While I certainly love status, earning miles I can use on partner airlines, and free upgrades (which, to be honest, are becoming few and far between as a United 1K), it’s hard to ignore the fact that low cost carriers are a great way to snag a seat in the sky from point A to B for less than the price of a full tank of gas. It’s easy to say you’re loyal to one airline, but it’s hard to turn away a cheap fare, especially when the costs of traveling as a family adds up.
I also find it interesting that there’s a bit of a negative attitude about American low-cost carriers in general, but let’s be honest – they really do open up the skies for travelers on a budget. On the other hand, Asian and European travelers embrace the low-cost carrier way of flying just fine, and the low-fare, no-frills system really seems to run smoothly in those parts of the world. I’ve taken my fair share of RyanAir and AirAsia flights during my family travels, and quite frankly they were absolutely perfect every single time.
In terms of recent domestic experiences, a couple of months ago, we celebrated my daughter’s 4th birthday in New Orleans by flying nonstop from Newark on Spirit for 75% less than what United was charging. And if you’ve noticed from my social media posts, I’ve been flying nonstop between Newark and Asheville frequently on Allegiant for just $53 each way while United notoriously charges more than 5 times more for the fare. I flew Frontier from Denver to New York for the first time with my family last summer and had no complaints. It’s safe to say a good portion of my travels have evolved to include low-cost carriers, and I’m ok with it!
All About Discount Den
Last year, Frontier rolled out a series of positive changes such as family-points pooling, improvements to ticket fees, and a revamped credit card that allows you to earn elite status by spending. Another cool feature of Frontier is their Discount Den membership, which I now regret not joining sooner!
Frontier’s Discount Den is a yearly membership for $59.99 that gives members access to their lowest available fares (usually $10 cheaper each way from standard fares). The fares are valid for up to 6 people on the same reservation. The best perk of all for families is “Kids Fly Free”, where one kid under 15 can fly for free on select [usually off-peak] flights with every adult Discount Den fare purchased. There’s also a “Friends Fly Free” promotion from time to time. Discount Den members are also the first to hear about new promotions.
Putting My Membership to the Test
With busy day-to-day lives, we’re the type of family that connects through traveling, and it’s bittersweet that my oldest child is about to start Kindergarten in the fall. Now that he’s “school-aged”, a bit more of tactful planning is necessary for trips, and the goal is to fully-maximize as many school holidays and long weekends as possible.
As a Jersey girl, I guess I’m “lucky” to be in the middle of two airports served by Frontier – Trenton and LaGuardia, and I started to dive into the nonstop possibilities for quick and inexpensive getaways.
Even at first glance, spending $59.99 for Discount Den made sense to me for a family of four. In the case of our upcoming trip to Charleston, there was a $10 savings each way per person right off the bat.
The real savings kick in when you can make the Kids [or Friends] Fly Free feature work in your favor. Surprisingly, Kids Fly Free was available for the exact dates we wanted and I was able to save $290.40 on my very first booking! Even after paying the $59.99 yearly fee to join Discount Den, the savings were still significant!
I think it’s pretty awesome that I was able to snag four round trip tickets for $216 total thanks to Frontier’s Discount Den. It’s no surprise that that the cost of travel adds up quickly when you travel as a family, so discovering an opportunity to get up and go at family-friendly price points is the way to go if you’re looking to travel on a budget (and can commit to traveling lightly, since everything costs extra when you travel on a low cost carrier airline, such as checked-bags, snacks, and even seat assignments).
Have you used Frontier’s Discount Den before? If so, feel free to share your thoughts!