BEST CREDIT CARDSBEST CREDIT CARDSFRONTIER AIRLINES CARD REVIEW: SO-SO, UNLESS YOU EARN THE VOUCHER

Frontier Airlines Card Review: So-so, Unless You Earn the Voucher

The card earns 5 miles per dollar spent on purchases from Frontier, 3 miles per dollar at restaurants and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases. The annual fee is $89.
Gregory Karp Author Avatar
Mar 29, 2019 12:57 p.m. PDT
Edited by
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The Bottom Line

3.7

NerdWallet rating

If you can earn the annual $100 flight voucher, you could make this card worthwhile. Otherwise, poor value and usefulness of rewards make this card a hard pass.

Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® Image
Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®
Annual Fee
$89
Rewards Rate
1x-5x
Miles
Intro Offer
40,000
Miles
Recommended credit score
Intro APR
0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 billing cycles
Regular APR
21.24%-29.99%, Variable APR
Recommended credit score
Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® Image
Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®
Annual Fee
$89
Rewards Rate
1x-5x
Miles
Intro Offer
40,000
Miles
Recommended credit score
Intro APR
0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 billing cycles
Regular APR
21.24%-29.99%, Variable APR
Recommended credit score
  • Annual fee

    $89

  • Rewards rate

    1x-5x

  • Bonus offer

    Earn 40,000 travel miles after spending $500 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days. Earn 20,000 travel miles after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 6 months with the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®.

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 billing cycles

  • Ongoing APR

    APR: 21.24%-29.99%, Variable APR

    Cash Advance APR: 29.99%, Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fee

    0% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

  • Earn 40,000 travel miles after spending $500 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days. Earn 20,000 travel miles after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 6 months with the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®.
  • Earn 5x miles on eligible purchases at flyfrontier.com
  • Earn 3x miles on restaurant purchases
  • Earn 1x miles on all other purchases
  • Earn toward Elite Status by earning 1 Qualifying Mile with every $1 spent on purchases or by flying Frontier
  • Unlock Family Pooling to share miles with family and friends, making mileage redemption more in reach
  • Earn a $100 Flight Voucher every account anniversary after spending $2,500 or more on purchases with your card during your cardmembership year

Pros and Cons

Pros

Bonus categories

New cardholder bonus offer

Early boarding

Intro APR period

Cons

Has annual fee

Rewards have limited flexibility

No free checked bags

Rewards expire

Detailed Review

The Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® is objectively a below-average airline credit card. Even so, it still could be worth getting if you’re an avid Frontier Airlines flyer.

The reason: Its yearly $100 flight voucher, if you earn it, covers the annual fee. So any other benefit you squeeze from the card is gravy.

Problem is, you’ll have to squeeze hard. You’ll get no free checked bags as you do with most airline cards that charge an annual fee. And the $100 itself is laden with fine print, like you can’t use it for bag fees or any of the discount airline’s other gotcha fees, such as seat assignment fees.

Key features of the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®

Card type: Airline.

Annual fee: $89

Sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 travel miles after spending $500 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days. Earn 20,000 travel miles after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 6 months with the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®.

Rewards:

  • 5 miles per dollar spent on purchases from Frontier.

  • 3 miles per dollar at restaurants.

  • 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.

NerdWallet values Frontier miles at 1.1 cents each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data on hundreds of economy routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 1.1 cents or more in value from your Frontier miles.

Frontier miles have a shorter shelf life than other airline miles. Miles expire after just six months if your frequent flyer account doesn't show activity. But if you make a purchase on your Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® at least once every twelve months, that counts as activity on your account and resets the clock on the expiration date.

APR: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for the first fifteen billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 21.24%-29.99%, Variable APR.

Balance transfer fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Other benefits:

  • $100 flight voucher after every account anniversary after you spend $2,500 or more in net purchases during your card membership year.

  • Access to "Family Pooling" for sharing miles.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Progress toward elite status.

Compare to Other Cards

ANNUAL FEE
$0
INTRO APR
0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
REGULAR APR
17.24%-28.24% Variable APR
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$95
INTRO APR
N/A
REGULAR APR
21.49%-28.49% Variable APR
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$250
INTRO APR
N/A
REGULAR APR
See Pay Over Time APR
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
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Benefits and Perks

Flight voucher (with caveats)

If you make $2,500 in purchases per year — averaging $208 per month — with your Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®, you'll earn a $100 Frontier Airlines flight voucher after your account anniversary, which more than makes up for the card’s annual fee.

That’s the end of the good news, though. Read the fine print and you’ll see that the voucher is good only toward Frontier airfare booked on the website. You can't use it to cover fees for checked bags, seat assignments, reservation changes or membership in the airline's Discount Den program. And if your ticket price is less than $100, you forfeit the remaining value. One more gotcha: The voucher expires in six months. To use it, you must book the flight before it expires, although the flight can take place after expiration.

Good Introductory offers

The card comes with a nice sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 travel miles after spending $500 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days. Earn 20,000 travel miles after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 6 months with the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®. Depending on where and when you travel, that could be worth a round-trip flight.

Unlike most airline cards, it also comes with 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for the first fifteen billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 21.24%-29.99%, Variable APR. Keep in mind that balance transfers don't earn miles.

Priority boarding

Airline credit cards with an annual fee typically come with some type of early boarding, so you can get settled and find space for your carry-on if you have one. With this Frontier Airlines card, you get Zone 2 boarding, meaning you generally get to board before passengers in Zone 3 and 4.

Progress toward elite status

With your card, you’ll earn 1 qualifying mile toward elite status with every $1 spent on purchases. The lowest elite tier is Elite Silver Status, earned by accumulating 10,000 qualifying miles in the same calendar year. It includes such benefits as preferred seat at check-in and priority customer care.

Drawbacks and Considerations

Locked into Frontier

This card makes sense only if you’re loyal to Frontier Airlines and regularly fly from an airport it serves. The usefulness of its rewards currency, Frontier Miles, is limited because the airline is relatively small, so it might not fly where you want to go. And it has no partner airlines that you can transfer miles to.

If you want more flexibility, a general travel credit card may be more appropriate for your lifestyle. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns bonus rewards in a variety of popular spending categories, including dining and travel. Plus, there's a rich welcome offer: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠. Points can be redeemed for a variety of things, but they’re more valuable — worth 1.25 cents apiece — when redeemed for travel through the Chase portal. You can book airline tickets, hotels, rental cars there. It's also possible to transfer your points to several airline and hotel partners. The annual fee is $95.

It has an annual fee

Assuming you fly Frontier and can take advantage of the flight voucher, you'll likely be able to get enough value out of the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® to cover the annual fee. But if not (or if paying an annual fee is just a dealbreaker), you'd be better off looking elsewhere.

For example, the $0-annual-fee Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card earns an unlimited 3 points per dollar spent on multiple useful categories:

  • Restaurants.

  • Travel and transit.

  • Gas stations (and electric vehicle charging stations).

  • Popular streaming services.

  • Select phone plans.

Other purchases earn 1 point per dollar. It also comes with a rewarding sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value.

Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can also transfer any points you earn to airline and hotel partners, though Frontier isn't one of them.

How To Decide If It's Right For You

The Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® may be worth it if you’re able to fly Frontier on a regular basis. But most travelers will want to take a pass on this card and find a different airline credit card or general travel card that will better meet their needs and offer greater value.

Alternate Pick: Flexible travel rewards
High point value, transfer partners

Earn bonus rewards in a variety of popular spending categories, including dining and travel. Plus, there's a generous welcome offer: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠. Points take on more value when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, and you can transfer them to multiple airline and hotel partners. The annual fee is $95.


Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.

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