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Spirit Airlines flights are generally pretty cheap — but you might be able to fly even cheaper if you pay for your flights using Free Spirit points.
However, in order to redeem Free Spirit points, you need to earn them first. Here's your ultimate guide to earning Free Spirit points:
Relatively recent changes for Spirit frequent flyers
Spirit Airlines gave its Free Spirit loyalty program a major overhaul in 2021. The new program is based on money spent rather than the number of miles flown, and miles (from the old program) will convert to points (in the new program) at a 1:1 ratio. That's mostly for the better, as points earning correlates with spending — as is the case with most loyalty programs.
Here are a few other ways Spirit's frequent flyer program improved with the 2021 overhaul:
Points don’t expire for 12 months (compared to the old program’s paltry 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.
How to earn Free Spirit points
So with the knowledge of the new program in mind, here's a list of 6 ways to earn Free Spirit points:
1. Book flights
The most straightforward way to earn points is by actually flying with Spirit airlines. To do that, you'll need to sign up for Spirit Airlines Free Spirit. The program is free to join, and you can find the Spirit Airlines frequent flyer sign-up here.
2. Pay for upgrades and bag fees
Free Spirit members can also earn points by spending on what Spirit calls “A La Smarte” options. Those are add-on incidental costs like seat selection and checked bags.
In fact, points for "A La Smarte" spending is accrued even faster than your accrual rate for dollars spent on actual airfare. Consider it a consolation prize for all those pesky Spirit airlines fees. And yes, Spirit is among the top-offending companies for worst add-on airline fees.
Depending on your level of elite status, you'll earn even more points (more on that later). 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.
3. Use Free Spirit credit cards
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 Intro Annual Fee for the first year; after that, Annual Fee will be $79): Online Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points plus a $100 Companion Flight Voucher after making at least $1,000 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 World Elite Mastercard® (annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $79): Earn 50,000 Bonus Points + $100 Flight Voucher after making at least $1,000 in 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 World Elite 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.
4. Pool your points for faster award flights
One nice benefit of Spirit's recently-revamped 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.
5. Shop at partners
You don't only have to spend money on Spirit or with its credit cards. You can also earn points by making purchases with certain partners, which typically include major rental car companies, wine clubs and even restaurants. Currently, these partners allow you to earn Spirit points.
6. Achieve Spirit Airlines elite status
Once you have Spirit Airlines elite status, you'll earn points even faster — which can make for a good incentive to actually earn elite status.
Member: Earn 6 points for every dollar spent on fares and 12 points for dollars spent on "Á La Smarte options" like seats and bags.
Free Spirit Silver Status: Earn 8 points for every dollar spent on fares and 16 points for dollars spent on options.
Free Spirit Gold Status: Earn 10 points for every dollar spent on fares and 20 points for every dollar spent on options.
» Learn more: How to choose a travel credit card
Is it worth trying to earn Free Spirit points?
The new Free Spirit frequent flyer program offers a fair number 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 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