It's easy to see costs rise with Spirit's award flights
spirit airplane

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Spirit pretty much markets itself as one huge sweet spot, but anyone that’s flown with them knows this is far from the case. In many instances, flying with checked bags and a carry-on, picking your seats, and even checking in all add fees that eventually make it more expensive than flying with other airlines. Points can help make Spirit a useful airline, but you must keep some things in mind to keep value.

Be flexible

Spirit’s award flight rates are calculated using dynamic pricing. That means they fluctuate based on availability, time of year, and any other factors they view as applicable. The downside is that many points rates will be inflated, severely devaluing your Free Spirit points haul. The upside is that you can find plenty of fares for as low as 2,500 or 3,000 points.

Flexibility and the calendar feature help when searching for these low-cost flights. You’ll also notice a change in some fees, so sift through as many as possible.

Beat the fares

If you book a Spirit award flight less than a month before departure day, you will be charged a $50 redemption fee. This is annoying because a) fees suck, and b) it might make the flight almost as expensive as the cash rate.

To beat this, you have two options. The most obvious – book more than a month in advance. The other is opening the card above. Using that card to book the award flights waive the fee, meaning you could even grab some last-minute rate drops.

Be practical

This applies to any Spirit flight, but especially award flights. Packing light enough to use only the personal item allowance can take some practice, but it’s more than possible for short trips, especially in the warmer months. Think of Spirit reward flights as a situational saving. A wedding in LA, a family member’s graduation in Dallas, a last-minute Vegas trip with some buddies – all things you don’t want to break the bank on, and all things you can pack light for. This is where Spirit becomes valuable.

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