Updated on July 11, 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
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 Throwing 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 lots of time.
Other than redeeming miles for a flight (good luck finding one), I think the best options are (in no particular order):
- Redeeming miles for car rentals may actually be a higher value than redeeming for a flight!
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, Fisher House (helping military families) are two charities that have partnered with Frontier to make donations. Just call the EarlyReturns desk at 1-866-263-2759 to make the contribution.
- Redeem as little as 600 points for a magazine subscription