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Spirit Airlines kicks off 2022 with 3 routes to a brand-new US city

Jan. 25, 2022
4 min read
Spirit Airlines Plane
Spirit Airlines kicks off 2022 with 3 routes to a brand-new US city
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Spirit Airlines is building on its strong network growth throughout the pandemic with another new pin — and state — for its route map.

The Miramar, Florida-based airline announced on Tuesday that it'll land its yellow Airbus jets in Salt Lake City (SLC) for the first time ever on May 26. The airline will fly three routes from the Salt Lake City International Airport, which includes daily service to Los Angeles (LAX) and Orlando (MCO), as well as twice-daily service to Las Vegas (LAS).

The new service marks Spirit's first time serving the state of Utah, which it hopes will drive traffic from travelers looking for an outdoor-focused adventure and from flyers based in the state's capital looking for a warm-weather getaway out of the state.

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"We listen to our guests, and they told us they wanted more exciting Western destinations to experience the great outdoors," John Kirby, Spirit's vice president of network planning, said in a statement. "We're also excited to introduce our high-value travel proposition for our new Utah guests," he added.

Spirit's entrance is also a milestone moment for the SLC airport, as it'll become the first domestic carrier to launch service there since the grand opening of the new terminal in September 2020. The new SLC airport is a massive improvement compared to the one it replaced, with modernized finishes, tall ceilings and upgraded concessions, restrooms and waiting areas.

Perhaps most interestingly, Spirit is advertising a pilot hiring event in Salt Lake City on Feb. 8. Pilot shortages have commanded headlines in recent months, leading to network pullbacks and flight cancellations for a number of U.S. airlines. It appears Spirit hasn't been immune to the issue, as the airline is promoting its new hiring event in the press release.

Salt Lake City isn't just big news for Spirit's ever-growing route map; it's also going to pit the carrier head-to-head against Delta, which is the largest airline at SLC thanks to its hub there.

(Map courtesy of Spirit Airlines)

Delta already operates all three routes that Spirit is starting, and if history is any indication (take a look at Milwaukee, Louisville and St. Louis), Spirit could grow quickly in the market.

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Of course, much of Delta's Salt Lake City traffic is connecting, but Spirit hopes to give Delta a run for its money on an O&D (origin and destination) basis. Additionally, Spirit will compete against American, Alaska, Frontier, JetBlue and Southwest on the routes that it's adding.

Either way, the airline is likely banking on its ultra-low-cost business model to undercut the competition and drive traffic.

It's not the only time during the past year that Spirit has expanded to a fortress hub of a major rival. The carrier did just that in October 2021, when it added the first of a whopping 31 routes from Miami (MIA) — a major hub for American Airlines, where it's by far the biggest player. But Spirit is now the second-largest carrier in the city, increasingly going head-to-head with American.

While Miami was the highlight of Spirit's 2021 expansion, the airline also landed in seven other new cities last year, including Louisville (SDF), Milwaukee (MKE), Pensacola (PNS), St. Louis (STL), Puerto Vallarta (PVR), Manchester (MHT) and Palmerola International Airport (XPL) in Honduras.

Now, the airline is kicking off 2022 with a western splash, and it'll be very interesting to follow where else the airline lands this year.

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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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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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.

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  • 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 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the 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