Frontier Miles: Is Frontier Airlines' Rewards Program Worth It?

Frontier Miles: Is Frontier Airlines' Rewards Program Worth It?

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Frontier Airlines is a popular low-cost carrier with plenty of routes throughout the United States; yet many people don't know they also fly to Mexico, several spots in the Caribbean and even Central America. Frontier's frequent flyer program, Frontier Miles, makes it easy to rack up miles you can cash in for flights. You can even ratchet up the number of miles you earn with a co-branded Frontier Airlines credit card.

There are some major downsides that come with flying Frontier, including limited routes and a lack of perks for elite status members. However, Frontier recently revamped its loyalty program, making it slightly more competitive.

In this guide, we explore Frontier Airlines and the Frontier Miles program, showing you ways to save money and avoid extra costs.

What is Frontier Miles?

Frontier Miles is the frequent flyer program for Frontier Airlines, and it works similarly to other loyalty programs. With Frontier Miles, you earn 1 mile for each mile you fly, but you can also rack up extra miles by booking travel with the airline, shopping with partners or signing up for a co-branded airline credit card.

Before you sign up for Frontier Miles, you should have a general idea of where you want to fly. Frontier Airlines is mostly a domestic airline, although they do offer routes to a handful of Caribbean destinations, various Mexican airports and a few counties in Central America, including Guatemala and El Salvador.

Frontier Airlines also flies to Calgary, Canada. This makes Frontier Miles an excellent option for travelers who want to travel closer to home, but not so great if you want to earn miles for flights elsewhere in the world, like Europe or Asia.

Still, this frequent flyer program does have plenty of redeeming qualities. Earning miles is easy when you fly with the airline or carry The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®, and flights can be downright cheap in cash or in miles. Frontier Miles also lets elite members pool miles in groups with up to eight people, making it a good option for families who want to spend their miles together.

Frontier Airlines by the numbers
Number of destinationsMore than 100
How many Frontier miles for a free flight?One-way domestic flights start at 10,000 miles
Number of redemption options3 options: flights, hotel stays and magazine subscriptions
Pros
  • Frontier Miles offers an award chart, so you'll know how many miles you need for a flight
  • You can earn miles by flying, booking other travel or using a co-branded airline credit card
Cons
  • Limited itineraries and flight options outside the United States
  • One-way flights start at 10,000 miles regardless of price, which can make miles a poor value
  • Frontier Airlines charges a lot of fees, including fees for carry-on and checked baggage, call center booking assistance and choosing a seat
  • Redemption fees may be required to use your miles (these fees are waived for elite members and members of the airline's credit card)

How much are Frontier miles worth?

One of the major downsides of Frontier Miles is that miles may be worth very little depending on the itinerary you select. This is mainly due to the fact that one-way flights start at 10,000 miles regardless of the cash value of the flight, coupled with the fact that Frontier Airlines is a discount carrier.

For example, you may be able to find one-way flights that cost as little as $28, yet still require 10,000 miles. In the case of this Atlanta to Orlando flight below, you would be getting around one fifth of a cent per mile. This value is extremely low compared with miles in other frequent flyer programs. For example, American AAdvantage miles offer an average valuation of 1 cent, while Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents each.

Review Flight Summary

Then again, there are times when you get significantly more value for your Frontier Miles. This round-trip flight below from Indianapolis to Las Vegas, for example, would set you back 20,000 miles round trip or $316.70 in cash. That's a value of approximately 1.5 cents per mile.

Review Flight Summary

In other words, Frontier Miles can provide excellent value, as long as you reserve your miles for more expensive flights.

How to earn Frontier miles

Frontier Miles are relatively easy to earn if you fly with the airline or pick up The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®, but there are a few other ways to earn rewards in this program. We highlight how many miles you can earn with each method below.

Flying

When you join Frontier Miles and fly with the airline, you earn 1 mile for each mile you fly regardless of the price of your ticket. This is good news since Frontier Airlines has frequent sales with incredibly low cost fares, and you wouldn't earn many miles if this program doled out rewards based on the cost of your ticket.

Credit cards

The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard® lets you rack up miles for each dollar you spend on groceries, household bills and more. Cardholders can earn 5X miles on eligible purchases at flyfrontier.com, 3X miles on restaurant purchases and 1X miles on all other purchases. This card also lets you earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $500 on purchases within the first 90 days.

This card does charge a $0 intro annual fee the first year, then $79 annual fee, but you won't pay any foreign transaction fees (None). As an added bonus, you can earn a $100 flight voucher for Frontier Airlines on your cardmember anniversary each year you spend at least $2,500 on purchases on your card.

Unfortunately, the benefits mostly end there, which is a shame since most airline credit cards from larger airlines offer substantially better benefits with more rewarding rewards portals. For example, check out these card offers without annual fees.

Partners

Frontier is partnered with several different services, from car rental agencies to hotel chains, that let you earn miles on your purchases. Your earnings vary with each partner — for instance, you can earn 4 miles per $1 on flower purchases with Teleflora, or between 500 and 1,000 miles on a Budget car rental. Frontier Miles partners include:

  • Teleflora
  • Vinesse Wines
  • Alamo
  • Thrifty Car Rental
  • Dollar Car Rental
  • Hertz
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Avis
  • Points.com
  • Frontier Cruises
  • National Car Rental
  • Radisson Rewards
  • Wyndham Rewards
  • Budget Rent a Car

Buy miles

You can also buy miles in the Frontier Miles program, although it's generally a poor value if you do so. When you buy miles through Points.com, you'll be asked to pay 2.5 cents for each mile. A round-trip domestic flight would set you back $500. Most flights on Frontier Airlines cost far less than $500, so you're better off paying in cash. The only situation where it can make sense to purchase miles is if you're close to having enough for a redemption and you only need to purchase a few thousand miles to book the flight you want.

Get Miles

How to use Frontier miles

Most people rack up miles in the Frontier Miles program with the hope of covering a few free flights. While there are a couple other ways to redeem your miles — magazine subscriptions and hotel nights — flights will give you the best value. Here's an overview of how to redeem miles for Frontier flights:

Miles required for an award flight

The process of redeeming mileage for award flights is straightforward through Frontier's website. Award flights start at 10,000 Frontier miles, which will get you a one-way domestic flight.

However, you can access more options by exchanging more Frontier miles. For example, a round-trip flight from the United States to Jamaica starts at 30,000 miles.

How to book a Frontier flight with miles

An award flight is just a few steps away
  • Log in to myFRONTIER account before completing your booking.
  • Search by "Miles": This will show how many miles are needed for your desired trip.
  • Select your flight(s): You can continue the booking if you have enough miles for your chosen flight. (Be aware that you will have to pay taxes and fees in cash.)
  • Complete booking: Enter your information to finish your booking, and remember to apply any loyalty benefits or discounts you have available.

Frontier redemption levels

There are three distinct award levels you can access by redeeming Frontier miles. These levels dictate how many miles you need to book certain flights, with busier travel times requiring more miles.

  • Value award: Same benefits as a standard fare with the most limited flight selection.
  • Standard award: Same benefits as a standard fare, but with more flight options than a Value award.
  • Last seat award: Same benefits as a standard fare, but you can book any flight with an available seat.
Redemption Levels

The table above identifies the number of miles required per award type, type of travel (one-way trip or round trip) and travel region. It's important to note that the listed mileage is the minimum, and that flights may require more miles.

Note also the taxes and fees portion of the table. Round-trip flights have much higher fees, often more than double the taxes and fees of the one-way options. Since two one-way tickets may require the same mileage as a round-trip ticket, you may be able to save money by booking separate one-way award tickets.

How to avoid redemption fees on Frontier

Unfortunately, Frontier charges a fee to redeem your miles if you book within 180 days of departure. Fortunately, there are a few ways to avoid these fees altogether.

  • The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®: Cardholders have all redemption fees waived.
  • Elite status: If you qualify for elite status, your redemptions fees are waived.
  • Book early: If you book 180 days or more prior to the flight, then you won't pay redemption fees.
  • Travel companion: Travelers on a cardholder's reservation won't pay redemption fees.
Redemption fee details

Frontier elite status

Frontier Airlines recently revamped its loyalty program and now offers three levels of status: Elite 20k, Elite 50k and Elite 100k. These levels include greater and more frequent benefits that users can share with their families.

Elite status benefits

Elite 20k status

Elite 20k is the most accessible loyalty status. You'll need to either accumulate 20,000 qualifying miles or 25 flight segments within one calendar year. Elite 20k provides a suite of benefits that most individuals will be able to use and appreciate in their travel experiences.

Benefits are for members only and include:

  • Free carry-on bag: Bring a carry-on suitcase on Frontier flights with no fee.
  • Family pooling: You can combine Frontier Miles with up to eight individuals to earn rewards faster.
  • Seat assignment: Receive free advanced seat assignments on your flights.
  • Stretch seating: If available, you may upgrade to stretch seating at no extra cost during flight check-in, at the ticket counter or at the gate.
  • Priority boarding: Get priority boarding at participating airports.
  • Award fees waived: Award fees are waived when booking an award flight.
  • Travel fees waived: Call center reservation fees, same-day confirmed fees and same-day standby fees are also waived.
  • Last seat award: Use miles to redeem last-seat-available award tickets. These can be used by any traveler on a member's booking.

Elite 50k status

Elite 50k is one tier higher than Elite 20k, and it includes all of the same benefits plus a few more. You can earn this status by accumulating 50,000 qualifying miles or 50 flight segments within one calendar year.

Here's what you can expect, in addition to the Elite 20k perks:

  • Family seating: Elite members and up to eight people on the member's booking get free advanced seat assignments, including stretch seating.
  • 1.25x mileage multiplier: Earn a 25% redeemable mileage bonus, excluding status qualifying miles, on all eligible Frontier flights.
  • 50% off Discount Den membership: Members enjoy 50% off Discount Den's annual fee.

Elite 100k Status

Elite 100k is the highest level of loyalty currently offered by Frontier. Members must accumulate 100,000 qualifying miles or 100 flight segments within one calendar year. You have access to all of the benefits included in Elite 20k and Elite 50k statuses as well as several additional benefits:

  • Family status and bundles: Elite members and up to eight people on the member's booking have family status and receive the WORKS bundle for free.
  • 1.5x mileage multiplier: Earn a 50% redeemable mileage bonus, excluding status-qualifying miles, on all eligible Frontier flights.
  • Free Discount Den membership: Members enjoy Discount Den at absolutely no charge.

Other ways to save on Frontier Airlines

Earning elite status with Frontier Miles makes it easier to avoid additional fees when you fly with the airline, but there are other ways to keep the costs of flying to a minimum. Here are a few of the options you can consider.

Frontier Airlines Discount Den

Discount Den is Frontier's subscription-based service that provides exclusive access to Frontier's lowest available fares. Subscribers get alerts on deals throughout the year while earning more savings as they fly.

Heres the deal

Discount Den has two key strengths: Subscribers will get the lowest available prices from Frontier, and they can share the discounts with up to six others on the same reservation. In fact, finding a low rate through Discount Den and organizing a group trip seems to be the best way to maximize value through this program.

However, the $59.99 annual fee is a bit of a turnoff, since Frontier offers some regular flights for the same amount. If you don't fly with Frontier often or use the Discount Den deals, then you may lose more money than you're saving

Frontier low-fare calendar

Frontier offers a range of low fares that frequently change. Fortunately, Frontier makes it easy to find the best and most updated information for the upcoming travel season. For example, they post an updated low-fare calendar on their homepage:

Find our lowest fares for the summer

You'll also see a low-fare calendar when you search for specific itineraries. If your trip dates are flexible, you can easily click through available dates to check for the lowest fare:

Flight select

Bundles

Frontier Airlines also offers flight "bundles" that can help you save money when you package your airfare with a few select add-ons. Two different bundles are available — the WORKS bundle and the PERKS bundle.

About our bundle choices

The WORKS

The WORKS bundle offers the most savings to customers. If you take advantage of all its benefits, you'll get a significant discount compared with purchasing each component separately. This bundle can only be purchased at the time of booking, with a cost of up to $150 each way based on a round-trip purchase.

The WORKS has two essential benefits that aren't available in the PERKS bundle: flight flexibility and 100% refundability. Flight flexibility allows individuals to change their flights without change fees, and refundability allows you to completely refund your booking without paying any cancellation fees. Change and refund requests must be made 24 hours prior to departure.

The PERKS

The PERKS bundle is a slightly downgraded version of the WORKS. It includes a carry-on bag, checked bag, personal item, seat selection and priority boarding. It does not include flight flexibility or 100% refundability, which is why we consider the WORKS as the superior bundle. Using all of its perks gets you a smaller discount when compared with buying each separately. You can buy the PERKS bundle at any point, even later on after you have purchased your flight,

Bundles

Is Frontier Miles worth it?

Frontier Airlines is definitely worth exploring if you want to book cheap, no-frills flights throughout the U.S. and to international destinations like the Caribbean and Mexico. The Frontier Miles program can also be a good deal if you use your rewards for pricier itineraries.

With that being said, you may be better off just paying to fly with Frontier with cash. After all, the airline frequently advertises one-way flights for as little as $20. Even when you pay to select your seat or for a carry-on bag, you can still get an excellent deal without using airline miles.

At the very least, make sure to compare Frontier Miles with other domestic frequent flyer programs before you begin focusing your loyalty with this airline. Frontier Miles does make it easy to earn miles for free flights, but some of the other airline loyalty programs offer much better perks and a lot more destinations abroad thanks to their expansive partner networks.

Frontier Miles FAQs

Do Frontier miles expire?

Frontier miles can expire if you don't post any "accrual activity" for a period of six months, which isn't very long when you compare the expiration policies of other airlines. To keep your miles from expiring, you need to earn miles, use some miles or donate some of your miles. You can also pay a reinstatement fee to access your miles again after you let them expire.

How many Frontier miles for a free flight?

One-way domestic flights with Frontier start at just 10,000 miles.

How do I check my Frontier miles?

If you signed up for a free Frontier Miles membership or you applied for The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®

How do I redeem my miles on Frontier Airlines?

To use your Frontier miles for flights and other redemption options, head to the Use Miles page on the Fly Frontier website. You can redeem miles for flights by logging in to your account, searching for the flights you want using the "miles" option and selecting an award fare that suits your needs.

Can you buy Frontier miles?

You can buy Frontier miles for 2.5 cents each, which makes this option a poor value. After all, a round-trip domestic flight for 20,000 miles would cost $500 if you paid for your flight using this option.

How do you sign up for Frontier frequent flyer miles?

Head to the FlyFrontier.com website and click on the link at the top right hand corner that says "sign up." From there, you'll provide your name, your email address, your phone number, your gender, your address and your birth date before being granted a free account.

Are there blackout dates?

Some airlines have blackout dates — i.e., restrictions on discounts and other promotions during certain busy times, including major holidays. Frontier does not have blackout dates, although they may have limited capacity for award seats. You will be able to redeem your mileage for flights on any date without restriction, though busier times may require more mileage.

What if Frontier cancels a flight?

If your flight is canceled, whether due to controllable or uncontrollable situations, Frontier will work to get you on the next available Frontier flight to your destination at no extra charge. You may also request a full refund of any unused portion of the ticket by filling out an online refund request form available on flyfrontier.com.

Does Frontier charge for carry-on baggage?

Frontier allows everyone to bring one personal item onto the flight at no charge, but they do charge an additional fee if you would like to bring a full-sized carry-on or other additional baggage. You can pay for carry-on baggage through flyfrontier.com or during online check-in.

The information related to The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard® has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).