Frontier Being Removed As Amex Membership Rewards Transfer Partner

In terms of things that aren’t really much of a loss…

Via Travel with Grant, Frontier EarlyReturns will be discontinued as a US American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner as of March 5, 2015:

Effective March 5, 2015, Frontier Airlines will no longer be a point transfer airline in the Membership Rewards program. Any Membership Rewards point transfers for Frontier Airlines must be made by March 4, 2015. These transfers will be considered final, non-refundable, and subject to the EarlyReturns® program terms and conditions. To transfer points to Frontier, please visit membershiprewards.com/travel.

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The transfer ratio between the two programs is presently 1,000:1,000.

Frontier has a somewhat unique frequent flyer program among low cost carriers, given that they have a traditional award chart as opposed to a revenue based frequent flyer program. The thing is, programs with traditional award charts are typically most valuable when there are aspirational redemptions to be had (given that you can get a disproportionate amount of value from your points). Without aspirational redemptions, I tend to think the value of revenue based redemptions are typically better, since you can redeem your miles for any flight at any time.

Ultimately I’m sure they were a useful transfer partner for some, though I couldn’t imagine ever transferring Membership Rewards points to Frontier, personally.

So I tend to think of this as being about as much of a loss as when Carlton left the cast of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I’ll gladly continue to transfer my Membership Rewards points to Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways Executive Club (especially with a transfer bonus), Delta SkyMiles, etc.

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Have you ever transferred Membership Rewards points to Frontier EarlyReturns?

Comments

  1. Am I correct in assuming that a transfer of 1,000 MR will set the expiration date of the Early Returns a set amount back?

  2. I’ve made a transfer to Frontier — specifically to reset the expiration date on the miles I had earned by flying with them (and to answer Mike above, yes, it worked perfectly). I’ll be sad to see that option go but I guess this is just another reason to finally redeem those miles.

  3. I’ve flown Frontier a few times. It was fine for what I needed and got me where I need to go. Prices to locations with additional carriers (like Denver) have been very reasonable due in large part to regional carriers such as Frontier. As Frontier and other carriers are bought out or shrink from relevance my scheduling options suffer and my fares increase. That’s a net negative for me and millions of other people. I can understand that losing Frontier as a partner or even losing them altogether may not mean much to an aspirational groupie of the rich and famous but it’s still a loss for many others, even those who never do business with Frontier directly.

  4. My home airport is DEN, so it made sense to transfer 20,000 MRs recently for an upcoming trip. However I quickly found the award booking fee for two one-way tickets was $30 plus $50 for both passengers to bring a CARRY-ON! I would have thought long and hard before transferring to Frontier again, even though I’m in the perfect location to take advantage.

  5. American Express Membership Rewards is cutting benefits and is expecting customers are happy with it. The Platinum Card US Airways Club Lounge area /American Airlines Admirals Club lounge access has been axed, you can no longer bring in a guest to a Delta Sky Club for free [you have to pay for a guest, I think it’s $27, that’s even with a Delta Co-Branded Amex], Priority Pass has subpar lounges in the US, but ones that are at least par or better in other countries. Even Priority Pass you can’t bring a guest for free [we in the US have Priority Pass Select, a lot of airlines opt out of it, the guest fee is $27]. There are what, 4 Centurion Lounges to make up for the lounge loss with a 5th being planned in Sydney, Australia. Come on AMEX, you need to add more hotel partners to transfer our points too. Some examples would be Marriot, Hyatt, IHG, Worldhotels, Preferred Hotel Group iPrefer. The Global Entry credit doesn’t extend to the cardmember’s family, it only extends to the cardmember and the authorized card users. American Express tried to cap the number of points you could transfer to Delta, but then cancelled that. That was a relief. Now they’re getting rid of the only US airline that has a distance-based award chart in roll for a revenue based award chart that will make it difficult for many travelers to redeem their miles.

  6. Had the displeasure of transferring my 120k points from amex to frontier for a flight, the day the “new system” went in to effect (of course I would have picked a different day, had I known) I’ll spare you all the rant adjectives, suffice it to say I bought 4 seats on Southwest to get home. We did get an automated email from frontier regarding our upcoming return flight 4 days after we got home stating they would be in touch, want Frontier to refund my points and baggage fees and/or Amex will stand by their partnership (past tense). Amex membership rewards says they are still awaiting a response. I guess I should have been an admirer of Ben’s column. Caveat Emptor as they say

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