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The title says it all, today my family got 100,000 frequent flier miles for free. No credit card sign-up. No spending requirements. No hula hoops to twist around your neck while standing on your head. All you had to do was show up, wait in a brief line, and then head on your merry way with a voucher for 20,000 miles. The only “downside” is that they are Spirit Airlines miles. Spirit Airlines is the airline that everyone loves to hate since it is the one that charges you for virtually everything – from seat assignments, to carry-on bags, to on-board sodas, to printing boarding passes at the airport. That is completely annoying if you aren’t prepared for it, but with a little advance planning, those fees can really be dramatically minimized. Just print your boarding pass at home, pack in a backpack, get a drink in the airport, etc.
For the last two days Spirit Airlines has been celebrating their new Houston routes by handing out 20,000 mile vouchers at three different locations. You were only supposed to go through the line once at each location, but this afternoon they were actually encouraging people who wanted another voucher to come to the next location that evening. The terms on the certificate say that only one can be credited to each account. You had to be 18+ to get a voucher, so even though my whole family was going to get vouchers together we would still be short one for Little C. So, I did what any reasonable parent would do, and went to a second location by myself to get a voucher to use for her.
As can be expected when stuff is handed out for free there was an interesting assortment of many different folks in line. It was great people watching! From what I gather, the certificates lasted over an hour at each location. While each location was well attended, there was no need to get there ahead of time and camp out in line or anything like that. I never spent more than 5-10 minutes in line, so the time commitment once you got to the location was very minimal.
The certificates must be registered within 7 days to your Spirit Airlines account, and then the miles will be deposited within 45 days. They are then valid for the typical 90 days with Spirit. If you have additional activity the miles will remain active longer, but I don’t forsee my family having additional activity in our Spirit account in the next three months. You must book a reward flight with the miles within the 90-day window, but the flight can be for as far out as their schedule extends. Again, the 90-day deadline may be a huge shock if you aren’t aware of it, but as long as you plan accordingly it shouldn’t be a big issue in our case.
I find it entertaining that some folks online say that we wasted our time today getting these 100,000 free miles since Spirit miles are virtually worthless. They certainly are not my favorite type of mile, but 20,000 Spirit miles is enough to go round trip from Houston to Las Vegas, Chicago, Denver, Tampa, etc. Essentially, it is enough miles for a round trip that is 1249 miles or less each way. Spirit miles can also be used to book one-ways. I have found plenty of availability at the 10,000 mile level for several destinations. That isn’t to say that all destinations have fantastic availability, but if you have relatively flexible travel plans, it should not be very difficult to put these miles to good use.
I shouldn’t be surprised that some say they wouldn’t fly Spirit even if it were free, but I guess it does still surprise me a little that some would say that a few minutes in line isn’t worth it for a free round trip flight. I by no means want to fly Spirit all the time. I like my United elite status, my United Club access, my expedited security, etc…but I also really like free. I am proud of my family (Grandma, Grandpa, The Man, Little C, and myself) for the 100,000 miles we collected today, and I am looking forward to putting the miles to good use, even if that means packing in a backpack! Don’t all families pose for family photos with their free miles?
What would you have done if Spirit were handing out miles in your town? Are there only certain types of miles you would line up to receive? Or would you never consider lining up for any miles or points?