As loyalty programs go, Spirit Airlines' Free Spirit gives members laughably little reason to be loyal.
There are very few earning partners (Choice hotels, Hertz, and the Free Spirit MasterCard). Miles can only be redeemed for Spirit flights. There are fees to redeem miles within 180 days of departure. And miles expire after just three months of inactivity, unless you hold the program-linked MasterCard and make at least one purchase per month.
But as of this month, Free Spirit members have an additional avenue for earning miles: Free Spirit Dining.
Through the program's tie-up with Rewards Network, the company that manages the dining-miles feature of most major U.S. Airline and hotel programs, Free Spirit members can earn up to five miles per $1 spent at more than 10,000 participating restaurants.
As with other dining-miles programs, members must first register their credit cards, after which any qualifying dining charges, including tax and tip, will automatically generate miles to the user's account. It's a slick system, with no need to show a loyalty card or verbally request the miles when settling the bill.
But it's not a difference-maker. The days of lucrative dining-miles payouts of 10 or more miles per $1 are long gone. Earning miles for dining is easy, but it's not terribly compelling.
And it's certainly no reason to engage with a program as otherwise unrewarding as Free Spirit.
Reader Reality Check
Are you a Free Spirit member? Why?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.
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