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Frontier EarlyReturns cheat sheet – How to get the most out of your miles

by on Tue September 19, 2017 • No Comment
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Frontier is a budget carrier with lots of flights out of Denver across the U.S. and to Mexico and the Caribbean.

The EarlyReturns program isn’t the most exciting, but there are opportunities to get decent value if you know what to look for and are flexible with when you can fly. Here’s how to get the most out of your miles.

How to use Frontier miles

What airlines can you book with Frontier miles?

The only airline that can be booked with Frontier EarlyReturns miles is Frontier. Frontier doesn’t have partners that are available for mileage redemption, so you are limited to redeeming for flights in Frontier’s route network.

Where to search for awards

You can search for award tickets with Frontier online at flyfrontier.com or by phone at 801-401-9000. Note that Frontier’s phone number is not toll free.

It’s generally best to try to find your award online because you will also be able to book it yourself. If you choose to call in to Frontier to have an agent search for award space, they will also charge you to book the ticket. Since Frontier doesn’t have partners, every flight that is available will show up easily with Frontier’s online award search.

Searching for awards online is easy. Simply navigate for flyfrontier.com, enter your desired travel dates and route, and indicate that you would like to search by miles.
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Frontier will come back with the available flight options and corresponding mileage cost.

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This award from Detroit to Denver, roundtrip, would cost only $133 if you were to pay cash. If you decided to redeem miles, you would be offered a value of only 0.66 cents per mile, which is not a great deal.

What are Den Deals and do they work for mileage tickets?

Den Deals offer members only access to the lowest fares on Frontier. It costs $49.99 to become a member for a year and you can book as many deals as you want for yourself and up to five additional people on your itinerary.

Den Deals do not offer discounted mileage tickets, so it’s only worth considering if you pay for fares with Frontier on a semi-regular basis.

Award charts: How much do awards cost?

The cost of award tickets with Frontier depends on where you are traveling and availability. Award prices are each way.

Travel Type Economy Choice Last Seat (Elite Only)
Within U.S. / Puerto Rico 10,000 20,000 22,500
To / From Mexico 15,000 25,000 27,500
To / From Dominican Republic 15,000 25,000 27,500


Fuel surcharges and how to avoid them

You don’t need to worry about avoiding fuel surcharges when booking with Frontier because there aren’t any.

Award change and booking fees

Unfortunately, Frontier has a host of fees involved with booking, changing, and canceling award tickets.

  • Award booking fee: Based on number of days before departure. It’s free if you book 180 days or more ahead of time, then a sliding scale up to $75.
  • Phone booking fee: $10
  • Award changes: Any changes made eight or more days prior to travel will not incur a change fee as long as the originally booked class of service is available. Within seven days of travel, the change fee is up to $99. Changes must be made by Frontier Reservations by calling 801-401-9000 (not toll free).
  • Award cancellations: Award tickets can be cancelled for $75.

Options when you can’t find award space

If you can’t find available award seats on Frontier for your ideal itinerary, your only bet is to turn to look at different flights – either on Frontier or another airline. Frontier makes all of their available seats bookable as award tickets, so if no award tickets are available it means that no seats are available for the flight you want to book.

Award price increase as availability becomes more limited, so book early if you want to travel during a popular travel time.

Best award values: where to get the most from your miles

Since Frontier has a relatively small route network, the best award value options are somewhat limited. As a general rule, travel to Puerto Rico on Frontier with miles is a good deal at 20,000 miles round trip. Most other airlines charge 25,000 to 30,000 miles or more for travel to Puerto Rico.

Frontier also presents good value for travel to Mexico and the Dominican Republic at 30,000 miles round trip. Most other programs charge at least this much for the same flights.

Frontier also offers good value for redemptions for flights within the U.S. on expensive days or at the last minute, as long as you can find a flight with availability at 20,000 miles round trip or 10,000 miles each way.

A sample flight from Detroit, MI (DTW) to San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) from November 7 to 12, 2017 would cost $298 or only 20,000 miles, which gives a value of 1.49 cents per mile — pretty decent for Frontier!

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Upgrades: How much do they cost?

Frontier doesn’t offer first class, but they do offer seats with extra legroom. Seat selection costs vary depending on the flight but generally start at around $12. Extra legroom seats generally start around $45.

Stopover options

Frontier doesn’t offer free or included stopovers on award tickets, but you can always book multiple one way tickets if you would like a stopover. For example, if you are traveling from Los Angeles to New York but would like to stop in Denver, simply book one flight from Los Angeles to Denver and another flight from Denver to New York.

Holding awards

It’s not possible to put Frontier flights on hold prior to booking.

When do Frontier miles expire?

In order to keep Frontier miles from expiring, there must be earning activity on the account at least every six months. As long as you fly Frontier or make a purchase with your Frontier Airlines MasterCard every six months, your miles will be safe. If you do not have activity, any unredeemed miles will expire at the end of the six month period from the last activity date.

Earning miles

Credit cards that earn EarlyReturns miles

The only credit cards that earns EarlyReturns miles is the Frontier Airlines MasterCard and the No Annual Fee Frontier Airlines Mastercard.

When do credit card miles post to your account?

Miles earned from the Frontier Airlines MasterCard typically post shortly after payment is made. The bonus miles earned from the sign up bonus will post after minimum spending requirements have been met and the annual fee has been paid, meaning that you will need to pay off your credit card balance before the full number of miles will post.

Hotel points that you can convert to EarlyReturns miles

It’s not possible to convert hotel points to EarlyReturns miles.

Transferring miles to someone else

It’s no problem to simply book a ticket for someone else using your Frontier EarlyReturns miles.

It is also possible to transfer your Frontier miles to another person if they need to top up their account for an award. However, it’s not cheap; Frontier charges 2.5 cents per mile to transfer between 1,000 and 25,000 miles. This is an extremely high cost to transfer miles so it’s not recommended unless only a few miles are needed to be transferred to book a high-value award.

 

 

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