Frontier Airlines World Mastercard Review: Is It Worth It?
The Frontier Airlines World Mastercard is an airline rewards card providing special rewards and benefits for Frontier airlines customers, including a $100 yearly flight credit and 40,000 bonus miles.
The card is an interesting choice because it provides some benefits you wouldn’t expect from a budget airlines credit card.
In this review, we’ll take some time to analyze how the card’s rewards work, what extra benefits it gives you, its rates and fees and how it compares to other airline cards from airlines like United, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and American.
At the end of our review, we’ll give you our thoughts about what the card’s strengths and weakness are, and who we think it’s good for.
If you apply for the Frontier Airlines credit card and you get the card, you can start earning points right away. The quickest way to earn a big chunk of frequent flyer miles is to spend $500 on the card in the first 90 days. If you do that, then you’ll earn 40,000 frequent flyer miles.
At the same time, any purchases you make will earn miles based on what you’re buying. Every purchase you make from Frontier will earn you five miles per dollar, which is more than double most airline rewards cards. All restaurant purchases will earn three miles per dollar. All other purchases will earn one mile per dollar.
Based on our research of averaging spending per household, we believe that the three rewards categories can earn you 40,730 miles per year. This figure is based on:
- $1,000 spent with Frontier: 5,000 miles
- $3,365 spent at restaurants: 10,095 miles
- $25,635 spent on everything else: 25,635 miles
Barclays, the card issuer, calculates the miles you earn each month and deposits them to your Frontier Airlines frequent flyer account. If you don’t have an account when you apply for the card, Frontier will set one up for you. Their frequent flyer program is called “Frontier Miles.”
Redeeming your points for flights is simple. You’ll go to their website, enter a flight and select “Miles” instead of “Dollars.”
We did a quick search for one of the most popular routes in the United States to find out how many miles it cost. A flight from Newark (EWR) to Los Angeles (LAX) cost 40,000 miles at the time of publishing, with a cash price of $275.
The flight we chose was a Friday to Sunday flight. We noticed that these two days only had flights for 20,000 miles each way. Other departure and arrival days had seats for 10,000 miles.
This tells us that you may have to pay more miles than normal to depart on Friday and arrive on Sunday, regardless of the flight. This is key, as your sign-up bonus will only be good for one flight, in most cases.
Also, keep in mind that Frontier has a limited route map. We wanted to provide miles costs for flights from Los Angeles to San Francisco and Newark to Chicago but Frontier doesn’t fly to San Francisco or Chicago.
Unfortunately, we don’t see this card’s points carrying a lot of value if you need to take a weekend flight.
In addition to the rewards listed above, you get a few other benefits with this card. First, if you can spend $2,500 in a year, Frontier will give you a $100 flight voucher you can put toward tickets you by at flyfrontier.com. The fine print says you cannot use the voucher to book tickets anywhere but through the website.
The second benefit you get is priority boarding, which is great for those who like to board a plane before the rush, find a spot for your carry-on and comfortably settle into your seat.
An additional benefit to the card is that you earn one “Qualifying Mile” for the Frontier Elite program. This is a tiered program that rewards with you with specific perks the higher you move up in the program.
This is a sort of hidden benefit that you may not notice. We believe that the average household will be able to earn at least 25,000 Qualifying Miles per year, which gives you Elite 20K status. With this, you get a free carry on, you can pick your own seat and you’re eligible for free upgrades to seats with more legroom.
This tier also waives miles redemption fees and gives you priority boarding. These benefits are, however, available to all Frontier Airlines World Mastercard customers.
In our opinion, these benefits are a bit quirky because you don’t see them often among leading airlines rewards cards. However, they can save you quite a bit of money if you earn Elite status. Doing so means you don’t have to pay for a carry on that would normally cost $35 at the time of booking online and $60 at the gate.
Based on our research, we think this card’s extra benefits are intriguing but not quite as good as other cards we’ll discuss later.
Interest rates and fees are an important part of owning an airline credit card because the rates tend to be higher than what you’d get with a cash back or low APR credit card.
If you aren’t careful, carrying a balance on this card can become pretty expensive. We’ll explain this after we show you the card’s rates and fees:
- Interest rate for purchases and balance transfers: 18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24%
- Interest rate for cash advances: 27.49%
- Penalty interest rate: None
- Balance transfer fee: $5 or 3%, whichever is greater
- Cash advance fee: $10 or 5%, whichever is greater
- Foreign transaction fee: None
- Late/returned payment fee: Up to $37
- Annual fee: $79
Before we get into interest rates, we want to point out that the card’s $79 annual fee is low compared to other cards. The drawback, though, is that your first year isn’t free (more on that later).
As for interest rates, the best APR on this card is on par with other airline and travel cards. However, it’s worst APR is tied with other Barclays airline cards for the highest.
The following chart shows you how much you’ll pay in interest over the course of one year with five different average daily balances:
|18.24% APR for one year||22.24% APR for one year||27.24% APR for one year|
|$1,000 daily balance||$182.40||$222.40||$272.40|
|$2,000 daily balance||$364.80||$444.80||$544.80|
|$3,000 daily balance||$547.20||$667.20||$817.20|
|$4,000 daily balance||$729.60||$889.60||$1,089.60|
|$5,000 daily balance||$912.00||$1,112.00||$1,362.50|
The price you’ll pay to carry a balance of any kind is high. However, once you carry a $2,000 balance for one year, you’re already paying more in interest than what you save in booking a flight with 40,000 rewards miles (EWR to LAX is $275).
Because of this, we always recommend that you pay off your balance in full every month. If you don’t, you’ll continue to pay interest until your balance is down to $0 for an entire billing period.
The chart below is an in-depth comparison of the top airline rewards credits cards. It gives you some solid context for what the Frontier Airlines card offers:
|Frontier Airlines World Mastercard||AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard||United Explorer Card||Gold Delta SkyMiles Card||Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card||JetBlue Plus Card||Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard|
|Sign-up bonus||40,000 miles||60,000 miles||40,000 miles||35,000 miles/$50 statement credit||40,000 points||40,000 points||50,000 miles|
|Yearly miles/points on $30,000 spending||40,730||31,000||35,045||31,000||31,000||42,428||36,420|
|Number of free bags||None||1||1||1||2||1||1|
|Global Entry/ TSA PreCheck||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|In-flight discounts||No||$25 per year/25%||25%||20%||No||50%||25%|
|Annual fee||$79||$99||$0 first year/$95 after||$0 first/$95 after||$99||$99||$0 first year/$99 after|
|APR||18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24%||18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24%||18.24% to 25.24%||17.99% to 26.99%||18.24% to 25.24%||18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24%||18.24% to 26.24%|
As you can see, there are some things the Frontier card does well and some things it doesn’t do well. For example, it doesn’t give you a reimbursement for government programs that help you get through security faster (Global Entry, TSA PreCheck). The United Explorer Card does.
The Gold Delta SkyMiles Card and the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard waive their annual fee the first year while the Frontier card doesn’t.
Also, the Frontier card lacks discounts on in-flight purchases, whereas the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard has a 25% discount and a $25 yearly credit. The JetBlue Plus Card is the best card in this category, offering a 50% in-flight discount.
However, there are some things the Frontier card does really well. We like that it gives you miles for their Elite status program, something you don’t see with the other cards in the chart.
Also, it’s one of the four cards in the group to provide its customers with free priority boarding. Finally, the card’s yearly rewards totals are the second-highest in the group.
Overall, the card has mixed results when you compare it to other leading airline cards. We’ll provide in the next section our overall breakdown of its strengths and weaknesses.
To use, this card has some clear advantages and disadvantages. First, it’s only one of two cards that eclipse 40,000 yearly rewards miles. However, those miles carry the most leverage when you can book round-trip flights for 20,000 miles. If you’re stuck having to pay 40,000 miles for a round-trip ticket, the value of those miles decreases rapidly.
We also like how you get a $100 flight voucher. The AAdvantage Aviator Red is the only other card that provides a discount on a ticket you’d pay for with cash.
The drawbacks to the card, though, cut into the value of the advantages. For example, the card’s highest APR can be very costly if you tend to carry a balance.
Weekend flights seem to cost 40,000 miles per round-trip. If you take most of your trips from Friday to Sunday, you’re losing a lot of miles value. Additionally, the card doesn’t afford you reimbursement for the cost of federal expedited security programs.
Finally, you don’t get any free checked bags with the card and you have to pay for carry-ons to until you hit Elite status.
In general, we think this card is a great fit for someone with good credit scores who flies during the week and can take advantage of Frontier’s low-miles mid-week rewards seats. Otherwise, we think the other cards mentioned above could benefit you more.
In our opinion, the United Explorer Card and the AAdvantage Aviator Red are two cards with excellent all-around rewards and benefits.