Frontier's Early Returns frequent flyer program has been around since 2002 and in 2003, they chose Barclays Bank as their partner in launching their affinity card. The one key feature of their FF program is that they require less points to redeem for flight than a typical US domestic carrier. The affinity card is obviously targeted at those who fly with them. Their main hub is at Denver Colorado.
There are two versions of this card. One comes with an annual and the other does not. You cannot really choose which version to apply for. When you apply, you will be considered for the annual fee version first and if you are not approved for that one, chances are that you will be approved for the no annual fee card.
Annual Fee Version
- This version comes with an "annual fee of $59". The perks and benefits in terms of miles earning capacity is the same as most FF credit cards. You get to earn double miles for every dollar that you spend on frontier airline tickets. For other non-Frontier purchases made on the card, the standard one miles per dollar formula applies.
One of the more interesting feature of this version is the companion ticket feature. Most cards that offer companion ticket certificates allow card members to either book a companion ticket at a discount price (like US Airways at $99) or to allow you to get a discount off the price of the ticket. The way Frontier decided to package this feature is slightly different. When you decide to redeem miles for a companion ticket, as a card member, you would require 5,000 less miles. This is very similar to the American Airlines Reduced Mileage feature for their card holders.
This version also has a set of different sign up bonus from the no annual version. In total, you could get up to 45,000 bonus miles (details here) with this card.
No Annual Fee Version
- If you do not get approved for the above version, then you might get the one with no annual fee. While no annual fee FF cards are rare (and perhaps great if you are particularly hung up over paying annual fees), there comes with a couple of less benefits.
For example, for the same level of spending, you will earn less points with this card. For example, you need to spend one dollar on a Frontier ticket to earn one mile. In contrast, when you spend one dollars with the annual fee version on a ticket, you actually earn double miles. That is just half of the miles earning capacity. For non-Frontier ticket purchase, you only earn one mile after spending two dollars.
Unlike the annual fee version, there is no "reduced 5,000 miles requirement" if you use your miles for a companion ticket. That means that you have to use the full number of points (depending on the destination).
The sign up bonus is also less and we will explore this later on in the bonus promotion section.
Frontier Airlines and Barclays Launch Affinity Card