Spirit Airlines

Understanding Spirit’s Miles

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Like many things with Spirit Airlines, their frequent flyer program differs from most other airlines.

Your Miles Expire in Three Months, Not One Year

For the majority of hotel and airline programs, if you are inactive for a year, your miles with them with expire. With Spirit Airlines, it’s only three months. So keeping your Spirit miles from expiring can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you don’t have their credit card.

What we did was enroll in Spirit’s dining program “FREE SPIRIT Dining”. It works the same as every other dining reward program. You register a credit card, you go eat at one of the participating restaurants, you use your registered credit card to pay, voila you get miles and that will keep your Spirit miles from expiring. Yes, the annoying thing about it is you have to do this at least once every three months if you’re not flying with them very often. The nice thing is it doesn’t matter how much you spend at a restaurant, so I usually find one of the cheaper near-by restaurants, buy something for $5 and call it a day.

Another option is buying miles to keep your miles from expiring. You have to purchase at least 1,000 miles which costs around $30 (sometimes they have “sales” so YMMV). I don’t like doing that, especially with Spirit, since I don’t think the miles are worth that much. But it is an option if you choose to do that.

Spirit also is partners with the rental car companies Avis, Hertz, and Budget and Choice Hotels. You have the option when renting your car or staying at one of these hotels to earn points with Spirit instead of the hotel or rental car company. While I wouldn’t rent a car or stay at a hotel just for this reason, if it’s already in your plans it may be an easy way to keep your points from expiring.

Spirit Airline Baggage Fees

Different Rates for Reward Flights

Most airlines have different “rates” for redeeming miles based on when you travel. Spirit does too. However, credit card holders have a different, more generous award chart than non-credit card holders. Spirit promotes their card at the end of most of their flights. They will tell you how you can get 15,000 miles with the first purchase and that’s good for up to three round-trip reward tickets. That is true, if you have the credit card. If you don’t have the credit card, it takes 20,000 miles for just one round-trip ticket in the same region. When I look at the flights I can redeem for my 20,000 miles, they’re usually the flights I can purchase for anywhere from $40 – $70 round-trip. In this case, I’d much rather pay for the cheap flight than use my miles for it.

You Cannot Purchase a “Big Front Seat” With Miles

At one point in time, you could redeem more miles to purchase a “Big Front Seat” for your reward flight. That is no longer the case. Reward miles can only be redeemed towards regular seats. I can still find on the internet their old mileage redemption chart that shows how much redeeming for a “Big Front Seat” will cost, so if you see that, know that is the outdated chart and no longer applicable. This is their current redemption chart from their website.

You Cannot Transfer Your Miles

While you can purchase and gift miles to other people, you absolutely cannot transfer your miles to another person. However, when you redeem your miles for reward travel, you can redeem a ticket for another person. The form will auto-fill with your information as the traveler so you will need to make sure you input the correct person’s information.

Miles Can Only Be Redeemed for Flights

This one may seems obvious, but since Spirit offers so many different types of vacation packages I think it’s a valid question. You cannot use miles towards any of their vacation packages. They can be redeemed for flights only.

So far I’ve managed to keep my Spirit points from expiring. Even though I don’t think they’re the best value out there, there may be a time in the future where I need to use them and I’m glad I have them. If you fly Spirit infrequently it may not be worth it for you, so as always I recommend figuring out what’s best for you and your situation and doing that. It’s not a mortal sin to let your airline or hotel points expire if keeping them current is more trouble than they’re worth.

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

Everything You Need to Know About Spirit Airlines



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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.


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