There are three tiers to the program:
- Somebody – Basic default tier, achieved just by signing up.
- Elite – There are three ways to attain this tier:
- get the Spirit credit card and make at least one purchase per month
- in the last 6 months, earn at least 12,000 FREE SPIRIT miles
- in the last 6 months, spend at least $1,200 on base fares (taxes/fees not included in calculation)
- VIP – You’ll have to fly or spend a lot to get this one:
- in the last 6 months, earn at least 24,000 FREE SPIRIT miles
- in the last 6 months, spend at least $2,400 on base fares
Miles can come from any source to qualify for the the higher tiers although at the moment there’s no difference in the Elite and VIP tiers.
The two main ways to earn miles are through credit card spending and flying.
- Credit card – earn 2 miles for every dollar spent.
- Flying – earn 50% of miles flown for the somebody tier and 100% of miles flown for the Elite and VIP tiers.
There are two factors in determining how many spirit miles are needed for redemption: when you’re traveling and where you’re traveling.
There are set calendar dates for off-peak, standard, peak, and premium awards. Off-peak awards are only available to Spirit credit card holders. Distance between the two destinations determines region 1-4.
The table illustrates that credit card holders will really benefit from this program since members can fly one-way for as little as 2,5000 miles and get significantly reduced awards across all regions.
Spirit allows you to search fares with month views, which gives you a broad view of your options.
Plenty of available dates for LGA-FLL.
You will pay varying award fees depending on how far in advance you book your ticket. There will be security fees tacked on too.
- $0 (No Fee) – award ticket requested at least 180 days prior to departure
- $15 – award ticket requested between 21 and 179 days prior to departure
- $75 – award ticket requested between 7 and 20 days prior to departure
- $100 – award ticket requested 6 days or less prior to departure
Spirit miles expire if you have not earned any miles within the previous three months. Tip: Use them for magazine subscriptions, if need be, rather then let them expire worthless.
Tips & Hacks
Availability varies greatly depending on the route and in my experience I’ve had great success flying Spirit to/from a destination and using a different airline for the other leg.
Watch out for an upcoming post on workarounds on how to get certain awards for less.
The whole program is geared towards Spirit credit card holders. The airline is no frills and its reward program is relatively straightforward. To get maximum value, most off-peak awards are generally on weekdays so having flexibility to travel is necessary.