Frontier EarlyReturns recently lowered the miles required for an award (the good news) and also reduced the number of miles members could earn when booking a flight using a third party website (the bad news). Members can now redeem 20,000 miles for a roundtrip ticket (10,000 miles one way) anywhere within the United States. International flights to Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Jamaica have also been reduced–to 30,000 miles roundtrip (15,000 miles one way except for Costa Rica that can only be booked as a roundtrip award).
Domestic award flights on Frontier are now cheaper than the traditional 25,000-mile coach award offered by the legacy airlines. And Frontier MasterCard cardholders can book a companion ticket at a 5,000-mile discount on all routes, which drops domestic flights to only 15,000 miles roundtrip for companions.
The reduced mileage award chart was announced at the same time the airline informed members they would no longer earn 100 percent of miles flown when flying on a ticket purchased from a third party website. Members will only earn 50 percent of the miles flown on flights booked via expedia.com, orbitz.com, travelocity.com or any other site. Only flights booked via FLYFRONTIER.com will earn 100 percent.
Bottom line: Frontier is forging into unfamiliar territory with this latest move to not award 100 percent of the miles flown when flying on a ticket booked from a third-party website. Hotels have been unfriendly with third-party websites for booking from the beginning, not allowing points to be earned when booking through these sites, but in general the airlines have been more forgiving (except for Southwest). This might be the beginning of a very unfriendly move on the part of frequent flyer programs to not allow 100 percent of the miles flown when booking through a third-party website. Read this month’s Opening Remarks for additional commentary.