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Spirit Airlines’ new and improved Free Spirit frequent flyer program launched on Jan. 21, and the changes spelled good news for Spirit flyers who want to earn award flights fast. Here’s a quick overview of what’s new, followed by a look at all the ways you can earn points in the new Free Spirit program.
Changes in store for Spirit frequent flyers
These are some of the ways Spirit's frequent flyer program has gotten a whole lot better:
Points don’t expire for 12 months (compared to the old program’s three months).
There’s no more award chart. Award flights are based on the cash price of the flight and start at just 2,500 points, or 1,000 if you want to book with Points + Cash (feature coming in March 2021).
The Points + Cash booking option lets you redeem points faster, even before you have enough for a full award seat.
Elite members can pool points with friends and family to earn an award flight faster.
Award flights booked more than 28 days in advance carry no redemption fees. Book 0 to 28 days before departure and the fee is $50.
Further, instead of earning miles based on how far you fly with the airline, which is how the old program awarded travelers, members will now earn Free Spirit points based on how much they spend on the fare. The more expensive the flight, the more points you earn.
How to earn Free Spirit points
Every dollar that you spend on Spirit flights or that you charge to the Free Spirit credit card earns you 1 Status Qualifying Point, or SQP. Achieve Silver status by accumulating 2,000 SQPs, and you’ll reach Gold when you rack up 5,000 SQPs.
Unlike basic members in the Free Spirit program who earn 6 points per dollar on their fare, Silver elite members earn 8 points per dollar and Gold members earn 10.
» Learn more: How to choose a travel credit card
Pay for upgrades and bag fees
Free Spirit members can also earn points by spending on “A La Smarte” options like seat selection and checked bags. Basic members earn 12 points per dollar spent on these options, while Silver elite members earn 16 points per dollar on A La Smarte options and Gold elite members earn 20.
Get the Free Spirit credit cards
But what if you don’t fly with Spirit that often? There are still ways to earn. The new Free Spirit credit cards earn points for everyday spending, and as long as the credit card account is open, points you earn won’t expire. Here are the details of the cards:
Free Spirit® Travel Mastercard® (annual fee: $0): Earn 10,000 Bonus Points after making at least $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. The card earns 2 points per $1 on Spirit purchases and 1 point per $1 on everything else. There are no foreign transaction fees, which is a great feature of a no fee card.
Free Spirit® Travel More Mastercard® (annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $79): Earn 40,000 Bonus Points + a $100 Companion Flight Voucher after spending at least $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. The card earns 3 points per $1 on Spirit purchases, 2 points per $1 on dining and groceries, and 1 point per $1 on everything else.
The Free Spirit® Travel More Mastercard® also allows you to earn SQPs for everyday spending at a rate of $10 = 1 SQP. If you’re able to spend $20,000 or $50,000 per year, you’ll earn Silver or Gold status, respectively, without ever stepping foot on a plane.
Pool your points for faster award flights
Another fantastic benefit of the new program: the ability for elite members and Free Spirit Credit Card holders to pool points with friends and family. This will be especially lucrative for families who might not fly enough to earn an award flight for each person in their party before points expire. Points pooled from one family vacation could easily result in enough for an award flight for one person, since flights start as low as 2,500 points. Silver and Gold members, as well as eligible credit card holders, can pool Free Spirit points with up to eight people.
Shop at partners
Details are still emerging on Spirit Airlines partnerships, but it’s clear that the new program will give you opportunities to earn points by making purchases with certain partners. Currently, these partners allow you to earn Spirit points.
The bottom line
The new Free Spirit frequent flyer program offers lots of ways to earn points toward Spirit Airlines flights. You can rack up points by flying, making charges with the Free Spirit Credit Card, pooling points with friends and family and making purchases with partners.
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 2021, 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