Barclaycard targets Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® squarely at budget-conscious flyers looking to save money on travel within the United States. Though it’s not included on our list of the best travel rewards credit cards on the market, this card is useful for people who regularly use Frontier Airlines, a Denver-based discount carrier that serves major cities in the U.S. and Latin America.
Frontier Airlines World Mastercard does have a $69 annual fee, so it’s not ideal for light spenders. The ideal user is someone who flies Frontier at least a handful of times per year and accumulates EarlyReturns miles – Frontier’s loyalty currency – quickly enough to offset that recurring charge.
A long 0% APR introductory promotion on balance transfers sweetens the deal for consumers facing high-interest balances on existing credit card accounts. And cardholders who spend at least $2,500 each year earn $100 off their next Frontier flight.
If you’re looking for a travel credit card that makes one of the country’s top budget airlines even more affordable, you need to learn more about Frontier Airlines World Mastercard. Here’s a comprehensive look at its features, benefits, drawbacks, and overall suitability.
When you spend at least $500 within 3 months of opening your account, you get 40,000 bonus EarlyReturns miles. That’s worth up to 2 round-trip economy award flights within the continental United States and Puerto Rico.
Earning and Redeeming EarlyReturns Miles
Frontier Airlines World Mastercard earns unlimited 2 EarlyReturns miles per $1 spent at FlyFrontier.com. Eligible purchases include airfare, class upgrades, incidental purchases (such as baggage fees), and more.
All other purchases earn unlimited 1 EarlyReturns mile per $1 spent. There are no caps or restrictions on mileage earnings. However, miles expire after just 6 months of account inactivity, so you have to make at least 1 purchase every 6 months to hold onto the miles you’ve accrued.
The most popular and cost-effective way to redeem your accumulated EarlyReturns miles is for award travel on Frontier Airlines, starting at 10,000 miles for one-way economy flights within the U.S. and 20,000 miles for round-trip flights within the U.S. Flights to Latin American destinations require more miles – for instance, 15,000 for a one-way to Mexico and 30,000 for a round-trip to Mexico. These figures are subject to change at any time.
Depending on the underlying dollar value of the flights for which you redeem, you can reliably extract $0.01 to $0.02 of value out of each mile redeemed for airfare. However, “last seat” awards for at- or near-capacity flights typically require 25% to 50% more points.
You can also redeem for non-Frontier travel purchases with select hotel and car rental merchants. The selection is spotty and specific here – for instance, you can redeem 18,000 miles for a four-day car rental with Hertz or 12,000 miles for a 2-day car rental with National. Additionally, you can redeem for select merchandise items, including magazines. However, non-airfare redemption options typically devalue miles to a significant degree, lowering their value well below $0.01 per point. Partner merchant deals are subject to change at any time.
Frontier allows miles-to-points transfers to a limited number of hospitality loyalty programs, including Hilton and Carlson Rezidor, but transfer rates are abysmal – as low as 10 EarlyReturns miles per 1 partner point.
This card offers 0% APR on balance transfers for 15 months from account opening, provided the transfers are made within 45 days. Unfortunately, purchases don’t get the same treatment.
$100 Frontier Airlines Discount Voucher
When you reach $2,500 in total spending in any given year, you get a discount voucher redeemable for $100 off Frontier Airlines airfare. You’ll receive the voucher on or just after your account anniversary.
Redemption Fee Waiver
Frontier’s EarlyReturns program charges a redemption fee on most award travel redemptions. The fee rises as the window between booking and departure shrinks, from $15 for flights booked at least 20 days in advance to $75 for flights booked less than a week in advance. If you can’t avoid booking on short notice, you can avoid the redemption fee by paying your award flight’s mandated taxes and fees (typically $5.60 each way for U.S. flights) with your Frontier Airlines World Mastercard.
Complimentary FICO Score
As a cardholder, you’re entitled to a complimentary FICO score (viewable in your online account dashboard) at any time. There’s no charge and no membership requirement for this benefit, which is great for folks who want to gauge how their credit scores improve (or decline) over time.
This card has some useful value-added benefits for shoppers and travelers:
- Mastercard Travel Assistance Service: Mastercard’s travel assistance service is a 24/7 fallback for travelers facing uncertainty on the road.
- Trip Interruption and Cancellation Coverage: According to Barclaycard, this coverage “protects against forfeited, non-refundable payments and deposits if a trip is canceled or interrupted for cover[ed] reasons,” such as accident, illness, or involuntary job loss.
- Baggage Delay Insurance: If baggage checked with a common carrier (such as a major airline or rail operator) is delayed due to certain covered reasons, you’ll receive reimbursement for the inconvenience.
- Price Protection: If you find a lower price on a purchased item paid in full with your card, you’re entitled to a refund of the difference (subject to certain restrictions and limitations).
Frontier Airlines World Mastercard has a $69 annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 3% of the total transaction amount. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Late and returned payments cost up to $37.
Frontier Airlines World Mastercard requires good to excellent credit. If you’ve had any credit issues in the recent past, your application may be denied.
- Generous Sign-Up Bonus. Frontier Airlines World Mastercard’s sign-up bonus is quite generous and easy to attain: 40,000 EarlyReturns miles when you spend at least $500 within 3 months of opening your account. That’s good for up to two round-trip economy award flights within the United States – a potential value of $500 or more, depending on the route.
- $100 Annual Discount Voucher for Moderate Spenders. When you spend at least $2,500 in purchases (regardless of spending code) in any 12-month period beginning with your account anniversary, you get a $100 voucher to apply to any paid Frontier Airlines flight. This is more than enough to offset the $69 annual fee, and easily attainable even for frugal travelers who use this as their primary spending aid.
- Relatively Low Redemption Minimums. You only need 10,000 EarlyReturns miles to redeem for a one-way economy flight within the United States. That’s lower than some major airlines’ rewards programs.
- Unusually Long 0% APR Introductory Balance Transfer Promotion. Unusually for a travel rewards card, Frontier Airlines World Mastercard boasts an impressive 0% APR introductory promotion for balance transfers. As long as you complete your transfer within 45 days of opening your account, you get 15 interest-free billing cycles. That’s just as long as some cards geared explicitly toward balance transfer candidates, such as Chase Slate.
- Redemption Fee Waiver When You Pay Taxes and Fees With Your Frontier Card. Though the redemption fee is a disadvantage for EarlyReturns customers, it’s at least welcome news that Frontier Airlines World Mastercard users can waive it when they use their cards to pay mandated taxes and fees on award travel.
- No Penalty APR. This card doesn’t charge penalty interest. If you sometimes miss statement due dates because you’re short on funds or blindsided by unexpected expenses, this could greatly reduce the long-term costs of your carried balances.
- $69 Annual Fee. Though it’s relatively easy to offset with $2,500 in annual spending, this card’s $69 annual fee is problematic for light spenders who only use it to pay for Frontier Airlines flights. If you’re seeking a fee-free travel rewards card, check out the Expedia+ Card from Citi.
- 3% Foreign Transaction Fee. This card has a 3% foreign transaction fee. If you regularly travel out of the United States, perhaps on Frontier Airlines flights to Mexico or the Caribbean, this will greatly eat into your earning potential while you’re away. Most competing travel cards, including popular general purpose cards, such as Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, waive foreign transaction fees.
- Narrow 2x Category. Only purchases made through FlyFrontier.com earn 2 EarlyReturns miles per $1 spent. All other purchases, including Frontier Airlines airfare purchased through third-party booking websites, earn 1 mile per $1 spent. If you’re looking for a wider range of 2x-eligible purchases, Barclaycard Arrival Plus earns 2 miles per $1 spent on everything.
- Low Baseline Earning Rate on Everyday Purchases. By the same token, this card’s baseline earning rate is low: just 1 EarlyReturns mile per $1 spent on most purchases, excluding FlyFrontier.com spending. That equates to a return on spending of 1% to 2% – lower than competing cards, such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
- No Loyalty Status. This card doesn’t confer Frontier Elite status, which entitles members to value-added benefits like advance seat assignments, complimentary carry-on bags, and more. If you’re looking for a card that automatically provides cardholders with potentially valuable status benefits, look to the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express or the Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express.
- Abysmal Mile-to-Point Transfer Rates. Frontier Airlines World Mastercard does technically allow you to transfer your EarlyReturns miles to other travel merchants’ loyalty programs, but the conversion rates are uniformly terrible. You’re much better off holding onto your EarlyReturns miles and redeeming for Frontier airfare – not a bad deal if you’re a frequent Frontier flyer, but potentially problematic if you only fly Frontier once in a great while.
Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® is a solid choice for regular Frontier Airlines flyers who live near an airport served by the carrier and spend heavily enough to capture the $100 travel voucher. However, it has a pretty big catch that’s worth calling out: To earn 2 EarlyReturns miles per $1 spent on Frontier flights, you need to book through FlyFrontier.com. If you prefer to book through third-party travel sites, you’re out of luck.
Given that those third-party sites sometimes charge less for flights than airlines’ proprietary portals themselves, this requirement could end up costing you more than you earn in EarlyReturns miles.
So, before you apply for this card, think carefully about how, when, and where you plan to use it – and whether you might be better served by a general-purpose travel card, even when you fly Frontier.