Is Frontier's Discount Den Membership Worth The Price?

In a world that's rife with inflation, it's nice to know that some bargains still exist. For example, flying with a low-cost carrier like Frontier Airlines for your next vacation, business trip, or family get-together. Though admittedly, the ultra-low-cost carrier's policies won't appeal to every flyer. That's because Frontier charges extra for nearly everything, such as seat assignments, carry-on luggage in excess of a small personal item (like a purse or laptop bag), and even a glass of water. Thankfully, Frontier hasn't begun charging a fee to use the airplane's lavatories — yet.

Nonetheless, Frontier Airlines' airfares are often so reasonably priced that even with a few of the typically sneaky ways airlines get you to spend extra (like luggage tacked onto the base fare), the overall ticket price can still be much lower than more mainstream legacy airlines. Alternatively, perhaps the timing of a Frontier flight just works for your travel schedule. Whatever the reason, if you anticipate traveling on Frontier more than once or twice per year, it's worth investigating the airline's aptly named Discount Den membership program, which entitles its participants to, ahem, discounts on flights and other perks. At an annual cost of $59.99, could the Discount Den prove worth the price and up your flying game?

Discount Den can pay for itself pretty quickly

First and foremost, the $59.99 annual fee entitles Discount Den members to a typical discount on airfare ranging from about $10 to $30 per person, per one-way flight. Furher, Discount Den reduced fares can be applied to up to nine passengers on your reservation, including the program member. Therefore, families or friends that frequently travel together really only need one person in the group to splurge on a Discount Den membership in order for everyone to receive a discounted fare.

With a typical savings of $20 to $60 per person on every round-trip flight, it seems like a Discount Den membership is a no-brainer for travelers planning to fly Frontier anyway; however, there are a few caveats. To begin, first-time Discount Den members are required to pay a $40 enrollment fee, which brings the total first-year cost of the membership to $99.99. If you previously had a Discount Den membership that lapsed, you'll also need to pay the $40 enrollment fee, just like new members are required to. This said, eagle-eyed bargain hunters will note that Frontier does occasionally run special promotions that reduce or flat-out waive the $40 enrollment fee.

A final pitfall is that the $59.99 annual Discount Den fee renews automatically unless you cancel prior to the last day of your current membership period. That means that forgetful types wanting to cancel may inadvertently let the cancellation date slide and, similar to how using autopay for your subscriptions can end up costing you, wind up paying for an additional and unwanted year. To be safe, set an alert on your calendar or smartphone as a reminder.

Do kids really fly free?

What's even better than a discounted airfare? A free ticket, and a Discount Den membership offers just that to passengers 14 years of age and younger. That is, one kid under 15 can travel free for each adult ticket that's purchased. If that offer sounds too good to be true, well, it's legit but note that many restrictions exist. Specifically, the travel dates must be either a Tuesday or a Wednesday, you must book a round-trip flight, and reservations need to be made at least two weeks in advance.

With those hurdles cleared, note that certain routes are exempted from the "Kids Fly Free" policy. For instance, all international destinations, such as Canada and Mexico, are excluded, but there's also a list of over one dozen domestic routes that don't participate in "Kids Fly Free." For a complete list of ineligible markets, you'll want to visit Frontier's website to view the terms and conditions.

Besides the blackout routes, significant blackout dates also exist for kids flying free on Frontier. As you might imagine, major holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, are surrounded by blackout periods. However, other popular vacationing times, including Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day, are also subject to blackout dates before and after the holiday itself. Once again, you'll want to peruse Frontier's terms and conditions.

To be clear, the blackout routes, restricted dates, and other conditions discussed in this section only apply to the "Kids Fly Free" component of the Discount Den membership, not the typical discounts on flights that are more readily available.

Bottom line: It's a good deal

Flying a no-frills airline like Frontier Airlines definitely won't appeal to all travelers, but there's no doubt that this business model has made flying more accessible to all budget levels. Besides already low prices, promotional tools like the Discount Den and the airline's GoWild all-you-can-fly passes offer greater value still. Just keep in mind that in regard to the former, your initial cost will be $99 when the $40 enrollment fee is factored in, and that the membership must be proactively canceled, lest it keeps automatically renewing year after year.

Nonetheless, that's a pretty reasonable amount to pay for fare discounts averaging $10 to $30 per person, each way. Additionally, eight of your closest friends or family members can also enjoy the discount, provided that everyone is on the same reservation as the Discount Den member. To be sure, joining the Discount Den is a bargain for many flyers and one that doesn't require any questionable booking tactics in an attempt to secure expensive plane tickets. However, before pulling the trigger on this deal, do make sure that Frontier has a significant footprint at the airport(s) you'll likely be traveling to and from.

Finally, when weighing if a Discount Den membership is worth the price, consider if you'll mind paying extra for, well, everything. Competing low-cost carriers like Southwest, home of the famous Companion Pass that lets your travel partner fly free, may offer similar pricing, but with perks like free checked bags and free reservation changes as well.