5 things you should know about Spirit’s revamped credit card lineup
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Often dismissed as the airline-of-last-resort, Spirit has been making a recent comeback of sorts.
From improved on-time performance to introducing more comfortable seats and now, a completely relaunched loyalty program, the carrier known for its loud yellow liveries and ultra-low-cost fares is generating some buzz these days.
And the recent unveiling of a revamped Free Spirit loyalty program includes not one, but two credit cards issued by Bank of America. Besides introducing a new no-annual-fee product, there are changes aplenty to the existing card including fresh perks and higher sign-up bonuses (and slick-looking card art to boot).
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If you’re a Spirit Airlines enthusiast, here are five things to know about the airline’s two cobranded credit cards.
Not one, but two card options
Before the relaunch of the Free Spirit program, Spirit offered one credit card: A $59-annual-fee Bank of America product with one of the best perks being exclusive access to award flights from 2,500 miles (miles are now called points under the new loyalty program).
Now, that 2,500-point award availability is open to every member of Free Spirit, not just cobranded cardholders. But there are still decent benefits to be had with either of these card options. Spirit is offering two cards to cater to a wider audience with varying levels of perks.
The information for the Free Spirit Travel More and Free Spirit Travel 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.
Solid sign-up bonus and first-year waived fee
With the no-annual-fee Free Spirit Travel Mastercard, you can earn 10,000 bonus points after spending at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
The World Elite Mastercard variant, with a $79 annual fee, has its first-year fee waived. You’ll also earn 40,000 bonus points along with a $100 Companion Flight Voucher after spending at least $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
What isn’t fully known yet is the value of each Spirit point. With Spirit’s move to a revenue-based award program, there is no longer an award chart. However, initial tests reveal that award flights do indeed start at 2,500 points across a wide number of dates and routes.
As would be expected in a revenue-based model, the cheapest flights to book with cash in that $20-$30 range each direction of travel are the ones most likely to cost just 2,500 points plus applicable taxes and fees.
Middling bonus categories
Neither Spirit credit card has particularly exciting bonus categories. As with most airline credit cards, the biggest bonus multiplier comes from spending directly with the airline.
The no-annual-fee Free Spirit Travel Mastercard earns 2x on Spirit purchases and just 1x on everything else. The $79-per-year World Elite version comes with a 3x bonus on all things Spirit, 2x on dining and restaurants and 1x on everything else.
While we don’t yet have set valuations for a Free Spirit point, on a numerical basis, these bonuses are about on par or slightly below compared to many other cobranded airline cards.
Above-average cardholder perks
There are some notable perks for occasional Spirit flyers on both of these cards, but the World Elite benefits are where things really start to shine. Both cards have the following extras:
- Spirit points will not expire for cardholders, even without activity
- Cardholders with either card can create points pooling for themselves and up to eight others
- Zone 2 boarding on all flights
- A dedicated customer service phone line for elites and cardholders called Yellow Glove Concierge
- 25% rebate on inflight food and beverage purchases when charged to the cards
- No foreign transaction fees
Under the new Free Spirit program, points will expire in 12 months if there’s no account activity (much improved over the previous three months). However, cardholders have no expiration date at all as long as they keep their card account open.
Creating a points pool is another neat benefit that is only for Spirit cardholders and elite members. (Others without status or a cobranded card can still join a points pool.) Finally, the special phone line is another nice touch, and unique to Spirit.
Perks specific to the Free Spirit Travel More World Elite Mastercard include:
- Redemption fee waiver (typically $50 within 28 days of departure)
- Earn 1 Status Qualifying Point (SQP) toward status for every $10 spent
- Earn a $100 companion voucher flight each year with $5,000 in spending
You can earn elite status without flying
As noted with the benefits above, flyers with the $79-per-year Free Spirit Travel More World Elite Mastercard can earn additional SQPs at a rate of 1 SQP per $10 charged to the card.
Spirit requires 2,000 SQPs for Silver and 5,000 SQPs for Gold which means $20,000 in annual charges gets you Silver and $50,000 in charges gets you Gold, assuming no other Spirit spending.
Silver status includes perks such as free seat selection at check-in, shortcut boarding, and same-day standby. Meanwhile, Gold includes very un-Spirit-like benefits such as free seat selection at booking, a free drink and snack on board, free first checked bag, and a free carry-on.
That’s a lot of money to spend on a Spirit credit card and the opportunity cost is high, but know that it is possible to reach elite status simply by spending on a Spirit card.
Featured photo by Jetlinerimages/Getty Images.
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