Credit Cards

Is Getting the Spirit MasterCard Right for You?

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Is Getting the Spirit MasterCard Right for You?

Two disclaimers

1) I do not have a Spirit MasterCard.

2) I get absolutely nothing if you get this card so I have no dog in this fight if you get one or not.

Now that I have that out of the way, the question is, what are the perks with a Spirit MasterCard and does it make sense for you to get one?

First, I’m going to discuss credit card strategies in general, then I will discuss Spirit’s specifically.

Pay off your credit card bill every month

In our family, if you can’t pay it off, you don’t buy it. We do try to put as many of our purchases as possible on our credit cards to maximize miles, BUT we pay these bills off every month. If we can’t do it, we don’t buy it, it’s that simple.

Don’t increase your spending just to hit a minimum spend limit

We take into account our average spending to see if we’re going to make a minimum spending limit to be awarded bonus points. Or, if we know we have a major purchase coming up (vacation, household appliance, etc.) that will work towards that minimum spend. We do not intentionally increase how much we’re going to spend just to hit a minimum spend limit.

Don’t apply for credit cards just because of the promotion

When we did our Europe trip two years ago, we got a couple of credit cards with the intent of using those miles/points for that trip. Even though I see a lot of good promotions with bonus miles/points for certain travel credit cards, we do not apply for a card just for that reason. We have no intent on getting a new credit card for at least a few years, and when we do, it’s for a specific trip we have in mind for the future that we will use those points towards. I don’t recommend accumulating miles/points just to have miles/points. We do it with a specific idea of what we will do with them.

What about Spirit’s MasterCard?

I honestly have no intention of getting a Spirit MasterCard in the future. Granted, circumstances may change where it would make sense for us to have one, but right now it doesn’t. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to have one if that works with what you want to do for your travel plans, but for us, it’s not the right thing to do. From strictly an observer’s point-of-view, here are some good things I see with the card:

1) There is no minimum spend to get the initial bonus points. You just have to make one purchase and you get 15,000 points. They do have a 5,000 point bonus if you spend $10,000 in a year, but that’s not too outrageous and I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it if I didn’t make that bonus.

2) Like I said before, credit card holders have a different, more generous award chart than non-credit card holders. If you have a trip planned where you want to use your points, your points will go much farther if you have the credit card than if you don’t.

3) It is an easy way to keep your points from expiring. Since points expire every three months, making a single purchase on your credit card keeps them active, and it can be for as much or as little as you want/need it to be.

4) You earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend on all purchases. Most cards only award bonus points for certain types of purchases (travel, grocery stores, gas stations, etc.) so it’s nice that Spirit’s program keeps it simple.

5) They waive the annual fee the first year, after that its $59. Not bad for an annual fee as far as credit cards go.

On almost every Spirit flight I’ve been on, at the end of the flight they talk about the credit card, pass out applications for those who want them, and offer bonus miles if you fill out and turn in your application before the plane lands. I would not make that decision at the spur-of-the-moment, BUT if you were already planning on getting a Spirit MasterCard, I would wait until you fly with them again and take advantage of the free bonus miles for filling out the application on the plane.

In Summary

DON’T get a credit card just because it has a good miles/points balance. If you don’t have a plan for using those miles and points, don’t apply just to have them.

DON’T spend more than you can afford just to hit a minimum spend requirements on a credit card. If you can’t afford the minimum spend for the miles and points it will cost you more than it’s worth.

DON’T carry a balance on your credit cards. The interest will eventually kill any savings you get by having miles and points. If you can’t pay them off every month, then don’t use them.

DO figure out what your future travel plans/goals are and if you decide to get any travel credit card make sure it works for you, not the other way around.

For more on Spirit Airlines, check out Tiff’s comprehensive guide!

Everything You Need to Know About Spirit Airlines

Spiritairlines

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Tiff's first big vacation was a Caribbean cruise when she was six. She first started getting interested in deals when her husband showed her the tricks to getting bought off your flights back in the late 90s. She started flying nonrev when they got married; the first unusual nonrev she did was in '05 when her family flew through San Juan to get to Dallas from Philly. They have two boys, ages 11 and 7, who she usually drags along on their travels and hopes they will grow up to love traveling as much as she does.

4 Comments

  1. William Charles

    September 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    How much is the points bonus for applying on the plane?

    • Tiff

      September 16, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      Currently it’s 2,500 miles. And you can keep that even if you’re turned down for the card. But if someone’s credit is iffy enough that they may be turned down, I wouldn’t recommend applying for a card just for the bonus points.

  2. DaninMCI

    September 16, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    While I’m not a big fan of getting this card I will most likely apply for it eventually so I can get the most value out of my slowing building Spirit miles account.

  3. Mark D.

    September 17, 2014 at 4:28 am

    I signed up for it when the bonus was 15K. It was just after they gave away 25K miles in Philly for opening a new route. I had 40K miles in about a month, enough for 8 rt flights from PHL to anywhere in Florida. Not to bad, but I will try to avoid any connections with them or places they don’t fly to often based on horror stories I have heard.

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