Big change: Frontier Airline shifts to revenue-based earnings, overhauls elite tiers

If you live near an airport served by Frontier Airlines, you’ll want to pay attention to the recent announcement regarding changes to the Frontier Miles loyalty program. The low-cost carrier has revealed a major overhaul, including a new revenue-based model for earning miles and status, as well as a revamped elite program. These changes are expected to be implemented in early January 2024.

Let’s start by discussing the new earning rates under the updated program. Currently, members earn mileage and credit towards elite status based on the distance flown. However, Frontier is following the trend of shifting to a revenue-based mileage accrual system. Under the new program, members will earn miles based on the dollar amount of their ticket, as well as any additional products purchased, such as bags, seat assignments, and optional services. The earning rates will range from 10 to 20 miles per dollar spent, depending on the member’s elite status level. However, this change has the potential to significantly reduce the miles earned on low-priced itineraries, as mileage will only be earned on the base price of the ticket plus the “Carrier Interface Charge” of up to $23 per passenger, per segment.

For example, let’s consider a one-way flight from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to Denver International Airport (DEN). Under the current program, this flight would earn 1,545 miles. However, under the new program, non-elite travelers would only earn 333 miles for this itinerary, and top-tier Diamond members who don’t purchase any ancillary products would earn just 666 miles. This discrepancy becomes even more pronounced for Discount Den members, as their earning rate is based on the same formula, but the airfare price drops significantly with the discount.

On the other hand, high-priced tickets will result in significantly higher mileage earnings. For instance, a holiday flight on the MCO-DEN route could earn non-elites at least 4,705 miles and top-tier Diamonds a whopping 9,410 miles.

In addition to the changes in earning rates, Frontier is introducing a new tier of elite status and updating the names of existing tiers. Starting in early 2024, the program will have four status levels: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. Each tier requires a certain number of qualifying miles and offers increased mileage multipliers, making it easier to reach the next level. However, reaching the upper echelons will still require a significant amount of spending.

For example, let’s assume you start 2024 with no Frontier status. To reach Diamond status, which requires 100,000 qualifying miles, you would need to spend over $7,100 in the calendar year. However, Frontier is offering a fast-track opportunity to Gold status for members who book flights between October 24 and December 31, 2023. Additionally, new and existing holders of the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard can unlock Gold status by spending $3,000 on the card by February 29, 2024.

With the changes to the elite program, Frontier is also expanding the benefits offered at each level. These include perks such as waived change and cancellation fees, priority boarding, free seat selection, free carry-on bags, and more.

Overall, the changes to the Frontier Miles loyalty program are significant and will have a major impact on how members earn miles and status. While the new revenue-based model may result in reduced mileage earnings for some travelers, it also offers opportunities for increased benefits and faster progression through elite tiers. If you frequently fly with Frontier Airlines, it’s important to familiarize yourself with these changes and adjust your loyalty strategy accordingly.

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