Spirit Airlines increases earnings in their Free Spirit loyalty program to help travelers fly more for less as the country recovers.
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***UPDATE: August, 18th, 2020 – The promotional booking period has been extended.***
Spirit Adds 5x Bonus Earnings
Spirit has announced a 5x earning program for tickets purchased by August 26th, 2020 for travel through February 9th, 2021. The bonus will help members who are planning to travel in the next six months earn redeemable Free Spirit miles at an accelerated rate.
Regular travelers on Spirit will be able to take advantage of very low prices for flights and stack earnings for future travel. As I have noted on this site in the past, I frequently travel on Spirit to Florida from the northeast. As such, this represents tremendous value to me – especially with the extension of the promotion through August 26th, 2020.
If you don’t have a Free Spirit account, sign up here.
How Does This Bonus Stack Up?
For those unfamiliar with the Free Spirit program, members typically earn a half-mile (0.5) per miles flown. US flag carrier loyalty programs have long switched to revenue-based earnings (earnings based not on distance but rather the fare paid.) To evaluate the value of the promotion, I will use two examples: Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale and Philadelphia to Fort Lauderdale.
- LAX-FLL = 2,340 miles in each direction or 4,680 miles roundtrip (normal earnings would be 2,340 Free Spirit Miles roundtrip)
- PHL-FLL – 995 miles in each direction or 1,990 miles roundtrip (normal earnings would be 995 Free Spirit Miles roundtrip)
With this promotion, a flyer would accrue 11,700 Free Spirit miles from Los Angeles or 4,975 from Philadelphia. Free flights start at 2,000 miles for Spirit Airlines credit card holders and Free Spirit elite members ($1200 or 12,000 miles flown in six months) or at 10,000 for general members. That could mean buy one trip now, get as many as two roundtrips free in the future.
Truth be told, I’m neither elite nor a credit card holder with Spirit but I have seen some flight segments below 2,500 miles each way. For me, this promotion is valuable. Free Spirit miles must be spent within six months of accrual, or in this case, must be redeemed before February 9th, 2021.
What Does This Say About The Industry?
When school starts back up for the year, travel is typically at its lowest levels. Given the COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantine procedures, Spirit and other airlines need to incentivize future business. Leisure travel is not likely to remain as depressed as it is now and other carriers have seen lifts when the such limitations were lifted temporarily in June.
Many airlines and hotel chains are encouraging the outright purchase of miles with up to 100% bonuses. Instead of selling points, Spirit wants to secure future bookings which makes a great deal of sense for the carrier, especially with its focus on ancillary revenue.
Spirit’s 5x promotion is particularly clever because it drives the behavior they wish to see from their customers. It allows their passengers to dream a little further out than the next news story, which is helpful for everyone right now. With the booking window extension, customers have a little longer to secure those high-earning tickets. I will likely pick up a few tickets for future travel.
What do you think? Will you take advantage of Spirit’s 5x promotion? Should other airlines incentivize future bookings now?