Spirit Airlines™ World Mastercard®
The Spirit Airlines World MasterCard from Bank of America is a solid offering from this budget carrier. If you live in an area served by Spirit and you don’t mind flying with a low-cost airline, this could be the rewards card for you. You’ll get a decent sign-up bonus, an anniversary bonus and a generous two points per dollar for every purchase.
If you already fly Spirit with some frequency, this card is a no-brainer. It makes the airline’s frequent flyer program, Free Spirit, actually worth joining. Not only will you earn points quickly, but they won’t expire in a mere 90 days, which they do for non-cardholders. Plus you’ll finally get access to the cheapest award seats that are reserved for card members.
One unique aspect of Spirit compared to other budget carriers, such as Frontier and Allegiant, is that it uses distance-based award charts and has off-peak rates. Since redemptions are not based on the cash price of the fare, you can maximize the value of your miles by flying within one or two regions and during off-peak dates.
In other words, you can get a lot more then you might think out of the card’s 15,000 miles sign-up bonus. A short-haul flight during off-peak times can be as cheap as 2,500 miles one way, which means the sign-up bonus could get you as many as three round-trip flights.
Don’t forget, though, that Spirit is a budget airline and it will charge you for everything, even if you’re in an award seat. So be ready to be hit by some fees for things like checked luggage, seat assignments and even carry-on bags.
If you need to reserve a seat so you can, for example, fly with your family, or if you have to bring a bag that doesn’t fit under the seat in front of you, you may not get the best deal with Spirit. In fact, the airline really shines for short-haul flights, particular for quick getaways that don’t require a lot of luggage. That’s true for both cash tickets and award flights.
Bonuses and Benefits
Knowing what benefits come with a credit card can help you decide if it’s a good fit for you. Here we cover the bonuses and perks that the Spirit Airlines™ World Mastercard® offers and the value of the Bank of America miles you earn.
You’ll get a quick 15,000 miles after making your first purchase with the Spirit Airlines MasterCard. That might not sound like much, but due to Spirit’s low redemption rates, it can be worth up to three round-trip flights within one region.
The Free Spirit credit card also comes with an annual bonus of 5,000 miles if you spend at least $10,000 a year and Elite status if you use the card at least once a month. While status with Spirit doesn’t offer the same level of perks that you’d get from a legacy carrier, it does come with priority boarding and the ability to earn bonus miles while flying.
What You Get
- Earn 15,000 miles after you spend $1 on purchases in the first 3 months
- Get an annual 5,000 miles bonus if you spend $10,000
- Elite status every month you use your card
- 2 miles per dollar spent for all purchases
Spirit has an extremely restrictive point expiration policy. If you don’t have Elite status, your miles will expire in three months. Thankfully, cardholders can keep their miles alive by simply using their card at least once a month, which also maintains their status with the airline.
The Value of Free Spirit Miles
Spirit Airlines is a budget carrier with a relatively small network of routes. That means you’re going to be flying economy primarily within the U.S., though the airline does offer some flights to Mexico, the Caribbean and a few cities in South America.
You can upgrade award tickets to a Big Front Seat for cash, which is equivalent in size to standard domestic first class on most airlines. The upgrade can be cheap, but keep in mind that it doesn’t come with better service. You’ll still get the coach experience, just in a bigger seat.
While we estimate the value of Free Spirit miles to be about 1.5 cents each, it’s helpful to remember that you’ll also be earning those miles at a rate of two per dollar spent. That gives you an effective return of about three cents per mile. That’s not bad at all.
Unfortunately award flights do not include any bags that do not fit under the seat in front of you. If you pay for bags when you book your flight, it’ll cost an additional $30 to check one and $35 for a carry-on. If you wait until you’re at the airport, it can be as much as $100 a bag! In any case, if you have to pay for a bag, it will bring down the value you’re getting from your miles..
What is CPM and How Is It Calculated?
Cents Per Mile (CPM) is a way to measure the value of miles. It tells you how many cents you get for each mile you redeem by dividing the cash price of the airline ticket (minus taxes and fees charged for an award ticket) by the number of miles the award flight costs. This is a somewhat subjective calculation because the price of the flight in both cash and miles fluctuates by season and availability.
How we calculate CPM:
The Best Ways to Redeem Spirit Miles
Spirit is relatively unique in the world of budget airlines because its frequent flyer program is not revenue-based. Instead it’s based on distance, which means the number of miles you earn for flying and the cost of award flights are both based on the distance flown. With Spirit, the further you fly, the less value you’ll get for your miles. It’s best to keep awards to within two regions.
All flights that are less than 1,249 miles are considered one region, whereas flights between 1,250 and 1,749 miles are two regions, between 1,750 and 2,499 are three regions and over 2,500 are four regions.
If you get the cheap off-peak rates, booking flights that are up to two regions can be a tremendous value. A one region off-peak round-trip award would be just 5,000 miles, and two regions would be only 10,000 miles. New York to Florida, for instance, is just one region and would cost only 5,000 miles off-peak. Most major airlines would charge 25,000 for that flight.
Spirit has a somewhat elaborate list of peak and off-peak dates, so it’s best to check their website or just search for several different dates to see if you can find a cheaper fare. Remember, all awards are one way, so you can easily book one leg of a round-trip flight at an off-peak rate if you can’t schedule the entire itinerary at the cheapest times.
Atlanta–PhiladelphiaEconomy classMiles price12,500miles+$26.2 feeDollars price$141
Baltimor– Las VegasEconomy classMiles price22,500miles+$26.2 feeDollars price$209
Detroit–HoustonEconomy classMiles price12,500miles+$26.2 feeDollars price$197
Punta Cana–AtlantaEconomy classMiles price55,000miles+$161.72 feeDollars price$550
Atlantic City–CancunEconomy classMiles price17,500miles+$100.81 feeDollars price$286
Boston–BogotaEconomy classMiles price32,500miles+$95.66 feeDollars price$424
Other ways you can redeem miles
Hotel Stays1 partners1 part.
You can earn points in the Free Spirit program by staying at Choice Hotels. Provide your membership number when you check in.
Car Rental3 partners3 part.
Spirit partners with Avis, Hertz and Budget to allow you to earn miles for car rentals. There are frequently special promotions available offering bonus miles for rentals.
Cruise1 partners1 part.
Book a trip through Spirit Cruises and earn miles with Norwegian Cruise Lines, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and more.
The Spirit Airlines World MasterCard has a surprisingly generous earning scheme. Every purchase receives a bonus, which is rare among travel rewards cards and almost unheard of for a co-branded airline card. You’ll get two miles per dollar for every purchase you make. There’s no need to worry about specific bonus categories or anything else. This card is a great everyday earner.
- Car Rental
- Brand earn
- All Other Purchases
Get priority boarding just for being a cardholder.
Only card members get access to the cheapest award seats.
Foreign Transaction Fee
You’ll be charged a 3% fee for all international transactions.
Earn Elite Status Fast
Believe it or not, you can earn elite status in the Free Spirit program. There are two tiers: Elite and VIP. With the Spirit MasterCard, you’ll get instant Elite status as long as you use your card at least once a month.
Both status levels offer priority boarding and bonus miles for flying. Normally you earn 50 percent of the miles flown for nonrefundable tickets and 100 percent for the more expensive refundable fares. Elite status gives you 100 percent mileage earning for nonrefundable fares and 150 percent if they’re refundable. The only added perk of achieving VIP status is that you’ll get 200 percent of the miles flown for refundable fares. While not the most generous program, it’s a nice perk for frequent flyers.
- Elite status with Spirit every month you make at least one purchase with your card
Fees: the cost of Having the Card
The Spirit Airlines MasterCard’s annual fee of $59 is waived the first year. That gives you a great opportunity to try the card out and see if you’ll reap enough rewards to warrant paying the fee the next year.
We’ve estimated the value of a Free Spirit mile to be around 1.37 cents, so you’d have to earn just 3,933 miles a year to cover the cost of the annual fee. And since you’ll get 2 miles for every dollar you spend, you’ll only have to make $2,154 worth of purchases to hit the mark. That makes for a very affordable card. Plus, if you spend at least $10,000 in a year, you’ll get another 5,000 miles, which is worth about $75 in airfare. That easily covers the cost of keeping the card.
Don’t forget the 15,000-mile sign-up bonus! It’s worth about $225, which can cover the annual fee for almost four years. Counting the first free year of card membership, you can keep the card for nearly five years without a net loss, even if you never use it after your first purchase.
- Annual Fee
- $0 first year, then $59
- Balance Transfer Fee
- Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
- Foreign Transaction Fee
- 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars or in foreign currency
- Late Payment Fee
- Up to $38
See What It Takes to Cover an Annual Fee:
Get anniversary bonus: 5,000 miles
You will receive 5,000 bonus points each anniversary year – enough to cover more than a half of the annual fee.
We strongly recommend to spend not less than $718 per months to cover the annual fee in three months.
We’ve broken out our estimates for the first- and second-year net earnings you’ll get with the Spirit Airlines World MasterCard. Is the card worth getting, and should you keep it after you get the sign-up bonus? Let’s find out.
These estimates are based on an annual monthly spend of $2,000
Top 5 Benefits of the Spirit Airlines World Mastercard
Spirit Airlines might be the poster child for low-cost carriers, but its co-branded credit card comes with some surprisingly nice perks.
- Solid Sign-Up Bonus: 15,000 miles might not sound like much, but you can get a lot of value out of that bonus if you know how to use it right. Get up to three free round-trip, short-haul flights.
- Exclusive Redemptions: Only cardholders can book award flights at the cheapest rates. If you’re a frequent flyer with Spirit, it’s worth getting the card for this perk alone.
- Miles Never Expire: As long as you make at least one purchase on your card every month, your miles will never expire. This might not sound like much of a perk, but considering that your miles would otherwise expire in just three months, you kind of need this benefit to really take advantage of the Free Spirit program.
- Great Earning Potential: You’ll get bonus points for every purchase. Every dollar you spend earns 2 miles, which is generous for an airline card.
- Elite Status: You’ll get Elite status if you make just one purchase a month. That means you’ll earn more miles when you fly and enjoy preferred boarding.
Should You Get the Spirit Airlines World MasterCard?
Do you regularly fly on Spirit Airlines? If the answer is yes, then you should probably get the Spirit Airlines World MasterCard. Not only does it offer a solid sign-up bonus and a generous earning scheme, but it also comes with a couple of benefits that Spirit frequent flyers really can’t do without.
Being a cardholder is the easiest way to keep your Free Spirit miles alive. Without the card, your miles will expire in just 90 days. While that betrays Spirit’s stingy, budget-obsessed business model, I suspect it’s really designed to be an incentive for Free Spirit members to get the credit card. With the card, you just have to make one purchase a month to save your miles.
The second perk that Free Spirit members shouldn’t do without is access to the cheapest redemption levels. Only cardholders can get the best deals on award flights. In essence, you can’t be a full member of Spirit’s frequent flyer program without the credit card.
More than that, though, this card can make you money if you use it to its full potential. It has a solid 15,000 -mile sign-up bonus which is worth over $200 in flights, plus every year you spend $10,000 you’ll get another 5,000 miles. That makes it easy to cover the $59 annual fee, which, by the way, is waived for the first year. Plus, every dollar you spend earns two miles.
Of course there’s limited flexibility. If you don’t fly on Spirit, this card isn’t going to do you much good. You’d be better off with a card that has a more flexible currency or even a simple cashback card. And no one would blame you for avoiding Spirit. While its fares and award redemptions are surprisingly cheap, you’ll be charged extra for just about everything, including seat assignments and bags. You’ll even be charged a fee for booking an award flight within six months of the departure date. However, if you’re aware of these hidden costs and can work around them, you can get great value for your miles.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
When you book an award flight with Spirit, you’re essentially getting what they call the Bare Fare. It comes with nothing but a seat on the airplane. If you want a specific seat, you’re going to have to pay extra. Seat assignments start at $5, but can be quite a bit more than that, depending on the flight and the seat.
If you’re committed to controlling where you sit, consider the Big Seat Upfront. It’ll cost more, but it’s comparable to traditional domestic first class seats on legacy carriers. You’re flight will be a lot more comfortable. You’ll also be hit with bag fees, even for a carry-on. The only way around this is if your bag can fit under the seat in front of you. That means it has to be small and you have to pack very light. Be sure to pay for your bags when you book your flight, otherwise you’ll pay extra at the airport.
Fees range from $30 for a checked bag at the time of booking (carry-ons are $35) all the way up to $100 if you have to check it at the gate. So don’t try to sneak a bag that’s too big onboard without paying in advance. Perhaps the most devious move by Spirit is the award booking fee. If you book between 21 and 179 days out, you’ll pay $15; 7 to 20 days is $75; and 6 days or less is $100. The good news is that booking more than six months out is free.
Spirit has one phone number: 801-401-2222. The carrier would prefer that you use the website instead. Thankfully, it’s well-designed and easy-to-use. You can book tickets for cash or miles, change or cancel your flight or just check your flight status. Not surprisingly, using the phone center to make a reservation will incur a fee, so save that extra $10 and book online.
I’m a member of the Free Spirit frequent flyer program, but I don’t get a lot out of it. Should I get the Spirit Airlines World MasterCard? The Spirit Airlines MasterCard comes with some perks that makes the Free Spirit program much better. Perhaps most importantly, the card makes it easy to keep your Spirit miles alive. Normally miles expire in just three months, but if you make just one purchase a month on the Spirit credit card, your miles will never expire.
Cardholders also get exclusive access to off-peak redemptions. Those are the cheapest awards offered by Spirit and the most valuable. If you can travel during those times, you can get a tremendous amount of value out of your miles. The best values, by far, are for shorter flights during off-peak dates. You can, for instance, fly just about anywhere on the East Coast for just 5,000 miles roundtrip during off-peak dates. Without knowing exactly what your traveling and spending habits are, it’s impossible to say if you’ll get more out of the Free Spirit program as a Spirit Airlines credit card member. But being a cardholder definitely makes Free Spirit a better frequent flyer program.
Spirit Airlines offers both a personal and a business version of their co-branded credit card. They’re very similar cards, though the Spirit Airlines World MasterCard for Business has a few cardholder benefits designed specifically for small business owners.
Other Spirit cards
|Spirit Airlines™ World Mastercard® for Business Credit Card|
|Sign-up bonus||15,000 miles||15,000 miles|
|Annual Fee||$0 first year, then $59||$0 first year, then $59|
|APR On Purchases||13.99% to 23.99% Variable±||13.99% to 23.99% Variable±|
|Second Year Value||$726||$726|
Both of these cards come with the same 15,000 miles sign-up bonus and two points per dollar spent earning scheme. You’ll also get Elite status, priority boarding, bonus earning for flying and the annual 5,000 miles bonus if you spend $10,000 with either card. The business card does offer a couple of extras that small business owners might be interested in. You can add employee cards for $20 a year and you get access to all of Capital One’s business card resources.
You’ll get what Capital One calls Cash Flow Management Tools, which help you manage your business’s finances with a suite of online services that include automatic payments, easy transfers and QuickBooks compatible downloads. You’ll also get increased limits on cardholder travel coverage, including up to $1,000,000 in travel accident insurance and auto rental insurance. If you don’t need those added business benefits, then there’s no advantage to getting the Spirit Airlines World MasterCard for Business.
Compare Spirit Airlines World MasterCard to Other Cards
If you’re primarily interested in budget air travel in the United States, you have several airline card options. In addition to the Spirit MasterCard, you may want to consider the Frontier Airlines World MasterCard and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card if the routes you fly are served by those carriers. But if flexibility is more appealing to you, the Discover it Miles card is a great alternative.
The most important aspect of a co-branded airline card is the carrier itself. That’s because the miles you’ll earn with the card will be good for award flights on only that airline. Both Spirit and Frontier have relatively limited networks, particularly compared to Southwest, which by some measures is one of the largest carriers in the world. All three offer cheap fares on primarily domestic routes.
If you happen to live somewhere that’s equally served by all three airlines, you’ll have to choose between the three co-branded cards. Both the Frontier MasterCard and the Southwest card come with a 40,000 miles sign-up bonus. While notably bigger than the Spirit card’s bonus, you may actually get more flights with Spirit due to its off-peak, distance-based award chart.
The Spirit Airlines credit card definitely wins for everyday earning by offering two miles per dollar for all purchases. The Frontier and Southwest cards only offer bonus points for purchases made with their respective airlines.
While the annual fee for all three cards is comparable, the Southwest card is the only one that does not waive the fee for the first year. You’ll be stuck with the $69 charge on your first statement.
The Southwest card does not offer more cardholder perks than the other cards, but the carrier itself gives all of its customers a little bit more for their money. You’ll get two free checked bags, a free carry-on bag, complimentary onboard snacks and no change fees just for flying Southwest. You’ll be charged for all of that on either Spirit or Frontier, even if you’ve booked an award ticket. That’s added value you’ll never get with the ultra-low cost carriers.
The Discover it Miles card is a different beast altogether. It’s essentially a cashback card that allows you to redeem miles toward travel expenses. That means you can use your miles for travel on any airline. You’ll earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent on everything, plus Discover will match the miles you earn in your first year. That can end up being a huge bonus if you spend a lot. The only potential drawback is that every mile is worth exactly one cent each. It’s impossible to get any more value out your Discover miles.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Card Terms and Conditions
While it's easy to focus on the rewards offered by the Spirit Airlines World MasterCard, it's worth taking a closer look at the terms and conditions. There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the card. Will you carry a balance, get a cash advance or maybe make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with this World MasterCard.
- Intro APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Ongoing APR:
- 13.99% to 23.99% Variable±
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 25 days
- Extended Warranty Protection:
- Doubles the manufacturer’s warranty protection for up to two years. Purchase must be made with the Spirit MasterCard.
- Price Protection:
- If the item you purchase is offered at a lower price within 120 days, you can receive the difference in the cost. Good for up to $250 per claim.
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 16.99% to 25.99%, based on your creditworthiness when you open your account, for Direct Deposit and Check Cash Advances, and 25.99% for Bank Cash Advances
- Cash Advance Fee:
- Direct Deposit and Check Cash Advances: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater. ATM, Over-the-Counter, Same-Day Online and Cash Equivalent Cash Advances: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
Security and Protections
The Bank of America Spirit card offers a full set of security features, keeping you safe no matter where you use your card.
- Account alerts:
- Customize email, text and phone alerts to keep track of payments, balances and transactions.
- $0 Liability Guarantee:
- You’ll never be liable for fraudulent charges made to your account. More than that, Capital One monitors your account for abnormal activity and blocks potential fraud if it’s detected.
- Paperless statements:
- Go paperless to add security to your account and save trees.
- Shop Safe:
- Get added online shopping security thanks to ShopSafe. You’ll get a temporary card number for online purchases so your real number remains private and protected.
- Chip Cards:
- Chip technology offers enhanced security and protection when making purchases at chip-enabled terminals.
- Credit Reports:
- Look for any unusual changes in your credit with a free monthly FICO Score.
Capital One makes it easy to keep track of your account and to use your card wherever you are.
- Chase Mobile Banking:
- Use the Chase Mobile app to pay bills, transfer money, check balances, deposit checks and more. This all-in-one banking app is secure, flexible and user-friendly.
- Chase Pay, Apple Pay and Android Pay:
- You have your choice of digital wallet platforms. A great way to make in-store purchases easier.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
The Spirit Airlines credit card is a World MasterCard. That means it comes with a variety of coverage for travelers, including:
Master Card Travel Benefits
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver:
- Masterrental Insurance covers the cardholder for damages and theft of rental cars for up to $50,000. Coverage is secondary to cardholder’s private auto insurance.
- Trip Cancellation Or Interruption Insurance:
- Get up to $100 a day for a maximum of three days for the purchase of essential items if your bags are delayed more than four hours.
- Trip Cancellation Or Interruption Insurance:
- Get up to $1,500 per trip to reimburse non-refundable expenses in the event of cancellation or interruption due to a covered event.
- Travel Accident Insurance:
- The cardholder and their family members will be covered against the accidental loss of life, limb, sight, speech or hearing while using a common carrier.
- Master Roadassist Service:
- Call 1-800-MASTERCARD to receive roadside assistance anywhere in the U.S. The cardholder is responsible for additional charges for services provided.