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Ouch – Sun Country rewards devalues points to less than 1 cent each

by on Tue June 14, 2016 • No Comment
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In the world of miles and points, inflation that makes awards cost more points than you planned is a constant concern.

But the ‘baseline’ most of us expect is that in a worst case scenario, your airline miles will have some outlet that’s worth 1 cent per point.

Sun Country, which is a Minneapolis based airline with flights to lots of vacation destinations from Minneapolis, just changed that with its uFly program.

As of June 7 it enhanced devalued its points, without warning, to a system that values points at either $0.0076 or $0.009 per point (less than 1 cent each).

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  • If you fly on ‘Premium dates,’ which correspond with major holidays and school break periods, it will require 130 points to get $1 worth of Sun Country airfare or fees, or 0.76 cents per point.
  • If you fly on other dates, it will require 110 points to get $1 worth, or 0.9 cents per point.

Previously, Sun Country uFly had varying values per point when you booked rewards. The point prices weren’t directly tied to the price of tickets.

You could get flights for as few as 5,000 points, often getting you 1.5 cents or more per point in value compared to the underlying airfare.

Sun Country claims that the new system is a plus because you can for the first time choose to use a combination of cash and points.

But unlike Delta for example, that lets you pay a mix of points and cash while retaining more traditional award pricing that allows for higher values per mile, Sun Country is making all point redemptions worth just one of two value levels.

For some flyers who flew at peak times, it probably won’t make much of a difference. Some Sun Country flights under the old program cost 20,000 points one way. But if you were a value seeker, this is a huge devaluation that could make your points worth about 50% less than before.

The issue here might be growth.

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Sun Country says its membership base has more than doubled in less than 3 years, and for most of that time it’s been offering a generous 40,000 point sign on bonus with its Sun Country Visa Signature from First National Bank of Omaha.

If you used it well, you could get almost $700 in value out of the bonus. Now, those 40,000 points are worth no more than $363.

But to make the change without warning on its website, and call it an ‘enhancement’ is about as bad as it gets in the world of rewards.

Fortunately, customers like ilikelogic on Reddit are calling them out publicly.

 

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