Frontier Airlines offered its GoWild! all-you-can-fly pass earlier in the year. Now it’s available for half price but with adjusted expiration dates that make it even less valuable than before.
Frontier Airlines’ GoWild! Pass
Offered earlier in the year, Frontier Airlines pitched the GoWild! pass as all-you-can-fly and it kind of was but I pointed out in the linked article below that wasn’t really the case. Here are the full terms and conditions, with my commentary below.
From my prior post on the details of the GoWild! pass, here is what the original pass included:
“An unlimited number of flights
Flights are available 300+ days a year
Access to Frontier’s domestic and international destinations
Travel that will keep your miles from expiring
One low annual price for pass access to 12 months of travel
Get confirmed bookings the day before flight departure for domestic travel and starting 10 days before flight departure for international travel”
Getting into the specifics, here are all of the restrictions of the pass:
“Flights will be available to book and fly starting May 2, 2023
Flights can be booked and confirmed the day before flight departure for domestic travel and starting 10 days before flight departure for international travel
Flights must be booked at flyfrontier.com
Flights are subject to blackout periods:
- 2023: May 25, 26, 29; June 29, 30; July 1-5, 8, 9; August 31; September 1, 4; October 5, 6, 9; November 18, 22, 24-27; December 16, 17, 22-24, 26-31;
- 2024: January 1, 15; February 15, 16, 19; March 3, 10, 15-17, 22-24, 29-31; April 5-7, 12-14. Blackout dates for May 2024 and beyond will be posted in advance of accepting any enrollments for pass periods which cover those dates.
Flights do not include any add-on products (like bags or seats), you can still customize your travel
Taxes, fees, and charges apply at the time of booking
A fare of $0.01 will be charged for each segment booked
Flights and seats are subject to availability; last seat availability is not guaranteed
Travel not eligible to earn miles or status
Travel qualifies as activity and will extend your FRONTIER Miles expiration
The GoWild! Pass is non-transferable. The pass holder is the only allowed passenger to travel with GoWild! Pass privileges.
Your Pass will automatically renew for successive one-year terms unless you cancel. You must be 18 years or older and a resident of the United States to enroll in the GoWild! Pass”
Given the blackout dates, the annual pass wasn’t really unlimited flights. The greater complication was a combination of inconsistent schedules (they don’t fly every route every day) and pass holders can’t guarantee they have a booked flight home before they leave for their trip. That could be particularly difficult for flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America where a return ticket might be required though for international flights, they now allow bookings up to ten days in advance.
The annual pass didn’t start until May 2nd, despite going on sale well before that date.
GoWild! Summer Pass, Even Less Value For Money
Marketed as “half price” – though most GoWild! purchasers bought their annual passes for $599-699 – the GoWild! Summer pass is on sale until May 31st, but valid for flights from June 8 through September 30, 2023 with the same blackout dates.
When analyzing the blackout dates for this period (12) there’s just 102 days valid for usage of the pass. Like the standard GoWild! annual pass, passengers will still need to pay the applicable taxes and fees which are higher because flights can only be booked online and one can’t avoid the “carrier interface charge” by booking at the airport. They must also remit $0.01/segment plus any carry-on or checked bag fees. None of these accrue any activity into a Frontier Miles account.
The annual pass provided access on more than 300 days and was a cost of about $1.98 per eligible day. The summer version is $4.89 per eligible day.
Don’t Fall Into The Trap
As I stated in my arguments against Frontier’s proposed merger with Spirit, Frontier’s happenstance schedule is problematic.
Cleveland offers a handful of destinations but let’s look at its San Juan, Puerto Rico flights for example. Flights are scheduled on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. If a traveler gets on the outbound for a long weekend on Thursday, there’s no guarantee they can get back on Sunday, and if they don’t make that flight they extend their hotel, and vacation costs, and miss work for two more days. If there are no seats on the Tuesday flight, try again on Wednesday night to see if they can make the Thursday return or connect in Denver.
Stations like Pittsburgh only offer service to Denver. A traveler who wants to take a vacation with their family of four to Florida beaches would have to fly to Denver and then back to Florida and find four seats on both of those flights with one day’s notice. The same will be repeated for the journey home.
But let’s just take Cleveland as a good example of where one can find value. For a family of four (let’s assume personal items only) taxes and fees can run about $30/person on a non-stop route. Four passes at $499 plus $120 in taxes and fees bring the total to $2116 for that one trip, but just $120-ish thereafter. Let’s assume they take three trips during the period. It comes to a little less than $600/person for three trips – not bad.
- San Juan = $280/person on the high end, as low as $159
- Las Vegas = $165/person most days in June
- Fort Lauderdale = $60 for many dates throughout the summer
For $505/person not only does a customer get the same trips on the same routes during the same period for less money, but they know their dates in advance. They also earn Frontier miles for their journey and have no more risk of getting stuck in a destination any more than any carrier operating scheduled flights.
Further, pass holders are essentially trapped in Frontier’s network and flight times even when competitors are available at a similar price. If flights to Orlando depart at 7 AM on Spirit or 9:45 PM on Frontier but you’ve already paid for your Frontier flights, you could get an entire extra day at theme parks with a competing flight for the same money, but with the pass that’s not an option and not something you’ll want to do.
I thought the GoWild! pass was terribly executed when it was offered earlier in the year. The summer version takes all of the worst aspects of the annual pass and compounds them with less time and flights that are likely to be fuller further reducing the ability to actually fly them. For retirees with second homes in city pairs offered by Frontier, this is probably a great deal. But for everyone else, they should pass on the GoWild! summer pass.
What do you think? Do you find value in this offering?