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Spirit Airlines Frequent Flyer Program: The Complete Guide

May 29, 2018
Credit Cards, Travel Credit Cards
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Spirit Airlines serves about 60 cities in the U.S., Central and South America and the Caribbean. It’s known for ultra-low base fares and a la carte fees for just about everything. The airline operates hubs at a handful of cities, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Baltimore and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Like its flights, Spirit Airlines’ frequent flyer program, Free Spirit, is fairly bare-bones, but regular Spirit customers should still check it out, since it can get you where you want to go that much faster.

How to earn Free Spirit miles

The Free Spirit program is free to join. Your miles expire if you go three months without earning miles, which you can do in a number of ways.

Earning FREE SPIRIT MILES by flying

You earn miles based on the length of Spirit flights and your status within the Free Spirit program (more on statuses below):

  • Somebody members, the basic level, earn 50% of miles flown. So if a flight is 800 miles, for example, you’d get credit for 400 Free Spirit miles.
  • Elite and VIP members earn 100% of miles flown. For an 800-mile flight, you’d earn the full 800 Free Spirit miles.

Earning Free Spirit Miles with a credit card

The Spirit Airlines™ World Mastercard® gives you 2 miles for every $1 spent on all purchases. Unlike many airline credit cards, this card doesn’t give you additional miles for airline purchases. Whether you’re spending money with Spirit or some other merchant, you get 2 miles per dollar. There’s a modest but easily attainable sign-up bonus: Earn 15,000 bonus miles after your first purchase. And on each account anniversary, you’re eligible for a 5,000-mile bonus if you put at least $10,000 in net purchases on the card in the preceding 12 months. The annual fee is $0 in the first year, then $59 a year afterward.

» JUMP AHEAD to other credit cards that earn Free Spirit miles

Earning free spirit miles with Other activities

  • Spirit has partnerships with a variety of merchants that allow Free Spirit members to earn miles at those merchants. These retailers and service providers include travel-related merchants such as Choice Hotels, PointsHound, Avis, Budget, Hertz and more. Spirit’s online bonus mall includes offers from dozens of retailers, some offering up to 5 miles per dollar spent.
  • Members can earn miles by participating in surveys through the Miles for Thoughts program or playing online games through the Free Spirit Play platform.
  • With the Free Spirit Dining program, you can earn miles when you dine at thousands of outlets and pay with a credit card linked to your account.
  • Spirit Cruises offer thousands of miles for booking.

Buying additional free spirit miles

You can buy Free Spirit miles for 2.5 cents apiece, with bonus miles available during promotional periods. In May 2018, for instance, you got a 15% bonus if you bought at least 3,000 miles, a 25% bonus if you bought at least 11,000, and a 40% bonus if you bought 20,000 or more.

How to redeem Free Spirit miles

Earning free flights

Redeem your miles by booking at Spirit’s website. Spirit’s award chart breaks down how many miles you need for to redeem for a flight. Factors influencing the redemption cost:

  • Travel date: Some high-demand travel dates are considered “Peak,” while others are “Standard.” See the award chart for specific dates.
  • Credit card status: If you have a Spirit Airlines credit card, certain “Standard” dates become “Off-Peak,” making flights on those days even cheaper.
  • Distance: The longer the flight, measured in “regions,” the more miles it costs. The award chart includes a matrix that tells you how many regions a flight is between any two cities Spirit serves.
  • Seat availability: If only a few seats remain for a flight, the cost may shift to “Premium,” the most expensive of all.

The table below shows how many miles you’ll need for a one-way flight. Combine one-way flights for a round trip:

Flight distance Off-Peak*StandardPeakPremium
* Available only to holders of Spirit Airlines™ World Mastercard®
1 region
(Up to 1,249 miles)
2,50010,00015,00025,000
2 regions
(1,250–1,749 miles)
5,00012,50017,50027,500
3 regions
(1,750–2,499 miles)
7,50015,00020,00037,500
4 regions
(2,500 or more miles)
12,50020,00025,00045,000

As the table makes clear, your best value by far comes when you redeem for Off-Peak flights — meaning you must have the Spirit credit card.

Mile redemptions cover only the cost of airfare. Additional fees for luggage, seat selection and other amenities apply. Also, taxes and government fees must be paid at the time you book. All flights originating at U.S. airports incur a security fee of up to $11.20 each way. Additional taxes and fees apply to international flights.

Redemption fees

Ultra-low-fare carriers like Spirit charge extra fees for just about every aspect of air travel. That includes redeeming miles for a free flight. If you book an award flight more than 180 days before you travel, there is no redemption fee. For those looking to travel with less than six months’ notice, the fees are:

  • Booking 21 to 180 days before departure: $15 
  • Booking 7 to 20 days before departure: $75 
  • Booking 6 days or less before departure: $100 

Other redemption options

You can also redeem miles for magazine subscriptions or online games.

Free Spirit elite status levels

The Free Spirit program has three status levels: Somebody, Elite and VIP. Simply joining the program gives you Somebody status. Elite and VIP members earn more miles per flight and get priority boarding, although the difference between those two statuses isn’t clear from program materials available from Spirit.

Earn Elite status by meeting one of these criteria:

  • Get the Spirit Airlines™ World Mastercard® and use it at least once a month
  • Earn 12,000 Free Spirit miles in a six-month period
  • Spend at least $1,200 on base fares (not including extra charges, taxes or fees) in a six-month period

Earn VIP status by meeting one of these criteria:

  • Earn 24,000 Free Spirit miles in a six-month period
  • Spend at least $2,400 on base fares (not including extra charges, taxes or fees) in a six-month period

Credit cards that earn Free Spirit miles

Spirit Airlines credit cards in the U.S. are issued by Bank of America®.

Spirit Airlines™ World Mastercard®

  • 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 15,000 bonus miles after your first purchase. That could be enough for three single-region round-trip flights (plus taxes and fees).
  • Anniversary bonus: Earn 5,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $10,000 in net purchases on your card within a year
  • Annual fee: $0 the first year, $59 after that

Spirit Airlines World Mastercard® for Business

  • 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 15,000 bonus miles after your first purchase. That could be enough for three single-region round-trip flights (plus taxes and fees)
  • Anniversary bonus: Earn 5,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $10,000 in net purchases on your card within a year
  • Annual fee: $59 plus $20 per card. The $59 fee is waived the first year, but the $20 per-card fee is not.

Spirit Promerica Mastercard® 

This card is available only to residents of Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. More information.

$9 Fare Club

Separate from Free Spirit, Spirit Airlines operates a program it calls the “$9 Fare Club.” Members of this program have special access to super-low fares and get a discount of up to 50% on Spirit’s notoriously complicated baggage fees. (Spirit’s bag fees depend on so many factors that the airline’s website uses a calculator utility to determine how much you’ll owe.) Everyone traveling on a $9 Fare Club member’s itinerary gets the same savings.

As of May 2018, it cost $59.95 to enroll in the $9 Fare Club, with membership renewing automatically every year for $69.95.

Information about the Spirit Airlines™ World Mastercard®, the Spirit Airlines World Mastercard® for Business and the Spirit Promerica Mastercard® was collected by NerdWallet and was not provided or reviewed by the issuers of these cards. 

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