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Barclay Frontier Credit Card Review (2016)

Barclay-Frontier-Credit-Card-Review

A Quick Word

Our Barclay Frontier credit card review is as straightforward as it gets. Spend the $500 (one of the easiest spending bonuses to meet), pay the $69 annual fee, get 40,000 Frontier miles. And that’s really all there is to it. Frontier miles are fun and super easy to use. Availability is great, and taxes and fees are quite low.

Current Ranking

#13 in Aaron’s Credit Card Power Rankings

Signup Bonus

Earn 40,000 Frontier miles after spending $500 in 90 days

Annual Fee

$69 (NOT waived) 

Minimum Credit Score

640+


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Barclay-Frontier-Credit-Card-Review

Specs

  • 40k Frontier Miles is good for two US domestic round trip tickets!
  • 2x Frontier purchases
  • 1x everything else
  • Free Fico credit score
  • Not much else

The Good

     1) 40,000 Frontier Miles

40k Frontier miles can be a good time. Frontier services a majority of major cities within the US, with one way fares starting at low as 10,000 miles, and roundtrips at 20,000 miles. This is regardless of distance between destinations. All domestic one ways start at 10k. Orlando to Atlanta (438 miles away) will cost you the same in miles as Orlando to Denver (1,551 miles away) will cost you the same as Orlando to Seattle (2,549 miles away). So I definetaly recommend trying to stretch your miles to get as much bang for your buck as possible.

Also! Frontier is now servicing international routes – flying to Mexico, Dominican Republic and Jamaica! These routes start at 15k for a one way and 30k for a roundtrip, which depending where you live can be a steal! Miami to Cancun for 30k? Not worth it. New York to Cabo? Totally worth it.

     2) Seat Availability

When it comes to availability, some airlines are great (Southwest) some are OK (Avios) and some are downright awful (Delta). Frontier? Great! Frontier has a “no blackout” policy, enabling you to redeem miles for any flight that has an available seat. This is amazing, as it reduces stress and the agony of wondering if your miles will actually be honored. Because of this availability, Frontier’s online booking process is very straight forward.

     3) $500 Minimum Spend

This is one of the lowest minimum spends out there – making this a great card for Travel Hacking beginners (it was one of my first cards!). Minimum spends in the thousands of dollars can be daunting. $500 is much more manageable. If you are just getting into Travel Hacking, this is a fantastic introduction.

     4) Reservation Changes

Great perk! Changing travel plans 8 days or more before the flight is FREE. But don’t wait too long to change – if it’s within a week, Frontier will charge you $50. Don’t redeposit the miles, it’ll cost you $75. Just change the dates or itinerary when you cancel your original flight.

     5) 2x on Frontier Purchases

The only people this should apply to are those who fly devoutly with Frontier. If you are monogamous with Frontier Airlines, and fly with them exclusively, then enjoy your 2x Frontier purchases. Anyone else? Doesn’t apply to you.

The Bad

     1) 2x on Frontier Purchases/1x Everything Else

As stated – unless you fly exclusively with Frontier, there is no reason to spend money with this card. Get in, spend the $500, get your bonus, and get out. There are better cards with better spending incentives. This is the greatest reason this card doesn’t place higher on the Power Rankings. Offering 1x for every purchase is weak, and to only offer 2x for Frontier purchases is even weaker. Citi Premiere gives you 3x everything travel, Chase Freedom gives you 5x rotating categories, and Jetblue gives you 6x for any Jetblue purchases. Frontier has some catching up to do.

     2) Annual Fee Not Waived

It’s never ideal to pay an annual fee, but this particular trade-off is worth it. It sucks to have to pay the $69, but doing so allows you to play with 40k miles. Also, make sure to use your miles within a year, and downgrade your card before the second annual fee kicks in. Gator don’t play that.

Strategy

As said before – get in, spend the $500, and get out. 40,000 miles can be worth up to $500 in travel, so paying $69 isn’t a bad deal at all. What you don’t want to do is spend anymore on this card than is needed, as there are preferable cards with superior points and miles offers.

When redeeming your miles, put yourself in a position to cash in on the 40k without needing to spend more, or without leaving any additional miles in the tank. Try not to redeem 20k for a US roundtrip, then 15k one way to Jamaica. You’ll have spent 35k, and will have 5k left over that can’t be used without spending additional money.

Either use the 40k for two domestic round trips, or redeem an international roundtrip for 30k, leaving you 10k to book a free one way within the US.

Redeem your miles within the year, and before the second annual fee kicks in, call the number on the back of the card to “downgrade to a no-fee version of the same card” (exact wording). 

Conclusion

While the Frontier is far from the best card available, if used properly, it’s a fantastic opportunity to get a s**t ton of Frontier miles. The minimum spend is extremely low, and while not waived the first year, the annual fee is fair. Given it’s ease of use, if you live or travel in the States, Travel Hacking with Barclay’s Frontier comes highly recommended.

Do you have Barclay’s Frontier? Think it deserves to be higher or lower than #13? Comment below!

 

Written by Aaron Radcliffe

City dweller. Dumpling crusher. Aaron is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder of Nomads Nation. Connect with Aaron Radcliffe -