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It’s no secret that Spirit Airlines has a tendency to add extra fees to your airfare. Even the in-flight Diet Coke will cost you $4, and you’ll owe $25 if you ask the airport agent to print your boarding pass.
If it’s a Spirit Airlines refund you’re seeking, you’ll have to pay an extra fee for the ability to get one (in many scenarios).
Spirit beat out only one other airline, Frontier, in the fees category of NerdWallet’s annual Best Of’s awards for 2023, meaning Spirit's rating on fees was second-to-worst of the nine airlines considered. Spirit walked away from those awards with a sad 1.2 stars out of 5 in the fees category.
The good news is that not every Spirit Airlines flight cancellation will incur a refund fee. If you cancel your flight early enough, you might be able to get a full refund to your original form of payment, without any added fees.
» Learn more: The guide to Spirit Airlines fees
Does Spirit give refunds?
Your ability to get a refund with Spirit hinges on a couple of factors: 1) how quickly after purchase you choose to cancel your flight, and 2) whether it's you or Spirit that's choosing to cancel the flight.
If you decide to cancel your Spirit flight within 24 hours of booking
According to the Spirit Airlines refund policy, all Spirit tickets can be canceled for a full refund to the original form of payment if your ticket was purchased within 24 hours of the cancelation request and the flight’s departure is seven or more days away.
For other Spirit flights
If you decide to cancel after the 24-hour window, you are generally no longer eligible to get money back to your original payment method.
However, you might be able to get a reservation credit to use toward future flights. The problem? You might owe a fee to get that credit — and that fee could be more than the value of the credit itself.
Change and cancellation fees vary depending on how far in advance of your flight you make the request. Typically, here's how much you’ll owe:
Change/cancel 0-6 days before departure: $119.
Change/cancel 7-30 days before departure: $99.
Change/cancel 31-59 days before departure: $69.
Change/cancel 60+ days before departure: $0.
No matter what, all cancellations or changes must be made at least 45 minutes before the scheduled departure time for all domestic flights and 60 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time for all international flights.
If you want a refund because Spirit chose to cancel your flight
If Spirit cancels your flight, it doesn’t matter what type of airfare you bought; you’re entitled to a full refund.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, travelers are entitled to a full refund if the airline calls off your flight, regardless of the reason, and you choose not to travel. The airline is required to make refunds within seven business days for purchases by credit card, or within 20 days if paid by cash or check.
» Learn more: Avoid airline cancellations: how to book better
How to change or cancel your Spirit reservation
Often, the easiest way to contact Spirit to change or cancel your flight is by visiting the My Trips page on Spirit’s website and following the steps on the screen. Have your name and confirmation number ready.
Other methods for getting in touch include:
Chatting online with a customer service rep.
Calling Spirit at 855-728-3555.
Texting spirit at 48763 or by using 855-728-3555 on WhatsApp.
Direct messaging Spirit on social media.
Speaking to a Spirit customer service employee at the airport.
Spirit Reservation Credits
Once you’ve paid a change or cancellation fee, you’ll receive Spirit Reservation Credits. These can be used to pay for future airfares or other fees like those you're charged for bags, seat selection and taxes. You must make your purchase on Spirit.com or by calling Spirit Reservations at 855-728-3555; you cannot use the credits for bookings through Spirit’s app.
There are some annoying aspects to Spirit Reservation Credits. They’re nontransferable, meaning you can’t use them to book a flight for someone else. And they have expiration dates, but it’s not clear from Spirit’s site exactly how expiration dates work — not even in the fine print of its terms and conditions.
In a Spirit web article on using reservation credits, it says that at least some of them fall into the category of 90-day credits “valid for trips booked within 90 days of issuance on any flight dates available in the system.” 90 days is not a lot of time — especially considering that other airlines like Southwest offer travel funds that never expire.
If you cancel your Spirit reservation and are issued credits, check the cancellation email you receive from Spirit for the expiration date and terms of your Spirit Reservation Credits.
To make a new booking with Spirit Reservation Credits, have on hand your reservation credit number, which is a 6-character alphanumeric code that can be found in your trip cancellation email.
Book a new flight as you usually would, but on the payment page, select “Redeem a Voucher or Credit.” You’ll see a few payment options, such as credit card or voucher. Scroll down to the line that says “Reservation Credit” and input your 6-character confirmation code in the box.
If your new flight is more expensive than the value of your voucher, you can pay the difference with another payment method, such as PayPal or credit card.
Steps to getting a refund from Spirit
Even if your Spirit flight is refundable, Spirit doesn’t make it easy to get that money back.
Unlike other airlines that provide easy-to-find refund request forms on their site, Spirit’s process can be a bit less intuitive. Spirit recommends you apply for a refund by doing one of the following:
Calling Spirit Guest Care at 855-728-3555.
Sending a message using the form on the Spirit “Complaint or Compliment” webpage.
Sending snail mail to Spirit’s offices. The address is: Corporate Guest Relations, Attention: Refunds, 2800 Executive Way, Miramar, FL 33025.
Other ways to get your money back
If your ticket isn’t eligible for a refund, or you just don’t want to pay $119 to get a future flight credit, you might have another option to get your money back: travel insurance.
Travel insurance is typically purchased from a travel insurance company or through a travel agent. Cost and coverage can vary by provider, but it typically amounts to 5%-10% of your total trip cost, according to insurance comparison site Squaremouth (a NerdWallet partner).
Though unless you’ve purchased a Cancel For Any Reason policy, which is usually more expensive than a basic policy, you’re entitled to a refund only if you cancel for a covered reason — and covered reasons can vary by insurer. Then again, you might not even need to pay for trip insurance. Many credit cards offer travel insurance as a built-in benefit to customers who pay for their trip on that card.
See our list of the best travel rewards cards that provide travel insurance.
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