Sold! How This Airline Broke My 15 Year Streak

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Breeze Airways Benefits

Breeze Airways Benefits

I failed.  About 15 years ago, I last paid cash for a domestic flight.  I remember it vividly.  In what seems like forever ago, we bought United tickets to Maui so that we could use our last two 1k systemwide upgrades.  After doing so, I implemented a new goal.  I never wanted to pay out of pocket for domestic airfare ever again.  Since that point in the mid-aughts, I’d been successful.  Until a few weeks ago.  Here are the Breeze Airways benefits that convinced me to fork over my own money.

Superior Routing

I love my closest regional airport of significance, Norfolk International (ORF).  But the major airlines don’t provide many nonstop options beyond flights to their own hub cities.  I’m always on the lookout for new destinations I can fly to, especially out west, that don’t involve a connection.  For instance, ORF had been without a nonstop flight to Las Vegas for years.  That changed recently with Breeze’s new offering.  I also look forward to taking easy flights to places like Pittsburgh and Providence.  Breeze previously announced a nonstop to LAX, but that has been delayed.  Fingers crossed, that one will pan out.  I’ll have to settle for the RIC-SFO nonstop for now.

Breeze Airways Benefits
Here’s what Nice, Nicer, and Nicest Breeze fares provide. Source: Breeze Airways.

First Class for the Masses

Thanks to Breeze, even more can enjoy a taste of flying first class.  And Breeze does so in a refreshingly unpretentious way.  Fares are broken into “Nice, Nicer, and Nicest” categories.  Nicest bookings include amenities such as a first class seat, snacks/beverages (premium options and alcohol on longer flights), higher baggage allowance, and more BreezePoints, their frequent flyer currency (more on that later).

I’m looking forward to my flight experience being a modest step up from economy.  But I also feel Breeze does a good job of managing expectations here.  Regardless, Breeze shrewdly sold me on paying a bit extra.  For the almost five and a half hour flight to Vegas, I’m cool with paying about $130 more for a bit more comfort and the other extras.  Granted, I feel better doing so since I can dip into my cash back rewards to cover it.  In general, I bet many value-seeking flyers will make similar decisions to upgrade their experiences just a bit.

Breeze Airways Benefits
The easiest rewards I’ve recently obtained. Source: Breeze Airways.

A Refreshing Loyalty Program

Breeze’s loyalty program can’t get much simpler.  Even better, that simplicity is coupled with immediate rewards.  I signed up for a Breeze account and automatically received $5.00 in BreezePoints.  Try signing up now to pick up some free points.  (Perhaps the only perplexing optic is Breeze referring to them as points when the currency is dollars.)

Here’s how the program works.  Travelers booking Nice, Nicer, and Nicest fares earn 2%, 4%, and 6% BreezePoints, respectively.  Those rewards, regardless of amount, are redeemable on a traveler’s next booking.  And I was able to use my $5.00 from account signup on my first flight.  Breeze conveniently provides a rewards estimate in dollars earned with a given booking.

On one screen, travelers can apply their existing BreezePoints rewards and review what they will earn on a flight. Source: Breeze Airways.

Some may bristle at the “coupon over free flight” form that the program may espouse.  Not me – I love the ability to zero out my existing Breeze rewards balance on every booking.

Something for the Gearheads

I prefer the straightforward aspects of Breeze thus far, but some may enjoy diving in deeper.  Breeze offers the simple Nice, Nicer, and Nicest fare packages, but a la carte options also exist.  More inquisitive travelers can customize their Breeze travel experience even more, potentially achieving a better deal for exactly what they want.

For instance, an individual confident in their travel dates but wanting an extra legroom or first class seat can book the cheapest Nice fare class and pay extra just for the seat.  Also, a traveler doesn’t need to book Nicer or Nicest in order to obtain a baggage allowance, maybe more than they need.  Instead, a traveler can book a Nice fare and add the exact type and amount of baggage they plan on bringing.

Minimalists Aren’t Forgotten

Those who travel super light and need zero frills can obtain great deals on Breeze.  Couple that with the non-stop flight options between smaller airports, and that can be a significant win.  I’m generally in this demographic.

What I’d Like To See

In my view, the biggest Breeze weakness is flight availability.  From ORF, Breeze flies to certain destinations only twice weekly.  Depending on my travel needs and schedule, Breeze won’t be an option in some cases.  Of course, I realize this limited availability is part of the deal with such an airline.  But I’d still like to see more options in the future.

And there’s no Breeze Airways credit card (yet).  Of course, I’d love to see a Breeze credit card come on the scene.  While I would never fly them, Allegiant Airways has a credit card.  If they do, I’d like to think Breeze can eventually.

Breeze Airways Benefits – Conclusion

I’m optimistic about Breeze Airways and look forward to seeing how they grow.  Perhaps I should take a more conservative approach and just hope that they survive.  For now, I’m glad there’s a newer player out there being a bit more innovative than the legacy carriers and their dusty domestic options.  To that end, I was happy Breeze convinced me to go out of pocket.  I can’t imagine any other domestic carrier will be able to any time soon.  Have you traveled on Breeze?  How was your experience?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA for close to free. He enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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5 COMMENTS

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I flew Breeze for the first time in April. Tampa to Huntsville. Easy flight. Very efficient staff and a great price. I would like to see them expand to New Orleans and Las Vegas from Tampa.

  2. Highly unlikely Breeze will ever be temping given airport location but otherwise, I likely would not break our 35+ year streak still running, not “paying” for airfare both domestic or international (paid $ for taxes, seats, ugh, yes) for a Breeze flight.

  3. Sounds interesting. I would definitely give them a try…especially if their “first class” seats are equivalent to the “big front seat” of Spirit.

    Can’t wait until you have your flight and write a review…definitely interested in hearing your experience.

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