Skip to content

4 ways Spirit's frequent flyer program just got a whole lot better

Jan. 22, 2021
6 min read
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.

Spirit Airlines just launched an all-new frequent flyer program on Jan. 21. While the 'Free Spirit' name has remained, this was a top-to-bottom replacement of Spirit's dated, less-than-rewarding frequent flyer program with a new, modern-era approach to elite status levels and cheap award flights.

With an all-new program comes a long list of changes. We released a guide covering all the most important elements of the new Spirit Airlines Free Spirit program. But if you just want to know the stand-out 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.

Cheap award flights for all

Love it or hate it, everyone knows that Spirit Airlines has crazy low cash fares. These fares can start around $20 each way, and as long as you don't need advance seat assignments or bags bigger than a backpack, that's the real price to fly. And now, the low-cost airline's frequent flyer program has very affordable award flights to match its cheap cash fares.

Spirit Airlines award flights start at just 2,500 points for all members -- not just those with a co-branded credit card. The lowest-priced Spirit award flight costs are also no longer tied to a maximum distance flown. You can cross the country or even fly internationally starting at just 2,500 points + taxes and fees, which can start as low as just $5.60 in each direction.

Related: Spirit's new Saver$ Club vs. Frontier Discount Den

Screenshot courtesy of Spirit.com

While award prices can and will change as cash prices fluctuate, right now there really are lots of places you can fly for just 2,500 points in this new system. And since you can now earn Free Spirit points at a rate as fast as 20 points per dollar, Spirit flyers and those with the co-branded credit cards may find themselves with a plethora of points to spend.

Related: How to find the cheapest award flights

More time to use your points

An immediate non-starter with the old Free Spirit program was that your miles would expire 90 days after you earned them without additional earning activity.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Even if you flew Spirit at semi-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 before I could use them.

But now 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 more manageable than the old rule.

Related: Everything to know about flying Spirit Airlines

(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Ability to pool points

Spirit Airlines now allows its cardholders and elite status members to run a points pool with 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 join a pool — they just can't run one. In my case, that means my dad (a proud Spirit cardholder since forever) could be the head of the points pool. My family can then pool our earned Spirit points into that account, so they won't ever go to waste again -- especially with award flights starting at just 2,500 for all.

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 or challenge opportunity (and we have confirmed that a status challenge is coming), I probably don't fly Spirit enough to earn elite status on my own. 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. We've also talked to a Spirit flyer who amassed over 400,000 miles in the old program, so it absolutely does happen.

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 both checked and carry-on bag fees can be waived for the traveler with status. Being able to fly an ultra-low-cost carrier on a cheap ticket and avoid those ancillary fees is be a big game-changer.

When I fly Spirit, my ancillary fees often 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

Spirit's =all-new program still doesn't put them at the front of the pack for airline elite status perks, but it absolutely puts them in the pack of airline frequent flyer programs. That alone is a major improvement and I'm legitimately excited about some of these changes as we inch toward a broader return to travel.

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 actively earn points.

Featured image by AFP via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

Fair/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

    Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    Fair/Good

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees