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Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® review: A good value for Frontier loyalists

 /  8 min
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At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for and how we rate our cards. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Snapshot

3.6

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 3.6 stars out of 5

Bottom line

Frequent Frontier Airlines flyers looking for a low-cost way to earn rewards and reach elite status can squeeze a lot of value out of this card.

Image of Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®

Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®

*
3.6
Rating: 3.6 stars out of 5
Bankrate score
Info
N/A

60,000 Travel Miles

Intro offer

Info

N/A

Offer valuation

Info

1x - 5x

Rewards rate

Info

$89

Annual fee

21.24% to 29.99% (Variable)

Regular APR

Frontier Airlines World Mastercard Overview

The Frontier Airlines World Mastercard is worth a look if you enjoy low-cost travel. It offers a generous rewards rate on Frontier flights and restaurant purchases and comes with a number of valuable perks, including a welcome offer that could be worth up to two round-trip flights. You also get a chance to earn elite status faster and a $100 flight voucher each year after your anniversary once you spend $2,500.

The Frontier Airlines card comes with an intro annual fee of $0, but after the first year, you’ll pay an $89 annual fee. If you’re a loyal and frequent flyer on Frontier Airlines and care mostly about getting from point A to point B at a bare minimum price, the cost might be worth it. But even if you’re a budget traveler who doesn’t care about flying first class, you may want to keep your options open.

Since Frontier Airlines is an ultra low-cost carrier, the price you pay for a ticket pretty much only buys you a seat. You’ll pay extra for anything else, including carry-on bags and checked bags. Other airlines do not charge you for one or two carry-on bags, and some co-branded airline cards cover the cost of one free checked bag for you and your passengers, which could add up to big savings. Depending on how you travel, booking with a different airline and airline card (or even a general-purpose travel rewards card) could provide better value.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Checkmark

    High rewards rate on flights and dining out make it easier to quickly rack up rewards compared to other airline cards

  • Checkmark

    Offers a chance to earn a welcome bonus similar to bonuses available on other top low-cost airline cards

  • Checkmark

    You can earn a $100 flight voucher each year after spending $2,500, which can help offset the annual fee

  • Checkmark

    Comes with decent airline perks like priority boarding and chance to reach elite status faster

Cons

  • Limited redemption options compared to travel cards that let you transfer your points and miles to airline partners

  • Points expire if you don’t use your card once every six months. Other airline cards offer rewards that don’t expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing

  • Missing several top airline perks like free checked bags and in-flight discounts. Some other budget airline cards give you a 25 to 50 percent discount on in-flight purchases

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: 5X miles on Frontier purchases, 3X miles at restaurants and 1X miles on everything else.
  • Limited-time welcome offer: Get 50,000 miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases within 90 days
  • Annual fee: $0 intro annual fee, $89 after intro period
  • Purchase intro APR: None
  • Balance transfer intro APR: 0 percent for 15 billing cycles
  • Regular APR: 18.24 percent, 22.24 percent or 27.24 percent variable

Current welcome offer

The Frontier Airlines card is currently offering 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases within 90 days of opening your account. Since Frontier award flights start at 10,000 miles, this welcome offer could get you one or even two round-trip flights.

This is a nice offer for a budget airline, in the similar neighborhood as the sign-up bonuses found with the best Southwest Airlines credit cards and the JetBlue Plus card.

Rewards rate

The Frontier Airlines card allows you to earn Frontier miles on Frontier flights, dining and everyday spending. Frontier also has partnerships with car rental agencies, hotels, and even cruise lines, which will give you plenty of new opportunities to rack up additional bonus miles.

However, you’ll have to make a purchase with your card at least once every six months to keep your miles from expiring. Most other airline cards earn points that never expire. For example, with the Southwest lineup of cards and the JetBlue Plus Card, your points won’t expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.

Earning rewards

As a cardholder, you’ll earn 5X miles on Frontier purchases, 3X miles on dining and 1X miles on everything else. That’s an impressive rate compared to many other cards offered by low-cost airlines. Most competing cards only earn 2X or 3X miles on flights.

For example, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card has more bonus rewards categories but only offers 3X points on Southwest purchases and 2X points in a variety of other bonus categories like local transit and commuting (including ride shares), internet, cable, and phone services (plus select streaming)

On top of this, you can also earn bonus miles when you use your card at select brands that have partnered with Frontier Airlines. These partnerships could also come with discounts. For example, when you use your Frontier card to rent a car through Budget Rent a Car, you can earn up to 1,000 bonus miles and get up to 30 percent off the cost of the rental car.

With the Frontier Airlines card, your purchases also get you closer to earning elite status. For every dollar you spend, you’ll get 1 Qualifying Mile. The first tier of elite status starts at just 20,000 qualifying miles and offers benefits like seat choice and family pooling, which allows you to combine miles with friends and family to make redemption easier.

Redeeming rewards

Your Frontier Miles can be redeemed for award tickets, starting at 10,000 miles for a one-way domestic flight when traveling in the U.S. or Puerto Rico. You can also redeem for magazines, but it would take anywhere from 500 to 3,600 miles to get a magazine subscription, which won’t give you the best value for your miles.

Frontier Airlines doesn’t have any partner airlines you can transfer your miles to, which limits your redemption options. The best travel credit cards let you transfer your points or miles to other airlines, where your rewards may be worth more. The Frontier Airlines card does let you transfer your points to select hotel loyalty programs, but your points transfer at a very unfavorable ratio, as listed here:

  • Marriott Bonvoy: 3:1 ratio
  • Radisson Rewards: 10:1 ratio
  • Wyndham Rewards: 5:1 ratio

As you can see, you’ll need to trade 3 to 10 Frontier Miles for a single point with one of these hotel loyalty programs. That’s a major dilution of your rewards value.

Instead, a better choice may be a general-purpose travel card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Its $95 annual fee and bonus categories are comparable to the Frontier Airlines card’s, but your points are more flexible and have a higher potential value. You can redeem for travel through the Chase Travel℠  portal at a value of 1.25 cents apiece or transfer points to over a dozen airline and hotel partners, including budget airlines like Southwest and JetBlue.

Other cardholder perks

The chance to earn rewards isn’t the only perk you’ll get with your Frontier Airlines credit card — you’ll also receive priority boarding, free access to your credit score and more.

Priority boarding

As a cardholder, you’ll get free Zone 2 boarding on Frontier Airlines so you can get on board and settled in sooner, which can help you get your luggage stowed before overhead space fills up.

$100 flight voucher

If you spend $2,500 or more in a year, you’ll get a free $100 flight voucher on your account anniversary. This is a nice perk for a budget airline and could cover the card’s annual fee on its own. Many top airlines offer a similar yearly flight voucher, but most require you to spend $5,000 to $10,000 before you can earn this perk.

Award redemption fee waiver

If you book a Frontier flight with your rewards, you won’t have to pay an award fee as long as you use your card to cover any additional taxes and fees. Depending on when you book your travel, this perk could save you up to $75.

FICO score

Barclays gives you complimentary access to your FICO score and sends you an alert whenever it changes so you can keep an eye on your credit.

Rates and fees

The Frontier Airlines Mastercard has an intro annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $89. This fee is slightly lower than the fee you’ll find on many mid-tier travel cards, and given the card’s $100 annual flight voucher perk and high rewards rates, it shouldn’t be difficult to offset.

Along with waiving your annual fee in the first year, the card comes with a 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening (then the ongoing variable rate of 18.24 percent, 22.24 percent or 27.24 percent applies), which is a benefit missing from most airline and travel cards.

The card’s regular APR of 18.24 percent, 22.24 percent or 27.24 percent variable is fairly typical for a rewards card but higher than the national average credit card interest rate. If you’re unable to pay your balances off quickly, the interest charges along with the annual fee after the first year will cut into the rewards you earn.

How the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard compares to other travel rewards cards

Frequent flyers on Frontier Airlines will get the best value with this card. But there are other options out there for budget travelers looking for low cost ways to travel. Here’s a look at two travel rewards cards: One from a budget airline and the other a versatile general-purpose travel card.

Image of Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®

Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®

Annual fee

$89

Intro offer

60,000 Travel Miles
Info

Rewards rate

1x - 5x
Info

Recommended Credit Score

N/A
Info
Image of Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Bankrate Score
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
4.0

Annual fee

$99

Intro offer

Earn 85,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

1X - 3X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

Earn 75,000 miles
Info

Rewards rate

2 Miles - 5 Miles
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Frontier Airlines World Mastercard vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Southwest Airlines ranks as one of the best low-cost carriers, and with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, you may be able to bring down the cost of travel even further.

The Frontier Airlines card and the Southwest Premier card each carry a generous sign-up bonus that gives them great short-term value, but the Frontier Card can’t match the Southwest Premier card’s long-term value. Every year with the Southwest card, you automatically get 6,000 bonus miles and two EarlyBird check-ins. The card also makes it easier to earn A-list status and the Southwest Companion Pass. Combine all that with Southwest’s larger fleet and policy that allows two free checked bags per passenger, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card may be a better pick for low-budget travel.

Frontier Airlines World Mastercard vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has a slightly higher annual fee and regular APR compared to the Frontier Airlines card. It also doesn’t offer an interest-free period on balance transfers. But as a general-purpose travel card, it should give you greater flexibility. It offers 2X miles on all purchases, so you’ll be able to earn bonus rewards on everything, including flights that aren’t booked through Frontier. It also allows you to redeem your rewards for flights on any airline and transfer your points to more than 15 partner airlines and hotels, potentially at a higher rewards value. And ever since partnering with Hopper, the Capital One Travel portal comes with a range of intuitive features that could help you find the lowest prices on flights and hotels.

Best cards to pair with the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard

Since the Frontier Airlines Mastercard doesn’t earn bonus rewards in many categories, you may want to pair it with a cash back card that rakes in bonus rewards in categories that fit your everyday spending. For example, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is one of the best rewards cards for everyday spending, offering bonus rewards for U.S. supermarkets, U.S. online retail purchases and at U.S. gas stations. Plus, if you need to avoid interest charges for a limited time to help pay off new expenses or old debt, the Blue Cash Everyday Card comes with an intro APR offer on both purchases and balance transfers.

Bankrate’s take—Is the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard worth it?

The Frontier Airlines World Mastercard is a solid choice for avid Frontier flyers, especially if you can take advantage of perks like the yearly flight discount, account pooling and path to elite status. These features not only help offset the annual fee, but also add a lot of convenience and cost saving to your travel.

But if you don’t fly Frontier Airlines often, this credit card may not be worth it. It offers a high rewards rate on Frontier flights, but travel booked through other airlines will get you just 1X miles. Plus, Frontier doesn’t have any partner airlines you can transfer your miles to, so it lacks the versatility you’ll find on other travel cards.

*The information about the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® credit card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.  

Written by
Robert Thorpe
Editor, Personal Finance

Most recently before joining Bankrate, Robert worked as an editor and writer at The Ascent by The Motley Fool, covering a number of personal finance topics, including credit cards, mortgages and loans.

Edited by Senior Editor, Credit Cards

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