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Should you join Frontier's Discount Den or the new Spirit Saver$ Club?

Jan. 22, 2021
7 min read
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America’s two largest ultra-low-cost carriers, Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines, have a lot in common. They both offer low fares and, in turn, charge extra for just about everything. Additionally, they both offer paid memberships that promise exclusive discounts. These memberships are separate from their loyalty programs, which allow travelers to rack up miles and earn elite status.

Frontier's Discount Den and the Spirit Saver$ Club — formerly known as the $9 Fare Club — can be big money savers. They both typically discount flights by $10-30 each way and each provides some unique benefits, such as free flights for kids and discounts on bags and seat assignments. But they're not for everyone. For instance, both programs are more appealing for family or group travelers than those typically traveling on their own.

In light of Spirit revamping its program, today, we're going to compare the two memberships head-to-head to help you decide which one you should join — if any at all. Reports suggest that both membership fees typically trigger American Express airline fee credits, meaning your membership could potentially be free.

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Comparing Discount Den and Spirit Saver$ Club

Before we dive into each program, let’s start with a quick summary of the two programs. Although they are fairly similar, there are some differences in price and benefits.

Discount DenSpirit Saver$ Club
Price$59.99$69.95 - $129.90
Membership options12-month12-month, 18-month, 24-month
Trial membershipN/AN/A
BenefitsDiscounted fares

Access to “kids fly free” flights

First to hear about offers, promotions and new destinations

Discounted fares

Up to 50% off checked and carry-on bags

Discounts on seat assignments, including the Big Front Seats

Discounts on additional perks, such as Shortcut Boarding and Flight Flex

Number of eligible travelersSixEight

Related: Which low-cost carrier should you fly? Comparing Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines

Discount Den

Price

The cost of Frontier Airlines’ Discount Den is slightly lower than Spirit’s Saver$ Club. Membership costs $59.99 and you'll have access to the program for an entire year. The membership will renew automatically for the following year, but you can cancel any time.

There are some requirements to join Discount Den. First, you must be a member of Frontier’s frequent flyer program, Frontier Miles. Additionally, you must be at least 18 years old.

If you have Frontier elite status, you may be eligible for a free or discounted Discount Den membership. Elite 50K members get 50% off, while Elite 100K members get complimentary membership.

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Related: The best credit cards for booking flights

(Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)

Benefits

The primary benefit of the program is access to discounted Discount Den fares. Based on our searches, Discount Den fares are typically $10-30 cheaper than the standard price, so it will take anywhere from 2-6 flights each year to make the membership worth it. That said, you can see how a normal Frontier fare stacks up against a Discount Den fare yourself by searching routes on the airline's website.

The second major benefit is access to Frontier's “Kids Fly Free” offer. With this promotion, children ages 15 and under fly for free when accompanied by the Discount Den member on select flights. While there are some limitations on flight eligibility, this benefit alone can offset the annual fee for family travelers. Bookings must be for round-trip, nonstop domestic flights made at least three days in advance and can't fall within Frontier's blackout dates.

(Screenshot courtesy of Flyfrontier.com)

So long as the member is on the reservation, you can book discounted fares for up to six travelers.

Related: How this $59.99 membership can pay for itself after booking one flight

Spirit Saver$ Club

Price

With the launch of the revamped Saver$ Club came some changes to membership options and pricing. A 12-month membership now costs $69.95, with no discount in your first year and no trial option. However, you can save $5 by committing to an 18-month membership for $99.90 or save $10 by purchasing a 24-month membership for $129.90.

Even with the 24-month option, the lowest price you could pay for a membership is $64.95 each year, which is still more expensive than Discount Den. As is the case with Frontier's program, the membership fee must be paid upfront, is nonrefundable and renews automatically.

Existing $9 Fare Club members have automatically been transferred to the new program.

(Photo by Edward Russell/The Points Guy)

Related: Earn easy miles with the Free Spirit Dining program

Benefits

Like Discount Den, Spirit Saver$ Club offers access to exclusive discounted fares. Again, on average, you can expect to save $10-30 per ticket, though we have seen bigger discounts before — especially on last-minute bookings. But that's not all.

Related: Can you save money by purchasing Spirit tickets at the airport?

(Screenshot courtesy of Spirit.com)

Savings vary by flight but Saver$ Club members can get up to 50% off checked and carry-on bag fees. Additionally, members now get discounts on seat assignments, including Big Front Seats and exit row seats. Other new perks include discounts on À La Smarte options, such as shortcut security, priority boarding and Flight Flex.

While we don't know yet what they'll be, Spirit says that members will soon get exclusive offers with some of its partners.

(Screenshot courtesy of Spirit.com)

Like Frontier's program, these perks can be used for friends and family members who travel with you. While this likely won't make a difference for most travelers, Spirit takes things up a notch by extending the perks to up to eight guests on the same reservation, as opposed to six.

The recent changes to Spirit's membership come in addition to a slew of enhancements to its frequent flyer program. The new Free Spirit program offers actual elite status tiers with tangible benefits like free seat assignments and bag fee waivers. Additionally, all elites and Spirit Airlines credit cardholders can now pool points with others.

Related: Why having the Spirit credit card isn’t crazy

Which should you get?

There's value to be had with both Discount Den and Saver$ Club. Which program is best ultimately depends on whether you're more loyal to Frontier or Spirit.

With both programs, you'll generally get the most value if you're a frequent traveler or tend to travel in groups – the more you fly, the greater the savings. Discount Den's Kids Fly Free benefit is appealing for families with young children. But given the limitations and how cheap Frontier fares are to begin with, Saver$ Club's discounts on bags and seat assignments can ultimately be more valuable.

In both cases, it's certainly possible for a family of four to recoup the annual fee from just one family vacation a year. However, given the discounts on bags and other add-ons, Saver$ Club may be easier to justify for solo travelers.

If you decide that it makes sense for you to join one of the programs, don't sign-up right away. Since membership starts as soon you sign up, you should only join once you have an immediate use for it.

Featured image by The battle of the two ultra-low-cost carriers. (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)
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.

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  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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  • Intro Offer
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    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.

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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023