|Rewards Rating:||3.3 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||3.4|
|Issuer Customer Experience||2.1|
In a Nutshell:
The Travel More card could be a great value for Spirit Airlines loyalists thanks to its practical rewards categories and easy-to-score annual companion travel voucher. But if you’re looking for flexible reward redemption, it’s definitely not the card for you.
40,000 points and $100 Companion Flight Voucher when you spend $1,000 in first 90 days
$100 Companion Flight Voucher when you spend $5,000 in a year
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend, 3-year average)
Bank of America Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: Cell phone protection, Zone 2 Shortcut Boarding, 25% discount on inflight food and beverage purchases, pool points with up to 8 other program members, no foreign transaction fees, redemption fee waiver, $10 Lyft credit after 5 rides, cash back on Boxed purchases, free ShopRunner membershipl and other Mastercard World Elite benefits
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If you’re a loyal Spirit Airlines flyer planning to double-down on travel in 2021, the carrier’s recently-revamped rewards card may be worth a look – but only if you go in with open eyes.
Issued by Bank of America, the Free Spirit Travel More World Elite Mastercard can offer solid value for ideal card members, holding its own against a number of airline rewards cards with its respectable rewards rate and generous annual and welcome bonuses.
However, Spirit Airlines is notorious for its excessive fees, the card doesn’t have the most impressive lineup of travel perks and the Free Spirit rewards program is burdened by a restrictive redemption scheme, with no option to book flights with partner airlines.
The best travel credit cards can offer more valuable rewards programs, travel perks and introductory bonuses, along with a great deal more flexibility – so just make sure Spirit Airlines is the best fit for you before you apply.
See related: Best credit cards for international travel
The Free Spirit Travel More card offers a respectable rewards rate of 3 points per dollar on eligible Spirit purchases, 2 points per dollar on dining and grocery store purchases and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
While this pales in comparison to the high rewards rates and category variety you can find on the top travel rewards cards, it beats out a number of airline rewards cards, which sometimes only offer bonus rewards on purchases made directly with the airline.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that groceries and dining make up a big chunk of the average person’s budget, so offering points on spending in these categories should give Free Spirit Travel More cardholders a leg up on their way to a free flight.
Based on the average person’s spending habits, we estimate that the Free Spirit Travel More card carries an average rewards rate of around 1.45 points per dollar, placing it somewhere in the middle among rewards cards. Given the recent revamp of the Free Spirit rewards program and the airline’s shift to a dynamic award pricing model, however, the jury’s out on the exact value of Free Spirit points.
If we take The Points Guy’s lead and assume a value of about 1.23 cents per point, the average person stands to earn around $283 worth of travel per year via card spend (around 23,000 points).
Of course, if you spend more than the average person on travel, you’ll gather points much faster. But since this is a co-branded airline rewards card (and since Spirit doesn’t partner with any other airlines), you’ll want to be sure that Spirit’s routes are the best fit for you.
Though limited, Spirit’s domestic routes include popular cities like Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, New York City, Houston and more. The carrier also offers service to the Caribbean and Latin America, including destinations like the U.S. Virgin Islands, Aruba, Jamaica, Cancun, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Panama and Peru.
One of the biggest downsides of the Free Spirit card is its redemption scheme. You can only redeem points for Spirit flights and a handful of other purchases with Spirit retail partners (such as magazine subscriptions).
One-way Spirit award flights start at 2,500 points, so if your spending habits matched those of the average person and you got lucky with your bookings, you could theoretically enjoy several free one-way flights per year by using the Free Spirit Travel More card as your go-to card for most spending.
Though the Free Spirit program offers rewards earning opportunities with a small roster of travel partners (including car rental companies and hotels, but no airlines), the program doesn’t give you the ability to transfer rewards or book flights with other carriers.
This could be a major shortcoming if redemption flexibility is a priority for you, as your rewards are essentially “locked-in” with the Free Spirit loyalty program. That said, none of the major credit card rewards programs include Spirit on their list of transfer options, so if you’re only interested in earning rewards to use with Spirit, the Free Spirit Travel More card will likely be one of your best options.
Solid sign-up and annual bonus
The Free Spirit Travel More card offers a sign-up bonus of 40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening. On top of that, you’ll get a $100 Companion Flight Voucher for meeting the spending requirement.
This bonus is worth a combined total of just under $600 in Spirit travel based on the Points Guy’s point value estimates. Since one-way award flights start at 2,500 points, the bonus alone could theoretically take you quite far. That said, Spirit Airlines’ off-peak awards can be tough to come by.
You’ll also get a $100 travel companion voucher every year you spend at least $5,000 with the card. This is a great perk since it covers the card’s annual fee on its own. Given the card’s everyday bonus categories, the vouch should be fairly easy to earn as well.
Rates and fees
The Free Spirit Travel More card carries a $79 annual fee that’s waived in the first year. This is a notable plus, as it gives you a chance to try out the card and decide whether the ongoing fee makes sense for you when stacked against the card’s rewards and benefits.
Assuming you meet the spending requirement for the card’s annual and sign-up bonus, you should make out quite well in the first year. And even in year two, with no sign-up bonus at play and the annual fee now in the mix, you should land in the black if your spending matches that of the average consumer.
Here’s a quick look at how the math shakes out, assuming you secure the sign-up bonus and use a 1.23-cent point value and average spending.
|Period||Sign-up bonus||Rewards earned||Annual fee||Total earnings|
|Year 1||$592||$383||$0 first year||$975|
The Free Spirit Travel More card carries a decent range of potential APRs, offering an APR of 15.99% to 23.99% (variable), depending on your credit profile. The low-end APR just about matches the average credit interest rate, while the high-end rivals the rate you’ll find on credit cards for people with bad credit.
As a reminder, 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 fees for both checked baggage and carry-on baggage larger than a “personal item” (18”x14”x8”), boarding passes printed at the airport, in-flight drinks and snacks and more. You’ll also have to pay for requesting a seat assignment (flyers are randomly assigned seats at check-in for free).
Take a look at some of Spirit’s fees as you consider whether the Free Spirit Travel More card and Spirit as an airline are worth it.
Along with its annual $100 companion travel voucher when you spend $5,000, the Free Spirit Travel More card offers a few notable perks, though these aren’t particularly impressive given the card’s annual fee after the first year.
Some of the card benefits that stand out include:
- Zone 2 Shortcut Boarding on all flights. This gives you a slight leg up over Spirit’s general boarding zone, Zone 3. Zone 2 boarding comes after passengers who’ve purchased a carry-on bag for the flight.
- 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases made with the card.
- Earn Status Qualifying Points (SQPs). For every $10 in general purchases made with the card, you’ll earn 1 SQP (2,000 SQPs are required for Silver status, 5,000 for Gold, and elite status is required for many perks like free checked bags). If you pay for Spirit flights, you’ll earn 1 SQP per dollar.
- Pool points with up to eight other loyalty program members.
- No foreign transaction fees. Given the card’s Caribbean and Latin American routes, this is a big plus. Many cards charge a fee of 3% of the purchase price for every foreign transaction.
- Redemption fee waiver. Award travel booked fewer than 28 days in advance typically incurs a $50 fee.
- Cellphone protection. Pay your monthly cellphone bill with the card and get cellphone insurance that covers up to $1,000 per year ($800 per claim, 2 claims per year, with a $50 deductible) against damage and theft.
- Other World Elite Mastercard benefits, including Lyft credits, cash back on Boxed orders, a free ShopRunner membership and more.
While decent, this list falls short of the benefits you’ll find on some competing rewards cards, which can come with perks like credits for TSA Precheck or Global Entry, free checked bags, lounge passes and more.
How does the Free Spirit Travel More card compare to other travel rewards cards?
If you are set on earning rewards with Spirit, then the Free Spirit Travel More card will likely be one of your best options, and it shouldn’t be too difficult to offset the annual fee with rewards and perks earned via card spend.
If you are open to flying with other airlines, however, you may be better off with a general travel rewards credit card. These cards typically offer much more flexibility with how you can earn and redeem rewards. Here are a few of our top picks worth considering:
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card*
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
1.5 points per dollar on all purchases
2 points per dollar on all purchases
80,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months, plus earn up to $50 in statement credits toward grocery store purchases in your first year.
25,000 online bonus points after spending $1,000 in first 90 days
60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
The most eye-catching feature of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is its sign-up bonus – worth up to $1,000 when redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards. You can enjoy a 25% higher point value when you book travel through the Chase portal, and the card also comes with a very flexible redemption scheme that allows you to transfer points to a number of partners, including United and JetBlue, sometimes for a higher point value.
A good fit if you’re looking for simplicity, the Bank of America Travel Rewards card carries a flat rewards rate of 1.5 points per dollar and charges no annual or foreign transaction fees. Plus, if you’re a Bank of America customer, you may be able to take advantage of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program to enjoy a higher rewards rate based on the size of your bank balance.
The Capital One Venture card offers a competitive 2 miles per dollar on every purchase and allows you to redeem points at the same rate whether you book through the Capital One travel portal or with an outside provider. This means you could use your Venture points to cover airfare booked with Spirit but also have the flexibility to use rewards with a plethora of other airlines.
Who should get the Free Spirit Travel More card?
- Frequent flyers of Spirit Airlines or travelers who frequent Spirit Airlines destinations in the U.S., Caribbean or Latin America
- Cardholders who live in a hub city served by Spirit Airlines.
- No-frills bargain hunters who don’t mind jumping through some hoops to get cheap airline travel.
- Cardholders who plan to take advantage of the first-year annual fee waiver to see if the card is right for them.
How to use the Free Spirit Travel More card:
- Use the card for all dining and grocery expenses to take advantage of the 2-point-per-dollar earning rate.
- Spend at least $5,000 per year with the card to earn the $100 travel companion voucher and cover the card’s annual fee.
- Spend at least $2,000 on Spirit flights to earn 2,000 SQPs and Silver elite status (or $5,000 for 5,000 SQPs and Gold elite status).
- Supplement Spirit purchases with general spending to earn more SQPs at a rate of 1 SQP per $10 spent.
- Take a close look at the airline’s fees to be sure your hard-earned rewards aren’t canceled out by surprising charges at the check-in counter.
Is the Free Spirit Travel More card worth it?
The Free Spirit Travel More card could definitely be worth the price of admission – but it really depends on your Spirit Airlines loyalty.
The Free Spirit Travel More card and the Free Spirit frequent flyer program are so intertwined that it doesn’t make much sense to use one without the other, so while the card may be a good fit if you love Spirit Airlines and frequent its destinations, the majority of travelers will likely be better off with a more flexible travel rewards card.
That said, if you’re already a Spirit Airlines loyalist who’s found you can get good deals on domestic and international routes, the annual travel companion voucher and ongoing rewards should easily cover the annual fee, and the card’s inclusion of dining and grocery purchases in its bonus rewards categories should make it simple to earn a large number of Spirit points.
*All information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. This offer is no longer available on our site.
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