After 17 months in bankruptcy—during which it was acquired by Republic, downsized, and posted several profitable quarters—Frontier Airlines is back in business, ready to compete head-to-head with Southwest and United at Denver Airport.
That's the obligatory background. What's more important for travelers is Frontier's newly energized commitment to its frequent flyer program. When the airline exited bankruptcy protection on October 1, it came out swinging, with a slew of frequent flyer promotions: a sign-up bonus for new members, a big bonus for new credit card holders, a double- or quadruple-mile promotion for flights, and an award discount.
- Through the end of the year, Frontier is offering newly enrolled EarlyReturns members a 1,500-mile bonus.
- EarlyReturns members who sign up for a Frontier MasterCard by November 15 will earn 20,000 bonus miles after the first purchase, plus an additional 20,000 miles if they charge $750 or more by February 28, 2010.
- Frontier tickets charged to a Frontier MasterCard by December 31 will earn double miles (no-fee credit card) or quadruple miles (fee-based card).
- And through January 31, 2010, Frontier is discounting Choice (unrestricted) awards on its U.S. and Mexico flights. With the discount, domestic flights are priced at 25,000 miles one-way or 30,000 miles round-trip, and Mexico flights are 40,000 miles one-way or 50,000 miles round-trip. Days surrounding holidays are blacked out.
For a smallish airline like Frontier, that's a lot of marketing activity focused on its loyalty program. Travelers who were ambivalent about Frontier due to its brush with bankruptcy and uncertain future can rest assured that the airline is now positioned to remain in business for the long term. And if these current EarlyReturns offers are indicative of things to come, they can look forward to having their loyalty to Frontier returned in kind.