Spirit Airlines giving away free miles


Patrick Guillermo is a long way from New York but he hopes to get there for free by waiting outside a southeast Houston travel agency.

"They are giving away 20,000 miles," he said. "That's enough for a round trip on Spirit Airlines."

To welcome itself to Houston, Spirit Airlines is giving away 60 million miles, 20,000 at a time to people willing to stand in line to get them.

Guillermo asked, "What can you lose except your time?""

Travel agents say the addition of discount carrier Spirit Airlines could help other fliers by lowering the fares of other carriers flying out of Houston. But they add while Spirit advertises low fares, the airline charges extra fees for selecting a seat and no bags fly free.

That's why travel agent Michelle Weller says before you buy a ticket on Spirit know what you are getting beforehand.

"If you get a $69 round trip ticket you can't really expect the world," she said. "They charge you for carry ons. That's not uncommon to start charging for bags and all kinds of upgrades."

For example, on a weekend flight to Las Vegas, we found travelers have to buy the fare, pay another $12 for their seat assignment and another $25 for one checked bag. The end result, round trip tickets will cost $361, that's about $30 less that Southwest and $70 less than United.

Weller said, "I think it will be good for people who want to do leisure travel and just take a quick weekend trip. Competition is always good."

As for those free miles, 20,000 is enough for a free flight on Spirit, but a travel points expert tells us there is a catch.

Brian Kelly, The Points Guy, said, "They'll take your miles away if they are idle for three months. Most airlines give you at least a year or 18 months of no activity before they expire."

Spirit Airlines will give out 60 million free Spirit miles in Houston this week. Three thousand lucky people over the age of 18 will each get 20,000 miles on a first-come, first-served basis at the following three locations:

  • Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 5 pm at Travel Leaders, 1085 Hercules St., Houston
  • Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at noon at Krisbi Travel, 7457 Harwin Dr., Houston
  • Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 5 pm at Fox Travel, 25701 I-45 North, The Woodlands
  • For details, visit www.spirit.com/20K.

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