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Frontier Airlines and Barclays recently upgraded and relaunched The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®, which includes some new benefits that carrier loyalists will enjoy. Among the changes are a boost in miles per $1 spent, a way to achieve elite status — and perks that come with it — on the airline via card spending and the chance to pool miles with family.
With the old card, there wasn’t a way to earn elite status on the airline’s loyalty program, but now all spending goes toward it with the new card. The change also includes the renaming Frontier’s frequent flyer program, from Early Returns to myFRONTIERSM Miles. But all this comes at a cost.
We’ll unpack all the changes with The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard® and let you know if it’s one that should be in your wallet. We’ll also look at another card that could be an alternative in case you don’t want to be tied down to one airline.
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Where The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard® stands out in its category
The biggest change with the new card is the improvement on miles per $1 spent. You can now Earn 5x miles on purchases at flyfrontier.com, 3x miles on restaurant purchases, and 1x miles on all other purchases. There’s no limit to the number of miles you can earn on the card as long as the program continues and your account remains open and in good standing.
New cardmembers can Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening and paying the annual fee. This is a reasonable spend amount compared with other airline-branded cards. The bonus adds up to enough miles for two value round-trip tickets or one standard round-trip ticket. You can also earn a $100 flight voucher every account anniversary after spending $2,500 or more during your card membership year.
Another big change with The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard® is the chance to gain myFRONTIER MilesSM elite status by earning 1 qualifying mile for every $1 spent on the card each calendar year. And that status comes with benefits:
- Elite 20k Status: Spend $20,000 on the card each calendar year and earn benefits like a free carry-on bag and a seat assignment.
- Elite 50k Status: Spend $50,000 and earn all the benefits from Elite 20k Status, plus family seating and seat assignments for the cardmember and up to eight traveling companions on the same reservation.
- Elite 100k Status: Spending $100,000 on the card gives the cardmember the WORKSSM bundle for the primary cardmember and up to eight traveling companions on the same reservation. The bundle includes a carry-on and checked bag, seat selection, priority boarding, flight flexibility and 100% refundability for the cardmember and their family.
Even if it takes you awhile to achieve elite status on Frontier Airlines, cardmembers still get perks like priority boarding, an award redemption fee waiver and family pooling of myFRONTIERSM Miles with the primary member and up to eight contributors. And you get Zone 2 priority boarding, where you get on the plane after those who buy a carry-on bag, have the WORKS℠ bundle or are myFRONTIERSM elite members.
If you want to redeem your miles, your redemption fee is waived if you book an award ticket and pay related taxes and fees. If you’re short on miles, you can top them off via Points.com.
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Where The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard® falls short in its category
You need to be a regular flyer on Frontier Airlines to make this card work best for you. The carrier currently serves more than 80 cities in the U.S., Mexico and the Dominican Republic. While Frontier is growing, its route network can’t compare, for example, with American Airlines, which serves nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries — plus access to flights offered by the other 12 members of the oneworld global alliance.
If you spend regularly on things like travel outside of Frontier Airlines, gas or groceries, there are other travel-branded cards that offer more points than The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®. The spending needed on the card to earn elite status may be too steep for cardholders.
The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard® has an annual fee of $79, $10 more than the old version of the card. You must make at least one purchase every six months in order to keep your miles from expiring.
If you’re looking for travel and purchase protections on this card, they’re just not there. And if you want to redeem your miles for things other than flights, your options are limited. You can only use them with rental car agencies Hertz, National or Alamo, along with magazines and gift miles.
Compare it with the Citi Premier℠ Card
If you don’t want to be tied down to one airline but still want a credit card that offers travel benefits, then the Citi Premier℠ Card is one you should consider. Like The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®, the Citi Premier℠ Card targets those who spend money on travel and dining, where cardmembers Earn 3X Points on Travel, Including Gas Stations, Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment, Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases. But you also get more points per $1 spent for gas and for dining and entertainment, which includes restaurants, music downloads, movie theaters and concerts.
The Citi Premier℠ Card has an expanded definition of travel, covering gas stations, airfare, hotels, car rental agencies, ridesharing services, public transportation, tolls and parking.
New cardmembers Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Once you’ve made the required spend, it can be redeemed for $750 — a 25% bonus — that can be put toward airfare on any airline with no blackout dates when you book through the ThankYou® Travel Center. It can also be used for $600 in gift cards redeemed from the ThankYou® Rewards collection.
The points you earn on the card can be transferred to airline loyalty programs including JetBlue’s TrueBlue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, with a minimum transfer of only 1,000 points. Your points can also be used in the ThankYou® center for gift cards, shopping, bill pay, cash rewards and charitable donations. But your points can’t be transferred to hotel loyalty programs.
The Citi Premier℠ Card, like The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®, doesn’t have a lot of the travel and purchase perks, but it does offer access to: Citi® Concierge for help with travel, shopping, dining, entertainment and things like making reservations or helping with finding gifts; Citi® Private Pass®, where you can book music, sports, dining and theater events, along with special events; and Citi® Price Rewind, where if Citi finds a lower price for an item bought with the card within 60 days of your initial purchase date, you may receive the difference.
|The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®||Citi ThankYou® Premier Card|
|Regular Purchase APR||17.74%, 21.74% or 26.74% variable||18.24% - 26.24% (Variable)|
|Rewards||Earn 5x miles on purchases at flyfrontier.com, 3x miles on restaurant purchases, and 1x miles on all other purchases||Earn 3X Points on Travel, Including Gas Stations, Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment, Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases|
|Sign-Up Bonus||Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening and paying the annual fee||Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||None||0%|
There are definite improvements with The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard® that are attractive. The top ones are the improvement on miles per $1 spent and the chance to earn elite status with card spending. The sign-up bonus is generous enough to get rewards instantly without spending a lot of money to get it.
Although the card offers attractive travel perks, if you don’t live in a city that has robust service on Frontier, it may not be the best option for you.
The Citi Premier℠ Card offers more points per $1 spent in the most popular categories, but you have to spend more than what’s required for The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard® in order to earn the sign-up bonus, and that amount may be too high. The Citi Premier℠ Card offers you more flexibility in how you redeem your miles and it offers a few more perks than The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®. So compare the cards and decide which card better fits your lifestyle.