Updated on December 7, 2018
Frontier EarlyReturn Worthless 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 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 12/8/17: Frontier is really pushing for worst miles program! Yet even more worse(r) now that you can't even redeem for a Raddison hotel night. Enjoy your free magazines or car rental. That's all that's left (or donate your miles). Hat tip to Amy (in the comments).
UPDATE 11/20/16: It is even worse! Frontier customer service gave me the wrong info according to the reps I recently spoke with. Now they are saying only EARNING activity extends the expiration… making Frontier miles worth even less. So how come buying magazines worked for me to extend my expiration for ~1 year!? They were secretly “extending it for everyone”.
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.
HOW TO FIND THE EXPIRATION DATE FOR MY FRONTIER EARLY RETURNS MILES?
Update 7/11/18 – Thanks to reader JR who noticed that the wizards at Frontier have finally fixed their website to show you the expiration date right on the profile page. Finally, the years of hard work paid off and well, maybe Frontier hates its passengers a little less now that we are not forced to guess the expiration (or search through the source code of the website). Thank you to whoever finally fixed this at Frontier…it is long overdue.
Step 1: Click the profile page.
Step 2: The expiration date is now right below the miles
UPDATE 5/30/2017: [This update is now obsolete but I'm leaving it here just for reference in case someone is wondering what happened in the past]. Thanks to Bravo for pointing out a new secret way (shhh!) to find the expiration date (#1 below)
- Your expiration date and Elite Qualifying Miles are still on the page but are hidden. Right click the web page, click “View Page Source”. Search (Ctrl + F) for your membership number. A few lines below you will find the date and EQM. It will look like this “<span class=”list-header“>Expiration: <span class=”list-item“>N\A</span></span>”. My date is “N\A” because the few I had left have expired.
- You'll need to email or call Early Returns to find out. I suggest email so you have the expiration date in writing.
- Email Frontier EarlyReturns: Fill out their online form (get it in writing!)
- Frontier Early Returns Phone Number: 801-401-9000
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.
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. [Spending points no longer works. Customer service told me (lied?) it extended the expiration for me in the past because I was within some grace period where they were extending the expiration for everyone. Haha. Sure. That's why every time I called, they said my points were expiring and that the purchase of magazines worked!] 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
sad sad pathetic Frontier miles that the airline hopes you let expire.] BUY A MAGAZINE:[No longer works] Redeem as little as 600 points for a magazine subscription
- BOOK A FLIGHT: Redeem miles for a flight if you can find one or pay cash.
- 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)
HOTEL STAY: [No longer available] 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). I used 40k for 1 night and stayed at the May Fair Hotel in London – a very nice hotel and good use of the certificate.
- 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
- BUY MILES: Buy miles from Points.com (don't do it! not worth it)
EARN MILES (link)
These are now the ONLY ways to extend expiration! Good luck!
- 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.
- HOTEL STAY: Stay at Club Carlson, Hilton, La Quinta, Marriott, or Wyndham Hotel and be sure to credit your points to Frontier Airlines.
- SURVEYS: Sign up for e-miles or e-Rewards and spend some time answering surveys in exchange for some miles. It just takes some time.
- SHOPPING: Park, shop, or dine with Thanks Again, buy wine from Vinesse Wines or buy flowers from teleflora to earn miles
- 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 Throw them in the garbage with a lit match? 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. The Frontier program gets worse every year. So far every time I have searched for award flights has been a waste of time. I've searched many many times and wasted so much time I'm embarrassed to even consider what else I could have done instead of trying to salvage a measly crap flight on Frontier.
Other than redeeming miles for a flight (good luck finding one), I think the best options are (in no particular order):
- Car Rentals: Redeeming miles for car rentals may actually be a higher value than redeeming for a flight!
- Hotel Night:
Redeeming miles for hotel nights[no longer available]. Just keep in mind, aside from Raddison Blu, most of the Raddison hotels are usually inexpensive.
- Donate your miles:
- American Cancer Society,
- Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation,
- Denver Children's Hospital Foundation,
- Fisher House (helping military families),
- Make a Wish Colorado,
- Miracle Flights for Kids, and
- Austin Pets Alive
- American Red Cross
- The above are some charities that have partnered with Frontier to make donations. Frontier has a switched to a new (not toll free) phone number 1-801-401-9000. This is the number to call to make the contribution. The old Frontier phone number was
866-263-2759.When you get the automated menu, say “Frequent Flyer” to get into the right menu. Tell the rep who answers that you want to donate miles.
- Magazine Subscription: Redeem as little as 600 points for a magazine subscription
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?
good idea. they do have a no fee card available.
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.
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.
Hi, I’m trying to revive my Frontier miles. Just purchased 1,000 miles for ~$27. How long til they come back. Also, when you churn every 6 months, do you cancel or close the previous card? Thanks, Zac
You may want to consider downgrading to a no fee card to help keep your points alive. You’ll have to call to confirm the points expiry has extended as they dont provide the date anywhere.
LOL, your article says: “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”.”
You published this 4 months ago and I just got off the phone with them and got the same BS. Frontier must have employed the SLOWEST. WEB. DESIGNER. EVER. I asked the guy on the phone if they were TRYING to make people lose their miles and he said, no, not at all, we are working on updating the website with this information. Yeah, right. So bogus. I have 63,000 miles that I definitely don’t want to lose.
Lol. They are obviously trying to make everyone’s miles expire. Lets see…remove expiration from the website, make people have activity every 6 months, nah lets make that only EARNING activity every 6 months. And we’ll force people to call to find out when they expire.
If you right click the web page and view source, it’s still there. Search the source (Ctrl + F) for your membership number, and just below that is the hidden data of your Expiration Date and YTD Elite Miles.
haha thanks! I added this to the post and hope it helps other people get some use of their miles. My expiration date showed as N/A though since my last few miles expired some time ago.
thanks for the tips… We were able to see our expiration date. This is such BS. Does anyone know if there is any way to donate the air miles to charity? We have 80K and really no desire to use them…
I just added a couple links to donate your Frontier miles. Thanks for the question!
Just logged in 7/11/18 and the expiration now shows under the miles.
Thanks JR. It works now so I’ve updated the post.
Instead of putting disclaimers in there about buying magazines not extending the expiration, should really just cross out #1, especially the part about it being your favorite method.
Thanks for pointing that out! Its crossed out now.
So things have actually gotten worse – now you can’t even redeem at Radisson hotels, only by flying Frontier, renting a car at Hertz or National, or buying magazines.
Thanks for your post, though . . . you confirmed what I was seeing was true!
Ah very nice of them. Thanks- I updated the post.
Thanks for the valuable post! I found it when trying to research how to redeem my Frontier miles for someone else to travel. So, if anyone else finds this page that way, here ya go:
For anyone else confused about the steps, please note YOU HAVE TO BOOK THE FLIGHT OVER THE PHONE WITH FRONTIER. I tried to book the flight online and it kept giving an error message saying that the passenger was a different person than the rewards account holder (me). The website does not allow you to make the purchase using your miles for someone else to travel. You must make the reservation over the phone. Call the Frontier number 801 401 9000 to get to a representative. You should NOT be charged the $10 booking fee normally accrued for booking over the phone since the website does not allow you to make the purchase. I literally just did this today– after lots of searching and time spent trying to figure this out, I used my miles to reserve a flight for my spouse– so hopefully this info. can save other folks some time. Buying/gifting/transferring the points is waay too much $.
I am really late to this party, and had/needed to fly F9 DEN-SAT last September. Interesting AwardWallet shows my expiration in a few days, which would be 6 months, but the website trick shows the same date in May.
Anyways, I went ahead and transferred 2000 Club Carlson points to get 200 miles to extend the expiration.
I figure at 5 points per $1 spend, I can MS one $500 VGC for $4.95 and make 2500 CC points. Cheapest way I could figure out to extend the points.
Thanks – that’s a lot of time spent extending useless points. MS efforts are better spent hitting required spends imo.
Just wanted to drop a note cause the 866-263-2759 phone number at the bottom of the article to donate miles is out of date and no longer goes to Frontier.
Thanks, I’ve updated the number in the post.
It appears most of you don’t fly much and are just after “free flights.” It is called a Frequent Flyer Program and is a terrific program for frequent flyers. My husband and I both got the 50,000 miles for getting the card, we use the card for every purchase we make to earn miles (and pay it off each month to avoid interest) and we have earned elite status this way giving us free first class seating every flight, free bags, and are almost to reach the works bundle on every flight for up to 8 people at booking. We used our bonus miles to bring a family of 7 roundtrip across the country as a gift this summer. With family pooling our entire family pools their miles together and whoever needs them uses them. We only use our miles for the more expensive flights, usually short notice trips. With advance planning we fly all over the country for $29-$99 one way depending on city and time of year. Using the card for purchases each month keeps our account active so we never worry about expiring miles and we use the vouchers for free flights too. Achieving the first elite status tier is easy to obtain by using the card for your purchases and gets you perks with frontier as well as better customer service options. ( Just ask for a supervisor and you won’t get the runaround of policies that are not correct. When they see elite status they are most helpful! )
The comments on here show the lack of knowledge for this program and the “I just want something for free” mentality. Frontier has a great frequent flyer program and has allowed our family the freedom to fly often. It’s made it possible to bring our friends too! These unfounded comments are what are “worthless,” not Frontiers program or credit card. Used frequently, makes the frequent flyer program, quite beneficial!
Glad to hear at least someone found a good use of the program! Which airport do you usually fly from and to? Can you give some specific examples of where found a good value? In the past when I had the miles, it was a constant waste of time trying to use them.