People seem to love or hate Sun Country Airlines. Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler have ranked the low-cost carrier one of the top 10 domestic airlines, but online reviews seem to be mostly negative, with one suggesting that “the sun has set on Sun Country Airlines.”
As the name implies, Sun Country focuses on holiday travel, with several seasonal, warm weather destinations in the Caribbean, Costa Rica and Mexico. It also serves two dozen destinations in the U.S. So if you live in or near one of the cities it serves, particularly the Minneapolis St. Paul hub or Dallas/Fort Worth focus city, then Sun Country’s loyalty program, Ufly Rewards, might be for you.
Sun Country offers a few notable perks over their low-budget competition. Unlike Spirit and Frontier, it doesn’t charge for a carry-on bag. It also offers a first class cabin and getting it with miles can be quite a reasonable proposition.
Ufly members earn points based on the price of the ticket. The earning scheme is generous, offering 10 points per dollar spent. Award flight pricing is unusual in that it’s based on the date and destination, not strictly on distance or the price of the ticket. There are some terrific deals available, depending on where you live.
POINTS TRANSFER PARTNERS
- Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
- Capital Region International Airport (Lansing, Michigan)
Sun Country Ufly one-way award tickets start at just 5,000 points. Award redemption rates vary depending on date and destination. That can make it a little tricky to figure out the best use of your points.
People who live in or close to Minneapolis St. Paul or Dallas/Fort Worth may greatly benefit from using the program, as nonstop flights out of these airports usually represent the best redemption options. You can redeem points for one-way travel as well as round-trip flights and upgrades, and there are no blackout dates or capacity control.
- From 5,000 points for a one-way ticket
- Earn 10 points on every dollar spent on air travel, including tickets and upgrades
- Upgrades to first class on points are only 40 percent more, in general, which is much cheaper than on other airlines
- You can pool your Ufly points with up to nine other members
- Free carry-on bags and a personal item are allowed
- No blackouts or capacity control
- Ufly redemption rates vary by date and destination, making it difficult to figure out how to get the best value for your points
- Flights booked within seven days of travel are charged a 5,000 point fee
- If you don’t leave from or travel to Minneapolis St. Paul or Dallas/Fort Worth, connections are necessary, which raises the cost of travel
- International destinations are limited to Mexico, the Caribbean and Costa Rica
- No airline partners
- Many routes are seasonal
You will often get the best value for your Ufly points by redeeming them for first class travel. In this example, a one-way ticket in coach from Minneapolis St. Paul to Chicago costs $81 throughout September:
And a first class ticket costs $141:
You can get coach and first class award tickets for 5,500 and 7,700 points, respectively:
Award tickets are charged an additional $10 in taxes and fees, but the cash price already includes those charges. After removing the taxes and fees from the cash price, you’ll get about 1.3 cents per point for the coach ticket. That’s OK, but not great.
If you buy the first class ticket, the value of your Ufly points increases by about a third, to 1.7 cents. That’s a much better redemption rate.
Ufly’s award prices are based on the date and destination of the flight. That means the value you’ll get per point can vary a lot depending on the route and when you’re booking. As a general rule, if you’re not getting over a penny on the dollar for a specific flight, then you might consider paying cash instead.
Award flights booked within a week of traveling incur a 5,000 point fee on top of the standard price. In many cases this means that you will get a poor redemption rate.
The flight below departs within seven days of booking and only costs $50 in cash:
But an award ticket costs 14,000 points:
That’s a value of only about .4 cents per point. In this case, paying cash is a much better value.
First class upgrades can be purchased with points, but only within 24 hours of departure on domestic flights. International flights are not eligible.
Ufly has one elite level, which is achieved after reaching 50,000 points in one calendar year. Only points earned by flying count towards Elite status. Elite cardholder benefits include:
- Priority check-in, screening and boarding
- Free advanced seat selection
- Access to the Elite member phone support line
- Waived change fee, including same-day changes
- Two free checked bags
- Complimentary digital entertainment device in coach
- Free upgrade to first class at the gate when available
Sun Country has one co-branded credit card, the First Bank Sun Country Airlines Visa Signature. It offers the following benefits:
- No annual fee for the first year ($69 thereafter)
- Low $500 spending requirement to get a 40,000 point sign-up bonus
- Free checked bag
The Sun Country credit card also provides two extra points for purchasing tickets and upgrades, so you get 12 points per dollar spent. You’ll also get four points per dollar on qualifying on-board purchases and one point on everything else.