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Spirit Is Giving Away 1.6 Billion Miles. Should You Care?

SmarterTravel

Spirit’s widely disparaged leader, Ben Baldanza, may be gone, but the airline’s cheeky, cheesy marketing flies on without him.

The latest:

If you won a cut of last night’s $1.6 billion jackpot, you can now afford to fly those much more expensive airlines. For the rest of us, we’re still all about saving money on air travel. Don’t worry, though. Your luck hasn’t run out just yet. Spirit has a jackpot of their own – 1,600,000,000 miles! That’s 1.6 BILLION. The best part? Everyone can win.

What everyone will win is 1,000 Free Spirit miles, just for playing. Apparently, Spirit figures that having some miles banked in its loyalty scheme will increase the chances that a program member will book Spirit for his next trip. With some airlines, that “investment” strategy might be viable.

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But before spending even a minute of your time signing up for the Free Spirit program and participating in the giveaway, take a gander at the program’s terms and conditions. Among them:

  • Very limited number of earning partners
  • Miles only redeemable for Spirit flights or magazines
  • Fees to redeem miles within 180 days of departure
  • Miles expire after just three months of inactivity, unless members hold the program-linked MasterCard and make at least one purchase per month

In short, Free Spirit is about as unrewarding as a rewards program can be. Unless you’re a frequent Spirit flyer—and frequent flyers are not the airline’s target market—you’re unlikely to derive any real value from Spirit miles, no matter how easy they were to earn.

And speaking of free, here’s some free advice for the winner of 1 billion miles: Cash them in as quickly as possible, before they expire.

Reader Reality Check

What would you do with 1 billion Spirit miles?

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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