The Spirit Airlines $9 Fare Club Benefits Review: Worth It? [2020]

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Anytime you’re a frequent (or even semi-frequent) traveler with a certain airline or hotel chain, you should always be looking into ways to save with that program. With Spirit Airlines, the $9 Fare Club offers you a route to those savings.

In this article, I’ll explain what the $9 Fare Club is and what kind of benefits you can get from it. I’ll also discuss whether or not it is worth it to enroll in this club based on the potential savings.


What is the $9 Fare Club?

The $9 Fare Club is a special membership that allows you to save money on select fares with Spirit Airlines and also save on baggage fees for yourself and up to eight additional passengers.


How much does the $9 Fare Club cost?

The $9 Fare Club will cost you $59.95 for enrolling but they do try to pull a bit of a fast one on you. That’s because one year after annual enrollment in the Club, and on each anniversary thereafter, members will be automatically charged an annual fee of $69.95 for membership in the Club. So the price goes up $10 for the second year. 

You can get a 60 day trial membership for a fee of $19.95 but after that trial membership you’ll have to pay the full price of $69.95. So this trial would end up costing you a total of about $90 for 14 months versus the $60 for 12 months that you would pay with the standard membership.

$90 for 14 months comes out to $6.4 per month and $60 for 12 months comes out to $5 per month so you can see that the trial leads to less efficient pricing, although it does allow you to test out the waters for what it’s worth.  

Honestly, I think it is kind of difficult to try out something like this for two months.

The first reason is that two months just isn’t really that long. Most people probably already know their travel plans for the next two months so they should know what the savings should be for their carry-ons, checked baggage, and airfare.

It’s not like you’re purchasing a software that has and experiential factor to it that you may or may not like. We are just talking about predictable savings here within a short 60 day window. Therefore, I’m not a huge fan of the trial version.


Cancellation policy

You should be aware that Spirit Airlines has a pretty strict cancellation policy that is nonrefundable.

Here are the terms for cancellation:

A Member will not be entitled to any refund of any membership fees upon cancellation of membership in the Club

Spirit states that “we don’t refund or pro-rate the membership in the event you decide to cancel.” So this is a situation where you need to really think about your future flying plans to see if the program would offer you savings.

The easiest way to cancel your membership is by logging in to spirit.com and going to your My Account page. If you fail to cancel before the renewal date, your membership will be automatically renewed and you will be charged for the next year.

I did find a couple of interesting terms in the terms and conditions. Take a look at the following.

Spirit may, without prior notice, update guests’ credit card information via automatic account or billing updater programs offered by authorized third parties. Spirit may attempt to, but is not obligated to, notify current Members at the email address provided in the Member’s profile, prior to charging annual fees on any of Member’s credit card on file.

It is interesting to me that they can update your credit card information via automatic billing updated programs and that they are not obligated to notify you via your email when charging you annual fees.

So this just means that you need to be a little vigilant when canceling your membership and making sure you don’t get charged for a service that you are not using.


How do I join the $9 Fare Club?

You can join the Club by filling out the form at this webpage. The form will ask you to enter some basic information such as:

  • Your name
  • Date of birth
  • Email address

You will then need to create a password and then enter in your contact information. You will need to enter your nearest airport and if you need help locating your home airport you can click here. 

After that, input your billing information and you will be enrolled as a member.

You can also join when making your booking. Basically after you input your contact information for a booking, you should see a pop up for the $9 Fare club with an option to enroll.

Technically, you should already be a member of the FREE SPIRIT frequent flier program when you go to enroll. However, if you have not created an account, an account will be automatically created for you when you enroll in the $9 Fare club.


Is the $9 Fare Club worth it?

Whether or not the club is worth it is going to depend entirely on your travel patterns. In my opinion, it comes down to how often you are able to take advantage of the savings with baggage fees and also how often you can take advantage of the savings with airfare.

The savings with baggage fees are going to be more consistent since the airfare savings can be hit or miss. In the sections below, I’ll show you exactly how much you can expect to save and give you some points of comparison to help you decide whether or not the club would be worth it for yourself.


Baggage fees benefits

With the $9 Fare Club, you can often save $9 on baggage fees. I’ve listed price estimates for baggage fees below so you can see exactly how much you can potentially save with a membership to the $9 Fare Club. For more on Spirit baggage fees, click here

Bag-o-Tron

Spirit has the Spirit “Bag-o-Tron” which allows you to view baggage fees for your prospective trip since the rate could fluctuate depending on your route.

But to save you some work, I’ve already pulled up an example of the fees for a flight from IAH to LAX. For other domestic flights your prices should be somewhere close to what is found below.

These prices below are for carry-on luggage. And you’ll notice that the price of the carry-on can change depending on when you pay for your luggage. If you think you’ll need a carry-on with Spirit you should absolutely make the effort to pay for it when booking. If you wait until longer, the prices will go up.

As an aside, airlines like United, Delta, and American, all allow you to bring in a carry-on for free with a standard economy ticket, so that’s just something to keep in mind when price shopping.

During Sprit.com Booking

  • $9 Fare Club: $26
  • Standard: $35

Before online check-in

  • $9 Fare Club: $36
  • Standard: $45

During online check-in

  • $9 Fare Club: $36
  • Standard: $45

Airport, group desk, reservation center

  • $55

At gate

  • $65

If you fly Spirit frequently, then you’re looking at $18 savings on roundtrips on a consistent basis. That is not bad but again consider that most airlines allows you to bring a carry-on bag onboard for free.


Checked baggage benefits

You can also save money on checked baggage fees with the $9 Fare Club. Just like with carry-ons, the savings are going to be $9, so again you’re looking at $18 in savings per roundtrip per bag that you check.

So for one carry-on and one checked bag, that’s $36 per flight that you’ll save. That means that with two roundtrip flights, you could potentially offset the entire cost of the $9 Fare Club with baggage savings alone. 

I do think that the $9 Fare Club marketing is a little disingenuous when the claimant 50% discount, however.

That’s because they compare the price of purchasing your luggage during booking to the astronomical prices you would pay at the airport. For example, they state:

55% discount based on first checked bag at $9 Fare Club rate bought online before check-in compared with airport pricing.

Nevertheless, it does highlight the need to pay for your luggage as soon as possible.

Below are the price comparisons for the different rates for checked baggage fees.

During Sprit.com Booking

  • 1st bag: $30
    • $9 Fare Club: $21
  • 2nd bag: $40
    • $9 Fare Club: $31
  • 3rd through 5th: $85
    • $9 Fare Club: $76

Before online check-in

  • 1st bag: $40
    • $9 Fare Club: $31
  • 2nd bag: $50
    • $9 Fare Club: $41
  • 3rd through 5th: $95
    • $9 Fare Club: $86

During online check-in

  • 1st bag: $40
    • $9 Fare Club: $31
  • 2nd bag: $50
    • $9 Fare Club: $41
  • 3rd through 5th: $95
    • $9 Fare Club: $86

Airport, group desk, reservation center

  • 1st bag: $50
  • 2nd bag: $60
  • 3rd through 5th: $100

At gate

  • 1st bag: $65
  • 2nd bag: N/A
  • 3rd through 5th: N/A

As you can see, all across-the-board your savings will be $9.


Airfare savings

As a member of the $9 Fare Club, you’ll be able to save about $9 on special airfare rates (though sometimes even more like the $34 savings seen below).

Whenever you search for flights, you can spot the $9 Fare Club routes on either the weekly or monthly calendar view. Here’s a look at the weekly view — when you see the “9FC” yellow icon you know there’s a special rate. In this case, it was just under $9 worth of savings.

You can also utilize the monthly view. Take a look at the view below and you’ll notice that there’s only one eligible fare for the entire month.

My biggest issue with these savings is that they don’t always seem to be widely available, as shown above. That can make things difficult if you’re trying to get most of your value from the cheaper fares. So flexibility is definitely a big factor you want to consider when choosing to enroll.

If you are someone who has a lot of flexibility with choosing your flight dates then your odds of taking advantage of savings will be higher. But if your schedule tends to be less flexible than I’m not sure this will offer you savings when it comes to airfare.


Save with up to nine passengers!?

The savings can apply for you and up to eight additional passengers on the same itinerary. This is where some real value and savings can be had. If you’re traveling with a large family or just a large group you could potentially save a couple of hundred dollars depending on the airfare and all the baggage fees.

If everybody was saving on one carry on and one checked bag for a round trip flight, that’s $36 in savings per roundtrip. For nine people, that’s $324 in savings, so you could see how the savings could add up pretty quickly.

Therefore, if you are a family or someone who travels with large groups there is some serious value to be had with this program.  


Final word

So overall is it worth it? Well, if you plan on frequently flying with Spirit and taking carry-on items and checked bags with you, it can certainly be worth it. I think that the bulk of the value is in the baggage fee savings considering that those are offered on a far more consistent basis.

Cover photo by Prayitno via Flickr

UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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