Spirit Airlines is perhaps the most notorious ultra-low-cost U.S. carrier. It nickels and it dimes at every opportunity — but it offers an elite status with surprisingly powerful features (think: free bags, free seat selection, waived overweight checked bag fees, exit-row seat assignment and much more).
Quantifying the value of these perks is crucial when considering whether you should go for Spirit Airlines elite status in 2024.
Let’s look at how to qualify for Spirit Airlines elite status — and decide if it’s worth the effort.
What is Free Spirit elite status?
Elite status in the Free Spirit loyalty program is awarded to those who frequently fly Spirit Airlines, who spend significant amounts on the carrier’s cobranded credit card or who pursue a combination of the two. There are two Spirit elite status levels: Free Spirit Silver and Free Spirit Gold.
You’ll have to spend a reasonable amount of money per year within the Spirit ecosystem to qualify for either status — but since purchases across all of Spirit’s products (including ancillary fees) count, spending a few thousand isn’t as difficult for frequent flyers as it sounds. In addition, the perks you receive from elite status could save you thousands on future travel. Free Spirit is free to join online.
Spirit measures your loyalty with a metric called status qualifying points. You must earn a specific number of SQPs in a calendar year to earn status. Your account will reflect your new status once you’ve collected enough to reach a status tier.
You’ll keep the highest status you earn for the remainder of the current year and the future calendar year. For example, if you earn Free Spirit Silver status in August 2024, your status won’t expire until Dec. 31, 2025. Just note that your SQPs don’t roll over and will reset Jan. 1 of each year.
How to qualify for Spirit elite status
Here’s what you’ll need to do to qualify for Spirit’s elite status tiers in 2024:
- Free Spirit Silver: Earn 2,000 SQPs in a calendar year
- Free Spirit Gold: Earn 5,000 SQPs in a calendar year
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You’ll earn SQPs when spending your money with Spirit. You’ll earn 1 SQP for every dollar you spend on eligible Spirit fares and optional service purchases such as checked bags, priority boarding and seat selection. Those who regularly fly on Spirit should make quick work of these status requirements. Just note that you will not earn SQPs when purchasing Spirit vacation packages.
You can also earn SQPs from eligible credit card spending, which we will cover below.
Spirit elite status benefits
Here are the benefits you can expect with each Spirit elite status level.
Free Spirit Silver status
Spirit’s lowest-tier status offers respectable perks but not many money-saving opportunities. You’ll receive:
- The ability to pool points with family and friends
- Dedicated guest care support
- Redemption-fee waiver
- Exit-row seat assignment
- Shortcut boarding
- Shortcut security
- Earn 8 miles per dollar on Spirit fares
- Earn 16 miles per dollar on ancillary purchases
Free Spirit Gold status
Gold status is where frequent Spirit travelers can receive serious savings. You’ll receive all the benefits of Free Spirit Silver status plus:
- Free checked bag
- Free carry-on bag
- Free drink and snack on board
- Zone 1 boarding
- Change your booking once online up to 24 hours before departure with no fees
- Pet-fee waiver
- Seat selection at purchase, including exit rows (but excluding Spirit’s Big Front Seat)
- Earn 10 miles per dollar on Spirit fares
- Earn 20 points per dollar on ancillary purchases
However, it’s worth noting that the fee waivers only apply to the Gold member, not travel companions on the same reservation. As a result, if you’re traveling with a spouse, partner or family members, you’ll still need to pay up for bags and seats.
Can a credit card help earn Free Spirit elite status?
Spirit issues one credit card: the Free Spirit® Travel More World Elite Mastercard®. For a $79 annual fee (waived the first year), you’ll get a suite of helpful Spirit-centric benefits, including the ability to earn status qualifying points. In other words, you can earn Spirit Airlines elite status without ever stepping on a plane.
The card earns 1 status qualifying point for every $10 spent on the card each calendar year. You could achieve Silver status after you spend $20,000 on purchases with the card — and Gold status after spending $50,000.
Read more: The best credit cards to reach elite status
Not all airline credit cards allow you to spend your way to top-tier elite status from your couch — and those that do tend to require far more spending.
Nevertheless, be sure you’re not sacrificing more valuable rewards by using your Spirit card. After all, there are a slew of terrific credit cards for everyday spending, and the points or miles you earn on those may easily outweigh the perks you get from Free Spirit status.
The information for the Free Spirit Travel More Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Is Free Spirit elite status worth it?
As with any loyalty-related decision, whether Free Spirit status is worth it depends on your situation. Ask yourself a few simple questions to quickly decide whether you should pursue status with Spirit:
- How well does Spirit’s route map match your typical travel patterns? There’s little point in pursuing elite status with Spirit if it doesn’t organically fit into your travel plans.
- How sensitive are you to price and convenience? Would you book a one-stop Spirit flight if another airline had a cheaper, nonstop option? If the answer is no, it may not be worth going out of your way to earn Spirit elite status.
- What’s the incremental value of one tier over another? You may wind up within striking distance of the next Spirit status tier, so consider whether the benefits are worth pushing for. There’s no sense in going out of your way for perks that don’t matter to you.
If you plan to fly Spirit regularly, holding elite status can save you both time and money, which can be very valuable and make the ultra-low-cost experience feel more premium. Just keep in mind the perks are much more substantial with Gold status than with Silver.
Finally, you may decide that the Free Spirit Travel More Mastercard confers an acceptable number of benefits for your travel goals. The card comes with perks such as Zone 2 shortcut boarding, points pooling and a 25% rebate on inflight food and beverages when paying with your card. You’ll even get a $100 Companion Flight Voucher for each cardmember year in which you spend $5,000 on the card.
If that’s enough, don’t go out of your way to earn Spirit elite status.
If you’ve never tasted airline elite status, it can elevate your travel experience. You can receive money-saving benefits, such as free checked bags and complimentary flight changes, but you’ll also enjoy fun extras like free drinks and early boarding.
Spirit Airlines offers just these perks for its elite members. Even better, Free Spirit is one of the easier loyalty programs to earn status with.
If you plan to fly Spirit regularly and like the idea of saving time and money, it could be a smart idea to earn elite status in the Free Spirit program.