Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Spirit Airlines Credit Card Review


In November 2015, I was on a flight to Los Angeles. My friends & I decided, last minute, to take a girls trip. One day, I was searching the flight sites & decided I wanted to get somewhere warm with my gal pals. James isn't the LA kind of guy, so I asked my 3 girlfriends. They were in.

So, off we went, Spirit flying us to LA. I have flown Spirit before & I enjoy their mission; to only charge you for what you pay for. In their flight prices, they don't tack on drink fees or bag fees or seat fees... you choose all that. If you are a water drinker, like me, you should not have to pay more so everyone else can enjoy sugary soda on their flight. And, if I only need a personal item (free), the cost of a carry-on should not be reflected in what I pay for in the ticket price. If you want a pop in the skies, pay for it then. If you want a carry-on bag, pay for it - but don't include it in my price, too. 

Spirit has been good to us. We always get a funny pilot & a good crew. On our Spirit flight to Costa Rica, the head flight attendant got on the speaker & was cracking jokes for about 10 minutes. It was hilarious. The pilot even throws in some quips, too. 

I had heard about the Spirit Mastercard on other flights, & had done a tiny bit of research. I was feeling carefree on my LA flight, so when the attendant got on the speaker to offer the card with a 5,000 mile bonus certificate if I signed up today, I did it. I filled out the application & turned it in to an attendant. The card is FREE the first year, & $59 annually after that, so if I didn't want it, I could get rid of it before I get charged. 

With your first purchase, you get 15,000 miles just for using the card, so that was a nice feature, too. After our trip, I got a letter that I was approved & shortly after that, got my new card. 

I used it for most everything. We recently bought a house, so we used it for any big purchases, like our fridge, stove, dishwasher, & more. James even used it a few times for side-job building materials & paid me back in cash. I used it for groceries, clothes, gas, & more. 

Bank of America is who the card is through & their website isn't the best, but manageable. I was paying off my debt each month to avoid interest charges. After about a month of spending, the miles began to appear in my Spirit online account, via the Spirit website. I did not keep track to make sure I was getting the miles I should have been; I just trusted that I was. I still trust I was. 

October 2016 rolled around & I began thinking about our next trip. We take a trip every January, & with my card's 1-year anniversary coming up [& the $59 annual fee], I wanted to start looking into flights to see how well the miles thing worked for us. 

Planning our trip this year was exhausting. And it WAS because of the miles. Last year, we went to Costa Rica for 2 weeks. We rented a car & seen [mostly] the whole country. We were pretty worn out from the trip. So, this year, James said he wanted a vacation where he could step off the plane & park himself on the beach. No fuss, no driving around, no multiple lodging locations... a typical, "normal-person" vacation. And I was hesitant, but fine with it. I don't like the "touristy" vibe, but I could slow it down this year. 

Wanting to use Spirit miles, I knew I could only go where Spirit could take me. I went on their website, set my home airport as MSP, & searched the list of possibilities. I learned that, for example, if I wanted to fly to Puerto Rico, one day it could be 5,000 miles one-way, & the next day it could be 25,000 miles one-way. That was a turn off. If it is the same distance, why is one day 20,000 miles more than the previous day? Whatever, airlines trying to jip you, I figured. I'll just have to play the game. 

So I grabbed a notebook & made a list of the places we could go/wanted to go. These places had to be semi-warm, and fit into our miles. We had about 47,000 at the time of looking. 




I should have figured dates first, but this was just a list of options. I crossed out the ones that would take more than 47,000 miles. 

I showed James, & the conversations began flowing. We talked, talked, & talked s'more. Eventually, he had it set in his head to go on a cruise.

Now, I will try anything once, for the most part. After a little thinking, I was also thinking a cruise sounded fine. So I began that search.

It took about 3-4 nights of notes & searching. And I mean, from hours. Every waking, non-working hour. My eyes hurt at the end of each night. 

But.... I could NOT find a cruise that matched up with good flights from Spirit. I think I found, maybe, one cruise that worked & it still wasn't that great of an option. It was a situation where, we'd have to fly in the morning of the cruise, cruise for 7 nights, get back on a Tuesday, but can't fly out until 9pm the NEXT day. That was too many days off work for me. It just wasn't working & the cruise that kind-of worked was too spendy. 

So we changed it back to a regular vacation. And I got my head in the game & thought about dates. The Minnesota Vikings are doing really well this year & I don't want to miss anything if they make it to the Super Bowl. So, I Googled dates of playoff games & the Superbowl date for 2017. I could work with the week AFTER the last playoff game, but BEFORE the Superbowl. We could go after the Superbowl, but if we end up winning the thing, I want to be here that week afterwards to be in the good spirits. Man, so many things to think about. 

So my ideal week was set & I started working with those dates. 

I was in love [heart heart heart] with the idea of going to Culebra Island, Puerto Rico. It was an island so all the things we wanted to do would be right there. We could rent a golf cart for transportation needs. It looked AMAZING. But James is the kind of fella who wants to see the entire world, & he wasn't ready to go back to Puerto Rico just yet. (We went in 2013 & had a blast!) He was thinking Mexico. 

So I looked into Mexico, but also Jamaica & Dominican Republic. Spirit only flies into Santo Domingo, DR & that place was not making my skirt fly up. We'd have to get transportation to the nicer beach areas, which were hours away. We just were not feeling it. Plus, the layover times sucked. 

That's another crappy part about Spirit. If you want to leave the country, you will have layovers & they are usually long. And the flight times SUCK.

I really looked into Montego Bay, Jamaica, but again I was just not that into it. I kept reading about how you can't relax on the beach because hagglers are constantly bothering you. Plus, the lodging in Montego Bay, next to everything, were high priced. I liked the looks of a place on Airbnb, but it was outside of town, down a highway a ways, so we'd have to get a ride every time we wanted to get into a more civilized area. Again, my skirt was just not flyin'. 

[Yes, someday we will go to the DR & Jamaica, but just not this year.]

Spirit normally flies to Cabo in Mexico, but this year [until April] they aren't. Not sure why, but it was not an option, sadly. The only other place in Mexico they fly is Cancun. I have never, ever, had the desire to go to Cancun, so I was not into the idea, but James was. He has this image in his head that in Cancun, they wait on you hand & foot & everything is dirt cheap. 

But there are so many towns in that area, that we had options. Lots of options. 

And my ideal dates worked. I plugged in some dates & they were 5,000 miles per person each way, which totaled to 20,000 miles in the end. 


The dates worked. The miles were good. The options in the area were numerous. So I booked 2 flights to Cancun, Mexico. Whoo! I was excited. Finally, I would make my way to Mexico after years of traveling. 


Of course, the total was not just 20,000 miles. We had to pay government fees, along with a carry-on for me on both flights ($35 each way). We also decided to "splurge" and got the "Big Front Seats" on the flight home, from Fort Lauderdale to Minnesota. 

Our flights looked like this:

Fly In: Leave Minnesota at 8:00pm on January 23rd. Land in Dallas for a 8.5 hour layover. Fly out of Dallas around 7:00am on January 24th. Be in Cancun by 10:30am. 
Fly Out: Leave Mexico at about 5:30pm on January 31st. Land in Fort Lauderdale for a 3 hour layover. Land in Minnesota at 12:40am on February 1st. 

Now, I don't mind the layover in Dallas. It gives me a chance to rest up between flights. Yeah, it sucks that it takes so long & that we have to get a hotel in Dallas, but whatever. Make due.
The 3 hour layover on the way home sucks. At that point, you kind of just want to get home & be home, ya know? But I am determined to make the most of it. I am bringing a card game, a book or two, my Nook, & walking shoes. Hopefully, I can find a place to walk & do some yoga maybe. We'll be fine. 

So, 20,000 miles were immediately taken out of my account and we split the $299.66, so it was $149.83 per person for round trip flights to Mexico in January on our dates we wanted, with a carry on for me & Big Front Seats for each of us on the way home. Not bad, Ace, not bad. 

[We wanted a carry-on so we can bring back treats & have a little more room. So, between us, we will have 2 personal item bags (tote bags) & my carry-on. Checked bags are $5 less, but I am willing to pay the $5 difference so I don't have to wait for the bag carousel at each airport.]

We were booked & still had 27,000 miles in our account.

This made me restless. I figured, if I cancel the card to avoid the $59 annual fee, these miles might go away. It would SUCK to waste them. But I really didn't want to book another trip. I mean, heck yes would I want to go somewhere else, too, but we just bought a farm. Let's not blow all our money. Plus, I don't have a ton of vacation time at work. 

So, I offered them to my parents. Well, dad can't go cause he used up all his vacation time for farming, but mama was dying to go somewhere. [I get my travel bug from her, though mine is way more severe.] She began chatting with her friends about taking a trip. But they all wanted to go to the Bahamas on a cruise. She did that last year & was not wanting to do the same thing again.

So I chatted with James. "What do you think about ma coming with us to Mexico?" I asked. 
He mulled it over, & we talked, & decided we'd invite my mom & his parents. Everyone was thrilled.

The night came to book. We drove over to James' parents house to chat about dates & junk. Ma & his parents would have to fly out the day after us, because the flight went from 5,000 miles to 25,000 miles overnight. My mom was okay with this, but James' parents seemed less than thrilled. Then, as we walked in the door, they backed out on us. James' ma had shoulder surgery scheduled for end of October, & she was just thinking that maybe she won't be up for it. We prodded her, "You'll be fine!" But she also said "I don't think Cancun is for us, anyways."

We aren't about to argue with someone to take a trip [practically a free trip] so we just let it be. I called ma, but she was still in if it was okay with us. It was, so we went to book her flights. When we got to the booking page, the flight price went back down to what we had, so she could be on the same flights as us. This was her booking page: 

 
She had to pay more than us, but she was okay with it. We also got her a Big Front Seat on the way home & a carry-on.

We still had 17,000 miles in our account. DAMN. I just wanted to use these things up. 

So I offered them to my friends. None of them could take a trip, or wanted to. Crazy, I know. 

I wanted the card cancelled by November 1st to avoid the annual fee, so October 31st rolled around [yes, I waited til the last minute] and I called to cancel the card. I was expecting to be hassled into keeping the card, but I wasn't. The whole process was smooth smooth smooth. 

I am not sure what will happen with the 17,000 miles, but I am okay with it if they disappear. I figure "Oh well." But if they stay in my account, I hope to book another trip with them for next year. You can only book Spirit flights one year out, so I may have to wait until January to book our 2018 trip. If we even want to use them up. We shall see...

Why did I cancel?

1. Because I don't feel like you should have to pay an annual fee for a card.
2. Because we could only go where Spirit flew, & that list was limited.
3. Because most of the places Spirit did fly had terrible dates that offered low miles. Many dates were 25,000 miles+, one way, per person. It was just too dang hard to find dates that had low miles.
4. Because Discover came out with a Discover It Miles card that lets you earn miles & can use them towards ANY airline. Still not sure how this works, but people swear this card is good. And it has NO ANNUAL FEE. I already had a Discover card & loved it, so why not just have it be a Discover It Miles card?
5. Spirit has terrible layovers.

Spirit Mastercard Pros
1. The 20,000 miles they gave me right off the bat.
2. Earn 2 miles per $1 spent.
3. This card would work great for people who fly ONLY where Spirit goes, and in the continental U.S. If you have a kid that lives in Miami & you're in Minnesota, yeah, this card would be better for you if you plan on visiting said kid numerous times a year.

But we want to see many different places. Eventually, we'd like to go overseas [not in a rush, though.] 

In the end, it would just be nice to punch in your dates & use any airline we want. And that's what the Discover It Miles card is giving us. 

Why the Discover It Miles card?
1. I like Discover.
2. You earn 1.5 miles per $1. Not as good as Spirit's 2 miles per $1, but still good enough.
3. For whatever you earn in miles the first year, Discover will DOUBLE it. So if I earn 10,000 miles in year 1, Discover will match it so I have 20,000 miles.
4. I can use it towards ANY airline.
5. No annual fee.
6. Great reviews so far.

I will do a review of this new card after one year. 

In the end, I recommend the Spirit card for certain people, but not for most. I would suggest that, if you're looking for a miles card, get one that allows you to use any airline you may need. 

I tried to cover everything in this post. If you have questions, don't hesitate to comment below. I will get back to you! 

Cheers,
Ash

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the information and keep sharing the blogs.Spirit Airline Reviews

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