Prevent Frontier Miles From Expiring + Best Uses Early Returns Miles

frontier airlines logo 2016

Frontier MasterCard Frontier Miles
Signing up for the Frontier credit card for 40k bonus miles was probably one of my biggest disappointments when it comes to miles/points. The main reason we got the card was because the bonus would be enough for 2 round trip flights on Frontier to Alaska or even a ski trip to Denver. Frontier stopped service to Alaska.

It got worse. On March 7, 2015, Frontier’s EarlyReturns program changed their expiration policy – miles would expire if you don’t have EARNING activity every 6 months. For now, I am just buying magazines to extend these miles 6 months at a time. Below you’ll find a few other options.

UPDATE 11/20/16: Turns out Frontier gave me the wrong info. Now they are saying only EARNING activity extends the expiration… making Frontier miles worth even less.

FRONTIER EARLY RETURNS MILES ALMOST WORTHLESS

I now consider Frontier miles almost worthless and I would not recommend signing up for the Frontier credit card unless you have a plan in mind to use the miles right away. Why?

  • The only direct flights I have found from NYC are to Denver, Atlanta, and Miami
  • Connecting award flights often have lousy long layovers so really that leaves me with only 3 destinations (from NYC)
  • Flights can only be booked ~6 months out
  • Miles expire after 6 months without activity
  • Miles are difficult to use – not much availability
  • When saver award seats are available, the cash flights often cost less than $100 so the maximum value for 10,000 miles is $70-$100. Might as well pay cash at that point.
  • They will nickel and dime you

 

WHEN DO FRONTIER EARLY RETURNS MILES EXPIRE ?

Great question. Frontier just made this more difficult on their website. On the phone, they will tell you “miles expire in 6 months” but “earning miles” will extend the date. Until about July 2016, you could easily find out when your miles expire by logging into Frontier’s site and clicking on your profile. Conveniently, they recently removed this feature and told me they are “working on updating the website”. Uh huh. You’ll need to email or call Early Returns to find out. I suggest email so you have the expiration date in writing.

I took a screen shot in June just in case. The expiration date was still there in July but in August, the month the miles were set to expire, the date disappeared. Convenient.
Frontier Miles Expiration

 

HOW TO PREVENT FRONTIER MILES FROM EXPIRING?

Use the points as fast as possible and get them out of your account. They will likely just be a thorn in your side otherwise.

You just need EARNING activity every 6 months to prevent your miles from expiring so that means using miles or earning miles. Before you cancel your card (with annual fee), you can call and ask to downgrade to the no annual fee card and just make a small charge every few months. If you have already cancelled the card, like me, the easiest fastest (and low cost) way to renew your miles for another 6 months is to redeem points for a magazine subscription. Subscriptions start at only 500-600 miles. Just be sure to order it for 2-3 weeks before your miles expire as it takes some time to process. It took almost 2 weeks for me. This works great as long as you will have enough miles to make your flight redemption after they deduct miles for your magazine. My goal is to have 40k to book 2 round trip tickets so I can still buy a few magazines to keep from expiring. If buying a magazine were to drop me below 40k, I would look at the EARN MILES list to extend the expiration or the USE MILES list to just burn my miles for a car rental or hotel night.

USE MILES (link)  [UPDATE: Using miles WILL NOT extend the expiration date, but you can still use this list to find some use for these Frontier miles that the airlines hope you let expire]

  1. BUY A MAGAZINERedeem as little as 600 points for a magazine subscription (this is my favorite option)
  2. BOOK A FLIGHT: Redeem miles for a flight if you can find one or pay cash.
  3. CAR RENTAL: Redeem miles for a car rental from National or Hertz
    • National Car Rental – 12k miles for 2 days (6k per day)
    • Hertz Car Rental – 37k miles for 7 days (5.2k per day)
  4. HOTEL STAY: Redeem miles for a hotel night from Club Carlson (25k miles for 1 night in the US, 40k miles for 1 night international). They will send you a certificate which must be used within 1 year and can only be used for one or the other (US or international).
  5. TRANSFER MILES: Transfer miles from a Hotel program
    • Hilton 10k points (value ~$80) will get you 1500 Frontier miles (value ~$15)
    • Club Carlson 2k points = 200 Frontier
    • Marriott 10k points = 2000 Frontier
  6. BUY MILES: Buy miles from Points.com (not worth it)

 

EARN MILES (link)

  1. CAR RENTAL: Rent a car from Avis, Budget, Hertz, or National Car Rental. These usually require a rental from an airport to get any miles.
  2. HOTEL STAY: Stay at Club Carlson, Hilton, La Quinta, Marriott, or Wyndham Hotel and be sure to credit your points to Frontier Airlines.
  3. SURVEYSSign up for e-miles or e-Rewards and spend some time answering surveys in exchange for some miles. It just takes some time.
  4. SHOPPING: Park, shop, or dine with Thanks Again, buy wine from Vinesse Wines  or buy flowers from teleflora to earn miles
  5. TRANSPORTATION: Book transportation with SuperShuttle (earn 50 miles) or Execucar (earn 150 miles) or book a cruise.

WHAT IS THE BEST USE OF FRONTIER MILES?

Perhaps letting them expire is the best use so you don’t waste any more time on them (jk). Seriously though, burn the miles as fast as possible. So far every time I have searched for award flights has been a waste of time. I’ve searched many many times and wasted lots of time.

Other than redeeming miles for a flight, I think the two best options are

  1. Redeeming miles for car rentals may actually be a higher value than redeeming for a flight!
  2. Redeeming miles for hotel nights. Just keep in mind, aside from Raddison Blu, most of the hotels are usually inexpensive.

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the info! Couldn’t you also downgrade the credit card to a no-fee version and make a small purchase every 6 months to keep the miles from expiring?

  2. Had an even worse situation. They stopped flying out of my home airport and now I’d have to drive 120 miles to the nearest airport with Frontier Service. Was about to give up, but when the CC came with the annual fee, I called them and they changed it to a no annual fee card. Now, about every 4 months, I charge $5 or so. Still not sure I’ll ever use them, so your earlier comment about just letting them go might be the best approach.

    • At least you can get some car rentals or a hotel night out of it. I’m sure they are counting on many people to just give up the points.

  3. You forgot to mention purchasing points to extend another 6 months or even to revive expired points. I’ve done both for $14 each. You can churn cards at Barclays to get more 40K bonuses with just $500 spend and a TU pull too.

    Although connecting flights are usually more, I don’t have any trouble finding 10K flights on their special non-stop to Denver from DCA. That makes the card great for me.

    I churn through Barclay’s Hawaiians, Jet Blues, Frontier, and Wyndham regulary (6 months) because theyre just TU pulls.

    Of course Frontier is a special case because it’s so unstable and keeps changing focus cities so often.

    Don’t you like to go to Denver?

    • To me $69 for 2 RT’s from DCA to Denver is great.

      If you have the card you get exempted or reduced fees on Frontier (of which there are many).

      Also, after $2500 spend you get a $100 voucher.(never used that, $500 and sock drawered.)

    • Yes, I would def go to Denver if I could find some 10k mile flights from NYC. Buying miles from points.com now costs $26.88 – a bit steep for 1000 miles. Looking at the flight map, seems like best options are for people flying from Denver, Vegas, Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, and Philly.

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