LAST CHANCE: Spirit Airlines Offering Elite Status For A Year For Just $49

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Spirit Airlines, the low cost and fee-based carrier, is offering the opportunity to fly them without paying most of their fees for a year – and even to have a value-added experience like free drinks on board. And the offer is about to be pulled.

They ran their own three month elite status challenge fall. Now they’re offering 12 months of status to almost anyone with status of any kind either with another airline or even a hotel chain. For a limited time they are offering to match the status of elite customers with 24 different loyalty programs.

That could even be Hilton Silver status from a credit card, it doesn’t matter. There’s a fee for the match, but if you’re going to travel on Spirit only once it could be worthwhile.

Spirit’s New Elite Benefits

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 much of that spend started counting double.

During the pandemic rival ultra low cost carrier 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

Here are the basics of their benefits

  • Silver status: normally takes 2,000 qualifying points; earns 8 redeemable points per dollar spent on fares and 16 points spent on ancillaries; adds points pooling, dedicated customer service, no award redemption fees; access to exit row seats, same-day standby, overweight bag fee waiver, and shortcut security and boarding.

  • Gold status: normally takes 5,000 qualify points; earns 10 redeemable points per dollar spent on fares and 20 points on ancillaries; adds free checked bags and carry-ons, free drink and snack on board, zone 1 boarding, one free change up to 24 hours prior to departure, pet fee waiver, and free group 2-5 seat selection at booking.

The only problem is you earn 1 qualifying point per dollar spent and when you have status and aren’t paying fees it’s harder to earn status! So it’s good that this is a 12-month match and not a challenge.

Getting Your 12 Months Of Spirit Airlines Status

You can apply for Spirit Airlines status in a campaign being run by As with many of their other match programs, there is a fee to apply:

  • $49 for silver, or
  • $99 for gold

Generally if you have the lowest tier of status in an airline or hotel program, you can match to Spirit Silver (e.g. Marriott or IHG silver, United or Delta silver). If you have anything about the first status tier, you can match to Spirit Gold. An exception is that JetBlue Mosaic matches to Gold rather than silver.

  • Airlines they will match against: Aerolineas Argentinas; Air Canada; Aeromexico; Alaska Airlines; American Airlines; Avianca; Caribbean Airlines; Copa; Delta; Frontier; Hawaiian; JetBlue; Southwest; United; WestJet

  • Hotels they will match against: Accor; Best Western; Choice; GHA; Hilton; Hyatt; IHG; Marriott; Omni; Radisson; Shangti-La; Sonesta; Taj; Leading Hotels of the World; World Hotels; Wyndham

Interestingly they won’t match against low cost rival Frontier Airlines. I have to think that the median customer of another airline is likely to be a higher value customer, and more likely to be in a position take a co-brand credit card and thus become profitable? Most people who match to an airline will have some revenue-generating transaction after the match. And if Delta says 1 in 8 new members takes their credit card, I have to expect that it’s a higher percentage of customers who receive a status match.

Most people will be matching to Gold and that’s where the greatest value is. It should pay for itself on a single trip, and if you live in a reasonably-sized Spirit market this should deliver outstanding value.

They won’t offer this if you have done a match in the previous two years, and taking advantage of it may mean being unable to do it again in the next two years if it’s offered.

While the website says it takes 5 days to get upgraded, usually these matches process more quickly, often in less than 24 hours. I suspect that this will work much better than Spirit’s offer from the fall. Matches are far more successful than challenges. Challenges weed out customers, but they don’t capture nearly as much revenue. And this should give them better verification of customers’ existing status, making it possible to do the match.

How Long Will This Be Available?

It’s unclear how the match offer will last, though it is described as limited-time. In the past we’ve seen some of these offers become more restrictive after launch – for instance not matching as many programs to top tier, or restricting matches from hotel programs. So if you’re interested in top tier status from Spirit especially I’d submit the match request now or soon.

Ultimately I love to see Spirit Airlines remain aggressive, rather than in limbo while awaiting legal process over whether JetBlue can acquire them. I love that Spirit Airlines drives down fares, even when I’m flying another airline like American or Southwest. And when I do fly Spirit I really don’t mind the Big Front Seat experience plus reasonably priced wifi.

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. @ Gary — Tempting. From CK to Spirit. Next, I need to trade in my mansion for a trailer.

  2. @ Lee — Quite a lot. Read Gary’s post. With Gold status, you can probably buy a one-way ATL-TPA/FLL/MCO/MSY/DTW/MIA/IAH/DFW with full roll-aboard and briefcase in a first class seat for about $99. Sounds like the old ValuJet days to me, but with lower prices and newer planes.

  3. Is this like AA that your status benefits apply to your comanions in the same itimerary? (Free bags, seats etc)

  4. Wow! That was quick. Approved in 20 minutes. Also refers you to other status match site… with other opportunities for a status ‘wait list.’

    Woohoo [b]! Fido4free[/b] now gets to [b]tvl4free[/b]. That’s just saved me $250 vs AA’ s in cabin fee.

    Thanks, Gary.


  5. Any chance of Spirit reversing luggage charges for flights already booked, if I got the status match? (or canceling and rebooking) Wish I’d seen this before booking last week!

  6. Hmmmm…
    Well, I am with @Gene. 🙂
    But I had hoped to hear from other commentators on whether Spirit is worth taking a chance on. Apart from @Lt Dan I don’t know if any of the commentators have actually flown Spirit.
    Why this is of interest to me: I concluded last year that airline loyalty is a one-way street. And that’s a street that’s not pointed at the customer. The vast majority of my flying going forward is international business and first class. Very little, almost no domestic. As such, on a lot of airlines, that’s going to get me club access.
    I plan to use up my AA and DL miles then just book using Google flights to find the best routes/prices. Some of that may mean flying from other then my home airport. e.g., I have to get self to LAX, JFK, EWR, etc…In which case a lesser expensive airline that is *reliable*, but on which I can book a “big seat” would work. Hence, I am interested in others’ experiences with Spirit

  7. @ Woofie — My Spirit experience is limited to two flights in the Big Front Seat ATL-MCO-ATL. I dont drink alcohol or watch the seatback TV, so for me the only difference between these flights and ones in F on DL was free water and gummy bears and the (fairly lame) seat recline on Delta. That’s worth about $5 to me (mostly for the gummies). I will definetly fly Spirit again.

  8. AA Platinum Pro, Alaska MVP Gold 75K (100K last year), and United Silver.

    Given my recent experience with AA in domestic First Class, I would not hesitate to fly in Big Front Seat. Once I also flew in Exit Seat, and it had 2x space vs. AA / Alaska / United Exit Seats.

    All in all, if it is hundreds cheaper, I will travel with Spirit without any hesitation.

  9. lol most of these idiots that are hard no to spirit haven’t flown spirit recently.

    times have changed and being the cheapest doesn’t mean being the worst, silly stigma.

  10. So their top elite status doesn’t provide even a chance for upgrades to the Big Seat? Or even discounted purchases?

  11. Checked with another blog, it appears the status does not extend to another on reservation.

  12. According to Flyertalk posters, Spirit extends NO elite benefit to companion, unlike most programs. This is a huge disincentive to have the status, unless you mostly fly alone. I benefited from a Frontier status match for 2022, and that worked well travelling with me wife. To get the same benefits, we’d have to each pay $99, which seems a bit pricey unless you were planning lots of Spirit flying.

  13. So to confirm – If I’m a Hyatt Globalist, then $99 gets me access the the Big Front Seat on Spirit for one year? I’ve never wanted to fly Spirit, but it might be worth trying just for one flight

  14. Maybe they recently added it but last I flew with spirit they didn’t have Wi-Fi or any onboard service (food or beverage). It was awful! But very cheap!

  15. I flew spirit one time in 2016, and I have taken a hard pass since. I see a few commenters saying that the airline has improved in recent years, but I am not sure what improved. Are the seats bigger? Do they recline now? Do you get a full tray table? And most importantly from my prior experience, are the other passengers on spirit well behaved? When I flew spirit, it was like a flight full of jerks who had no flight edicate, argued with flight attendants and made scenes about dumb things, people stealing each others seats and then arguing about it . . . My takeaway from spirit was that it was a cheap airline for cheap people. But, that was seven years ago and just one round trip flight I took (problems existed both ways).

  16. My biggest issue is the frequency of their flights (or lack thereof) and the fact that they won’t interline.

    I know Southwest does the same, blah blah blah…. But Southwest has a wider network and much more frequent flights.

    From my market, if spirit cancels your flight, it may be a day or two to get another one, and that’s presuming there’s availability. So if I ever fly Spirit, you got to factor in at least the POSSIBILITY of having to buy a last-minute walk up ticket on another airline…..

  17. Has anyone actually gotten confirmed for this? As in, fully, actually, gotten the status with Spirit? Like another commenter above, I was approved *by* within 20-30 minutes. However, that was 5 days ago and Spirit has not processed yet.

    Through WhatsApp chat, I was provided with a number to call to try and expedite, and the gentleman on the other end informed that the person “who does this” was out for the day but to call back tomorrow “around 4pm.” When I asked which time zone’s 4pm, he said “US time zone.” When I said that the US has 3 time zones, he said “really? well just call back tomorrow around this time.”

    When I called back, the next gentleman told me that the status matches go to “the back office,” where they take 7 to 10 business days to clear. I told him that this was beyond even what spirit’s materials say, and told him about my conversation the previous day, he said, tersely, “I can’t help that someone told you something wrong. You can call back as many times as you like but nothing can be done to expedite.”

  18. @Gene: Regarding the comparison of ValuJet to Spirit Airlines, on May 11, 1996, the ValuJet Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-9, in route to Atlanta, crashed into the Everglades about 10 minutes after taking off from Miami as a result of a fire in the cargo compartment caused by mislabeled and improperly stored hazardous cargo. All 110 people on board died. Do you want to be seated in non-smoking, smoking, or burnt beyond recognition?

    According to the article published in the Palm Beach on December 5, 2021, titled
    Florida history: Remembering the Everglades ValuJet plane crash by Eliot Kleinberg,

    “There was a larger conclusion that the people died because they selected an airline offering lower prices by cutting corners in an industry that, since deregulation, had made that the norm.

    ValuJet contracted out critical aspects such as cargo. The outside company’s employees saw volatile chemical oxygen generators, yanked out of another plane because they had passed their expiration date, and presumed they were empty. That’s what they marked on the manifest. The canisters were loaded onto Flight 592. Moments after takeoff, investigators believe, the canisters activated in the cargo, sparking or feeding a horrific fire that brought down the plane. The National Transportation Safety Board ruled that the crash reflected failures “up and down the line” – complacency, rushing and a bottom-line mentality in the airline industry and the Federal Aviation Administration.

    How the tragedy changed air safety regulations
    It made no fewer than 33 recommendations; the FAA adopted 29. Since then, accidental air deaths have dropped dramatically. But critics say too many airlines, especially with fuel and other costs continuing to rise, still focus more on revenue than safety, and the government is stretched too thin to keep them honest.”

  19. Any way to get another airline to status match the Spirit Gold to something worthwhile? I have upcoming American, United, KLM/Air France, Egypt Air flights but am generally an airline free agent without loyalty. Thanks!

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