Why having the Spirit Airlines credit card isn’t crazy

May 27, 2020

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There’s an airline credit card that may draw snickers and laughs from some, but others know how valuable its power can truly be in the quest for very affordable travel. This credit card allows you to earn an award flight for every $1,250 charged on the card and drops the price of award flights by up to 75% over the price for non-cardholders. This card has literally opened up the country for my retired parents to see and do more than they ever thought possible on a minimal budget.

So what card is it?

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The magical card is the Spirit Airlines World Mastercard. While it may not be in your wallet, it’s key to opening up many attainable and achievable award flights for those who are OK with flying Spirit Airlines and understand how to maximize the Spirit program.

Related reading: Reasons to love Spirit Airlines 

Spirit Airlines credit card basics

The Spirit Airlines World Mastercard has a welcome bonus of 15,000 miles after the first purchase and another 15,000 miles after $500 is charged to the card in the first three months. (Sometimes there are added bonuses for applying while on a Spirit flight.) It awards 2x miles per dollar charged, has a $0 introductory annual fee the first year (and $59 per year thereafter) and awards 5,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $10,000 in purchases annually.

But none of that is actually the best part of the card.

The best part of the Spirit Airlines World Mastercard is that it drops the price of a Spirit Airlines award flight from a starting price of 10,000 miles each way to as low as 2,500 miles each way if you fly within a zone. (I’ve even seen the award prices go down to 1,250 miles for cardholders on occasion.)

The information for the Spirit Airlines credit 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.

Related reading: How to keep Spirit Airlines miles from expiring 

Stretching your miles with the Spirit credit card

Being able to book Spirit award flights from just 2,500 miles each way (for flights less than 1,250 flown miles) for being a cardholder is a massive card benefit. The starting price for non-cardholders is 4x that amount, at 10,000 miles each way. Living in Houston, having that card means we can fly Spirit to places like Las Vegas or Orlando for just 5,000 Spirit miles round-trip, which essentially means a round-trip ticket can be earned for every $2,500 charged to the card.

Yes, there are seat assignment fees on Spirit if you want to secure seat assignments in advance, but my parents have had a 100% success record of getting seats assigned together on Spirit for free at check-in 24 hours in advance of the flight. (That’s not guaranteed, of course.)

Related reading: Save money buying Spirit Airlines tickets at the airport

Yes, Spirit also charges bag fees, but for a weekend in Florida or Vegas, you could actually just pack a personal-sized backpack to avoid those bag fees.

If you are feeling fancy, you could even splurge about $45 extra for the “Big Front Seat” that is basically the same size as other domestic first-class seats on airlines that charge several hundred extra dollars for the right to sit up front.

Related reading: Guide to using airline incidental fee credits

Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat (Photo by Javier Rodriguez / The Points Guy)
Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat (Photo by Javier Rodriguez/The Points Guy)

To avoid all of the award booking fees on Spirit, you do need to book your award flights pretty far in advance or expect to pay fees starting at $15 for booking less than 181 days out.

Related reading: Most creative ways to redeem 400,000 Spirit miles

Bottom line

Flying Spirit isn’t for everyone, and neither is the Spirit Airlines credit card. But if you like flying on miles and are looking for the cheapest way to get from Point A to Point B, I can’t help but suggest at least considering this card option. I don’t currently have the Spirit card myself, but my semi-retired parents have had the Spirit card for years and are happily racking up miles and memories by having access to inexpensive award tickets courtesy of their Spirit credit card.

In a case like that, having the Spirit credit card isn’t crazy at all — it would be crazy not to have it.

Featured photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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