About Spirit Airlines World Mastercard
The Spirit Airlines World Mastercard is a credit card offered by Spirit Airlines, through which new customers can get 15,000 rewards points they can use for free flights.
Spirit Airlines is known for being a low-cost, no-frills airline tailored for budget travelers who want to find the best deals on regional, national and international flights.
With that in mind, it’s important to figure exactly how the Spirit Airlines World Mastercard can benefit you. Does it work for all travelers, or are the free miles you get best utilized for someone who lives near a Spirit Airlines hub?
These are the kinds of questions that can make or break your decision about which airlines rewards credit card is best for you. Now, getting the answers you want takes some time. You have to figure out more than just airports:
- What are the benefits of the Spirit Airlines card?
- What are Spirit Airlines miles actually worth?
- Are there fees and charges I should know about?
- What do other people say about this card?
We love answering these types of questions because we’ve done it for dozens of credit cards and we know how helpful they are in helping consumers like you figure out the best credit card for your life.
Our review of the Spirit Airlines world Mastercard will follow the four questions we mentioned. We’ll dig into the details of the card, read through the fine print and give you our thoughts on the card. We’ll also include some comparisons to other airline rewards cards.
What are the Benefits of the Spirit Airlines World Mastercard?
The Spirit Airlines World Mastercard is offered by Bank of America, which is an important thing to note because, as we mentioned in our Best Travel Rewards Card of 2017 guide, Bank of America isn’t really known for being generous with sign-up bonuses.
We see that precedent continuing with the Spirit Airlines card, but we’ll get to that in a few minutes. In the meantime, we’ll cover the card’s initial perks and its other travel benefits.
You’ll get two main up-front benefits with this card: 15,000 bonus miles and no annual fee for the first year.
The Spirit Airline Card’s Up-Front Rewards
That tradition, in our opinion, continues with the Spirit Airlines World Mastercard. As we mentioned in the introduction to this review, you can get 15,000 bonus miles with your first purchase.
Those miles are deposited to your Spirit Airlines FREE SPIRIT account after the billing cycle (usually 30 days) in which you make your first purchase.
Bank of America’s Spirit Airlines credit card page says that those 15,000 miles can be redeemed for three round-trip, off-peak rewards flights (more on that later).
The other up-front perk with this card is that Bank of America will waive the card’s $59 annual fee the first year you own the card.
The Spirit Airlines Card’s Additional Travel Rewards
Aside from the bonus miles and no annual fee for the first year, the Spirit Airlines World Mastercard has three other main travel benefits you can use for or on Spirit Airlines flights.
Earning Miles With Every Purchase
Whenever you swipe your Spirit Airlines credit card to make purchases at a store or use it to buy things online, you’ll earn two Spirit Airlines miles for every dollar you spend.
Based on what we’ve read from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ reports on average spending habits, a family could put at least $24,000 a year on their credit card, which would equal nearly 50,000 miles a year for Spirit Airlines credit card customers.
The card’s terms and conditions also note that you can earn five miles per dollar at certain restaurants included in Spirit Airlines’ FREE SPIRIT Dining program. There are more than 10,000 restaurants in the program.
You can use the Dining site to search restaurants in your area. The results you get include the restaurant’s name and address, ratings from people who’ve eaten there, average entrée price and the days on which you can earn rewards.
We did a quick search of Upper East Side restaurants in New York City and found 431 results within 5 miles of the 10021 zip code. Only two of the first 20 results had restrictions on which days you could earn the 5x bonus.
In our Best Airlines Rewards Card of 2017 article, we made sure to point out airline credit cards that gave customers pre-flight perks like priority boarding because it’s something that many travelers enjoy.
Spirit Airlines World Mastercard customers get preferred boarding on Spirit Airlines flights they book with their credit card. “Preferred boarding” means you get to board with Zone 2 passengers. So, no matter where your seat is on the plane, you can board with the second group of passengers.
This practice is similar to what you’d get with the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select, United MileagePlus and Gold Delta SkyMiles card.
Certain airline credit cards give you extra bonuses throughout the year if you spend a certain amount of money. For example, the Spirit Airlines card will award you 5,000 free miles if you can spend $10,000 in one calendar year.
The British Airways Visa Signature from Chase is another airline rewards card with bonus miles for big spenders: 50,000 Avios can be had if you spend $30,000 in one year.
The anniversary miles are a nice perk, but the value of those miles – and the introductory bonus miles – lie in how much it costs for a Spirit Airlines rewards flight.
How Much Are Spirit Airlines Miles Really Worth
As we mentioned earlier, Bank of America claims that your 15,000 bonus miles can be used to book three round-trip, off-peak flights. What this means is that you can book Region 1 flights (short-haul) for 2,500 miles each way during slow parts of the travel year.
At face value, that’s one of the best deals in the airline rewards world right now. But, if there’s anything we’ve learned through our credit-card research, it’s that miles bonuses should never be taken at face value.
We researched on Spirit.com point values for popular flights and not-so-popular flights and weren’t able to find a single 2,500-mile fare. In fact, all the fares we saw cost 15,000 miles or more, which makes the 15,000-mile bonus seem pretty invaluable. What good is an airline miles bonus if it can only get you a one-way flight?
We read through FlyerTalk.com, a popular discussion board for rewards travelers, and found that many Spirit Airlines cardholders were having trouble booking off-peak fares. Here’s one comment from someone named “MJ Napoli:”
“I looked ALL OVER Spirit's website and I find almost no 2,500 or even 5,000-mile options. I use their chart to search off-peak like I have in the past and can't find almost anything at all. I used to find 2,500 or 5,000 immediately, but now it's like all those deals have vanished. Have you had any luck figuring out why that has become the case in the last few weeks? It's very disappointing.”
If you want to take a chance and try the Spirit Airlines Mastercard, here’s a chart from Spirit detailing which dates are “off-peak” and which flights get the lowest rates:
Image credit: Spirit Airlines
There’s one major “gotcha” clause with your miles: You have to use your card at least once every three months to keep them. This tactic is pretty rare among airlines rewards cards. Our advice? Only get this card if you want to use it to make all your purchases.
The Spirit Airlines World Mastercard’s Rates and Fees
Every credit card you get will have a series of rates and fees that, in most cases, will only kick in if you pay late on your balance or you don’t pay your balance in full. Here are the rates and fees for the Spirit Airlines credit card:
- APR for purchases and balance transfers: 13.74%-23.74%
- APR for cash advances: 16.74%-25.74%
- Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, indefinitely
- Balance transfer fee: 3%
- Foreign transaction fee: 3%
- Late fee: $38
- Annual fee: $59, free first year
- Awards booking fees: Up to $100
We noticed three things about this card’s APR and fees.
First, the lowest purchase APR is lower than all the cards we reviewed in our Best Airline Rewards Card of 2017 guide.
Second, this card has a penalty APR that applies to your account if you make a single late payment. What this means is, if you make a late payment, any purchases, balance transfers or cash advances you make after that late payment will be charged up to a 29.99% interest rate.
The final thing to note is the award booking fees. Here’s how they work:
- At least 180 days before departure: $0
- Between 21 and 179 days: $15
- Between 7 and 20 days: $75
- Six days or less: $100
These fees are pretty high considering most airlines don’t charge rewards booking fees and one of them that does, American Airlines, charges a flat rate of $75 for any rewards bookings within 21 days of departure.
What Other People Are Saying About the Spirit Airlines World Mastercard
The general consensus from experts and consumers is that the Spirit Airlines credit card is pretty awful.
Criticism is split between the low value of the 15,000 intro miles and the fact that Spirit has a slew of charges: checking in at the airport, any baggage bigger than a small carry-on, seats that recline.
In fact, Credit Card Forum’s review of the card has a page title of: “Spirit Airlines Credit Card Review 2016: The Worst Card Ever?”
The comments on this page were particularly insightful, too. Here’s a quick review of some of the most direct:
- “Terrible card. (There) should be a class action lawsuit against them for deceptive marketing practices. The 15k miles don’t get you jack. I returned my card and closed account immediately.”
- “Don’t get sucked in…I’ve had this card for 2 years. Spirit miles are totally not worth the hassle of collecting them. Go with a cashback card instead. $59 fee per year is a ridiculous annual fee for what you get.”
- “The mileage chart they publish online has no basis in reality. If you search for dates, all of them will mysteriously be considered ‘peak’ and can only be redeemed for the highest possible amount of miles.”
CreditCards.com gave the card a 2.7 out of 5, saying “the Spirit Airlines World MasterCard credit card might delight loyal Spirit Airlines fliers living in the busiest Spirit hubs, but it also is likely to disappoint everyone else.”
The card gets an average of 3.5 stars from 282 reviews on WalletHub (at the time of publishing). Many of the recent comments expressed frustration over redeeming miles for flights.
However, we did notice that two recent reviewers from Detroit said the card offers great value.
Detroit happens to be one of Spirit Airlines’ hub airports, which means they operate a lot of flights out of the city’s airport and there are more destinations than non-hub airports.
Our Final Thoughts About the Spirit Airlines World Mastercard
We tend to give credit cards the benefit of the doubt until we’ve had the chance to do a full review and see the pros and cons for ourselves.
In the case of the Spirit Airlines World Mastercard, it’s our opinion that the card isn’t worth your time and there are far better cards out there:
- The penalty APR can cost you a lot of money if this is your primary card and you pay late one time
- Rewards redemptions seem to be high for anyone not living in Spirit Hubs (Detroit, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Dallas)
- 3-month rule forces you to use this card
Now, while we’re pretty adamant that there are better airline rewards cards out there, the Spirit Airlines credit card has some decent perks: low APR, no annual fee in the first year, decent rewards availability in hub cities.
If you’re a Spirit Airlines fan because you live near one of their hub airports, we can see how this card might be attractive. If that’s you, take a look at Spirit Airlines’ route map to get an idea of where you can fly.
Both of these airlines are considered “budget” airlines and both have bonus miles that give you more flexibility than what you get on Spirit Airlines.
In our opinion, the Southwest card is the better choice because you get two free bags per flight and a big sign-up bonus that can score you, in most cases, at least two round-trip tickets.