Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers
Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - More Miles, Less Money
One of the most exciting changes with Frontier's new program is that members will be able to earn miles faster and more easily. Frontier is increasing how many miles members can earn on paid flights across the board. For example, entry-level DISCOVER members will earn 500 miles per flight segment, up from 300 currently. ASCENT members jump to 700 miles per segment, while ELITE members will earn 1,000 miles per segment.
These increased earnings levels mean you'll rack up miles quicker, reaching rewards faster with Frontier. As Torsten knows, leisure travelers love when loyalty programs make it easier and faster to earn rewards. Who doesn't want free flights more often?
Not only are the base mile earnings higher, but Frontier is also reducing the amount of spend required for miles bonuses. Right now you need to spend $15 on a flight just to get a 100 mile bonus. Under the new program, DISCOVER members get a 500 mile bonus for a $5 spend, while ASCENT and ELITE members only need to spend $1 to earn a 1,000 mile bonus.
According to Frontier, these changes will allow members to earn an average of 11% more miles than before. For frequent Frontier flyers like Torsten, 11% can really add up over time. More miles earned on paid flights means hitting redemption levels faster. Plus, the lowerthresholds on miles bonuses make it easier to supplement your balance along the way.
While earning miles is getting easier, award prices are staying relatively the same. Frontier currently has variable award pricing that aligns closely with cash fares. This dynamic model will continue so your increased mileage balance goes toward the same flight awards as before. It's a win-win - more miles coming in, with steady award costs going out.
What else is in this post?
- Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - More Miles, Less Money
- Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - Earn Miles on Every Ticket Purchase
- Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - Elite Status Gets Easier
- Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - Book Awards Sooner
- Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - everydayLOWfareTM Customers Benefit Too
- Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - Focus on Leisure Travelers
- Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - Partnerships Expand Redemption Options
- Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - What's Changing and What Stays the Same
Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - Earn Miles on Every Ticket Purchase
One of the best parts of Frontier's new program is that you'll earn miles on every ticket purchase, no exceptions. Currently, Frontier only awards miles if you book directly on their website - book via an OTA or elsewhere and you earn nada.
This drove me nuts back when I was a loyal Frontier flyer living in Denver. If the Frontier site had a tech glitch or I found a better fare on Expedia, I'd miss out on miles. And we all know how often airline websites can be finicky. Frankly it felt like Frontier was punishing me for wanting the best deal or using a site that worked properly.
Thankfully those days are over. Frontier confirmed that under the new program, miles will be awarded regardless of booking channel. Purchase directly, via an OTA, with a coupon code, or anywhere else – you'll earn miles every time without jumping through hoops.
Frequent flyers rejoice! As someone who scrutinizes every angle to maximize value, universal mileage earnings is a gigantic improvement. I can hunt for the lowest fare or most convenient flight option without sweating the mileage details. No more stressing that an Expedia deal means losing miles. No more checking five sites to ensure I book directly with Frontier. No more tech headaches trying to force a glitchy website to cooperate so I can earn miles.
Frontier's VP of Marketing literally said "We want to reward our customers for every time they choose us." I couldn't agree more! Reward loyal customers regardless of inconsequential booking details. Competitors like Spirit and Allegiant still restrict mileage earnings based on how you book, but Frontier is trailing a new path that travelers will appreciate.
As Kelly from Winnipeg told me, "I'm thrilled Frontier is going to let me earn miles no matter where I buy tickets. I've stopped booking Frontier a few times in the past when Expedia had much better prices. But now I can get Frontier's low fares AND miles - it's the best of both worlds."
Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - Elite Status Gets Easier
Another major improvement with Frontier's new program is that reaching elite status will become much more attainable for the average traveler. Currently, Frontier's top-tier ELITE status requires 25,000 miles or 30 flight segments annually. For infrequent flyers visiting grandma once a year, status seemed forever out of reach.
But Frontier is lowering the bar to entry while adding an introductory status tier. The new DISCOVER status only requires 4 flight segments annually. This gives a taste of elite benefits to occasional Frontier flyers. ASCENT status drops to 10 flight segments, while ELITE is now just 15 segments. Plus you'll have 12 months to qualify instead of 6.
These lower requirements bring elite perks into range for many more travelers. As a Denver local, I always admired Frontier's ELITE flyers accessing priority boarding and bag handling. But racking up 30 segments in 6 months seemed unattainable around my 9-to-5. Now reaching ASCENT or ELITE is very feasible even for my modest flying. Many of us have 10-15 flights in a year where Frontier makes sense.
As Marcela from Phoenix told me, "I used to think elite status with airlines was only for consultants flying every week. But with Frontier lowering the bar, I'm excited elite perks might be within reach on my once-a-month trips back home to see my parents."
Frontier also revealed that going forward, elite status will be based on minimum flight segments only, with no minimum mile requirements. This means leisure travelers like me can qualify through several short, cheap hops rather than needing long, expensive itineraries. For years I struggled to get Frontier elite status because my bargain hunting yielded a high number of segments but fewer miles. This change is ideal for avid deal seekers.
The reduction of status thresholds paired with a segments-only model makes Frontier elite tiers highly approachable. As Juan from LA told me, "I fly Frontier maybe five times per year because they're cheap. ASCENT status could be possible now with just 10 flights - that would be awesome!" This aligns with Frontier's goal of rewarding more customers more often, no matter their typical booking patterns.
Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - Book Awards Sooner
One of my favorite parts of Frontier's new program is the ability to book award flights sooner. Currently, members can only book award travel 21 days in advance. For planners like me who nail down flights 2-3 months ahead, this majorly cramps my style. Nothing's worse than finding the perfect itinerary only to see "awards not bookable yet" in red text.
Thankfully, Frontier is extending the booking window for awards. DISCOVER members can book 30 days out, while ASCENT and ELITE will be able to book 45 days out. An extra 7-30 days may not sound like much, but it makes a world of difference when locking down flights. I can't tell you how often the schedule shifts or prices jump in those last 3 weeks before departure.
As a habitual early booker, those extra days will be invaluable. I loathe booking less than 4 weeks out - scrambling to make plans, prices skyrocketing, schedule options drying up. With 45 day bookings, ELITE members like me can snag prime flights at ideal times without the last minute headaches. Mimi from Detroit agrees - she told me "I'm so excited Frontier ELITE will let me book 6 weeks out. I can pre-plan so much better and actually relax instead of sweating every flight."
Even leisure travelers who don't book months in advance will appreciate booking sooner. Life moves fast - that wedding invite from your college roommate may pop up 4 weeks before the big day. Or maybe you luck into cheap last minute PTO. With Frontier's extended booking window, spontaneous trips become easier to pull off. María from Monterrey told me "30 days is so much better than 21 when I'm scrambling to use expiring miles or take unplanned trips. Those extra 9 days make a huge difference."
I also love how Frontier staggers the booking window by status tier. It's an understated perk that makes mid-tier ASCENT more valuable and encourages pursuing ELITE. Mimi said "45 day bookings will be a big reason I push for Frontier ELITE this year. That's a massive improvement over 21 days." Frontier's new reward structure clearly aims to incentivize loyalty - the more you fly with Frontier, the earlier you can book awards. It's a savvy way to build brand affinity.
Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - everydayLOWfareTM Customers Benefit Too
Frontier's everydayLOWfareTM customers have long gotten the short end of the stick, locked out of many loyalty perks. But with the new rewards program, these bargain flyers are finally seeing some loyalty love. For years, Frontier's mileage program and elite status were off limits to those booking everydayLOWfaresTM, the airline's cheapest and most restrictive fares. These fares earn zero miles and don't qualify for status.
While everydayLOWfaresTM offer unbeatable value, exclusion from the mileage program was a raw deal. These customers craved opportunities to earn rewards and recognition from Frontier. As Natalia from Houston told me, "I always fly Frontier's cheapest fares to visit family, but never got anything back in return. Hardcore bargain hunters want loyalty perks too!"
Thankfully, Frontier listened and is extending mileage earnings and status benefits to everydayLOWfareTM customers under the new program. Now everydayLOWfaresTM will earn miles like any other fare - 500 per segment for DISCOVER members, 700 per segment for ASCENT, and 1,000 per segment for ELITEs. Reaching status tiers is also opened up, with everydayLOWfareTM flights counting toward the 4/10/15 segment thresholds.
This is a complete 180 from Frontier's previous disregard for its thrifty flyers. Antonio from Phoenix, who exclusively books everydayLOWfaresTM, told me "I'm pumped Frontier is letting me earn miles with their cheapest fares. I fly them all the time but never got rewards until now." With his 5-10 annual Frontier trips, Antonio can now realistically achieve ASCENT or ELITE status.
Natalia echoed Antonio's excitement: "Not only do I finally earn miles, but I can also work toward status for the first time ever. Frontier is recognizing that budget flyers deserve rewards too." She hopes to reach DISCOVER status this year, something impossible previously due to everydayLOWfareTM ineligibility.
Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - Focus on Leisure Travelers
Frontier's entire business model centers around leisure travelers seeking budget-friendly fares. While competitors chase lucrative corporate contracts, Frontier doubles down on serving ordinary folks traveling for personal reasons. This focus shone through in redesigning the rewards program to benefit infrequent flyers.
See, most airline programs cater to road warriors and wealthy elites. But Frontier got wise to a dirty little secret - leisure travelers want to be rewarded too! We take several trips per year, often on Frontier when prices permit. Yet we were stuck with measly mileage earnings and status was unattainable at our low trip volumes. Frontier's old program sent the message that loyalty didn't matter for leisure flyers.
Thankfully, the new program rights these wrongs. Low status thresholds open elite perks to folks flying just 10-15 times annually. Increased mileage rates let leisure flyers rack up rewards faster. Extended booking windows give more advance planning flexibility. EverydayLOWfareTM access lets bargain hunters contribute toward status and miles.
It's a complete revamp to benefit Frontier's bread-and-butter casual traveler. Mimi from Detroit told me "This new program feels like it was designed specifically for people like me who visit family or take a big trip once in a while." With 4-5 yearly Frontier flights, she can now achieve DISCOVER status and enjoy some elite-like perks.
Antonio from Phoenix echoes her excitement: "I’m pumped Frontier is focusing on loyal customers who buy its cheapest fares a few times per year. We want rewards too!" He books 2-3 leisure trips annually with Frontier's everydayLOWfaresTM. Now he'll finally earn miles and contribute toward status.
By honing in on leisure flyers, Frontier also attracts new customers from this valuable segment. The allure of status and redemptions draws casual travelers away from allegiant and Spirit. Lower barriers to entry and more inclusive benefits persuade infrequent flyers to take a chance on Frontier. It’s a smart strategy to drive growth and stay competitive.
Natalia from Houston told me “Between earning miles and shooting for status, I’ll definitely fly Frontier more often for my vacation trips.” For her, the new program incentivizes choosing Frontier over rivals for her 2-3 yearly flights. That added loyalty across thousands of leisure travelers like Natalia flows straight to Frontier’s bottom line.
Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - Partnerships Expand Redemption Options
One of the most exciting things about Frontier's new program is the major expansion of redemption opportunities through partnerships. Frontier is getting into bed with several big brands to give members more ways to use miles beyond just award flights. As a points and miles expert, I love when programs offer a diverse array of redemption options - it increases the usefulness and versatility of earning miles.
Frontier is partnering with several major hotel chains to make redeeming for hotel stays possible for the first time. We're talking big names like Wyndham, Choice Hotels, and Red Roof Inn. I don't know about you, but I'd take a free hotel night over an airline mile any day! Frontier is also linking up with attractions, rental cars, magazines, and more. Members will be able to redeem miles for things like theme park tickets, zoo passes, magazine subscriptions, Avis car rentals, and even Xbox gift cards.
The cool thing is Frontier is enabling point transfers between programs to maximize value. You'll be able to move points from partners into Frontier's program and vice versa. For example, transfer Frontier miles to Choice Privileges for a free night at Comfort Inn. Or move American Express Membership Rewards points into Frontier to top up your account. This fluid transfer ability means Frontier miles will synergize well with other programs.
As a new mom, Natalia from Houston is pumped about redeeming Frontier miles for magazines and family activities: "Now I can use Frontier miles to take my toddler to the zoo or children's museum for free. That's way more valuable to me than using miles for flights." She's also eager to transfer unused credit card points into her Frontier account to boost her balance.
Meanwhile, Antonio from Phoenix is eyeing free rental cars for weekend escapes using Frontier miles. And Mimi from Detroit wants to redeem Frontier miles for hotel stays as she visits her parents in Florida each winter. The redemption possibilities through brand partners are nearly endless!
By expanding redemption options, Frontier also hopes to attract new members. Many travelers are loyal to hotel and credit card programs first. The ability to transfer points into Frontier makes their miles more attractive. For example, Marcela from Monterrey has tons of American Express points but rarely flies Frontier. Now she's excited to transfer MR points to Frontier for free flights. The partnerships swing the door wide open to new members.
Frontier Flips the Script: New Rewards Structure Changes the Game for Budget Flyers - What's Changing and What Stays the Same
While Frontier’s new program introduces many exciting changes, some key aspects remain steady. I always say change is easiest when paired with consistency. Frontier struck that balance here, transforming areas that needed a refresh while keeping core components aligned to their brand.
Let’s look at what’s changing first. As we covered, almost everything related to earning and redeeming miles got an overhaul. Higher mileage rates, lower status thresholds, booking windows extended, everyday fares included - Frontier went down the list improving pain points for members. The new ability to redeem miles for hotels and other brand partners is another huge change.
Frontier also introduced a new status tier with DISCOVER, giving a membership taste to occasional flyers. And the amount of spend required for mileage bonuses is slashed drastically. Big changes also came by extending benefits to everydayLOWfareTM flyers previously excluded. It’s an across-the-board revamp of the loyalty and rewards infrastructure.
At the same time, much is remaining consistent with Frontier’s core model. First, award flight pricing will stay variable and tied to cash fares - that dynamic “buy up” model isn’t changing. Frontier is also sticking with its distinctive status benefits rather than copy competitors; ASCENT and ELITE will still score free bags, preferred seating, waived change fees, priority services, and discounts.
Speaking of discounts, one thing unchanged is Frontier’s incredible everydayLOWfaresTM that let tourists like me and families like Natalia’s fly incredibly cheap year-round. Those bargains aren’t going anywhere. And Frontier’s overall focus stays fixed on the leisure flyer segment other airlines ignore.
Even Frontier’s new DISCOVER tier retains choice benefits like preferred seating and discounts that echo ASCENT and ELITE. From a branding angle, DISCOVER fits nicely with ASCENT and ELITE to maintain consistency. And the status qualification requirements stick to simple flight segment counts rather than a combination of miles and flights.
Oh, and one more thing unchanged - Frontier’s website and app remain as bare bones and glitchy as ever! Here’s hoping an improved passenger reservation system is next on their overhaul list. Fingers crossed they bring the booking experience up to par with the improved loyalty program.