Reviews Bank of America Spirit Airlines World MasterCard review
Bank of America Spirit Airlines World MasterCard review

Bank of America Spirit Airlines World MasterCard review

Published: April 25, 2017
Ratings Policy
Airline Rating:
2.7 rating
2.7 rating
2.7 / 5
Rewards Value: 2.9
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.9
Rewards Flexibility: 2.7
Flight Options: 1.3
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The Spirit Airlines World MasterCard credit card might delight loyal Spirit Airlines fliers living in the busiest Spirit hubs, but it also is likely to disappoint everyone else.

Rewards Rate
2:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
15,000 miles after first purchase

Annual Bonus
5,000 if you spend $10,000

Annual Fee
$59, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$379

APR
13.49-23.49%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit on number of miles you can earn
  • One-way tickets permitted
  • Lowest level rewards ticket is very cheap (2,500 miles)
  • Large discounts for off-peak awards

Cons

  • Card must be used monthly to keep miles from expiring
  • Can only use miles on Spirit airfare
  • $15 fee for awards tickets booked less than 180 days in advance, $35 fee for phone bookings
  • Can’t use miles to upgrade
  • Off-peak rewards are limited and come with a complicated calendar
  • Many hidden fees (carry-on bags, in-flight beverages)

Flight Options

  • Airline partners: 0
  • Daily flights: 250
  • Destinations: 49
  • Countries served: 13

Other Notable Features: Preferred boarding, priority check-in, standard World MasterCard benefits: rental insurance, extended warranty, enhanced price protection, travel insurance, concierge services, MasterCard travel services, World Luxury Hotels and Resorts, MasterCard Priceless Cities

Rewards Rating:
3.2 rating
3.2 rating
3.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.8
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.5
Rewards Flexibility: 2.7
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

Value conscious travelers who live near a Spirit Airlines will appreciate this budget card’s unusually generous rewards rate, which offers 2 points for every dollar spent on any purchase; but cardholders who want more flexibility may be turned off by Spirit Airlines’ hidden fees and restrictive rules on redemption.

Rewards Rate
2:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus

  • 15,000 miles after first purchase
  • 5,000 miles each year you spend $10,000

Annual Fee
$59, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$379

APR
13.49-23.49%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit on number of miles you can earn
  • One-way tickets permitted
  • Lowest level rewards ticket is very cheap (2,500 miles)
  • Large discounts for off-peak awards

Cons

  • Card must be used monthly to keep miles from expiring
  • Can only use miles on Spirit airfare
  • $15 fee for awards tickets booked less than 180 days in advance, $35 fee for phone bookings
  • Can’t use miles to upgrade
  • Off-peak rewards are limited and come with a complicated calendar
  • Many hidden fees (carry-on bags, in-flight beverages)

Other Notable Features: Preferred boarding, priority check-in, standard World MasterCard benefits: rental insurance, extended warranty, enhanced price protection, travel insurance, concierge services, MasterCard travel services, World Luxury Hotels and Resorts, MasterCard Priceless Cities

Travel Rating:
3 rating
3 rating
3 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.4
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.6
Rewards Flexibility: 2.7
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

Despite a disappointing sign-up bonus and a relatively high APR and fees, this budget airline card packs substantially more value than most airline cards thanks to its double rewards rate on everyday purchase

Rewards Rate
2:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus

  • 15,000 miles after first purchase
  • 5,000 miles each year you spend $10,000

Annual Fee
$59, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$379

APR
13.49-23.49%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit on number of miles you can earn
  • One-way tickets permitted
  • Lowest level rewards ticket is very cheap (2,500 miles)
  • Large discounts for off-peak awards

Cons

  • Card must be used monthly to keep miles from expiring
  • Can only use miles on Spirit airfare
  • $15 fee for awards tickets booked less than 180 days in advance, $35 fee for phone bookings
  • Can’t use miles to upgrade
  • Off-peak rewards are limited and come with a complicated calendar
  • Many hidden fees (carry-on bags, in-flight beverages)

Other Notable Features: Preferred boarding, priority check-in, standard World MasterCard benefits: rental insurance, extended warranty, enhanced price protection, travel insurance, concierge services, MasterCard travel services, World Luxury Hotels and Resorts, MasterCard Priceless Cities

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Spirit Airlines is an airline that doesn’t leave people apathetic. Even those fliers who use Spirit a lot tend to criticize the airline for excessive charges, lack of punctuality, incredibly tight seats and tacky marketing shticks. Yet people still fly Spirit, simply because it’s often the cheapest way to get from Point A to Point B. Spirit flies to dozens of destinations in the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and Latin America (Colombia and Peru).

The card perfectly reflects the general product it’s promoting – the airline. The Free Spirit frequent flier program and the Spirit Airlines World MasterCard credit card are so intertwined that it doesn’t make much sense to use one without the other. To its credit, Spirit doesn’t hide anything. So if you follow the rules and pay attention to the fine print, you can benefit greatly. If not, the “gotchas” can get you.

Low annual fee

The annual fee is only $59 to begin with, and it’s waived for the first year. This gives you a chance to see whether or not the card meets your expectations.

15,000 sign-up bonus after first purchase

While 15,000 miles doesn’t sound impressive compared to some other airline credit card sign-up bonuses, Spirit miles can actually take you farther than many other airline bonuses if you use your miles strategically. One-way redemptions begin at 2,500 miles, so you can have as many as three round-trip tickets from the bonus alone.

You also get 5,000 bonus points annually when you spend $10,000 a year and pay the annual fee.

Nice earning scheme

The Spirit Airlines World MasterCard credit card comes with a unique earning scheme: You get 2 miles on everything. Most airline co-branded cards reserve this double rewards rate for purchases made directly from the airline. The fact that you earn double miles on everything you purchase with the card makes it easy to accumulate a large number of miles in a short time.

Beware the fees and read the fine print

Spirit markets itself as a “bare fare” airline. Essentially, that means it offers a low rate. But it also upcharges you in any way it can. While a fee for checked baggage may be expected, some fees can catch an unwitting traveler off guard. For instance, Spirit charges a fee for carry-on baggage that exceeds the fee for a checked bag. Moreover, it charges a lower fee for carry-on bags checked online ahead of time, a higher fee for bags checked at the ticket counter, and an exorbitant fee for bags checked at the gate. Spirit passengers are often surprised when they reach the gate and have to dole out a $100 fee for a carry-on bag because it is too large to qualify as a personal item. If you do not want to undermine the value of your awards ticket, you need to become well acquainted with Spirit’s terms and conditions.

Miles expire in 90 days without activity

Without any activity on the account, the Free Spirit miles expire within 90 days, which must be the most draconian expiration period in the industry. However, there is a solution: Just put any monthly recurring charge on your credit card and your miles will not expire. It has to be a monthly charge – if you miss one month, your miles will still expire in 90 days.

You’ll benefit if you live in a hub

Spirit Airlines is a domestic airline with a fairly limited footprint. While it does offer some flights to Central and South America and the Caribbean, most of Spirit’s routes are domestic and limited to major cities. Also, Spirit doesn’t include airline partners in its rewards program. Spirit miles are only good on Spirit Airlines. In other words, if you do not live within driving distance of a hub, you may not find much value in Spirit Airline miles.

That said, if you do live in a major hub, you can get great value out of the Spirit Airlines card. Since Spirit has a distance-based redemption scheme, the shorter and the more direct the route, the less it costs. Some of the largest Spirit hubs and key cities are Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Detroit, Dallas, Chicago, and Las Vegas.

Off-peak awards are hard to come by

Spirit airlines off-peak awards, which start at 2,500 miles, can be a great value. Unfortunately, the dates for the awards are restricted and come with a complicated calendar. A glance at Spirit’s awards chart shows you that there is long list of date ranges for peak, standard and off-peak awards. There is also a large matrix of regions with different rewards rates. Finding a time when off-peak awards apply can be challenging.

Also, you must use the card in order to book the cheapest off-peak award. Having to use a specific credit card is another “first” in the industry. If you don’t, standard awards begin at 10,000 miles.

Premium seats can be a good deal

One of the best-hidden Spirit secrets is that the real bargain is not in the cheapest seats. Spirit has comfortable, first class-like seats in the front of the cabin called Big Front Seats. While there is no first- or business-class service on Spirit, this is the closest thing you can get, and the cost of upgrade can be ridiculously low — from $25 to $70 per segment. The seats are very comfortable and offer plenty of space. Unlike all other seats in the cabin, they recline.

Don’t expect any perks

The Spirit Airlines World MasterCard credit card comes without some benefits that we’re accustomed to in an airline co-branded credit card. There is no free checked bag allowance, for example, which is not surprising since even carry-on bags cost extra on Spirit. Instead of the perks, the card gives you a discount on mile redemptions. It must be said, however, that without this discount, using Spirit miles would hardly be worthwhile.

Reasons to get it:

  • You frequently fly Spirit Airlines.
  • You live in a hub city served by Spirit Airlines.
  • You are a no-frills, bargain hunter who doesn’t mind jumping through some hoops to get cheap airline travel.
  • You want to take advantage of the waiver for the first year’s $59 annual fee to see if the card is for you.

How to use it:

  • Consider using the Spirit Airlines World MasterCard credit card for all your expenses to take advantage of the double earning rate on all purchases.
  • Always try to find award flights with the least number of connections.
  • Consider booking a Big Front Seat to make your flight much more comfortable for a small fee.
  • Avoid using the card abroad due to the 3 percent foreign-transaction fee.

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