Spirit Airlines Launches Status Match Challenge

Spirit Airlines Launches Status Match Challenge

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In early 2021 Free Spirit was launched, which is Spirit Airlines’ surprisingly good new loyalty program. Well, the ultra low cost carrier has now introduced a status match challenge program, which could interest some.

Free Spirit status match challenge

Spirit Airlines has launched a status match challenge, which is a way for those who are loyal to other US airlines to switch their business to Spirit and immediately start getting perks.

If you have elite status with another airline, Spirit Airlines will give you an equivalent status in Free Spirit for 90 days complimentary, and then you’ll have the opportunity to maintain that status with reduced requirements. Let’s take a closer look at how that works.

What status tiers does Spirit Airlines match?

Spirit Airlines will match status with Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, and United. You can earn either Silver or Gold status in Free Spirit, depending on your status with a competitor. Here’s how status maps over:

How much do you have to fly to maintain Free Spirit status?

Spirit Airlines is offering a status match challenge, meaning that you receive complimentary status for 90 days, but then you have to earn a certain number of status qualifying miles (SQMs) to maintain status:

  • To maintain Free Spirit Silver status you need to earn 500 SQPs
  • To maintain Free Spirit Gold status you need to earn 1,250 SQPs

A couple of things to note:

  • These requirements are equivalent to a quarter of the typical annual requirements to earn status
  • Status earned through this status match challenge is valid for the remainder of the calendar year, and then the entire following calendar year as well

You earn one SQP per dollar spent with Spirit Airlines (before taxes and fees), meaning you’d need to spend $500 on Spirit flights to maintain Silver status, and $1,250 on Spirit flights to maintain Gold status.

How do you request a Spirit status match challenge?

You can start the process of requesting a Spirit Airlines status match challenge at this link. Note that you’re only eligible if you haven’t received a status match or complimentary status with Free Spirit in the past two years.

In order to match you also have to have earned status through a competing airline’s published requirements, meaning complimentary status or status earned through a promotion doesn’t qualify. You’ll have to present a document confirming your elite status.

Only request the status match challenge once you’re ready to start your 90 day clock, since it begins within 24 hours of receiving your email confirmation of being accepted into the status match challenge.

The Free Spirit status challenge is great, but…

As I wrote about when the program was introduced, I’m extremely impressed by the new Free Spirit program. Spirit Airlines’ business model is all about charging fees for just about everything, yet Free Spirit Gold status gets you out of a vast majority of those fees, as it offers everything from a free carry-on, to a free checked bag, to free priority boarding, to free seat selection, to free flight changes, to free inflight beverages and snacks.

The status is so useful that it almost makes me want to go for status with Spirit Airlines. This is a generous offer that makes that extremely easy.

But that also gets at the issue with this offer — how the heck am I supposed to spend $1,250 (pre-tax) on Spirit Airlines flights in 90 days if I’m not on the hook for all of these fees?

This is the airline that regularly has fares in the tens of dollars. For example, I can fly from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles for $31, and nearly half of that is taxes and fees.

Like, what am I supposed to do, fly Spirit Airlines every day for the next few months in order to spend $1,250? 😉

Bottom line

Spirit Airlines recently launched its new Free Spirit frequent flyer program, which is phenomenal for an ultra low cost carrier. The airline has now rolled out a status match challenge, allowing elite members with other US airlines to receive status for a 90 day period, and then maintain it for the entire membership year in exchange for some flying.

I’m almost tempted to take advantage of this, except earning 1,250 SQPs is no small task…

Anyone plan to take advantage of this Spirit Airlines status match challenge?

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  1. Jonathon Howe

    Do Spirit benefits transfer to a companion traveling on the same itinerary? For example, will my wife get free bags, seats, priority boarding, etc. if we are booked and traveling together?

    Also, does anyone have any idea on estimated processing time once documents are submitted for the status match?

    Thanks!

  2. Marc Pappas

    Not that's welcome news. Makes thing much more attainable if everything on the transaction counts.

  3. chapman

    FWIW, Sprint customer service just told me that all SQP's count, not just flights. Don't have it in righting, but...

  4. Marc Pappas

    Chapman,

    Absolutely.

    That is correct.

    I wish there was a determination on my other question. I can easily make $1250 in "Spirit purchases" in one business trip by including car/hotel with the flight in the same transaction. But, not sure if those third parties pass-through purchases are considered official "Spirit" spending to have those dollars qualify.

  5. chapman

    Marc,

    .... but you also get 1 SQP for every $10 charged

  6. Marc Pappas

    Bobo,

    Says 10 points per dollar, not SQPs. In other words, points to fly with as a 10x bonus, but not qualifying points for status.

  7. AC

    No downside if you have a trip on Spirit (or plan to take one) w/I 90 days.

    I do this w SE to get A list and avoid paying for early bird checkin all the time.

  8. Mark S.

    I assume if you got your current year's status for Million Miler, that will not count as a match?? Also, during a regular year, one J class to Asia would do it but last year was not a normal year. I did not go anywhere as many others.

    Also, I did not see what you get for being a Spirit elite. Not having to buy a bundle for $60.00?

  9. Chapman

    How about credit card spend? Would those SQP’s count

  10. MZ

    @Bobo - you earn 10 redeemable points as Gold, not Status Qualifying Points.

  11. C Brown

    It not worth it. For $1250 I can pay for the bags and Big Seats for all of the trips for the next two years.

  12. Bobo

    Am I missing something Lucky? Spirit's site says you earn TEN SQPs per dollar, not ONE. Makes it MUCH easier to keep the status with a couple of flights if true.

    https://www.spirit.com/s/free-spirit-status

  13. Marc

    So, if I book a trip with Spirit, and opt to include car, hotel...etc. in addition to the flight, and the total is $1390 for everything buying it through Spirit, do I achieve the 1250 SQPs? Says SQPs are earned with Spirit purchases. It's easy to make the goal if I roll car and lodging into the Spirit transaction. Just want to make sure that's counted.

    Any ideas?

  14. Jerry

    Perhaps they could implement a system where you challenge other passengers for their points. You can approach a passenger, remove your mask, say something offensive to them, then FIGHT! Whoever is removed by the police first gets the other passengers points, and is re-accommodated on the next flight to Ft. Lauderdale.

  15. Benjamin

    "You currently have elite status with a qualifying airline that was earned through that airline’s published requirements (complimentary status or status earned through a promotion does not qualify)"

    This disqualifies almost everyone as few people earned elite status by flying in 2020. It was comped by the airline and therefore not earned as per published requirements.

    Not sure what drugs these jokers at spirit are on? Maybe they are high on Government cash?

  16. James

    You are spot on with your comments on the spend being too high.

    Spirit is much more reliable in the last year, their operations are not as stressed.

  17. Henry

    I have 8 upcoming flights with AA and the total of those doesn't exceed $1,250.

    I don't think Spirit has thought out the status challenge very well.

  18. Santastico

    It is one of those things that if given for free it is already too expensive.

Featured Comments Load all 19 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Jonathon Howe

Do Spirit benefits transfer to a companion traveling on the same itinerary? For example, will my wife get free bags, seats, priority boarding, etc. if we are booked and traveling together? Also, does anyone have any idea on estimated processing time once documents are submitted for the status match? Thanks!

Marc Pappas

'Now' that's...

Marc Pappas

Not that's welcome news. Makes thing much more attainable if everything on the transaction counts.

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