The Guide to Spirit Airlines’ Award Flights

You can book an award flight on Spirit for as few as 2,500 miles, but you'll want to avoid redemption fees.
Elina Geller
Alisha McDarris
By Alisha McDarris and  Elina Geller 
Updated

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Spirit Airlines is a low-cost carrier that flies to more than 90 destinations in the U.S., Caribbean, Latin America and South America. In 2021, the airline revamped its Free Spirit loyalty program and introduced many positive changes, including a better point expiration policy.

Members can redeem points for any flight with no blackout dates, earn Free Spirit Points instead of miles, and when it comes time to redeem them, rates will vary since Spirit utilizes a “value-based” system instead of a set award chart. Redemptions start at 2,500 points, and the award flight is now based on the cost of the flight, the travel date and a few other factors.

Let’s take a look at some redemptions to see what kind of value you can extract from Spirit’s points.

Redeeming Free Spirit points for award flights

How many Spirit points for a free flight? With redemption starting as low as 2,500 Free Spirit Points, earning enough points for a free trip could be closer than you think.

The airline used to have an award chart, but — like many airlines — has since moved to a dynamic pricing model where ticket costs in points generally track the cost in cash.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you don’t have enough points to book an award flight, but are still eager to book, you can also book flights using a combination of points and cash starting at only 1,000 points.

You may also have the option to pool points with friends and family in order to make award bookings. One member just has to be a Free Spirit Silver or Gold member or a Free Spirit credit card holder to start a pool with up to eight people.

NerdWallet values Free Spirit Points at just 0.8 cent, which puts the airline toward the bottom of our airline points and miles valuation chart, based on thousands of real-world searches.

If you’re searching for a good redemption option, look for flights that are at least 0.8 cent per mile in value. You can figure this out by dividing the cost of the cash tickets by the number of points required to book determine a “cent per mile” value for each flight. If it is more than that, hop on the good deal. If it is less, consider holding your points for a better value redemption.

Free Spirit Points cover only the cost of airfare when booking an award ticket. Additional fees for luggage, seat selection and other amenities apply and you have to pay in cash. Also, taxes and government fees must be paid in cash at the time you book.

Fees to redeem

Like other airlines, booking award travel with Spirit often comes with fees. In addition to a $5.60 security fee and a slew of other routine taxes and fees, Free Spirit members can (somewhat uniquely) also expect award booking fees.

Though many carriers have eliminated close-in booking fees on award tickets, as a low-cost carrier, it's not surprising that Spirit still charges extra for it.

For flights booked within 28 days of departure, the redemption fee is $50. Any award tickets booked more than 28 days in advance incur no redemption fee. Previously, you had to book an award ticket more than 180 days from departure to avoid these pesky fees.

However, if you have Silver or Gold status, or hold the Free Spirit® Travel More World Elite Mastercard®, you will not have to pay any fees on award redemptions, even if you book within the 28-day window.

Free Spirit® Travel More Mastercard®
NerdWallet rating 

The Free Spirit® Travel More World Elite Mastercard® has a $0 intro for the first year, then $79annual fee after that. It does come with a decent welcome offer: Earn 50,000 Bonus Points + $100 Flight Voucher after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. your account.

The card is great for Spirit loyalists as it earns:

  • 3 points per $1 on Spirit purchases.

  • 2 points per $1 on dining and groceries.

  • 1 point per $1 on everything else.

If you often find yourself booking flights 28 days or less before departure and book at least two such flights per year, applying for the card would save you money as the annual fee is lower than the price of two close-in redemption fees.

Earning points with Spirit Airlines

Spirit offers plenty of opportunities to earn Free Spirit points, including by flying, using the Free Spirit® Travel Mastercard®and the Free Spirit® Travel More World Elite Mastercard®, shopping with partners, and more.

Instead of earning points based on the number of miles you fly, Free Spirit members earn based on dollars spent. This means the more upgrades you pay — for like The Big Front Seat — and the more your ticket costs, the more points you’ll pocket.

Check out our guide to earning Free Spirit Points for all the ways to rack up points fast.

The bottom line

Booking award travel with Spirit is fairly straightforward, and award flights can be relatively inexpensive, especially since redemptions start at 2,500 points and earning the points is fairly easy.

If you often book award flights with Spirit at the last minute, the Free Spirit® Travel More World Elite Mastercard® could be a good bet.


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