveling a minimum of weekly with Frontier. And then you’re… traveling weekly with Frontier. Given elite status the deal is worth quite a lot, but those without status need to remember that much of the cost of Frontier Airlines travel is the fees charged to non-elites not just base airfare. And since traveling on this pass doesn’t earn elite credit, it’ll be hard for those buying the pass to keep status and avoid fees for the more expensive second year… unless, of course, spending enough on the airline’s co-brand credit card since one dollar of spend earns a mile of qualifying activity.
As for me, Frontier is big enough out of Austin where this could conceivably make sense, but the lack of inflight wifi makes the airline a non-starter for my regular use.