Spirit Airlines Card Annual Fee Will Fly Higher in 2021

A Spirit Airlines airliner jet engine with "spirit.com" emblazoned on it.

 Spirit Airlines

The Free Spirit Travel More World Elite Mastercard will undergo a substantial update that includes an improved rewards-earning rate and extra benefits, but also a higher annual fee. 

According to a letter mailed to cardholders this month, the annual fee will jump up to $79 from $59 in February. The increase will apply to existing accounts on the next anniversary date. Cardholders will no longer earn 2 miles per $1 on all purchases, either. Instead, those with the Mastercard will earn 3 points per $1 spent with Spirit, 2 points per $1 spent on dining and grocery store purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. That tiered structure is more typical of airline rewards card earning-rate structures these days. 

The card's issuer, Bank of America, confirmed the contents of the letter with The Balance via email on Tuesday. Consumers who don’t already have the Spirit Airlines credit card will see the updated offer roll out in February, too, according to the card issuer.

Cardholders of the Free Spirit Travel More World Elite Mastercard will also get a new account anniversary bonus. Instead of a 5,000 mile bonus after spending at least $10,000 during the prior year, cardholders who spend at least $5,000 in a year will get a $100 flight voucher, which can help cover the cost of a travel companion’s flight (plus taxes and fees). That’s a competitive addition to the new Spirit card, considering the increased annual fee. Airline companion pass perks are more common on premium airline cards or those that have much higher spending requirements.

This card news follows a late October announcement that the Spirit Airlines frequent flyer loyalty program—Free Spirit—is relaunching with new features, airline perks, and reward redemption options on Jan. 21, 2021. After that date, the loyalty program will award points (not miles) based on dollars spent, and include features such as elite status levels, the option to pool points with family and friends who also have Free Spirit accounts, and the flexibility to book flights using a combination of cash and points.

Once the new Free Spirit Travel More World Elite Mastercard launches, cardholders will also have access to these additional perks, which are nice-to-haves for frequent flyers and not uncommon among similar airline-branded credit cards:

  • Automatic 25% rebate on in-flight food and beverage purchases paid for with the card
  • Access to Zone 2 Shortcut Boarding on all flights (in other words, early boarding)
  • The chance to earn Free Spirit program tier qualifying points by spending on the card

If you already have the old Spirit Airlines World Mastercard, you’ll receive a new card in February with the same account number, credit limit, and interest rate. If you don’t want to pay the higher annual fee for this card, you are advised to call 1-866-300-5392 before Jan. 31, 2021 to reject the change. Just know that doing so will result in a closed card account.

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