Why Getting the Spirit Airlines Credit Card Isn’t Crazy

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My parents get new rewards credit cards from time to time, though at a rate even slower than me.  That’s saying a lot since I am pretty conservative taking the slow and steady approach with adding new cards to my collection.  However, over the years they have seen the light and understand that big travel rewards can come from strategic addition and use of various rewards credit cards.

Spirit Airlines Credit CardOne card my dad has had for a little while now that some might snicker at is the Spirit Airlines credit card.  They have used the heck out of that card to secure many award flights, and now they decided they wanted another one.  The sign-up bonus is 15,000 miles awarded  on the first use of the card ($59 annual fee after the first year).  The card awards 2x points per dollar, and 5,000 bonus miles per year if you spend $10,000 on the card annually.  My mom applied for her own while on a recent Spirit Airlines flight as you then not only get the standard sign-up bonus, but you get a certificate for an additional 2,500 miles just for applying.

That brings the grand total to 17,500 Spirit miles for that credit card application and subsequent approval.  I know what you are thinking…she is nuts.  What a waste.  Not only is the total number of miles pretty low, but they are SPIRIT MILES!  If I didn’t know any better I’d think the same thing.  I certainly don’t have the card yet myself, but I almost want one.  Crazy I know, but actually not by much.  17,500 Spirit miles is actually enough for up to seven off-peak one-way award flights.  Since awards start at just 2,500 miles each way, and you earn 2x on all spending, you earn a one-way award for every $1,250 you put on the card!

As I have mentioned before, we hope to take our kids to Orlando and Disney World in the fall.  With some of our family’s current uncertainty this trip is no longer set in stone, but we are still going forward with planning for now.  When I look at flight options, I’ll be go-to-heck if the best option isn’t on Spirit Airlines.  I can ignore it, I can come up with reasons why that isn’t the best option for us (as if we are somehow “special”), but strip away the nonsense and there it is.

Spirit Airlines Credit Card

For 2,500 miles each way you can fly on a nonstop flight from Houston to Orlando on various dates the week we want to go in October.  This 2,500 mile price is only valid for Spirit credit card holders, otherwise it is 10,000 miles each way.  When you are looking to move a whole family at once for a vacation, and there is a viable option that costs just 5,000 miles round trip, you have to seriously consider it if you are at all budget conscious.

Yes, there will be bag fees, but you could pay quite a bit in bag fees before a 5,000 mile redemption is a bad deal.  Yes, there are seat assignment fees if you want to secure those assignments in advance, but my parents have a 100% success record of getting seats assigned together for free at check-in 24 hours in advance of the flight.  Heck, if you are feeling fancy you can splurge for the $45 extra “Big Front Seat” that is basically the same size as other domestic first class seats.  Here are my 10 Favorite Things About Flying Spirit Airlines

Spirit absolutely has its downsides and risks for sure, but if you like flying on miles and are looking for the cheapest way to get from Point A to Point B, I can’t help but emphasize at least considering this option.  As I said, I still don’t have the Spirit card myself, but I can absolutely understand why my semi-retired parents are continuing on their Spirit bandwagon by getting their second Spirit Airlines credit card.

Now I wonder if my folks will let us borrow some Spirit miles?

 

For those curious I have no affiliate link to the Spirit Airlines credit card, and am not even going to link to it directly as I think you really need to understand Spirit before deciding it is a good deal for you. 

 

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. Exactly. With the Spirit card, a one-way is as low as 2500 points one-way. Plus, the card earns 2x miles/$. Less than a <651 mile Avios AA one-way. This could be great for retired folk or those who are very flexible with dates/times. For us working folk though, Spirit generally has a severe lack of frequency for their routes, making it hard to fly Spirit to go places.

    • enthusiast, I absolutely agree that date flexibility helps out tremendously, but sometimes they even have what you want when you want it (as is the case for me).

  2. With miles expiring every 90 days and all the fees including baggage there’s too much to keep up with not enough benefits. That’s why a lot of people pass.

    • Marty Dee, totally true for many. However, assuming you are actually using your credit card regularly the miles aren’t going to expire on you. They are relatively generous with the “free” carry-on and checked bag is just $30 each way, so can still be a real savings when you are talking 2,500 mile flights. Not for everyone though.

      • LOL, thanks for responding to my comment instead of just ignoring it or deleting it. I’ve never actually flown Spirit, but I’ve heard awful things about it, so I’ve made a point to avoid it.

        • I fly with them all the time and a lot of family members and friends do as well. Have had great experiences so far and can’t beat the prices with a stick. I recently got 3 round trip from Vegas to Denver for $85 total which is unbelievable and just flew same round trip for 2 people for $66 total. I get lower prices than are shown on their website by going to the Spirit desk at the airport to get them. You would be hard pressed to get 1 ticket for $85 or $66 and I got 3 for $85 and 2 for $66. You can pay to check bags and still save at those prices or for crying out loud buy new clothes when you get there with all the money you save!

  3. i had a negative view on spirit airlines since most bloggers do. In addition, nobody really talks about the SA card. I do have frequent last minute/impromptu, >450 mile trips come up. This is way better than the British avios for things like that. And sometis-a carry own is al you need. Thanks for helping me put SA in perspective!

    • Brian, that is exactly why I wrote the post. I know Spirit won’t be for everyone, but I hate for someone to discount the option before they really get a chance to think it through.

  4. Any way I can find out what routes have 2,500 mi requirements? Without owning the card? With some advanced knowledge I could utilize this. Without knowing those routes/schedules ahead of time it’s just a stab in the dark whether I could effectively utilize Spirit miles.

    Plus I think the 8k bonus for b*tching about Spirit is still available.

  5. This is a very niche card product, for a very niche airline, and Ben Baldanza is like the Herman Munster of airline CEOs. They used to have a catchy jingle back in the 90s that would end with “Catch the Spirit. On Spirit Airlines!”

  6. I got the email over the weekend that Spirit is now in the cruise business. Supposedly large amounts of points, if you book a certain way on some cruises. Main negative is that some pages look like C&P with info from 2013. A real shocker is that there an 800#, something that Spirit Airlines doesn’t.

  7. I hate to give Christopher Elliott a plug, but before you take this fateful step, google “elliott spirit airlines flight disaster”.

    You have been warned… 🙂

    • UAPhil, oh things can go wrong no doubt, but that’s what back-up plans are for. Heck, even ANA stranded me in Jamaica and we had to execute a back-up plan.

      • MP, yes, you and most of your blog readers are savvy enough to know how to get home on points if Spirit cancels a flight. The general public – not so fortunate.

        • UAPhil, which is why I think some readers of this site can really benefit from Spirit from time to time. 😉

          • MP, I’ve enjoyed our “Spirited” discussion :-). I totally agree with your point of view. Personally, I’ve decided not to fly Spirit, but it’s an option worth considering for many of your readers.

            My thoughts are with your family….may Josh find an opportunity that propels his career forward!!

  8. Just to be clear, the flight you point costs $68. So the 2,500 are saving you $62.40. So the points are worth 2.5 cents each in your example. That makes a 17,500 point signup bonus worth $437.50.

    Have your parents signed up for the Barclay Arrival card? That signup bonus is worth $440, and the points are more flexible. I realize it’s a different bank…

    • stvr, I’m sure they will get around to that one, but they haven’t yet. They seem to average between 3-4 cents per mile on the Spirit card from what I can tell, but I totally agree the Barclay Arrival should be on the radar at some point.

  9. Sorry, MP, but flying Spirit IS crazy. 😛 I get that there are people who can only afford to fly them and it’s better to fly and go somewhere than stay home because of cost, but I seriously can’t imagine why your’e one of them. One day in LH First Class and the next on Spirit. I don’t get it. You fly enough to not be that desperate!!! I’m not saying that I’m judging you — just that I don’t understand you.

    • A.S., allow me to explain. I like to do the best I can in any given circumstance. With a long haul flight, date flexibility, enough miles, and just me traveling, Lufthansa First Class might be doable. With a whole family and a short flight, it may make the most sense to fly Spirit and save the “good” miles for those amazing experiences like LH first class. So, it isn’t desperate so much as strategic. I also have a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes and shoes from Target, so kind of the same thing. 😉 Hope that helps!

      • That reply makes total sense, of course. I, too, have Zegna threads and t-shirts from Old Navy and they both serve a purpose. The problem with that specific example you gave of hauling the family on Spirit (when LH would be undoable) is that in my personal case that wouldn’t work. Your Little C is now a road warrior and relatively “easy.” My youngest is still 2, though, and traveling with a family of 4, including this guy and his only-slightly-older sister is EXACTLY when I need the support of a good airline. Spirit would be a nightmare under those circumstances. I guess this just proves that as with everything else in this hobby: “your mileage may vary!” 🙂

        • For sure, and my wild card will be a 3 month old kid that I haven’t met yet. Of course, it being a two hour flight helps make almost anything doable.

  10. I find flying Spirit to be unpleasant (for lots of reasons, but legroom being the biggest), but I did fly them a few times before US Airways joined Oneworld and Avios redemptions became available at my hub airport. Now I gin up Avios points for such trips on my Chase Ink cards and such. Much more pleasant, and it actually works out chea I would still consider flying Spirit, though, if I had to be somewhere on a specific date, no AA/US award seats were available, and other airfares were high.

  11. I just received the bofa spirit card in the mail. the first closing date already occured on the 4th. How long does it take to post 15,000K bonus miles after transaction is posted? after closing date of the next month?

    I don’t understand why people dislike this card, no annual fee first year, no spending requirement…if you can follow the rules and fly during off-peak and travel light this is a top card to have. I have/had united,american.barclays,sapphire,delta etc; is this card churnable?

    • Adam, BoA historically lets you have multiple cards and bonuses for the same card, so yes… I am not sure on how long the miles take to post. I’d give it a month after the first closing date where you had a transaction and hopefully it will post sooner.

  12. I’ve had the card for about a year and hate it. I just got rid of it. Everytime I try to use my points it gives me a great deal. However when I go to purchase it tells me my session is ending and kicks me off the page. I log back on and all the flights are about 10X higher. Customer service tells me its because flights are on high demands at this time. last time this happened I checked for 42 days and all 42 went up at the same time. This card is not worth it. You can never use you points(miles).

  13. I decided to apply for spirit credit card during my last flight a month ago. I haven’t heard back from them yet. Do they usually take time to decide? Should I call customer service or just be patient?
    Also, does spirit fly from/to Dulles, Washington DC? Every time I fly with Spirit, I have to commute back and forth to Baltimore MD which is almost 90 minutes away from my home.

    Thanks!

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