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Frontier goes head-to-head on a staple Southwest route

July 19, 2022
3 min read
Frontier goes head-to-head on a staple Southwest route
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Frontier Airlines just announced a new route between two of Southwest Airlines' biggest bases.

The Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier unveiled plans on Tuesday to connect Denver (DEN) with Houston Hobby (HOU) beginning Sept. 7.

Frontier will operate once-daily flights between the two cities, with intro fares starting at $69 for the one-way travel (excluding ancillary services, such as bags and seat assignments).

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Frontier's new Denver-to-Houston Hobby flight will join the carrier's existing service from the Mile High City to the larger George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston, which already operates on an up-to-daily frequency.

Frontier's decision to start serving Houston's secondary airport from Denver is based on strong demand, according to Daniel Shurz, the carrier's senior vice president of commercial. "There is strong consumer demand for flights between these two destinations and consumers can now enjoy the convenience and affordability of Frontier’s ‘Low Fares Done Right.," Shurz said in a statement.

(Map courtesy of Cirium)

Frontier last connected Denver and the William P. Hobby airport in July 2012, according to Cirum schedules, so the carrier seems to believe there's enough demand to warrant adding flights between the two airports once again.

Southwest has been the only airline in the market for the past decade, offering up to eight daily flights between the two airports.

Back in 2019, Southwest commanded an average gross fare of $137 for flights between Denver and Hobby and that number dropped to $99 for 2021, according to Department of Transportation data analyzed by Cirium. Southwest enplaned over 225,000 passengers on the route in 2019 and just over 175,000 in 2021.

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Without any other competitors, Frontier could see an opportunity to muscle in and take some of the existing market share between the two cities, possibly by undercutting the competition with its low base fares.

Related: Frontier adds 2 new airports in 13-route expansion

In fact, that seems to be what's been happening on the route between Denver and Houston Intercontinental.

Both Frontier and Spirit, the nation's two largest ultra-low-cost carriers, operate the route with average gross fares of $34 and $42 in 2021, respectively.

Compared to the $143 average fare that United charges and $104 that Southwest charges, these discounters aim to attract more customers with their lower fares. (Note that these figures exclude additional ancillaries, such as bags and seat assignments.)

Frontier's presence in Hobby is growing to four nonstop routes with the addition of Denver. Earlier this year, the carrier (re)added the airport to its route map, with three routes that all commenced in late May.

In addition to Denver, Frontier flies from Hobby to Cancun (CUN), Las Vegas (LAS) and Orlando (MCO).

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/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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Best for the well-traveled foodie
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

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

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  • 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.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees