Spirit Airlines has officially flipped the switch on its brand new loyalty program. Alongside the brand new Free Spirit program, the carrier is also refreshing its $9 Fare Club and rebranding it as the new Spirit Saver$ Club. And, to cap it all off, Spirit has added some new benefits and credit cards. Altogether, the new loyalty program should help capture some of Spirit’s new clients and turn them into loyal passengers to propel the carrier’s growth.
Spirit’s new loyalty program goes live
Back in October, Spirit Airlines unveiled a completely revamped Free Spirit loyalty program. As usual, rolling out a new program takes time, so Spirit set the launch date for January 21st, and that day is finally here. Here is what you need to know about the program.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
The new Free Spirit program operates, in a few ways, like a traditional airline loyalty program. Customers earn points based on dollars spent. Every booking, every bag, and every seat selection fee counts toward earning points. For those looking to earn points outside of flying, the new Free Spirit credit cards also earn customers’ points.
Free Spirit members earn six points per dollar spent on airfare. If you hold elite status, Silver members earn eight points, and Gold members earn 10 points. For ancillary fees, general members earn 12 points per dollar spent, but Silver members earn 16, and Gold members can earn a whopping 20 points. Select partner spending can also earn points, but all members can earn one Status Qualifying Point (SQP) for every $10 spent on purchases using a Free Spirit credit card.
These points do not expire so long as customers make at least one qualifying transaction to earn or redeem every 12 months. If you hold a Free Spirit credit card, then your points do not expire as long as your card account remains open.
There is also a new “Points Pooling” feature in which up to eight friends and family members can combine their points and earn reward flights faster. Only Silver and Gold members and Free Spirit credit card holders can host a points pool.
Redemptions start at just 2,500 points, though if you combine points and cash, you can start a little lower than that. The best part about redeeming is that there are no blackout dates, and redemptions are available for every fare on every flight.
Spirit is introducing two cards for the US: the Free Spirit Travel Mastercard and the Free Spirit Travel More Mastercard. The latter card offers a $100 companion flight voucher on the cardholder’s anniversary, and spend on the Travel More card counts toward earning SQPs. Both cards get shortcut boarding as well as a 25% inflight rebate on food and drink purchases.
Similar but slightly different cards are available in select Latin American countries like Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.
Free Spirit introduces new status tiers
There are two new status tiers entering the Free Spirit program. Beyond the general membership, if you earn 2,000 Status Qualifying Points (SQPs), which is money spent on fares and ancillary options, you will hit Silver tier status. Along with all of the traditional features, Silver members can choose free seat selection at check-in, and complimentary exit row seating 110 minutes from departure.
All Silver members also receive shortcut boarding and security with complimentary same-day standby, overweight checked-baggage fees waived, and a waiver of redemption fees.
To become a Gold member, you have to earn at least 5,000 SQPs. In addition to all of the Silver benefits, Gold members receive free “Flight Flex” (which is more flexible travel including a complimentary change, though a fare difference may apply), a free carry-on, a free first checked bag, free seat selection at booking– including exit rows– and a free inflight beverage and snack.
Gold, Silver, Free Spirit credit card holders, and Spirit Saver$ Club members all get access to the Yellow Glove Concierge Service. Each group has a dedicated phone number for reaching a Yellow Glove Concierge who is specially trained in maximizing the value of their loyalty.
Why now is a great time to revamp loyalty
Spirit Airlines is a low-cost carrier that caters primarily to leisure travelers. This sets up the airline to do well in the current environment, or at least better than its full-service competitors. The real test for Spirit is whether or not it can hold onto these travelers. This loyalty program should help.
This loyalty program has some similarities with full-service carrier loyalty programs. But, one of the biggest benefits for travelers is the lucrative Gold status. To get free bags and free seat selection, and a free snack, that is the ultimate jackpot on a carrier like Spirit if you can snag one of the airline’s low fares.
Especially on a longer route, say to Latin America or a transcontinental flight, snagging an exit row and having a free checked, and carry-on bag to take with someone would make Spirit just as competitive as a full-service carrier on some of those routes.
For existing loyal Spirit members, the new loyalty program will offer better rewards and more benefits that will help keep customers coming back to the airline. Rewarding customer loyalty is a huge part of a successful frequent flier program.
The other thing Spirit can do is set up Free Spirit to be as successful of a program as some more well-known schemes, like Delta SkyMiles or United’s MileagePlus. These programs ended up being incredibly lucrative for the carriers as airlines leveraged them to raise billions in liquidity. If Spirit needs cash down the road, the revamped Free Spirit could end up being a huge asset to the airline.
Launching credit cards at home and abroad is also a great idea for Spirit. The airline is strong in Latin America. It is known for flying visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travelers between the US and primary and secondary destinations in countries like Honduras, Costa Rica, and more.
Are you going to go for elite status through the new Free Spirit program? What do you make of this new loyalty program? Let us know in the comments!