Advice & Strategy

Southwest Rapid Rewards VS Frontier Miles

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When it comes to selecting a frequent flyer program, travelers have many options to choose from and beyond the big 3 legacy US carriers. Two popular, but very different, programs from lower-cost carriers are Southwest Rapids Rewards and Frontier Miles. Both airlines offer rewards for frequent fliers but there are important differences that should be taken into account. Below we’ll take a look at both programs and compare them side by side to help you decide which may be best for your travel needs. 

Frontier miles

The FRONTIER Miles frequent flyer program is simple and straightforward – when you join, you’ll be eligible for a range of rewards which include earning 1 mile for every mile you fly with Frontier, no matter the ticket price. By joining the loyalty program, you can earn and redeem miles for flights, hotel stays and rental cars. Finally miles will not expire if your account or Frontier Airlines World Mastercard remains active in a 12 month period.

Southwest Rapid Rewards

When you join Southwest Rapid Rewards, you also earn points and enjoy membership benefits. Whether you’re a frequent flyer or an occasional one, there are different levels of rewards that may suit your specific needs such as: unlimited reward seats, no blackout dates and points will not expire. You also gain the option to redeem your points for flights and car rentals. But the fare type, cost and payment method you choose, will determine how many points earned on a flight. Additionally, members can increase their points power and earn additional benefits by making purchases with Southwest personal credit cards.

Airlines Partners

Both Southwest and Frontier Airlines reward programs have no association with other airline partners. This is an aspect of both reward programs that limits loyalty members ability to earn or redeem miles on other carriers.

Elite Tiers

Southwest A-listFrontier Elite 20K
Southwest Airlines offers three elite tiers, first tier is
A-list Status, the second is A-list Preferred, and
finally Companion Pass.
Frontier offers three tiers of elite status as well. Elite 20K, Elite 50K and Elite 100K.
A-List status: In order to reach this tier status you will need to either fly 25 qualifying one was flights in a calendar year or era 35,000 tier qualifying points. Elite 20K: To reach this tier level you will need to have banked 20,000 miles in a calendar year. Benefits include:
Additional benefits include: Eligible for last seat availability, which can be used for any member.
You and everyone on your flight reservation receive early boarding access, priority check-in and security line access.Waiver redemption fees.
Earn 25% bonus points on flights. Priority boarding and family pooling.
Same-day standby for earlier flights. Priority seat assignment & free carry on.
Access to same-day confirmed change, with no difference if fare depending on availability.
Direct A-list phone line that connects you with Southwest.
Southwest A-list Preferred StatusFrontier Elite 50K
To achieve this status level, you will need to have either flown 50 one way qualifying flights or earn 70,000 tier qualifying points. All of A-list tier benefits are included as well as:50,000 Frontier qualification miles in a year will make you eligible for this tier. All 20K are included as well as:
Earn 100% bonus points on flights.25% redeemable milage bonus on flights. (not status mileage bonus)
Free inflight WIFI on all your flights. 50% off DISCOUNT DEN Membership.
Free carry on baggage for the member only.
Free family status/the works bundle. All your flights will be fully refundable & waived of change fees.
Southwest Companion PassFrontier Elite 100K
In order to reach this status level you will need to have banked 135,000 Southwest Rapid points in a calendar year. Earning 100,000 Frontier qualification miles in a year will grant you this tier. 20K & 50K benefits are included.
The Companion Pass allows Southwest Rapid Rewards members to choose one companion to fly with them for free (excluding taxes and fees) every time they purchase or redeem points for a flight.Free “The Works” bundle that includes carry on baggage & one free checked bag for you and up to 8 people on your reservation.
This benefit is valid on both domestic and international flights, providing tremendous savings on air travel.Free Discount Den membership (see below)
50% redeemable milage bonus on flights. (not status mileage bonus)

DISCOUNT DEN Info (Frontier)

The Frontier Airlines DISCOUNT DEN program is a great way to take advantage of exclusive discounts on airfare and earn rewards with every flight. With the annual membership fee of $59.99, you can score discounted fares for up to 6 people and even have one child under 15 fly free when accompanied by an adult, on select dates and flights. And in your first year, there’s an additional $40 enrollment fee that brings the total to just $99.99. 

Rental Car Partner Earnings

Avis: Rapid Rewards members can earn 600 rapid rewards points at Avis Airports locations. Avis: You will earn quadruple miles when you rent 3+ days in Avis airports in US and Canada. Plus, save up to 35% off base rates when you use AWD umber K850100. You must also use Avis coupon number MUAA011 to receive the quadruple Frontier Miles offer.
Budget: Per vehicle rental, members can 2,400 points and 30% off your purchase.Budget: Rent 3-4 days and you will earn 500 bonus Frontier Miles. Rent a vehicle 5+ days and you will earn 1,000 bonus Frontier Miles. Use Budget coupon MUAZ006 and provide your Frontier miles number at time of reservation or at rental counter.
Dollar: Members can earn 1,200 Rapid Rewards per rental with no discount fee off your purchase. However, rentals usually list 25% off deal. Hertz: When renting a vehicle through Hertz, you will earn 500 Frontier Miles per rental and save on base rates. Be sure to include CDP #1241216 and you Frontier Miles number at the time of reservation.
Thrifty: Members can earn 1,200 per rental and 10% off base rates. Thrifty: You will earn 50 Frontier Miles on qualifying rentals of 1-4 days or 500 miles per rental on 5+ days. Be sure to enter your Frontier number when making your reservation.
Dollar: When renting through Dollar you will earn 50 miles per day on rentals 1-4 days and 500 miles per rental on 5+ days.
National: Frontier Miles members are eligible for a 20% off every rental with National, earn 50 Frontier miles per rental day and 500 miles on rentals 5+ days.
Alamo: Frontier Miles members that rent through Alamo are eligible for 50 miles per day or 500 miles on rentals 5 days or more.

Hotel Partners


Earning Rapid Rewards points with Southwest’s hotel partners provides members the opportunity to earn additional points towards free flights and other rewards. With Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards program, you can choose from a variety of hotel partners and some allow you to transfer your hotel rewards points into Rapid Rewards. Although the exchange rate is NOT in your favor.

  • Best Western Hotels and Resorts: If you are a Rapid Rewards member as well as a Best Western Rewards member you have the option to redeem 5,000 Best western Rewards points for 1,200 Rapid Rewards points.
  • Radisson: Rapid Rewards members will need to be enrolled in Radisson Rewards Americas loyalty program. You will earn 20 Radisson Rewards points per dollar spent and redeeming Radisson Rewards to Rapid Rewards are a 10:1 ratio. Example 2,000 Radisson points equal 200 Rapid Rewards points.
  • Choice Hotels: Rapid Rewards members who are also Choice Privileges Awards members will have the option to transfer points to Rapid Rewards. You can redeem 6,000 Choice Privilege points for 1,800 Rapid Rewards.
  • World of Hyatt: Rapid Rewards members who are also members of Marriott Convoy will earn 600 Rapid Rewards points per qualifying stay. You also have the option to convert your Marriott Convoy points to Rapid Rewards. Examples include 9,000 Marriott Convoy points for 3,000 Rapid Rewards or 30,000 Marriott Convoy points for 10,000 Rapid Rewards points.
  • MGM: Rapid Rewards members will also need to be MGM Rewards members will bank 600 Raid Rewards points per qualifying stay. You are not be able to convert MGM rewards to Rapid Rewards with this hotel partner.
  • Rocketmiles: If you book hotels through Rocketmiles website you will earn an impressive 1,000 to 10,000 Rapid Rewards per night. See for more details.


Frontier Airlines offers its members the chance to earn additional miles on hotel stays, even though their list of partnered hotels is somewhat limited. These partnerships provide Frontier’s customers with a range of benefits, including exclusive discounts and rewards points for booking at the partner establishments.

  • Marriott Bonvoy: You will earn 2 Frontier Miles for every dollar spent on all Marriott qualifying charges.
  • Radisson Hotel Group Americas: You will need to enroll in Madison Rewards in order to earn points per stay that can be converted into Frontier Miles at a 10-1 conversion. It’s an option, but not a particularly attractive one.
  • Wyndham Hotels and Resorts: Frontier Miles members will need to be enrolled in Wyndham Rewards in order to earn 2 Frontier Miles for every dollar spent on qualified stays.
Winner: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards


Both Frontier and Southwest Airlines rewards programs have their fair share of pros and cons but our pick is Southwest. One of the main negatives of both programs is that members cannot earn points on other airline carries, so travelers have zero flexibility when it comes to booking flights. Both airlines provide an elite tier system that offer additional benefits depending on your tier level, but Southwest offers its members more benefits within its tier structure. Furthermore, Southwests A-List Preferred status tier benefit of earning 100% bonus points on flights and the Companion Pass Status benefit is quite appealing for travelers who have friends or partners who can often travel with them. Both loyalty programs offer a nice selection of hotel and car rental partners, however the exchange rate on both programs is not great. All in all, Southwest Rapids Rewards program has a slight advantage over Frontier Miles, but depending on your location, Frontier may offer more attractive direct routes and destinations.

Editorial Note: Information and opinions articulated in this article are solely those of the author’s, not those of a credit card company, bank, airline or hotel chain. This article has not been reviewed or approved by or otherwise endorsed by any of these companies or organizations.

Travis is a Senior Editor at Miles Junkie. An avid outdoorsman, you'll see him shredding the slopes of Colorado in the winter and cutting rounds to heat his home in the national forests during the summer. He lives with his wife and three dogs in southwest Colorado.

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