Free Spirit has undergone a major revamp in recent years and now offers some lucrative perks for frequent flyers.

Spirit Airlines Airbus A320neo
Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Spirit Airlines is one of the few budget carriers with a full-serve loyalty program. As one expects, the Free Spirit program is not part of a major alliance, which means redemptions are limited to flying on the carrier or select non-flying partners. The program was revamped in 2021 with new status tiers, redemption rates, and a subscription service for miles redemptions.

Benefits from the program are largely based on how often you fly the carrier, made easier if you live near one of its hub airports. With no separate business class (the Big Front Seat is an add-on rather than a separate cabin), there’s no chance to use frequent flyer points to upgrade, and with limited international destinations your best bet is a domestic trip. However, the program does have some great perks once you reach elite status.

The pros and cons

As with any program, Free Spirit has a fair share of pros and cons, here’s the good first:

  • Quick path to elite status: If you’re a frequent Spirit flyer, getting elite status shouldn’t be too hard. The carrier requires 2,000 SQPs ($1 = 1 SQP) to qualify for Silver and 5,000 SQPs for Gold. Notably, you also earn SQP for $10 spent on the co-branded Free Spirit Mastercard credit card. A few family or corporate trips and credit spending could see you in the tiers fairly soon.
  • Dynamic pricing, but only starting at 2,500 miles: While Spirit has switched to a dynamic pricing model, it still offers several tickets at its base 2,500-mile redemptions. Read more in our hidden perks article below to see how to take advantage of cheaper awards.
  • Partnership with JetBlue (?): While this is more speculative, JetBlue’s merger with Spirit could mean frequent flyers eventually get access to the hybrid carrier’s network as well. However, this is contingent on the deal passing the DOT and DOJ’s muster and how JetBlue implements the partnership. Don’t hold out for this perk for a few years, but it does have the chance of being a major upside if all goes to plan.
JetBlue and Spirit

Photo: JetBlue / Spirit Airlines

However, there are notable cons with the Free Spirit too,

  • No partner redemptions: Perhaps the most notable con is the lack of alliance membership for Spirit as a budget carrier. This means your redemptions are limited to the carrier’s network in the US and Latin America. Considering you have to spend thousands of dollars and more on a co-branded credit card for status, one of the full-service carriers does offer better value at times.
  • The $50 fee: The best part of redeeming flights in the US is the lack of expensive taxes. However, Spirit charges a $50 fee for reward tickets booked within 28 days of travel, adding another burden to redeeming points. Factor this into your calculations if you’re considering joining the program.
  • No Big Front Seat : One would hope that Spirit would offer its Big Front Seat (2-2 recliners in the first row) as part of its Gold status. However, you still have to pay for this privilege, with no complimentary upgrade available either.

Given all of this, take a deep dive into how to earn and spend points, the hidden perks of the program, and how to secure elite status below!


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