Spirit Airlines Revamps Loyalty Program

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Image via Spirit Airlines

When Spirit’s new loyalty program launches early next year, one of the main differences is that points will be accrued based on amount spent rather than distance flown. In August, Air Canada announced a similar change with respect to how points will be gained – it’s new loyalty program will launch on November 8.

Spirit Airlines will launch a significant overhaul of its Free Spirit loyalty program on January 21, 2021. The new program prolongs the validity of points and offers flexible ways to redeem them, while adding more generous rewards.

One of the key differences in the new program is that accumulation of points will be based on dollars instead of miles – every member gets at least six points for every dollar spent – thereby discouraging travelers from needlessly crisscrossing the country “when every booking, every bag and every Big Front Seat (Spirit’s front of cabin upgrade) is building up to the next big trip.”

“Loyalty programmes should work for travellers whether they fly once a year, or once a week. You should be rewarded either way,” said Spirit Airlines president and CEO Ted Christie, adding that the airline “decided to start with a clean sheet of paper and reimagine what Free Spirit could be. Points don’t mean anything unless you can actually use them.”

Some of the key rewards in the new Free Spirit program include every member getting at least 12 points for every dollar spent on A La Smart options such as seats and bags. Point redemptions start at 2,500 points with no blackout dates. Eligible members can pool their points with up to eight friends and family members to earn reward flights.

“Families and friends who vacation together should be able to use their points together.” – Ted Christie, Spirit Airlines

“Spirit is committed to letting guests pay only for what they want,” Christie said. “Redesigning Free Spirit from the ground up gave us the chance to make our loyalty program as flexible as the travel experience we provide. Families and friends who vacation together should be able to use their points together.”

Two new status levels are being introduced, Silver and Gold, whereby every dollar spent on Spirit fares and A La Smart options earns Status Qualifying Points (SQPs). Silver and Gold tiers are attained by reaching the 2,000 SQP and 5,000 SQP thresholds, respectively.

Benefits for Silver members include free shortcut security (where available), shortcut boarding, free same day standby and free general seat selection 24 hours before departure.

Gold member perks include free carry-on bag, free first checked bag, priority boarding and free standard seat selection at time of booking, including exit rows. There’s also a dedicated guest care phone line, Free Flight Flex (a one time change with no fee prior to 24 hours before departure) plus free in-flight beverage and snacks.

In a related initiative the airline has teamed up with Bank of America (in the USA), and Banco Promerica (in Latin America) to bolster the Free Spirit family of credit cards with new benefits, accelerating the path towards Silver and Gold status membership.

The new arrangement means that points will not expire as long as the Free Spirit credit card account remains active, and members receive a 25% rebate on in-flight food and beverages.

“Free Spirit credit cards help guests supercharge the rewards from the Free Spirit program,” said Matt Klein, Spirit Airlines’ executive vice-president and chief commercial officer. “Every card purchase gets our guests closer to their next vacation or family visit.”

The airline’s subscription-based membership, $9 Fare Club, has now been renamed Spirit Saver$ Club. Benefits include access to discounted fares, deals on bags and savings on seats.

Though not officially launched until January 21 2021, the airline’s customers can already start racking up miles with the current program and these will be converted to points when the new program goes live.

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