Program Score Card: Frontier EarlyReturns

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Denver based Frontier Airlines recently acquired (through parent holding company Republic) Midwest airlines, so the two regional low cost carriers will merge to provide a formidable, though much smaller,  competitors  Southwest and United. Unlike Southwest however, they operate on a hub system, meaning almost all flights will run through Denver and Milkwaukee.

Currency=  EarlyReturns Miles (Sign up link here)


Flights: One mile for each mile flown (bonuses for elite status)

Credit Card:
Personal Mastercard:
No annual fee: 10,000 mile sign-up bonus, 1 mile for every $2 in purchases (Apply)
$59 annual fee: 25,000 mile sign-up, 1 mile for every $1 spent (Apply)

Parners: Marriott, Hertz. Alamo, National, American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner (1:1 ratio),

Redeeming: Since Frontier only flies domestically and to the Mexico/Costa Rica and they only have coach awards.
25,000 miles for a roundtrip
35,000 for Mexico/Costa Rica
45,000 for flex US award
55,000 for flex award to Mexico/Costa Rica

Expiration: Points expire after two years of no activity- any activities re-extends all miles

+Simple earning structure, based on mileage flown (benefits long-haul flyers)

– Limited earning partners

Elite Status:

ascent level:

  • 15,000 Frontier flight miles
  • 20 Frontier flight segments
  • Benfits: 25% bonus miles, free DirecTV, Priority Check-in, Free STRETCH seats, last minute award availability

summit level:

  • 25,000 Frontier flight miles
  • 30 Frontier flight segments
  • Benefits: all of ascent, plus free in-flight cocktails, waived fees, free confirmed changed flights and 50% bonus miles

Overall Summary:
Frontier has an average program. The rules are customer friendly and the redemptions straight forward. Beyond that, there’s not a whole lot to get excited about.

I find there to be a dearth of points-earning partners. Additionally, in a mileage based earning system, its hard to really accrue a lot of miles if there aren’t many long-haul flights. I anticipate it takes most people at east 12 roundtrips to get a free ticket- which is less generous than Jetblue and Southwest.

In order for Frontier to beef up its presence in the loyalty point arena, I think they need to build out more partnerships with points earning and redeeming partners and add some interesting aspects of the program (like companion passes or off-peak awards)

Overall scores:

Points: B-
Elite Program: B-
Overall Grade: B-

First steps for EarlyReturns to get the overall score moving towards an A:
1) Inject some creativity into the program
2) Partner with a large airline that will allow international redemptions
3) Get more hotel and travel partners- a shopping mall should be a no-brainer

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