Will You Pay Spirit to Get Lower Fares?

Spirit, in their never-ending pursuit of ancillary revenue, launched the $9 Fare Club yesterday. In short, you pay $9 for a three month trial ($29.95 annually after that), and you get a list of deals reserved only for members at least once every 6 weeks.

Is it worth it?

Personally, I’d take the wait and see approach here. Looking at the first deal list they launched yesterday, there are some hit or miss fares in there. Of course, they have the obligatory $9 one way fares in many markets, but they’re only good on 4 random dates in the next few months. If you can be flexible and they happen to have your city there, it’s great and you should sign up now to take advantage (fares expire tonight).

They also have $99 one way fares available for all Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday travel between April 17 and June 30. I randomly picked May 9 returning May 16 in a couple of markets to see where the public rate stands. If you’re going from LAX to Detroit, it’s a good deal. Fares are currently $159 each way so this will be worthwhile, even if you had to pay $29.95 for the full year membership. On the other hand, if you’re flying from Myrtle Beach to Ft Lauderdale, forget it. The current fare on the nonstop flight is $59 each way, $40 BELOW the sale fare.

Assuming they continue to publish the deal list publicly to entice new members, you’re best bet is to just keep tabs on it. If you see a fare you like and it saves you more than the membership fee costs, then you can join right there and take advantage. If there are no fares you like, wait for the next ones to come out. This all changes if they stop publicly displaying the fares of course, but for now, it’s the best way to go.

A couple of random things you’ll want to know:

  • Every person who wants to book the sale fares has to have a separate membership
  • If you have the Spirit-branded credit card, you get free membership
  • To sign up, you have to enroll in the frequent flier program
  • If you do sign up, they’ll continue to auto-renew every year unless you cancel, so make sure you mark the renew date down so you can cancel if you’re not happy

In short, this could be a helpful program for you as long as you find fares you can use. Personally, I think the idea is a decent one, but I do wonder about its legality. The DOT has been very concerned about making sure that publicly advertised fares are readily accessible, and it seems like this might not be what they had in mind. Then again, I’m sure Spirit has done their homework here, so it should be fine.

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