Ultimate guide to Frontier Miles
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Frontier Airlines has long been my favorite U.S. low-cost carrier. The airline has consistently low fares on new Airbus planes and its frequent flyer program, Frontier Miles, is pretty solid. You can use miles to redeem for free flights on the airline’s vast domestic route network, and its elite status is surprisingly powerful for anyone that flies Frontier on a regular basis.
But despite being one of the best low-cost carrier loyalty programs, it isn’t talked about often. So in this article, I’ll walk you through the basics and discuss Frontier Airlines’ elite status, mileage earning and redemption options. Make sure to bookmark this guide and refer to it next time you need a quick refresher on Frontier miles.
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Frontier Miles program overview
Frontier Miles was launched two years ago as a replacement to Frontier’s previous EasyReturns program. The program kept some of the most beloved features of the original mileage program, like distance-based mileage earning. It also added new elite tiers, benefits and a revamped award chart. All of these things make Frontier Miles a huge upgrade over EasyReturns and makes the loyalty program worthwhile for those that fly Frontier Airlines often.
How to earn Frontier Miles
Frontier is one of the few U.S. carriers that’s kept a standard award chart for all of its award tickets. Domestic award flights start at just 10,000 points one-way and international flights start at 15,000 miles one-way. There are, however, some fees to be aware of, so make sure to read through the redeeming miles section of this article for more info.
Unfortunately, Frontier Airlines doesn’t have any partner airlines, so earning miles can be tricky. Nevertheless, there are still a few ways to maximize your Frontier Miles earning in your everyday life.
Here’s a look at all the different ways to earn Frontier Miles.
Earn Frontier Miles by flying
You’ll earn Frontier miles based on the length of your flight. So if you fly on Frontier’s Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Newark (EWR) route, you’ll earn 719 Frontier Miles upon completion of the flight. You’ll earn this same number of miles regardless of how much you spend on your ticket.
In addition, those with Frontier elite status will earn even more points. Here’s how many bonus points each status tier earns:
- Elite 20K: No bonus
- Elite 50K: 1.25x bonus
- Elite 100K: 1.5x bonus
This means that an Elite 50K and an Elite 100K member would earn 898 and 1,078 miles on the same Chicago to Newark route discussed earlier. Note that there’s no other way to earn additional miles on a Frontier ticket, as the airline doesn’t have a business class cabin. You can, however, earn additional miles by paying for your flight with a Frontier Airline credit card.
Earn miles with the Frontier Airlines credit card
The Frontier Airlines World Mastercard earns 5 miles per $1 spent on Frontier purchases, 3x miles at restaurants and 1 mile per $1 everywhere else. Plus, you can earn 50,000 Frontier miles after spending $500 in your first 90 days of card membership.
Interestingly enough, the miles you earn with this card count toward elite status, so you can earn top-tier Frontier Elite 100K status without ever hopping on an airplane. You’ll also earn a $100 flight voucher on your account anniversary when you spend $2,500 a year. This discount more than offsets the card’s $79 annual fee.
This card also includes Zone 2 boarding on all Frontier flights and waived award redemption fees. I’ll go more in-depth on these later, but in short, Frontier charges a fee when you book an award ticket less than 180 days before departure. These fees range from $15-$75, depending on departure. By paying with your Frontier Airlines World Mastercard, you can save some serious coin.
Unless you really value Frontier Airlines miles and elite status, I don’t recommend getting this card for yourself. Most travelers are better off with a transferrable points card like the American Express® Green Card. At $150, the annual fee (see rates and fees) is higher than the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard, however it also earns 3x Membership Rewards points on travel, transit and restaurant spending.
You can transfer these points to a number of hotel and airline partners, including Frontier. This added flexibility is valuable during times when saver-level Value awards aren’t available and other airline offer cheaper redemption rates.
The information for the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard and the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Earn and transfer points from major hotel points programs
Frontier Airlines currently has partnerships with three hotel groups: Marriott Bonvoy, Radisson Rewards and Wyndham Rewards. You can transfer Marriott points at a 3:1 ratio, while Radisson Rewards transfer 10:1 and Wyndham comes in at 5:1. These are not favorable ratios and you’re probably better off redeeming those points for hotel stays. However, it’s an option worth knowing about if you ever need to top off your Frontier Miles account.
Earn Frontier points with Marriott
You can also earn Frontier miles in lieu of hotel points with Marriott, Radisson and Wyndham. Marriott awards up to two miles per dollar spent at participating properties. These hotel chains offer one mile per $1 spent spent:
- Courtyard by Marriott
- Four Points by Sheraton
- SpringHill Suites
- Protea Hotels
- Fairfield Inn & Suites
Marriott Executive Apartments
- Element by Westin
The following brands earn 2x miles per $1 spent:
- JW Marriott
- The Ritz Carlton
- St. Regis
- The Luxury Collection
- W Hotels
- Marriott Hotels
- Marriott Vacation Club
- Delta Hotels by Marriott
- Le Meridien
- Autograph Collection
- Design Hotels
- Renaissance Hotels
- Tribute Portfolio
- Gaylord Hotels
Earn Frontier points with Radisson
Unlike Wyndham and Marriott, you can’t earn Frontier miles on Radisson stays. Instead, you can transfer your Radisson Rewards points to Frontier miles at a 10:1 ratio.
Earn Frontier points with Wyndham
Wyndham earns points similarly, but the number of miles you’ll earn depends on your Wyndham elite status level:
- Wyndham Blue (standard) – 1 mile per dollar spent on all stays
- Wyndham Gold – 1 mile per dollar spent
- Wyndham Platinum – 2 miles per dollar spent
- Wyndham Diamond – 2 miles per dollar spent
These earning rates are the same across all Wyndham brands.
Earn miles when you rent a car
Frontier has partnerships with most of the major rental car companies, including Avis, Budget, Hertz, Thrifty, National, Alamo and Dollar Car rental. Depending on the company, you’ll earn miles based on rental period or total spent. You can view an up-to-date list of Frontier’s various car rental partners on the airline’s website.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when you rent a car through an airline, though. The first is that you may not be able to use corporate or AAA discount code. You may also not get the under-25 fee waived by booking this way. So you may end up paying more when renting through an airline. With that in mind, always cross-check prices before you book.
Earn bonus miles when you book a cruise
Frontier Airlines offers its own cruise booking portal, where you can earn up to 10,000 miles per booking. Partner cruise lines include Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and more. Frontier provides a 110% best price guarantee, meaning if you find a lower rate elsewhere, they will refund you 110% of the price difference.
Here is how many miles you can expect to earn by booking your cruise through Frontier Airlines:
- 1-5 night cruise – 1,500 miles
- 6-9 night cruise – 3,000 miles
- 9-12 night cruise – 5,000 miles
- 13+ night cruise – 10,000 miles
Earn bonus miles when you buy wine or flowers
Unlike other major airlines, Frontier doesn’t have a shopping portal that earns points on everyday purchases. Instead, Frontier has partnerships with Vinesse Wines and Teleflora that let you earn Frontier miles when you purchase wine or flowers online. You may want to use one of these services the next time you need to send a gift, but make sure to compare prices with other vendors before you buy.
Maximizing redemptions with Frontier miles
Frontier miles can be redeemed for two things: flights and magazines. As you’d expect, the best use of Frontier miles is redeeming them for award flights. The airline still employs a standard region-based award chart, but there are a few added fees that you should be aware of before you book — here’s a look at the specifics.
A look at the Frontier award chart
Frontier offers three different redemption tiers: Value, Standard and Last Seat. These prices do not change based on the departure city.
Value – This is the lowest redemption rate for all Frontier redemptions and can be compared to a “Saver” ticket on a traditional carrier. These are generally offered during off-peak dates and less desirable flights, but we’ve also found Value tickets when there’s low demand.
Standard – Standard awards are generally priced out at twice the cost of a Value ticket. These awards are available on more (but not all) dates.
Last Seat – As the name suggests, Last Seat awards are available for booking until the last seat on the airplane is booked. Unfortunately, these awards are only bookable by Frontier elites and cost 2,500 more miles each way than Standard awards. This can be a good option to have if you’re booking at the last minute and paid fares are high.
Below you’ll find a copy of Frontier’s 2020 award chart. Note that all prices listed are for one-way awards; round-trip tickets cost double the amount of a one-way. In addition, taxes and fees apply to these tickets — these vary based on the country you’re flying to or from.
Domestic award tickets (including flights within the U.S. and Puerto Rico
Award tickets to/from Mexico, Dominican Republic or Jamaica
Fees associated with Frontier award tickets
Now for the bad news: Frontier adds a booking fee to most award tickets. You’ll pay this fee when you book an award flight within 180 days of departure; the closer you get to departure, the higher the fee is. This isn’t a huge deal for those who book tickets far in advance, but they can be detrimental for those who book tickets at the last minute.
Here’s a look at the fee structure — note that these fees are charged in addition to other taxes and fees:
- 180+ days prior to departure: $0
- 21-179 days prior to departure: $15
- 7-20 days prior to departure: $50
- 6 days or less prior to departure: $75
These fees are waived for Frontier elite status members and those who hold a Frontier Airlines credit card. If you frequently book award tickets close to departure, you may find it worthwhile to apply for a Frontier credit card as this can save you a considerable amount of money.
Be sure to factor these fees into the cost of your ticket when booking travel on Frontier Airlines. In some cases, it may make more sense to book a paid ticket instead of an award ticket if you’re subject to a booking fee. This is because Frontier often offers low-cost tickets at the last minute, making the cent-per-point redemption value extremely low.
Discount Den membership
Finally, Frontier Airlines offers a subscription service called Discount Den. While not the same as elite status, the program gives its members access to discounted fares for $59 a year. Further, children under 15 fly for free when accompanied by the Discount Den member on select flights, which can offer you excellent savings on certain routes.
We’ve found that Discount Den can offer pretty excellent deals too. We looked for a flight from New York (LGA) to Atlanta (ATL) departing four months from the search date. In this example, a Discount Den member would save $20 per ticket over the standard price.
These discounts apply to international flights too. For example, you can score a $10 discount per person when flying from Cleveland (CLE) to Cancun (CUN) in late 2020.
We recommend that frequent Frontier flyers consider a Discount Den membership if they’ll get more than $59 per year in savings from the service. That said, a family of four may be able to recoup the cost of a Discount Den membership from just one family vacation a year.
Frontier elite status
Back in 2018, Frontier revamped its loyalty program to include three status tiers: Elite 20K, 50K and 100K. You can earn these elite status tiers by earning 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 Frontier miles respectively from either flying on Frontier or by spending on the cobranded credit card. This makes Frontier one of the few airlines where you can earn top-tier elite status solely by spending on a credit card.
Let’s take a look at each of these status tiers and their respective benefits.
Frontier’s entry-level status can be earned by earning 20,000 miles or flying 25 segments on Frontier Airlines flights. The benefits of this elite status tier are surprisingly plentiful, especially for requiring such a low number of miles and segments. Elite 20K perks include:
- Free carry-on on all flights
- Priority boarding
- Seat selection
- Family points pooling
- Waived award redemption fees
- Last seat availability for award tickets
- Stretch seating available at check-in
Elite 50K status can be earned by earning 50,000 miles or flying 50 segments on Frontier airlines. The airline’s mid-tier elite status offers all the perks of Elite 20K, but includes a few other interesting features:
- Free family seating on all flights
- Stretch seating available when you book
- 50% off a Discount Den membership
- 25% bonus miles on all flights
Finally, Elite 100K status is Frontier’s top-tier elite status that requires earning 100,000 miles or flying 100 segments. This status level offers all of the benefits listed above, but with some crucial additions that provide excellent value for Frontier’s most frequent flyers:
- Free checked bag on all flights
- Complimentary Discount Den membership
- 50% bonus miles on all flights
- Family status; this includes the Works bundle for everyone on your itinerary
Family status is the key benefit here. When you reach Elite 100K, you and your family get free checked bags, carry-on bags, priority boarding and seat selection. Plus, you can change or refund your flight for free, giving you the utmost flexibility when you’re flying with Frontier. This can save your family hundreds of dollars per flight and is hands-down one of the most impressive Frontier elite status benefits.
One last thing: Frontier Airlines is offering 3x miles on all flights through September 12, 2021, that are booked by June 30, 2020. If you’re hoping to earn Frontier elite status in 2020 or 2021, now might be the time to book future travel.
Frontier may not be the most exciting airline, but its loyalty program is worthwhile for those who fly on the airline often. Its award chart is extremely easy to understand and can provide excellent value if you can avoid its pesky booking fees. Furthermore, Frontier Airlines’ elite status program is great for families and those who want to avoid fees when flying on a low-cost carrier.
The Frontier Airlines credit card is surprisingly good too, especially if you can spend enough on it to earn elite status. However, we only recommend this card for those who will actually use the benefits that come with the card — otherwise, you’re better off with a transferrable points card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green Card, click here.
Featured photo by Robert Cicchetti/Shutterstock
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