Frontier has sharpened its focus on elite-level members.
Last year, the program introduced “The More Store” — an online marketplace where Ascent and Summit-level members could bid miles for a stunning variety of merchandise.
Recently, that “elites only” mentality has been applied to award travel. In an announcement sent to members, EarlyReturns declared that “EarlyReturns Plus — any available seat redemption -will no longer be available to Base members. This will be an exclusive benefit for Ascent and Summit members.”
EarlyReturns Plus awards, of course, are the higher-level unrestricted awards that generally run between 30,000 and 45,000 miles.
Standard EarlyReturns awards start at just 15,000 miles for flights within the continental U.S. — one of the best values out there today. Base-level members may still redeem miles for standard awards.
Both moves toward “elitism” are unusual, and come in the wake of increased competition from United at Frontier’s home airport in Denver. Reaction has been mixed, but it’s clear that Frontier is doing things its own way, and that’s gotten them this far.