Spirit airplane

Spirit is Offering a Status Match Opportunity to Other Brands’ Elites

Here’s a fun fact about me: I’ve never flown Spirit Airlines. This isn’t to say that I wouldn’t ever fly Spirit — but I’ve never had an opportunity to and don’t exactly feel a need to find one. Despite this, I found myself taking a sudden interest in the airline this week as I came across a press release boasting that those with elite status with more than 30 other travel brands could now match their way into Silver or Gold “Free Spirit” status. So how does this all work? I’m glad you asked.

Spirit status matching screenshot

First, in a somewhat surprising move, this status match opportunity is open to those with status not only on 16 different airlines but also on 16 hotel brands. The full list of these brands (including which tiers correspond to what level of Free Spirit status) is on their FAQ page, but it includes the likes of Delta, American, United, Southwest, JetBlue, Alaska, and others on the airline front, as well as Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, Wynhdam, IHG, Choice, and other hotel chains.

To get started, you’ll need to enter your name, email address, and Free Spirit number on the airline’s status match site. If you don’t have a Free Spirit account, creating one took me literally 30 seconds to create. After that, you can select which eligible travel brand you have status with, what tier of status you are, and submit a photo proving said status. This is as far as I got in the process due to the factor we’ll get to in the next paragraph (patience, Padawan).

Here’s the bad news: as cool as this status match opportunity is, it does come at a price. Those applying to be matched at the Silver status level will need to pay a fee of $49. Meanwhile, those gunning for Gold will need to pay a $99 fee. According to the status match site, once you submit your application and payment, you should be approved within five days, at which point your Free Spirit status will automatically be updated.

So what exactly does Free Spirit status get you anyway? Well, according to their site, Silver status includes:

  • Dedicated Guest Care support
  • Redemption fee waiver
  • Exit Row seat assignment
  • Shortcut Boarding
  • Shortcut Security
  • Same-day standby
  • Overweight baggage fee waiver

Meanwhile, Gold status includes all of that, plus:

  • Free checked bag
  • Free carry-on bag
  • Free drink and snack onboard
  • Zone 1 boarding
  • Free Flight Flex
  • Pet fee waiver
  • Group 2/3/4/5 seat selection at purchase

I don’t know what all of those things mean, but I do appreciate how often the word “free” comes up in that list of perks considering that the ultra-budget carrier is known for its nickel-and-diming ways. Thus, I’m guessing that you could probably make up for that $99 status match fee pretty quickly if you took advantage of these benefits.

Spirit hotel status matching screenshot

Funny enough, while my earned Delta Silver Medallion status could get me Free Spirit Silver status if I wanted it, it’s actually my unearned hotel statuses that do me one better. With my American Express Platinum card, I have Gold status for both Hilton and Marriot Bonvoy, which Spirit does accept for Gold status as part of this matching offer. So I guess the Amex Platinum plus $99 could score you top-tier status on Spirit Airlines — maybe that’s something Amex should promote (is my sarcasm thick enough?).

Honestly, I did consider doing this deal — but just for the sake of content. Then I realized that spending $99 just to go a bit further in the process didn’t make a ton of sense since I really don’t see myself flying Spirit anytime soon. To be clear, that’s not just because of the airline’s reputation as a punchline but more so because they don’t fly to Springfield, limiting any opportunity I’d even have to fly with them. Of course, if you are near an airport that Spirit services and could fly their routes even a couple of times during the year, then paying $99 for Gold status could well be worth it and could make the overall Spirit experience more bearable. So, if you do have loyalty status with another airline or certain hotel brands, you can weigh your options over on Sprit’s status match site.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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