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Known for its budget-friendly fares, Frontier Airlines serves dozens of cities in North America and the Caribbean. It operates a hub in Denver and has multiple “focus cities” throughout the country, including Chicago and Orlando.
If you’re a regular Frontier passenger, it’s worth checking out the airline’s frequent-flyer program, “Frontier Miles.” The program doesn’t have many of the high-end benefits of its counterparts from full-service airlines, but it does offer decent value given Frontier’s generally low fares.
Here’s a rundown of how the program works.
New to Frontier Miles in 2024
Frontier is making some significant changes to its Frontier Miles loyalty program in 2024.
For starters, the program is shifting how you earn miles. Going forward, you’ll earn miles and qualify for elite status based on dollars spent, not miles flown. The standard earning rate will be 10 miles for every $1 spent on Frontier products, including flights, bags, seat assignments and bundles.
The airline is also overhauling its elite status tiers with new names and perks, and adding a new, lower-level status tier.
Going forward, the Frontier Miles elite status tiers will be:
Gold (previously “20k”).
Platinum (previously “50k”).
Diamond (previously “100k”).
Frontier will also introduce new elite status in 2024, such as:
No change or cancellation fees for all elite members seven days or more before departure.
Priority customer care (an online chat option).
Pet fee waivers for Platinum and Diamond members.
Expanded perks for both elite members and their traveling companions, such as free seat assignments, bags and priority boarding, depending on the status tier. See full breakdown of tiers and benefits below.
What’s the value of Frontier miles?
Based on our most recent analysis, NerdWallet values Frontier miles at 1.1 cents apiece. Here’s how this value compares to other airline loyalty program miles:
To determine the value of reward miles, NerdWallet compared cash prices and reward redemptions for economy round-trip routes across several destinations and dates. We divided the cost of the cash ticket by the cost of the reward ticket to determine a “cent per mile” value for each flight, then averaged this value across several flights and dates.
» Learn more: How much are Frontier miles worth?
How has the value of Frontier miles changed over time?
The value of Frontier miles has increased steadily after taking a dip in 2020. At our latest valuation, Frontier miles are worth almost quadruple what they were in 2020, though the value of any redemption will still vary.
Frontier vs. competitors: How it stacks up in 2023
Frontier came in second-to-last place out of nine airlines in our most recent analysis on the best airline loyalty programs. Our analysis didn’t consider average fare costs, meaning Frontier was pitted against more expensive airlines like Delta and American.
The Frontier rewards rate is actually the highest of all the airlines we reviewed, meaning whatever you spend with the airline pretty quickly morphs into free future flights. It’s also not too bad a pick if you’re bringing a pet with you.
That said, Frontier ranked abysmally when it comes to added fees, given those complicated Frontier baggage and seat selection fees. It also ranked pretty poorly in terms of operations, which considers factors like baggage mishandling and on-time arrivals. It also has a painfully bad in-flight experience: no movies, no TV, no Wi-Fi – not even available for purchase. Snacks and drinks will incur an extra fee as well, so no free pretzels and soda. Not to mention, Frontier’s seating fees and rules can be confusing.
Here's a closer look at how Frontier competed across categories in 2023:
How to earn Frontier miles
Any passenger can join “Frontier Miles” for free. Confusingly, the “Frontier Miles” program is nested within another program called “MyFrontier,” which includes Discount Den members and Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® holders. Signing up for Frontier Miles automatically enrolls you in MyFrontier.
In other words, don’t sweat the difference. Here's how to earn miles on Frontier.
» Learn More: Your guide to earning miles with Frontier Airlines
Starting in 2024, earning Frontier frequent flyer miles will be based on how much you spend with the airline.
As a standard Frontier Miles member, you’ll earn 10 miles per dollar spent with Frontier. The earnings rate accelerates with status.
Here’s an example of how it works: This below round trip between Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and Orlando goes for $47.96.
Previously, you’d earn 1,574 miles for the 1,574-mile round trip between the two airports. Starting in 2024, though, you would earn 178 miles for the ticket portion of your trip. This is based on $17.87 in spending, after subtracting the government-imposed taxes and fees from your ticket price.
However, you’d also earn 10 miles per dollar for add-on items like seat selection and bags, which can really add up.
On this trip, Frontier’s cheapest bundle, “The Perks,” which includes bags and seat selection comes to $206 round trip, translating to an additional 2,060 miles earned.
As your status level climbs, you’ll earn at a faster rate.
Silver: 12 miles per dollar spent.
Gold: 14 miles per dollar spent.
Platinum: 16 miles per dollar spent.
Diamond: 20 miles per dollar spent.
If you forget to book your flight through your frequent flyer account, you can still get credit for miles up to 180 days after your flight by filling out a flight mileage credit request form.
By spending on a credit card
The Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® with an annual fee of $89 is your card if you want earn miles for your spending. It gives you 5 miles per $1 spent on airfare purchased directly from Frontier on flyfrontier.com, 3 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and 1 point per dollar on all other spending. There’s a generous sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles plus, $100 flight voucher, after spending $500 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days. That’s enough for two domestic round-trip tickets.
And every year that you put at least $2,500 on the card, you get a $100 discount voucher — more than making up for the annual fee.
Frontier’s partnerships with certain hotel chains allow you to earn points in those hotels’ loyalty programs and then transfer them to Frontier. Since those chains have their own credit cards that earn points with every purchase, those cards can effectively become Frontier cards.
Frontier’s card also gets you a leg up on elite status. You’ll earn one elite qualifying mile for every dollar spent on the card. Terms and conditions apply.
» Learn more: How to use flight credits on Frontier Airlines
By shopping with partners
Frontier doesn't partner with any major airlines, but you can earn miles on car rentals and hotel stays through other Frontier partners. Partners can change but have been known to include Marriott, Wyndham, Alamo, Hertz and National rental car. Spending with car rental agencies, hotel chains and other retailers that you would shop with anyway can be an easy way to earn additional Frontier miles. See the full list of partners on Frontier's website here.
By buying additional miles
Frontier allows customers to buy Frontier miles at a rate of 2.5 cents per mile. In general, buying frequent flyer miles on any airline provides poor value, and this is no exception.
That said, buying miles can be helpful for members who are just shy of being able to redeem their accumulated miles for a flight.
Do Frontier miles expire? Yes, Frontier miles expire within 12 months if there is no accrual activity in a member's account. This means you need to earn miles every 12 months or you risk losing your miles. This expiration timeline significantly reduces the usefulness of Frontier miles compared to other programs.
How to redeem Frontier miles
You can redeem Frontier miles for flights, but also for auto rentals through agencies like Hertz and National. Through Points.com, you can also exchange miles for points in other loyalty programs or redeem them for shopping or gift cards.
How many miles you need for a particular flight depends on where you’re going and seat availability. Frontier does have an award chart, but, as we explain below, it isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Types of award seats
When redeeming miles for Frontier flights, there are three types of award seats available: Economy, Choice and Last Seat. Economy seats cost the least in terms of miles, but there are fewer of them, and they might not be available on all flights. Choice seats are available on more flights but cost more. The Last Seat option is only for Frontier members with elite status; it’s the most expensive option, but it allows you to book even the “last seat” on a flight.
Miles are redeemed for airfare only, and taxes and fees must be paid separately. Here’s the cost in miles to redeem:
One way within continental U.S. and Puerto Rico
Round trip within continental U.S. and Puerto Rico
One way to/from Mexico or Dominican Republic
Round trip to/from Mexico or Dominican Republic
• For flights in continental U.S. and Puerto Rico, taxes/fees start at $5.60 one way and $11.20 round trip. • For flights to/from Mexico, taxes/fees start at $33.70 one way and $80.20 round trip. • For flights to/from Dominican Republic, taxes/fees start at $36.90 one way and $105.70 round trip.
Budget airlines seem to charge extra for everything — and at Frontier, that can include a surcharge for passengers redeeming frequent flyer miles.
However, elite status members don't have to pay a redemption fee, nor do members with a Frontier credit card. No fee is charged if you book at least 180 days before you fly.
Redemption fees for everyone else are:
Flights booked 21-179 days before departure: $15.
Flights booked 7-20 days before departure: $50.
Flights booked 6 days or less before departure: $75.
What about redeeming Frontier flight credits?
You receive Frontier flight credits (after those fees, of course) if you cancel a flight that you can use for future travel on Frontier Airlines. Flight credits appear on your myFRONTIER account page, but pay attention to expiration dates as many of them have a tight turnaround. Check out this guide to using Frontier Airlines flight credits.
Frontier elite status
Starting in 2024, Frontier will offer four elite status tiers for frequent flyers. Frontier has added one lower-level tier, renamed its existing three tiers and added some benefits for elite members and their companions on the same reservation.
Elite status is eligibility is based on the number of miles earned in a given calendar year. Once you qualify for elite status, you get it for the rest of the calendar year and the following year.
Here’s a full breakdown, along with the benefits each level receives:
Example perks include:
Standard seat at booking: At a minimum, all elite status members will get a standard seat assignment at booking, instead of having to wait until check-in.
Free carry-on and checked bags: Frontier charges for carry-ons, with prices of up to $60 depending on when you “reserve” and pay for space for your carry-on. (Checked bags cost up to $45 for the first bag and up to $85 for additional bags, with extra fees incurred for bags weighing more than 40 pounds). Gold members and above get a free carry-on. Platinum members and their companions booked on the same reservation get one complimentary carry-on and one complimentary checked bag and Diamond members (plus companions) get a complimentary carron-on and two free checked bags.
Priority customer care: The airline says elites will have access to an online chat option, not a free, in-person airport customer service option. The airline notoriously charges for airport customer service.
Stretch seating: “Stretch” seats offer more legroom and recline more than other seats. If seats are available, Gold and above members can upgrade at no cost.
Waived fees: Elite members don’t have to pay extra for such things as mile redemptions, call center reservations, unaccompanied minor, same-day confirmations and standby flying.
“Last Seat” redemptions: All elite members can redeem miles for any available seat.
Discount Den membership: Discount Den offers low fares exclusively to members (see below for full description). Platinum members get 50% off Discount Den membership and Diamond members get it for free.
Mileage multiplier: Earn more miles per dollar when you fly with status.
Gift status: Platinum members can gift Silver status to one person. Diamond members can gift Gold status to one person.
Pet fee waiver: Frontier’s in-cabin pet fee is $99 per direction. The fee is waived, though, for Platinum and Diamond members.
For bookings made between Oct. 23 and Dec. 31, 2023, Frontier Miles members will earn one mile for every mile flown plus 10 qualifying miles per dollar spent. Terms apply.
The Frontier credit card
Frontier’s credit card is issued by Barclays.
Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®
$89 annual fee.
5 miles per $1 spent at flyfrontier.com.
1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles plus, $100 flight voucher, after spending $500 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.
$100 discount voucher when you spend $2,500 on the card in a year.
The card gives you free access to your FICO score, and if you wanted to transfer a balance to your Frontier card (transfers do not earn miles), you get a 0% introductory APR for 15 months for transfers made within the first 45 days you have the card. See the link above for more information.
Additionally, cardholders who spend $3,000 between now and Feb. 29, 2024 will receive automatic Gold status for 2024.
Frontier bag and seating fees
Like most low-cost airlines, Frontier makes up for its low fares with high, complicated fees. For savvy travelers who can score these fares without paying too much in fees, this represents an opportunity. But for average travelers, Frontier’s fees can seem confusing or even downright misleading.
Frontier baggage fees are complicated and depend on several factors:
Type of bag. Overhead carry-on or checked bag?
When you pay the fee. During purchase, before check in, during online check in, at the ticket counter or at the boarding gate?
How far you fly.
How much your bag weighs.
In general, you should try to pay baggage fees as early as possible to avoid excess charges. Consider packing lightly for long trips, where bags will cost more.
Be warned: The cost of baggage on Frontier can easily exceed the cost of the ticket itself, even before factoring in that you have to pay baggage fees both ways on a round-trip fare.
Seat selection fees
Frontier charges for seat selection on most flights. In our analysis, we found that Frontier seats cost an average of $22.50 per segment. That can add up in a hurry.
The easiest way to avoid this fee is to not pay it. This doesn’t mean you won’t get a seat; instead, Frontier will assign you one at check-in. But it could mean that you get stuck in a middle seat.
Finally, Frontier offers bundles on most fares, such as , which offset several of these fees for a fixed price.
These bundles offer perks like free carry-on bags and seat selection at a (presumably) discounted rate. Are these worth it? Sometimes, especially when you’re planning to use every feature of the bundle. If you only need one or two, consider paying for the fees a la carte.
You can always compare the cost when paying these fees separately with the bundle price — it will just require some math and patience.
» Learn more: The guide to Frontier baggage and other fees
(Top photo courtesy of Frontier Airlines)
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card