The Guide to Frontier Elite Status
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Reaching status with any airline often feels like an accomplishment: free upgrades, priority boarding, better-earning potential when it comes to miles and even free checked bags, the perks are aplenty. But achieving status often takes time (and many miles flown), so it's wise to know the payoff before you put in all the effort.
From what's included and how to get it to how much it's worth, here's everything you need to know if you're considering chasing Frontier Airlines' elite status.
What is elite status on Frontier?
Frontier offers three levels of elite status: 20K, 50K and 100K. While there are a few ways you might earn Frontier elite status, it's most common that you'd accrue most of what you need to earn elite status by flying. Naturally, the more often you fly with Frontier, the quicker you'll score status. Several practical benefits await when you do, like free seat selection and a free carry-on.
But don't expect the elite benefits you'll receive from non-budget airlines; Frontier doesn't offer lounges or first class — just stretch seating with a few inches more legroom. Don't expect an ultra-luxury elite status experience that you might get from the major carriers — not even with Elite 100K, the highest level of Frontier elite status.
» Learn more: The complete guide to Frontier Miles
Frontier Airlines elite levels at a glance
Here's a quick overview of Frontier elite status levels and what each one offers:
Estimated value: $400.
How many miles flown required to earn: 20,000 miles.
How many flight segments required to earn: 25 segments.
Estimated cost to earn: $2,400.
Best benefits: Family pooling with up to eight people, free carry-on, free seat assignment and waived award redemption fees.
Estimated value: $1,113.
How many miles flown required to earn: 50,000 miles.
How many flight segments required to earn: 50 segments.
Estimated cost to earn: $6,000.
Best benefits: Family pooling with up to eight people, free carry-on, free seat assignment (including family seating) and 1.25x mileage multiplier.
Estimated value: $2,750.
How many miles flown required to earn: 100,000 miles.
How many flight segments required to earn: 100 segments.
Estimated cost to earn: $12,000.
Best benefits: Family pooling with up to 8 people, free carry-on and checked bag, free seat assignment, 1.5x mileage multiplier, and family status in The Works Bundle.
How to get Frontier elite status
There are a few ways to earn Frontier elite status, most of which are by flying.
MyFrontier members can fly the required miles or segments for each level.
Required Flight Segments
» Learn more: Frontier Airlines reward optimization for beginners
Spending on a credit card
Beyond frequent flying, you can also earn qualifying miles with the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®.
The Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® lets you earn one Qualifying Mile for every dollar spent on the card. If you can't fly 25 segments or 20,000 miles to achieve Elite 20K status, you can spend $20,000 on the card in a calendar year instead. After reaching that threshold, you will earn two miles per dollar through the rest of the calendar year (January-December).
While you can achieve elite status through spending on the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® alone, we do find a combination of both flying and spending is probably the most achievable scenario for most travelers.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
Frontier elite status benefits
All tiers of Frontier elite status receive benefits like a free carry-on, seat assignment, and family pooling, plus last seat availability that allows you to book the last seat on the plane with miles. But only the upper tier offers benefits like a free checked bag.
Waived redemption fees
Last seat availability
Discount Den membership
Family status (The Works Bundle)
You may wonder what some of these benefits are and what they mean for frequent travelers. So let's take a closer look.
Only available to elite status members and Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® cardholders, family pooling lets MyFrontier members combine earned miles with up to eight friends or family members. This offers the opportunity to put small numbers of miles together to book an award flight sooner.
» Learn more: How to redeem awards faster by pooling points
Frontier Airlines seating fees and rules can be confusing, as Frontier will usually charge you to select a seat (though you can always skip selection and just get one assigned at the gate for free). While there is no such thing as Frontier first class, there are a few seats with more legroom— though it costs more.
Called Stretch Seating, this zone is a slight upgrade to the airline's typical seats. Stretch Seating offers five to seven extra inches of legroom, plus the option to recline. You'll also be among the first to receive in-flight service and among the first to exit the plane.
With Elite 50K and Elite 100K status, you can pick stretch seating for free when you buy tickets. With Frontier Elite 20K status, you can pick a seat for free — though you won't be able to pick stretch seating until you check in.
Discount Den membership
This membership usually costs $59.99 annually. However, new members will have to pay $99 the first year, thanks to a $40 enrollment fee. Den membership is also available as a free benefit to Elite 100K members. It offers:
A handful of flights where kids can fly free (one per qualifying adult fare).
Exclusive access to the airline's best fares.
The ability to book these low fares for up to nine people on your reservation.
» Learn more: Is a Frontier Airlines Discount Den membership worth it?
The Works Bundle
Free for Elite 100K members, Family Status with The Works Bundle offers:
A free carry-on and checked bag.
Flight flexibility so you can change your plans sans change fees.
Seat selection so families can sit together.
The opportunity to board first.
100% refundable fares if you have to cancel your flight.
The Works Bundle typically costs extra for non-Elite 100K members. But with Elite 100K you automatically get that Works Bundle, which makes canceling a Frontier Airlines flight far easier and it means you'll actually be entitled to a Frontier Airlines refund.
» Learn more: How to earn miles on Frontier Airlines
How much is Frontier elite status worth?
According to NerdWallet valuations, Frontier elite status is among the least-valuable airline elite status programs out there. It did manage to beat out the elite status programs of two other airlines — Southwest and Spirit — which fall at the bottom of the domestic airline list. But neither of those airlines are exactly known for their luxury perks either (and neither have an official first class).
Frontier's low elite status value is primarily due to:
The lack of luxury benefits like lounge access, upgrades to first class and free flight changes.
The low earning rate once you achieve elite status and the low value of the benefits available.
Value of benefits
Cost to earn
Elite earning rate
As is the case with most airlines, the higher the status, the higher the earnings rate. Unsurprisingly, Elite 100K is the most valuable Frontier elite status tier, largely due to that free checked bag benefit. Frontier airfares are super low, but the airline often makes up for it by charging far higher than the other airlines when it comes to add-ons like bag fees. In fact, Frontier typically charges you for even a carry-on, which is practically unheard of on most other airlines. Frontier baggage fees vary by exact flight, but this benefit alone can often be worth $100 on a single roundtrip flight.
Frontier elite status recapped
While the benefits for reaching Frontier elite status may not be outstanding, if you fly with the airline often, benefits like a free carry-on and seat selection, not to mention a free Discount Den Membership in Elite 100K, could still come in handy. And the fact that you can supplement miles flown with credit card spend makes status more achievable.
But overall, it's not the most valuable or rewarding status if you're striving to achieve status with an airline this year. Your efforts will go farther and you'll get more with most other airlines.
Photo courtesy of Frontier Airlines.
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