Allegiant Air’s reward program, myAllegiant, is a bit unusual. You can’t earn points by flying and the airline doesn’t offer elite status. In fact, the carrier’s gone out of its way to say that its program is for “infrequent flyers.”
What does that mean? Well, the airline knows that most of its passengers fly from smaller regional airports to vacation destinations, such as Las Vegas, Orlando and the campy, family-friendly marvel of Branson. In other words, most customers fly on Allegiant only a few times a year.
Because of that, the airline’s designed a rewards program that allows you to earn points toward airfare and vacation packages without flying. Here’s the key: You have to have the Allegiant World MasterCard in order to earn or redeem myAllegiant points. Without it there’s simply no way to participate in the program.
Since the card is essential to participating in Allegiant’s program, it’s worth taking a closer look at it before we get into the best ways to use your points.
Allegiant World MasterCard
On first glance, the Allegiant MasterCard doesn’t seem very appealing. It comes with a small 15,000-point sign-up bonus that’s worth only $150 in Allegiant purchases, and the card’s $59 annual fee is not waived for the first year.
|Allegiant World MasterCard|
|Issuer:||Bank of America|
|Sign-up bonus:||15,000 points|
|Bonus earning categories:||3x Allegiant purchases; 2x restaurants; 1x all other purchases|
|Perks:||Free companion fare with a vacation package including 4 nights at a hotel or a car rental of 7 days|
Similar rewards cards that allow you to redeem points toward any travel purchases, not just those made with one airline, seem to offer more. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard, for instance, comes with a 50,000-point bonus that worth $500, and the annual fee is waived for the first year.
However, if you buy vacation packages from Allegiant, the carrier’s card starts to look better. It comes with a free companion fare if you book four nights at a hotel or rent a car for seven days through Allegiant’s website.
You’ll get the companion ticket every time you buy a qualifying vacation, not just once a year. If you book two or three vacations with Allegiant, then you’ll get two or three free tickets.
While the companion ticket can save you a lot of money, remember that Allegiant is a budget airline. That means you’ll pay extra for everything, including bags and seat assignments. Add-ons are not included with the free ticket.
The Allegiant card gives you triple points for Allegiant purchases, but keep in mind that the airline charges a fee of up to $8 per transaction completed with a credit card. There’s no fee if you use a debit card. You’ll also get double points at restaurants, which is somewhat unusual for a co-branded airline card, but other non-airline cards often offer even better bonus earning potential.
When to Use Allegiant Points
Allegiant’s points are fixed at a value of one cent each, and the card works like a cash back card, meaning that you’ll pay the current market cost of the airfare and receive credit towards that purchase by redeeming points. There’s no way to cheat the system or maximize the value of your points. Whatever you buy, you’re getting one cent per point.
You can apply any number of points you want toward a flight. You do not have to have enough to cover the entire fare. Plus, you can use your points toward any Allegiant purchase, including hotels, car rentals and even attractions offered through the website.
There’s no doubt that the best way to use your points is to pay for a vacation package that qualifies for a free companion ticket. Beyond that, you simply have to look for the best fares offered by the airline.
That’s not hard because Allegiant’s fares are cheap, though you’ll have to add anywhere from $10 to $75 to your fare if you want to bring a bag. One personal item, which is a small briefcase or purse, is included, but anything large enough to carry clothes costs extra.
The bag fee is dependent on your route and when you pay. It’s notably cheaper to add a bag when you book your ticket, and a lot more expensive to check it at the gate.
Also keep in mind that Allegiant’s business model focuses on smaller regional airports, so you may have to drive an hour or two to get to your flight. It can be worth it though if you’re on a budget.
The airline serves a total of 81 destinations in the U.S., with its largest hubs in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and several cities in Florida, including Orlando and Tampa Bay.
Since Allegiant is based in Las Vegas, it offers flights to the Sin City from all over the country. If you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway for some gambling, shopping and dining with celebrity chefs, Allegiant is often the cheapest option. You can get from Rockford Airport outside of Chicago to Vegas for only $244 roundtrip, or 24,000 points. Austin to Vegas is only $159, or 15,900 points.
From Los Angeles, you can fly to Bellingham, Washington, which is about an hour and half away from either Vancouver or Seattle, for as little as $200 or 20,000 points roundtrip. Or you could drive an hour and a half from New York City to Trenton, New Jersey, and catch a round-trip flight to Orlando for as little as $100 or 10,000 points.
Not long ago, Allegiant offered great fares to Hawaii. Even with the bag fee it was about half as much as you’d pay through other airlines. Unfortunately, Allegiant is phasing out its Honolulu service due to the cost of maintaining its aging Boeing 757 fleet. Currently, the carrier only offers flights to Hawaii from Las Vegas, and they are only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. If that works for you, it’s worth looking for availability on those flights.
For many people, Allegiant will not be the most convenient option because of the airports it serves. But if you’re willing to drive an extra hour or so to get to your flight, it can be a super cheap way to get out of town for the weekend. And if you’re planning a week-long vacation somewhere Allegiant flies, you can get a great deal by taking advantage of the Allegiant MasterCard’s free companion ticket when you book a hotel or rental car through the airline.