Frontier miles will soon expire in as little as six months. Why it doesn't matter.

Frontier is making its frequent flier miles more difficult to use. Photo: Frontier Airlines 

Frontier is making its frequent flier miles more difficult to use. Photo: Frontier Airlines 

Do you have Frontier Airlines frequent flier miles?

I'm afraid they have become, more or less, useless. That was the case even before this week, when the local Denver CBS affiliate reported on yet another change in the EarlyReturns program. Now, in order to keep your miles, you'll need to fly Frontier a lot. Or use the airline's credit card. 

Here's what CBS says:

Most airlines traditionally allow customers to keep miles for 18 months or more without expiring. But starting in March, with Frontier’s EarlyReturns customers will have to fly again within six months, or use a Frontier credit card, or the accumulated miles go away.

I don't view this as a bad thing. Frontier isn't a full-service airline anymore. It was purchased in late 2013 by a private equity company, the same one that once bought Spirit Airlines and turned it into one of America's most hated, but most profitable airlines. (Spirit went public in 2011.)

The new Frontier business plan is simple. The airline is cutting just about every perk. Passengers pay for each extra, including large pieces of carry-on luggage and on-board drinks. In return, passengers get cheap fares. One of the airline's first moves under new ownership was to cut back on the perks given to the airline's most loyal fliers - those with elite frequent flier status.

I'd argue fares are so cheap there's no need to amass frequent flier miles anymore. Do you really expect an airline that charges $98 to fly roundtrip between Los Angeles and Denver for the day is also going to give you free trips?

If you want free flights I suppose you could fly United and earn MileagePlus miles. But United wants $215 for the same trip listed below. So I'm not sure it would be worth it. 

You can read all about Frontier's new mileage changes on its website. I give the airline credit for being transparent. 


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