Elite Status – Leaving AAdvantage for Spirit Airlines

American Airlines AAdvantage changed their program yesterday, and while the revenue based earning isn’t great, it was their introduction of Elite Qualifying Dollars that makes it just to hard for me to justify continuing to chase elite status.

After much consideration, and staring at yellow painted walls, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is only one answer. Spirit Airlines.

Why Spirit Airlines?

You see, Spirit Airlines has it all. They have cheap fares–so cheap, that they have no problem putting it all out there for everyone to see.

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Bares All

Furthermore, I can buy whatever extras I want. Yeah, it’ll cost more, but, for a few–hundred–extra bucks, I can bring a carry-on bag, have a beverage onboard, and even get a little bit bigger seat–with no middle seat!

Spirit additional options and tactics

Spirit additional options and tactics

Spirit’s Credit Card earns a whopping 2x miles on every purchase! It’ll also let me book miles starting at 5,000 miles!

Spirit Airlines Credit Card - 2x on everyday purchases.

Spirit Airlines Credit Card – 2x on everyday purchases.

I can join an exclusive club – the $9 Fare Club, which has tons of benefits, like discounts off bags, and it only costs $59.95! Tiff has more about the program.

Spirit Airlines' $9 Fare Club

Spirit Airlines’ $9 Fare Club

Wrapping Up

While I think I’ve put together a number of excellent reasons that Spirit Airlines is the best of the best, when it comes to remaining frequent flier programs, it is important also to remember that many airlines are more than their frequent flyer programs. The flying experience matters, as Michael learned. Maybe I need to do some more analysis and choose a real program to status match. But hopefully this at least gave ya’ll a good laugh… I mean, me, fly in economy….

21 thoughts on “Elite Status – Leaving AAdvantage for Spirit Airlines

  1. I’ll be the first to tell you Spirit doesn’t have a great elite/mileage program. But it can get you from Point A to Point B at a good price. I just did an out-and-back from DFW to MSP for $50 (round-trip). I don’t accumulate miles through work and the miles I do accumulate through credit cards, shopping portals, etc. I have to save if we want to fly our family overseas somewhere. Saving a couple hundred here and there saves us thousands over the year which helps for the more elaborate trips we do want to take.

    No worries, I’ll make sure to think of y’all living it up in first class while I’m having a liter of beer at Oktoberfest in Munich this year. 😉

    • @Tiff – Thanks for your comment – yeah, I have to say, I meant the post to be satirical, but you are right, they are cheap!

      • No worries, I picked up on that. I know everyone loves to hate on Spirit. They do serve a purpose; but trying to get status and travel in first isn’t one of them. 😉

        That sucks about AA changing their elite program. Sounds like they’re going to model it after Delta’s. 😛

  2. I’v flown Spirit. Once. A one way from LAX when I was flying on my company’s (that would be my) dime.

    It was no less expensive than the one way I’d flown on Frontier out there. And the flight attendants on Frontier were much nicer.

    I recommend you think about them, Trevor. They don’t have a first class cabin, either.

  3. I’d stay home before I flew Spirit. My comfort and way I travel is more important to me and I will send mine to get that. If I get FF points, great, if not, as long as I am comfortable don’t care. Not worth saving $ to fly Spirit.

  4. Spirit Airlines has the dubious honor of being the most complained about airline in the United States, comes in dead last in Consumer Reports’ ranking of the worst airlines, and is the only US airline to make a list of the world’s worst airlines, according to data by BusinessInsider and SkyTrax.

    • @Odojoe – I also think Spirit might be the most profitable airline in the US, too… which is kind’ve crazy to me.

  5. You might want to check-out a post that looked into Spirit was really that much cheaper from a while back:

    Tl;Dr – After account for a few minimum mandatory fees (i.e., 1 bag) you’re highly unlikely to save any money in the long-term flying Spirit, especially if you’re planning to make a wholesale switch instead of identifying a few cases where Spirit might actually be a better option.

      • I fly Spirit frequently and regularly save hundreds of dollars per trip compared to flying a “regular” airline (yes, I’m including all fees in that estimate). IF you know what you’re doing you can save a lot of money; especially for families.That being said, if you’re flying by yourself the savings is much less substantial, especially if you’re only saving $50 on a flight. The savings starts adding up when you’re saving $50 per person for a family of four.

        I notice a lot of people who will “never fly on Spirit” also don’t have to worry about traveling on a budget. There was a time we were DINKs and also had that luxury, but that’s not the case for most people, and Spirit serves a useful purpose for them.

    • @Andy – I thought Spirit was like Euro Business.. is it like, a true First Class? like, Layflat? That could change things.. Must check out this link!

      • OK, seriously now. BFS is MUCH better than Euro so-called “Business”. Real recline, real leg space, real domestic first except no one gives a sh*t about you, and you still pay for everything. But the seat is very comfortable.

  6. I like Spirit. But it’s international routes are weak. Awards are somewhat hard to book because you really have to book it segment by segment from some airports. That being said I am an AA loyalist with low level status. If I was given the choice between flying United or some other non-AA carrier on a route and Spirit was a choice I would strongly consider them. My reason is that they fly some weird non-stops that help the travel experience and for a fairly small fee you can upgrade to the big front (domestic first class type seats). The Spirit flights I’ve been on all seem to leave early, they board early, the FA’s don’t bug you once your on-board (yes I can do an hour flight without half a diet coke). I know they must have issues because of the complaints I hear about but every time I’m on a Spirit flights the people around me all say the same thing. “Why isn’t everyone on Spirit?”

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