Frontier Airlines is revamping its frequent flyer program

Frontier Airlines aircraft park at the gates of Denver International Airport (DEN) on August 5, 2023 in Denver, Colorado.

Daniel Slim | Afp | Getty Images

Even for low-cost airlines, achieving elite status now only depends on how much you spend.

Frontier Airlines joined major airlines on Tuesday in announcing an overhaul of its frequent flyer program to reward travelers based on how much they pay for the flight.

Frontier and other budget airlines offer cheap, no-frills fares and fees for everything from seat assignments to carry-on luggage. Those surcharges will count toward the Denver-based airline’s elite frequent flyer status starting next year.

The airline’s current program grants travelers one frequent flyer mile for every physical mile they fly Frontier.

The new spend-based model is similar to recent program changes by other major airlines such as Delta Airlines And American Airlines. Last week, Delta rolled back some of its new elite status limits and restrictions on airport lounge access after customers complained about the changes.

Frontier said customers can achieve Silver Elite status, a new tier, after earning 10,000 miles, which the airline says is equivalent to spending $1,000. Tiers increase to Diamond at 100,000 miles, but there are accelerators that allow you to earn more miles at each tier.

Perks include fee-free flight changes, seat assignments, in-cabin pets and, at the highest level, a second free checked bag.

Additional revenue is particularly important for low-cost airlines. Frontier said in the second quarter Ancillary revenue rose 6% year-over-year to $80 per passenger, while fare revenue fell 15% to nearly $48 per passenger.

Frontier is expected to report third-quarter results before the market opens on Thursday.

The rise of airport lounges

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