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Spirit Upends Loyalty Marketing with New Mileage Promotion

SmarterTravel

Ever-ready to stick a thumb in the eye of other airlines, Spirit’s latest promotion turns mainstream loyalty marketing on its head. Instead of awarding more miles for higher-priced tickets—as has become the norm, with the proliferation of spend-based schemes—Spirit is offering a mileage bonus that increases as the airfare decreases. “The less you spend, the more miles you will get.”

Offer Details

Between August 1 and 31, Free Spirit members can earn bonus miles that vary according to the base airfare, as follows:

  • 1,000 bonus miles (2,500 for $9 Fare Club members) for fares under $75
  • 500 bonus miles (1,000 for $9 Fare Club members) for $76 – $125 fares
  • 150 bonus miles (500 for $9 Fare Club members) for $126 – $200 fares

Deal or No Deal

OK, Spirit has low fares. We get it. Unfortunately for the airline, this promotion also shines a light on the Free Spirit loyalty program, and Free Spirit is about as unrewarding as a rewards program can be.

  • 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

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.

Reader Reality Check

Free Spirit miles anyone? Anyone?

More from SmarterTravel:

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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