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Should You Buy An Unlimited Flight Pass?

By Peter Vanden Bos
Read time: 5 minutes

When planning a vacation budget, airfare is one of the biggest costs to consider. While there are plenty of ways to find cheap flights, the cost of multiple trips in a year can quickly add up — especially with all those pesky airline fees. Fortunately, for those planning quite a bit of travel, a number of airlines offer an intriguing option in the way of all-you-can-fly passes. But are they worth the upfront cost? Find out which airlines offer flight subscriptions and how much they cost.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines landing on airport runway next to body of water
Credit: Anadolu via Getty Images

In fall 2023, Frontier Airlines launched its GoWild! All-You-Can-Fly Pass. Those who purchase the pass can enjoy unlimited flights to any domestic or international destination the budget airline flies to. For each flight you take, you’ll pay a fare of just $0.01 plus taxes and fees.

However, pass bookings can only be confirmed last-minute — one day before domestic departures and up to 10 days before international flights — which limits the appeal to travelers who can be spontaneous. A few other things to note: Some blackout dates apply, availability on some routes may be limited, and bookings outside the one- or 10-day window may be possible for an extra fee.

The GoWild! Pass features several options and price points. As of early 2024, monthly passes are available starting at $150, passes valid for only summer travel cost $499, and annual passes will set you back $599. The airline also frequently runs limited-time specials with lower pricing for new members. Before purchasing, be sure to check the airline’s extensive list of fees. Because it’s a budget airline, Frontier charges extra for both carry-on and checked bags, as well as things like seat assignments or even printing your boarding pass at the airport. But if you’re flexible and travel light, the potential savings are substantial.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines jet on approach
Credit: santonii/ Unsplash

Based in Seattle, Alaska Airlines has an extensive route network on the West Coast. If you fly around Arizona, California, Nevada, or Utah frequently, then the airline’s Flight Pass may be worth the investment.

Unlike Frontier’s subscription, Alaska’s pass doesn’t offer truly unlimited flights, but there are options for six, 12, or 24 flights in a year — which should appeal to the majority of travelers. More importantly, the pass is valid only for flights between 15 destinations in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah, so you’ll want to check those carefully and see if it makes sense for you. 

On the plus side, Alaska offers free seat assignments, and there are no change fees or blackout dates. And the pricing is attractive: Passes start at $49 for six Alaska flights in a year (one roundtrip every two months), $99 for 12 flights (one roundtrip flight per month), and $189 for 24 trips (two flights a month). Your credit card will be charged monthly, and you’ll receive a set number of credits that must be redeemed for flights before the end of the month (though travel can take place up to 90 days after you book a trip).

Air Canada and Porter Airlines

View of Air Canada aircraft landing from below
Credit: John McArthur/ Unsplash

Fly to Canada frequently? Two Canadian carriers offer packages of prepaid flight credits that can be used within specific travel zones of your choosing. Porter Airlines — which recently launched flights from Montreal and Toronto to U.S. destinations including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Orlando — offers what it calls the Porter Pass. Travelers can choose between 10, 20, 50, and 100 flight credits (valid for 365 days from date of purchase). Most packages are transferable, so you can also share them with others. You must sign up for the carrier’s frequent flier program to be eligible, and purchases will be made in Canadian dollars.

Air Canada’s Flight Pass works similarly — you must first choose a zone of travel (such as Canada to the U.S.) and a set number of flight credits. The program also offers an option for unlimited travel for a year. However, you must technically be a Canadian resident and a member of the airline’s frequent flier program to purchase. 

Southwest Airlines (Companion Pass) 

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737s parked at terminal
Credit: Karl Magnuson/ Unsplash

Southwest’s Companion Pass works a bit differently than the other passes on this list since it’s essentially a two-for-one pass — but it can unlock incredible value for two people traveling together.

It’s also a bit harder to obtain one: Typically, you’ll have to fly 100 qualifying flights on Southwest in a calendar year or earn 135,000 points (which include both flights and credit card purchases). But one of the easiest ways to qualify is by keeping an eye out for the airline’s credit card promotions. Southwest frequently offers a bonus that includes a Companion Pass to those who sign up for one of its credit cards and meet the spending requirements and pay the annual fee. 

If you fly Southwest frequently, there’s no question the pass is worth it. Once you qualify, the Companion Pass is valid for the rest of the calendar year and the year after that. Choose your companion, and they can fly with you to any of Southwest’s 120-plus destinations for just the cost of taxes and fees (starting at $5.60 one way). There are no blackout dates, and you can even change your companion up to three times in a calendar year. And unlike budget airlines, Southwest doesn’t charge extra for seat assignments or changes; each passenger can also check two bags for free.

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