If you have a credit card and use it even somewhat often, then you should make sure it’s a card that features a decent rewards program. If you’ve had a problem with debt and don’t feel you’re able to control your spending, then forget the cards altogether. Don’t risk earning extra dollars for the potential dollars in finance charges you may incur.
However for the sake of this post, I’ll assume you are able to responsibly handle your finances. In this case, you should be putting absolutely everything you buy on a credit card, specifically a card that offers cash back or for those who travel, airline miles. There’s no reason to use cash or a debit card at the grocery store when you could be earning a bonus just for using a credit card. Most times I go shopping for example I’ll use the credit card at the grocery store and then as soon as I get home transfer the amount from my checking to the credit card bill in waiting.
I have a few rewards credit cards myself. I pay them off in full each month and earn great travel rewards. For this post, I’ll touch on my Frontier Airlines MasterCard and how I earned two FREE tickets to Alaska. (Pending me using them.)
Barclays Bank is currently working with Frontier Airlines to offer the, “Frontier Airlines World Master Card.” You can apply for the card using the link directly from Barclays right here. *Note Barclays does offer affiliate credit to some websites and blogs. Meaning if someone clicks on the link, that blogger gets a referral bonus or payment. I do not currently have any type of affiliate status so I won’t receive anything if you end up applying. If you have another blog or website you frequent that you think may have affiliate status, you may want to sign up using their link.
The current best offer being promoted for the Frontier Airlines Credit Card is up to 50,000 bonus miles if you’re approved for the card and spend $500 within the first 90 days. In reality through (up to) 10,000 of these miles must come about via a balance transfer from another card, and I’ve always preferred not to mess around with the ins and outs of balance transfers. Plus since all my cards are paid off, I don’t have a balance to transfer. For the remainder of this post, I’m going to operate as if the offer is just for 40,000. But 40,000 miles would normally equate to about $400 in airline miles for a normal card so this is pretty good. There is a $69 fee which is not waived for the first year, (some companies do waive the first year fee.) There’s also a free card but that one only offers 10,000 miles. For just a $69 fee, it’s well worth getting the card with the 40,000 miles bonus.
I don’t believe the card is super hard to get nor do you need to have spotless credit.
Now most airline carriers and their rewards cards offer promotions like, “Receive a free roundtrip domestic flight! Get 25,000 or 30,000 airline miles.” They say that because it will cost you 25,000 or 30,000 “reward miles” to fly throughout the continental United States. The major benefit to the Frontier card and having Frontier miles however, is that their miles stretch a great deal further. Frontier airlines, based out of Denver, flys only domestically and to Jamaica, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. Like Spirit airlines, they’re a no-frills airline. You don’t get orange juice, bags cost money and you need to pay for extra leg room. But the tickets themselves are cheap. Personally I’ve always preferred this business model. I’d rather save $10 and not get a can of juice and pretzels.
Having some business interests in Costa Rica, this stood out to me. But what stood out to me even more was that Frontier’s, “domestic” travel DOES include Alaska. Since I achieved my goal of visiting every state in the Continental U.S. before 30, I have just Alaska and Hawaii to go. And with Frontier, a roundtrip ticket to Alaska costs fewer reward miles than a ticket to all of the other international routes.
For only 20,000 miles I can get a roundtrip ticket to Alaska. For 40,000 miles, (the bonus I received when I signed up and spent $500,) I can get two of them. So for just a few minutes of paperwork, a $69 fee and some minor taxes to cover the security fees, I’ve got two, “Free” roundtrip tickets to Alaska. All told, I’ll probably spend between $80 and $100 for the yearly card fee and the taxes. $100 at most, in exchange for two roundtrip tickets to Alaska.
I know, I know you might be saying, “but Steeeve… that’s not technically a FREE ticket. You had to spend $69 to get the card and then pay security fees.” I get it. But I value the added benefits of the card as well justifying the $69 fee, plus security fees and taxes are always included, there’s no way around them whether I bought a ticket now on Delta or United or got a rewards ticket through Frontier. So in my mind, I count this as pretty darn close to free. That’s two tickets to Alaska that I don’t have to pay for. That could very well be a savings of close to $1,000. Just for using the rewards card to buy things I was going to buy anyway. Amazing.
Once you receive the 40,000 miles, the card provides 1 mile for every $1 spent on everyday purchases and 2 miles for every $1 spent on Frontier Airline flights. The 1 to 1 ratio for everyday purchases is about average in the rewards card industry. If you have no other rewards cards, the Frontier $69 fee card is worth keeping. Their options are limited though so if you want to fly all over the world, this won’t get you to where you need to go. The free Frontier Master Card only provides .50 cents on purchases, which are pretty low rewards levels. But there’s no charge. At the very least, apply for the $69 fee card and earn the 40,000 rewards points. Then in a year if you don’t think the $69 value is worth it, or if you have a better rewards card, call and switch to the free one or cancel the card. You’ll never lose the reward points, even if you cancel the card, just as long as you hit the minimum spending threshold and see the miles transfer.
This is how I earned two roundtrip tickets to Alaska, (where I intend to go) for free or at worst for literally just pennies on the dollar. You could also say I got two free roundtrip tickets to Jamaica or Costa Rica or Mexico. I could go to any of those places in addition to domestic locations. Do yourself a favor and consider signing up for this card and receiving the bonus. When people tell me, “I wish I could travel like you, I just don’t have the money.” I point to opportunities like this and tell them to stop making excuses.