Recently, I took the plunge on the Frontier Airlines status match opportunity. Having never flown Frontier before, I was ready to give the airline a shot with my newly-achieved top-tier status.
Status Matching to Frontier 100k
Initially, Frontier was accepting hotel status and matching folks to Frontier 100k without any issues. That match was limited, though. My Hyatt Globalist status matched me to Frontier 100k (Frontier's top tier), whereas my Delta Platinum would have only matched to 50k (one step below 100k). Frontier charged a $49 fee to process the status match application. The application processed quickly and showed up in my account within a couple days.
First Flight Booking
I needed a flight from Las Vegas to Phoenix and decided this may be a great opportunity to try out Frontier. I have had some issues with the Frontier App having glitches at times, even after deleting and reinstalling. It would show no flights available when I searched at times. I went with my desktop to make my booking. I was excited to find a non-stop, which was not easy on this route other than American Airlines and Southwest.
Prices and Choices
Not knowing anything about Frontier really, I selected the Discount Den option. Discount Den is Frontier's low fare club, which gives members access to lower prices, kids fly free on certain routes, and other exclusive perks. Discount Den membership costs $99 for the first year ($59.99 every year after), but Frontier 100k members have it for free. For free, this seemed to be an easy choice, plus it saved me $10 on this flight. I would not have paid for it yet if it hadn't already been free with my status. I think it is easier to pick and choose based on individual trips and bags needed on those trips. However, if you are going to fly a lot or get Discount Den for free, that's an easy choice.
It is important to understand the Frontier policies on bags. With 100k status, you get free choices, or you can purchase what Frontier calls “The Works” bundle which in this case was about $80.
I admit that I was initially confused by this, thinking I would only have a backpack and personal item. The picture made me think that, but then I saw the measurements. I quickly measured my normal carry on suitcase to realize I was ok with my suitcase. It's important to look over all the bag choices in detail before selecting.
Next up was choosing my seats. Again, this is all included with the 100k status. I chose row 3 and all of this also includes priority boarding.
I ended up with the non-stop flight to Phoenix for just $68.98. This included all my bags, seat selection, and priority boarding. If I did not have status, the price would have been around $158. This was in line with what Southwest and American Airlines were charging, which was about $150-$177.
Finally, as the most important part of booking, I used my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. This would allow for trip insurance and protections to kick in should I be delayed 12 hours or more. I would be able to cover food and lodging expenses while waiting for a rebooked flight. Another option is to book a back up flight with Southwest or another airline with very flexible cancellation policies.
On the day of my flight, I was tracking my flight closely. This included watching where it was coming from on both flights before arriving in Las Vegas for my flight. With low cost carriers and the stories I have heard, I was a bit more anxious than normal. I quickly made my way to the gate using TSA Pre Check. Everyone in the gate area seemed to have very few bags with them. Much less than on one of my recent Delta flights. I saw that they had a bag measuring set up in front of the boarding area, but I never saw it being used.
Boarding and Flight
I was thinking they would be giving people a hard time about bags, but I saw none of that, at least in my short time in the boarding area. Boarding with the first group was a great feature as well. I found my way to my seat to check out the comfort. I was fine with the seat and the space. One nice thing is I was fortunate enough to not have anyone in the middle seat next to me so I used the middle seat to put my backpack under. Overall, it was fine and comparable in my mind to any other economy seat, maybe a little more narrow and less padding.
There was no in flight service given the short flight. I received a large bottle of water, which seemed to be handed out to a select few, so I am not guessing that was a status item. I wanted an opportunity to try the drink service, including the internet famous “Buzzball.” There appeared to be plenty of food and drinks to choose from.
Overall, the flight experience was fine. I still think I would have a back-up option planned when flying Frontier. It's common for low cost carriers to have limited aircraft alternatives if something goes wrong with the plane and you're in an airport that isn't one of their hubs. Also, using the right credit card is always a good plan, no matter the airline. I felt confident booking with my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which would give me options for any long term delays at least.
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