Over the last two days, I have provided my readers with an intro to Frontier Airlines and a breakdown of the different fare classes on Frontier Airlines. Today, I bring you the meat of the series and explain to you the benefits of the Frontier Airline reward program, EarlyReturns. Like most airlines, Frontier offers a loyalty program for its frequent flyers and the airline rewards their most frequent flyers through an elite program. If you don’t travel 100,000 miles a year, and most of your travels take you domestically, you may want to reconsider you airline of choice and look further into Frontier Airlines.
The Basics info:
The Frontier Airline frequent flyer program is known as EarlyReturns. Anyone can sign up for a free membership and can earn miles on any Frontier Airline flight. If you’ve flown Frontier in the past 180 days and do not have an EarlyReturns membership, don’t fret, Frontier will allow back credit of flights from the previous 6 months! This is definitely a gem hidden in the rough!
Frontier Airline currently does not have any partner airlines, yet they have established a number of partner hotels, car rental agencies, shopping portals and more. EarlyReturn miles can be accrued into an account for taking part in any of such activities listed on the EarlyReturns Partner website. Miles are earned either through partner activities or flying. Once miles are accrued, they either need to be redeemed within 18 months of the last date of mileage accrual or the miles will expire.
Earning Miles on Flights:
Miles on all flights are earned based on the fare class and total miles flown. As I covered yesterday, fare classes on Frontier are broken into 4 different categories. Based on which class of ticket bought, a different amount of miles will be awarded. Frontier is one of the last low cost carriers (LCC) which still uses a miles based system instead of a revenue (point) based frequent flyer program. This means their program is more similar to those of Alaska, United, or Delta instead of SWA or Virgin.
The only exception to this rule is for Frontier Elite members. They will earn 100% base miles even for basic fares.
The EarlyReturn rewards program has three levels: Base, Accent, Summit. Each EarlyReturns member is automatically inducted to the Base level and then can earn Accent or Summit by flying a minimum number of segments or flights each year. Currently the qualifications are as follow:
- 15,000 Frontier flight miles flown in one calendar year (January through December)
- 20 Frontier flight segments flown in one calendar year (January through December)
- 25,000 Frontier flight miles flown in one calendar year (January through December)
- 30 Frontier flight segments flown in one calendar year (January through December)
Frontier Airline has some of the lowest qualification for elite levels in the industry, requiring just three coast-to-coast round trip flights to meet their Ascent level. Similarly, Frontier’s highest elite level is only 10,000 more miles at a mere 25,000 miles. This elite qualification level is what most airlines lowest level is at! Truly a gem or a #DoubleWideDelight for the infrequent or frequent traveler.
Elite Level Benefits:
The entire purpose of being loyal to an airline is for the kickbacks. No one flies 100,000+ miles a year on AA or United or any other reason for fun (ok well maybe they do), but instead they remain loyal because of the elite benefits. Similarly, Frontier Airline offers a number of elite benefits for their frequent flyers. These include FREE baggage (a $40+ value), Free Direct TV (up to a $7 value), Free Alcoholic Beverages on all flights (up to a $14 value-wait even UA/DL doesn’t do this!), Priority airport service, security, and seating, and more! All benefits are listed below:
After examining the benefits of Frontier Airline, one might notice that Frontier Airline offers benefits at the 25,000 mile level that many airlines do not offer at all or only to their most elite (aka the United 1K, Delta Diamonds, AA Exp Plat). For example, if you fly only 25K miles on Frontier every year, every ticket becomes a flexible ticket because only frontier allows their Ascent members to change their tickets free of charge and even change the name of the ticket! Meaning, I could buy a ticket today and then tomorrow decide to give it to my sister or business partner! This is nearly unheard of today! The airline also offers the typical mileage bonus for elite members.
Another great part of being an elite member with Frontier Airline is the ability to do same day standby and confirmed standby. Yes, this is a common feature of most elite programs these days, however Frontier ups the game by allowing a number of airports within a certain distance to be considered the same airport when doing same day standby/confirmed changes. If ticketed in any of these airports, you can choose to fly out of a different location free of charge:
- Chicago-Midway Airport (MDW), Chicago-O’Hare Airport (ORD), & Rockford (RFD), Illinois
- Los Angeles (LAX) & Orange County/Santa Ana (SNA), California
- Madison (MSN), Wisconsin, & Rockford (RFD), Illinois
- Orlando (MCO) & Tampa (TPA), Florida
- Phoenix-Sky Harbor (PHX) & Phoenix/Mesa-Gateway Airport (AZA), Arizona
This is a HUGE bonus, especially if flying to and from any of these areas!
Frontier Airlines has some of the lowest level award tickets in the industry making this program a no brainer! Award tickets can be booked one way or round trip and a one-way domestic award ticket is only 10,000 miles! This is easily 5K miles below most programs! In addition, Frontier Airline allows you to redeem just 15,000 miles each way to Mexico, the Caribbean, or Costa Rica! This is easily 5K miles less than most US Based carrier reward programs! In addition, EarlyReturns is a direct transfer partner of American Express, meaning membership reward points transfer 1 for 1 instantly! Add this program to your bucket list because it’s award tickets cost less than AA/UA/DL and are a 1 to 1 partner of Amex!
If this hasn’t wooed you over, take a minute and look at Frontier’s Flexibility on award tickets. Unlike the major airlines, they let you change the tickets for free 7 days out (given availability) and even same day changes for Elite members (Delta can’t even match that!)
Award tickets do come in HIGHER priced options as well. However, any savvy point collector knows that such higher redemptions should be avoided at all costs.
And if you’re really desperate and you are an elite member, Frontier offers you the option for last seat available awards. Meaning every seat is available for sale or reward redemptions!
The true kicker and #DoubleWideDelight to this program is for those few lucky Barclay Frontier Airline Credit Card holders. They can redeem an award ticket for their companion on the same itinerary when they purchased their own ticket for even less! This makes round trip travel to Central American and the Caribbean the same price that most airlines charge for a coast-to-coast ticket!
As you can see, the Frontier Airline EarlyReturn program definitely has a number of highlights and awesome reward rates that many other airlines are missing. If you’re looking for an alternative to the legacy carriers and looking to revamp your earnings, look no further. Frontier Airline has some amazing values that should NOT be overlooked!