Rate Frontier EarlyReturns

Old Dec 14, 07, 9:53 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: COS
Posts: 120
Rate Frontier EarlyReturns

We are going to review Frontier EarlyReturns in the next issue of InsideFlyer magazine and would like your input.

If you would like to participate, please post your response in the thread with the pros and cons of membership in EarlyReturns and grade the program from A to F (A being the highest grade). You can include a plus or minus with the rating.

You can also respond directly to me at [email protected].
Thank you!
darcie_InsideFlyer is offline  
Old Dec 16, 07, 1:02 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Downtown Denver
Programs: WN A-list/CP, HHonors Diamond, IHG Plt,*wood Plt,F9 Summitt, Hyatt Diamond,
Posts: 391
I Rate a C, not a program I run to when I have the choices I have in ABQ. WN is much better for rewards and flight options. WN has no Dash 8 or CRJ's and are going to kill F9 in Denver market in 2008.

Flip side is F9 and the Mexico flights, what points I accumulate will go towards a Mexico flight some time. I will fly to DEN on WN and switch to F9 only when cheaper.
loboclone is offline  
Old Dec 16, 07, 7:20 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: DEN
Programs: Frontier Summit, Marriott Gold, Hertz 5*
Posts: 171
Originally Posted by loboclone View Post
WN has no Dash 8 or CRJ's and are going to kill F9 in Denver market in 2008.
I can't see that. Denver is UA and F9 entrenched. WN can fit in their niche, but they won't push the others out.

Southwest may be the biggest and have the money to expand into Denver, but they are a one-trick-pony. Frontier is a lot more flexible with Lynx, Republic, and Great Lakes. WN can not get their customers to/from the smaller airports around the West.
JaggedMind is offline  
Old Dec 16, 07, 7:41 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Central Florida
Programs: no elite status, but i get around
Posts: 369
Denver resident for nearly 6 years; ER member for nearly 6 years

miles needed for award = A (15,000 domestic is great!)
routes = A
airline partners = F
award availability = A (only redemmed once so far)
mileage promos = A (double miles when new routes start)
customer service = B (A for corrective action; D for not putting more effort into notifying member -- ER reinstated my miles after they expired unexpectedly. program rules changed after i joined in 2002 and i was not notified of the new 2-year expiration rule. legacy carrier would likely not have even considered helping.)
airplanegeek is offline  
Old Dec 16, 07, 8:15 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: DEN
Programs: Frontier Summit, Marriott Gold, Hertz 5*
Posts: 171
Originally Posted by airplanegeek View Post
airline partners = F
I would think this would at least rate a D. They do have AirTrans as a partner. Maybe they suck (I don't know either way), but at least it is a partner that covers the SouthEast.
JaggedMind is offline  
Old Dec 17, 07, 8:57 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Programs: AA EXP (Lifetime Gold) and Marriott Platinum
Posts: 3
St. Louis resident for 14 years with frequent visits to Steamboat Springs, Colorado and Lifetime Gold on American with 1.4M miles.

Miles needed for award = A (15,000 domestic is nice - with Ascent and above status you can use more miles and get any available seat)
Award availability = A (redeemed MCI to CUN with Ascent 45,000 miles)
Planes = B+ (I like the full jets on most routes and the onboard TV and with AA, I am fed up with their old RJs)
Routes = B (please announce Lynx service to Steamboat)
Marketing = C (please figure out that non-hub members have different requirements than Denver residents)

Overall = B
muellc is offline  
Old Dec 17, 07, 5:40 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Downtown Denver
Programs: WN A-list/CP, HHonors Diamond, IHG Plt,*wood Plt,F9 Summitt, Hyatt Diamond,
Posts: 391
Originally Posted by JaggedMind View Post
I can't see that. Denver is UA and F9 entrenched. WN can fit in their niche, but they won't push the others out.

Southwest may be the biggest and have the money to expand into Denver, but they are a one-trick-pony. Frontier is a lot more flexible with Lynx, Republic, and Great Lakes. WN can not get their customers to/from the smaller airports around the West.
No debate but look around the country, WN has forced legacies to reduce service and flights many places. DEN is in the cross hairs for '08. Yes with Lynx they got the Dash 8 deal going and it will drive some business into F9. Flew F9 today, ABQ-DEN 1/3 full A318 same thing DEN-SAN. How do you fly at less than 40% capacity on a Monday? Last Monday ABQ-DEN on WN full flight. It is just a matter of time (2 years before WN has 150 flights a day out of DEN. I have see it in LAS, MDW, and many other markets. No debate, just observations. SFO and DEN are new WN targets.
loboclone is offline  
Old Dec 18, 07, 10:28 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Programs: F9
Posts: 5
Thumbs up ER gets it right (mostly)

Miles needed for award = A - 15,000 miles for capacity controlled domestic award; 30,000 for any domestic seat available (Ascent/Summit); limited blackout dates.

Award availability = A - I've redeemed 4 flights over the last couple of years including Las Vegas twice.

Planes = A - Most planes are very clean; seat-back DirecTV (free to Ascent/Summit); comfortable seats.

Customer Service = A - Reps at the ER number are extremely friendly and helpful; ground crew and flight crews are extremely friendly, thanking you by name in most cases when enabling the DirecTV. I've only ever run into one unfriendly flight attendant, which is very impressive for the number of flights I've flown with them. I flew SAT-ABQ-SAT (via DEN) during last year's major snow storms in Denver. I walked up to the ticket counter ABQ for my return trip in hopes that my flight hadn't been cancelled and they had already booked me on another airline because my flight from DEN-SAT was being cancelled! They are the only airline I've seen do this for weather delays. I smiled as I walked through the hordes angry people that Southwest had stranded in ABQ. (ABQ got shutdown due to weather shortly after I departed and WN had done some pre-cancellations, much like F9 did for my flight.)

Routes = B - Connecting through Denver isn't always convenient; flight times sometimes necessitate long connection times in Denver.

Marketing = C - Their marketing team is awesome... in Denver. Their TV ads (which I've only seen on youtube) are well done. There is quite literally zero marketing in the three cities I've lived in. The only way I knew they started service to San Antonio a couple of years back is because I frequent FT and A.net. Specials to/from Denver are excellent. Sales/promotions not involving Denver are few and far between, though generally very good as well.

Overall = B+ - The people and the program are leaps and bounds better than any other airline for my needs. I get priority seating assignments and boarding, am greeted by friendly people and get extra miles with my status, among other perks. Flights are generally on time and planes are comfy and clean. Frontier is definitely a niche airline, but I tend to use them for my travel needs whenever practical, even if it means paying a little more or going out of my way (via DEN). The benefits usually outweigh the downside for me.
F9SATSummit is offline  
Old Dec 20, 07, 10:27 am
  #9  
Original Member
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: Colorado Western Slope USA
Posts: 157
Frontier the airline gets an "A". Early Returns gets a "B+".

Sometimes, it is hard to separate the two, and since I am very satisfied with the airline, the program becomes an extra bonus above and beyond on-time performance and excellent staff, and gets a better than average rating, too.

However, I cannot disagree with most comments above. The point someone made concerning weak partners with ER is valid, and is a big reason why I would not rate the program above a "B+". On the positive side, Ascent and Summit members have access to the "More Store", and I have taken advantage of that feature for a room at the Brown Palace Hotel. More Store is a nice part of the ER program.

Award availability is also very good.

Over the past ten years, I have been a Premier Exec on UA, and Silver Elite on CO and on HP prior to the US merger/takeover. I have flown often on other carriers as well, and my experience has been that F9 is uniformly better than any other for domestic travel, day-in and day-out. Being on-time and working with genuinely friendly and helpful people are things I almost take for granted now on F9.

I believe that F9 is gaining a loyal business traveler following out of Denver, too. When I first gained Ascent status, it seemed that maybe one or two would board each flight. On two flights this week to DFW, there were at least fifteen Ascents and Summits, and both flights were stuffed.

Every once in a while, someone posts on this board that WN or UA will soon win back travelers from F9. Nothing seems to have worked so far, at least here in Denver, to dislodge me or my colleagues, or many other business and leisure travelers that I see, to either go back to UA or switch to WN. Things would have to change drastically to threaten this airline. F9 is doing it right, and the ER Program is part of that happy situation even with its minor shortcomings.
Premier Al is offline  
Old Dec 20, 07, 2:29 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 41
Originally Posted by Premier Al View Post
Frontier the airline gets an "A". Early Returns gets a "B+".

Sometimes, it is hard to separate the two, and since I am very satisfied with the airline, the program becomes an extra bonus above and beyond on-time performance and excellent staff, and gets a better than average rating, too.

However, I cannot disagree with most comments above. The point someone made concerning weak partners with ER is valid, and is a big reason why I would not rate the program above a "B+". On the positive side, Ascent and Summit members have access to the "More Store", and I have taken advantage of that feature for a room at the Brown Palace Hotel. More Store is a nice part of the ER program.

Award availability is also very good.

Over the past ten years, I have been a Premier Exec on UA, and Silver Elite on CO and on HP prior to the US merger/takeover. I have flown often on other carriers as well, and my experience has been that F9 is uniformly better than any other for domestic travel, day-in and day-out. Being on-time and working with genuinely friendly and helpful people are things I almost take for granted now on F9.

I believe that F9 is gaining a loyal business traveler following out of Denver, too. When I first gained Ascent status, it seemed that maybe one or two would board each flight. On two flights this week to DFW, there were at least fifteen Ascents and Summits, and both flights were stuffed.

Every once in a while, someone posts on this board that WN or UA will soon win back travelers from F9. Nothing seems to have worked so far, at least here in Denver, to dislodge me or my colleagues, or many other business and leisure travelers that I see, to either go back to UA or switch to WN. Things would have to change drastically to threaten this airline. F9 is doing it right, and the ER Program is part of that happy situation even with its minor shortcomings.

I agree as well. Being premier exec on united and summit as well as a business traveler, I prefer F9 over United. The only reason I fly united is because my family and I love to travel to Hawaii, for free. Otherwise I would give F9 all my business. F9 staff is much more pleasant, planes cleaner and usually on time.

There is just about nothing that WN can do to get my business. I cant cut the security line, I hate open seating. I find there commercials regarding being able to choose your seat a joke, for me.

The only down side of ER is there are never any promotions, other than new routes. United will offer pretty good mile bonuses from time to time. I have used free tickets about 3-4 domestic trips and one mexico trip without any problems.

Frontier-A
Early Returns-B
bipajr is offline  
Old Dec 20, 07, 10:43 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: DEN
Programs: United, Marriott, Choice, Avis, Hertz
Posts: 271
Overall, I would give Frontier/Early Return an A-. However, it would be tough for me to consider using Frontier if I lived in a different city with a major airline hub. To avoid repeating too many of the great points above, I will just submit a list of pros and cons:

Pros:
50% mileage accrual bonus, free cocktails for Summit members
Easy elite qualification. At around 40k/year I would not qualify for much elsewhere
Great service at DEN
Nice planes, IFE. A better flying experience than UA E-, which is all I'd get for the first year, so I can't justify switching.
Plenty of non-stops from DEN
Friendly, prompt, US-based customer service

Cons:
No Europe or Hawaii rewards
Fewer partners for accumulating miles
No first class seats
Airport service away from DEN spotty
zdave is offline  
Old Dec 23, 07, 3:14 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Programs: UA
Posts: 1,752
I like F9 and Early Returns.

The main advantages of Early Return I see are :

- free TV for Ascent or Summit
- free drinks for Summit
- priority seats for Ascent and Summit
- priority boarding
- priority security lanes
- low miles needed for international awards

General good things
- lots of options out of DEN
- friendly on board service

Disadvantage :
- no lounges
- no airline partners especially for international award travel
- no seat blocking like UA does for their elites
- no first class

I do like F9's new planes. I just made Summit this year based on UA flying CR170's on some of the routes I do. I rather have a A318 or A319 and with my 5'11" the seat is large enough for me.

I am also UA 1K UGS and E+ is not a realy an advantage up to 3 hours flying time especially if you get crammed into a CR170 on UA Express. Upgrades to F are an advantage and if I fly longer then 3 hours I go UA.

I fly a lot of times in the evening and enjoy watching TV on F9 to make the time pass faster.
German Expat is offline  
Old Dec 24, 07, 6:26 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 118
I'd rate Early Returns a D in terms of award availability for those who don't have status or live in/frequent DEN. I think there's a bit of bias in the above ratings because most in this forum have either advantage for finding awards. I can't recall more than a few times when I've found awards that don't start or end in DEN. Out of frustration I bumped up my balance to 20k and hope to use the miles on AirTran eventually.

Don't get me wrong. The 15k level is great, but I was anticipating something at least near Delta's dismal low-availability periods. FYI, I've focused on varying combos of WAS, SEA, SAN, et cetera with the extreme flexibility you'd expect from an unemployed autist.
Vapno is offline  
Old Dec 27, 07, 2:11 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Programs: F9 Ascent, Marriott Plat, HHonors Gold, Hertz 5*
Posts: 414
A for Customer Service. "Consistantly Good". Almost every interaction I have with Frontier employees across the board is positive. The vast majority of them are friendly, helpful, and genuinely seem to enjoy their job. Once in a while you get a couple (cough... LAX... cough) who break the mold, but 95% of the time they are fantastic. Ditto for the phone res agents, it's literally faster to call them than go online, they are that good and that quick.

A+ for EarlyReturns, but only because of a very narrow set of circumstances:
1. I live in Denver
2. I fly 1xRT/week Domestic only
3. I tend to fly to major cities with a fairly flexible schedule

If you meet the three criteria above, then ER is a great program, with benefits higher than even top-level elites on many others.... such as unlimited no-fee reservation changes, +/- 1 day standby for free, complimentary Booze and TV, and ER+ (30k miles to fly anywhere for Xmas/Thanksgiving/Major holidays with little to no advance notice is a GREAT deal). And everyone gets free changes on award tickets & full miles back for only $35 if your plans change... being able to reserve a 15k mile award ticket "just in case" and change/cancel it later with little trouble is a major +.

I flew about 35k this year on F9/25K on UA. If I shifted it all to UA and made 1P, I would still be worth less than dog food to United. Upgrades on major routes are usually taken by higher-status / revenue pax. I don't fly enough to earn many international awards anyway, so the bigger route network doesn't help. And I would have to put up with the "consistantly inconsistant" service.

If you live in DEN and fly enough to get top status, ER is an A+ program.
DenverF9Flier is offline  
Old Dec 30, 07, 11:00 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Downtown Denver
Programs: WN A-list/CP, HHonors Diamond, IHG Plt,*wood Plt,F9 Summitt, Hyatt Diamond,
Posts: 391
Originally Posted by DenverF9Flier View Post
A+ for EarlyReturns, but only because of a very narrow set of circumstances:
1. I live in Denver
2. I fly 1xRT/week Domestic only
3. I tend to fly to major cities with a fairly flexible schedule

If you meet the three criteria above, then ER is a great program, with benefits higher than even top-level elites on many others.... such as unlimited no-fee reservation changes, +/- 1 day standby for free, complimentary Booze and TV, and ER+ (30k miles to fly anywhere for Xmas/Thanksgiving/Major holidays with little to no advance notice is a GREAT deal). And everyone gets free changes on award tickets & full miles back for only $35 if your plans change... being able to reserve a 15k mile award ticket "just in case" and change/cancel it later with little trouble is a major +.



If you live in DEN and fly enough to get top status, ER is an A+ program.

Agreed, if you live in DEN. I gave it a C due to being in ABQ by choice. ABQ is a Southwest city with direct flights from here. 65% of Sunport flights are WN, now that F9 is a Q400 airline to DEN I won't fly them. One flight/day on A318's @ 6:30 AM won't do for me with all the other choices I have. My biggest gripe with F9 is change fees, on WN there are none.

If I lived in DEN which I won't, F9 would be my only choice for above reasons.
loboclone is offline  

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