Home Airlines Frontier and Barclays ALMOST Got Me To Sign Up For Their Revamped Credit Card

Frontier and Barclays ALMOST Got Me To Sign Up For Their Revamped Credit Card

by joeheg

In July 2018, Frontier Airlines and their co-brand credit card partner Barclays announced the details of their revamped Frontier loyalty program and new credit card offering. Frontier invited many travel bloggers to their headquarters in Denver to explain the new program, as well as the benefits of the new credit card. At the time, I was interested to see what changes were coming to the program. As it turns out, many of the changes were positive for both families who fly Frontier occasionally, and for frequent travelers. For a while, I considered getting the card but I’m not convinced by media events and blog posts; I needed to make sure it was right for me. 

There are two parts to the story – the changes to Frontier’s loyalty program and the changes to the Frontier credit card. I’ll start with the changes to the loyalty program.

Frontier Miles

Frontier is setting out on a different trail from other airlines. They will award one mile in their Frontier Miles program per mile flown. {sarcasm on} What a novel idea. One mile flown equals one mile, no matter how much you paid for the ticket. Amazing. Why does no other airline do this? {sarcasm off}

I guess this move makes sense for Frontier since the base fares on their tickets are so low. It would be depressing to fly and only see 50 miles deposited in your account. Redemptions on Frontier tickets are set amounts as well.

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Domestic round trip tickets cost between 20,000 and 40,000 miles. If you find a value ticket, that’s less than the 25,000 you’ll find on legacy airlines.

Here’s the problem. When doing a quick search for award tickets, I found many of the value tickets often cost less than $100. Any ticket costing over that was usually for the Standard price of 20,000 miles. That’s not including any of Frontier’s fees for seat assignments or carry on/checked bag fees. These fees often cost more than the price of the ticket itself on Frontier, so an award ticket is by no means free.

Frontier also charges you just to redeem your miles for free flights.

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You can get the fee waived, if you book over six months in advance, have elite status or have the Frontier credit card (or are traveling with someone who does on the same reservation).

Speaking of elite status, Frontier also introduced three different levels of status. 20K, 50K and 100K. Each level comes with additional benefits, starting with free carry on bags and seat assignment at the 20K level. If you reach 50K you get family seating and stretch seats at the time of your reservation. The real benefits are saved for those reaching the highest 100K level where you also get a free checked bag and the WORKS bundle.

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If you reach the 100K level, I think you deserve those perks. I mean, flying 100,000 miles on Frontier in coach. You’re a stronger person than I am.

Frontier Seat Pitch

There is a way to get status with Frontier without flying all of those miles. The Frontier credit card.

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Previously, the big advantage of having the Frontier credit card was the ability to keep your Frontier miles from expiring. Without any qualifying activity in your account for six months, your Frontier miles will expire.

All earned miles are subject to expiration if the account does not have accrual activity at least once every 180 days or six months. Accruals consist of miles earned by flying on Frontier, using your Frontier World Mastercard or by using your FRONTIER Miles number with any of our earning partners. Redemption’s or negative transactions do not qualify as accrual activity. To see an all-inclusive list of earning partners, please click here.

Over time, Frontier added earning partners like National and Avis car rental and Radisson, LaQuinta and Marriott hotels so keeping points active is easier than it was before.

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Since the benefits of the Frontier Airlines Mastercard from Barclays were recently updated, it’s worth giving it another look.

Frontier CC

You’ll earn 40,000 Frontier miles when you spend $500 in the first three months of being a cardholder. That’s a very reasonable amount of spending for a decent amount of miles. Figure that’s one or two round trip tickets depending on if you get Value or Standard reward pricing. You’ll also earn 3x miles on all restaurant purchases and 5x miles when booking flights on Flyfrontier.com.

The most intriguing part of the new credit card from Frontier is that all miles earned on the card count toward elite status. So if you spend $20,000 on the card during the year, you’ll be an Elite 20K member without ever stepping foot on a Frontier plane. $100,000 in spending will get you top-level Elite 100K.

I’m not sure, but I could think of many other cards I’d rather put 20K of spending on than Frontier’s credit card just so I can have status and enough miles to cover a single $150 ticket, not counting fees.

Frontier credit card holders and elite members also are eligible for the new “family pooling” benefit.

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You’re able to add up to eight members into your pool and combine those points to redeem rewards quicker. Most interesting is that Frontier is not putting any caps on who you consider family. Grandparents, cousins, nephews, neighbors, co-workers, people who read your travel blog. They’re all eligible.

Is it worth it for us to even consider the Frontier card? I just don’t think so. Earning 40,000 miles with Frontier just means I’ll have to book two to four flights where I’ll have to pay $25-$60 per person to bring luggage with me. I’ll also have to use the card once every six months just to keep my miles active, not taking into consideration the $79 annual fee (not waived the first year).

If you fly Frontier often then this may be a wonderful card for you. You’ll earn 5x miles for all your ticket purchases and can achieve elite status quicker. I could also see this card being good for families. If you fly 1,000 miles each way to Orlando twice yearly with a family of five, you’ll have earned 20,000 miles between all the accounts. Pooling those accounts would give you enough miles for at least one or two free tickets.

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