3 ways Spirit’s frequent flyer program just got a whole lot better

Oct 23, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Yesterday, Spirit Airlines announced an all-new frequent flyer program that is set to launch on Jan. 21, 2021. While the ‘Free Spirit’ name will remain, it’s an otherwise top-to-bottom replacement of Spirit’s old, dated, less-than-rewarding frequent flyer program with a new, modern-era approach.

With an all-new program comes a long list of changes. We released a guide that covers everything we know about the new Spirit Airlines Free Spirit program. But if you just want to know the highlights, here are the three biggest improvements to the Free Spirit program that we’re most excited about.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our free daily newsletter.

More time to use your points

There was plenty of opportunity for improvement in the old Spirit Airlines Free Spirit program, but the immediate non-starter with the program was that your miles would expire 90 days after you earned them without additional earning activity.

Even if you flew Spirit at regular intervals two or three times each year, your Free Spirit miles were probably going to expire at some point. Any three-month gap between Spirit flights — unless you really went out of your way to keep your miles alive — meant that they were all gone. I never bothered earning any Spirit miles for my kids, and mine would always eventually expire.

Beginning Jan. 21, your Spirit points won’t expire for at least a year. And if you have a cobranded Spirit Airlines credit card account, your points won’t expire for as long as you have that card.

Otherwise, any redeeming or earning activity once every 12 months with Spirit (or its partners) will reset the expiration clock for another year. That’s still not an industry-leading policy, as many programs have eliminated point expiration entirely, but it’s reasonable and substantially better than the old rule.

Related: Everything to know about flying Spirit Airlines

(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Ability to pool points

When you’re booking travel for a whole family, it’s easy to end up with small frequent flyer balances scattered across multiple accounts. The ability to pool those points or miles solves that problem by allowing you to combine redeemable rewards from different accounts together to book awards faster. Points pooling isn’t a unique feature to Spirit, but it’s still relatively uncommon across U.S. frequent flyer programs.

Beginning Jan. 21, Spirit will allow its cardholders and elite status members to run a points pool that is open to up to eight other friends and family members. Those members of the pool don’t have to have any particular credit card or elite status level to be in a pool — you just can’t run one. In my case, that means my dad (a proud Spirit cardholder since forever) can be the head of the points pool, and then my family can pool our earned Spirit points into that account so they won’t ever go to waste again.

Related: 22 airlines that let families pool miles

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Ability to earn free bags and seat assignments

Outside of a big promotion or status match opportunity (and my gut says that will happen), I probably don’t fly Spirit enough to earn elite status. However, some people do. In fact, one of TPG’s own Florida-based points experts may tip some of his airline bookings to Spirit to earn status.

For the folks who spend enough with Spirit (or on the cobranded credit card) to unlock elite status, it’s a really big deal that seat assignments and bag fees can be waived beginning Jan. 21. Being able to fly an ultra low-cost carrier on a cheap ticket and avoid those fees would be a big game-changer.

When I fly Spirit, it is very common that my ancillary fees cost as much as (if not more than) the base fare itself, so this would represent very real cost-savings for the status holder.

(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

From what we know so far, Spirit’s new all-new program still doesn’t put them at the front of the pack, but it absolutely puts them in the pack of airline frequent flyer programs. That alone is a major improvement.

With these changes, Free Spirit will go from a loyalty program that was not worth the time of even registering my kids to earn miles, to one where my whole family will be actively earning points.

Featured image by Orli Friedman/The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.