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Frontier has long had a reputation for being one of the lowest cost airlines in the U.S. But with the brand new Barclays Frontier Airlines credit card, the airline is hoping to make frequent flying more attainable and affordable for all.
The Frontier Airlines World Mastercard is not a new airline credit card, per se. Frontier Airlines has offered a travel reward credit card for some time, but it has recently been reinvented to the benefit of domestic travelers. The old Frontier credit card was unrewarding at best, but updates include no foreign transaction fees, a better-earning ratio, and the ability to earn qualifying miles toward elite status with spending alone. But is it worth applying for?
The New Frontier Credit Card
First, the details. New cardmembers earn more points than with the old card: 5x miles on purchases at flyfrontier.com, 3x miles at restaurants, and 1x miles on everything else. That means miles add up faster than they used to. Plus, you’ll receive one qualifying mile toward myFrontier Miles Elite Status for every dollar spent. No other airline reward credit card offers that. And that elite status is attainable just by using the card; no actual flying required (though you’ll also earn qualifying miles for that).
You will also earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days. That’s a very attainable initial spend limit considering many other airline travel reward cards can be as much as double that threshold. Those miles will get you up to two round-trip tickets as one-way award seats start at 10,000 miles.
Additional Benefits of the Frontier Credit Card
You’ll also get benefits like priority boarding, a fee waiver for an award redemption ticket, and family pooling, which allows you and up to eight other people to combine myFrontier Miles. In case you feel like sharing or want to combine your and a family member’s accumulated miles in order to book an award seat.
The annual fee is $79 and isn’t waived the first year. But you will get a $100 flight voucher after your cardmember anniversary each year as long as you’ve spent $2,500 on the card in the last 12 months. So you could look at it as getting more like a $21 voucher after you subtract the annual fee. Keep in mind, though, that the voucher is only good for 180 days after it’s issued. So don’t plan to save it for a rainy day. The miles you earn will expire if you don’t use the card at least once every six months. Plus, there are no longer any foreign transaction fees.
Frontier Airlines World Mastercard Elite Status Benefits
Because you can earn elite status just by using the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard, the benefits are more attainable for everyday travelers who don’t fly frequently and can’t rack up enough miles in the air. According to Frontier the thresholds and benefits look like this:
- Elite20k Status: Spend $20,000 on the card each calendar year and earn benefits like a free carry-on bag and seat assignment.
- Elite50k Status: Spend $50,000 on the card and earn all the benefits from Elite20k Status, plus benefits like family seating and seat assignment for the cardmember and eight traveling companions on the same reservation.
- Elite100k Status: Spend $100,000 on the card and qualify for a free carry-on, checked bag, seat selection, priority boarding, flight flexibility and refundability for you and up to eight traveling companions on the same reservation.
As you automatically hit Elite20k Status and will be just shy of Elite50k Status as soon as you meet the initial spend limit and get the bonus, you’ll be off to a flying start. That is good, because, without elite status, baggage fees and seat selection add up quickly. Frontier status benefits may not be as tempting as on some other airlines where lounges and companion tickets are on the table, but they are easier to get, so that’s something.
Things To Note
Before signing up for the card, it’s worth checking to see if Frontier even flies out of an airport near you. The budget airline does have a fairly limited network. If you can’t fly without a significant amount of hassle, it’s probably not worth it. Frontier also isn’t part of an alliance, so you can’t transfer miles to get to places where Frontier doesn’t fly.
There have also been reports that award seats can be difficult to find. You may need patience when booking a flight. Lastly, if you don’t earn elite status after the first year, know that unlike with most other airline branded reward cards, there’s no free carry-on or checked bag just because you have the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard; you’ll still have to pay for that like every other passenger. It’s a no-frills airline, after all. It is what it is, which is an affordable way to fly.
The Bottom Line on the Frontier Airlines Credit Card
If you live along a Frontier route and plan to fly to the airline’s destinations at least a few times per year, the card offers a decent return on the initial investment (the annual fee), especially if your preferred routes tend to be the more expensive ones. After all, tickets on Frontier are already some of the cheapest in the U.S. While the Frontier card is definitely an upgrade on what used to be available, it’s still not the most valuable airline card on the market. Before applying and paying the annual fee, scan route maps, and ticket prices to see if the new Barclays Frontier Airlines World Mastercard is right for you.