Credit Cards with Budget Airlines
While credit cards and frequent flyer programs of major airlines are better known, budget airlines also have their own lineups. In particular, Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines both offer Mastercards and loyalty programs that can reward devoted customers of these companies.
Allegiant offers a World Mastercard through Bank of America. It has a $59 annual fee, and there is no alternative without one. The card earns miles in the airline’s frequent flyer program. Three points are awarded for every dollar spent on Allegiant purchases. These include not only flights, but also hotels, attractions, and car rentals that are reserved through the Allegiant website. Two points are earned on each dollar spent at restaurants, and the rate is one dollar per point for all other purchases.
Miles that are accumulated can be redeemed for flights on any day because the airline does not enforce blackout dates. All destinations the airline flies are available, and there are no restrictions on the number of points that can be redeemed. Besides flights, hotels and car rentals can be reserved with miles on Allegiant.com.
The Allegiant Mastercard also comes with a buy one, get one free air ticket policy. Purchasing a vacation package on Allegiant.com with the airline’s Mastercard earns one ticket for free if the itinerary has at least 7 days with a rental car or 4 or more nights in a hotel.
When you get to the airport, Allegiant offers more perks for holders of its card. Priority boarding is standard at no additional charge, and the airline also provides one free beverage per flight to cardholders.
Applying for the card is straightforward on Bank of America’s website. Bonus miles and interest rate specials are frequently offered to new cardholders, although various requirements usually have to be met to qualify.
Unlike Allegiant, Frontier Airlines offers a World Mastercard with no annual fee. Its rewards program isn’t as rewarding, however. Only one mile per dollar is earned for purchases made on FlyFrontier.com, where flights and hotels can both be booked. Other purchases require two dollars to earn a single mile.
A second Frontier Mastercard is available that offers a more lucrative rewards program. For a $69 annual fee, cardmembers earn two miles for every dollar spent on the airline’s website and one mile per dollar on all other purchases. Whether the annual fee is worth it will depend on how frequently cardholders use the airline, because purchases on FlyFrontier are the only way to redeem points.
Frontier’s annual fee card offers a $100 coupon if an account has at least $2,500 in purchases during the cardmembership year. Obviously, this would pay for the $69 annual fee. The coupon can be used for any purchase on the airline’s website.
Both Frontier cards are underwritten by Barclays, and they come with a free FICO credit score for any account in good standing that has had account activity in the past five months. Both cards also provide waivers for award redemption fees in the airline’s frequent flyer program.
One caveat in Frontier’s loyalty program is that miles expire in six months if there is no activity in an account. This disappointing policy applies to miles earned with either card, and there does not appear to be any way around it. Simply making one purchase every 180 days qualifies as activity.
Like the Allegiant card, both Frontier cards often run specials offering bonus miles. Typically, to qualify for these prizes, new members must spend a certain amount within a limited period of time.
While the Allegiant and Frontier cards fall short in several areas compared to the cards available with larger and better-known airlines, they do provide some nice perks for people who fly on the budget airlines regularly.