Though they’re small in size, Minneapolis-based Sun Country Airlines is big on innovation. The 28-destination carrier is redefining the frequent flyer program concept with a unique members-only fare structure.
Passengers who join the “VIP Club” and pay a one-time $99 initiation fee and a monthly fee of $12, can fly to any Sun Country destination for $29, plus nine cents a mile.
For example, a Minneapolis-New York roundtrip would run $214, including taxes and fees.
The fares are thus competitive with other airlines’ advance-purchase fares, but free of the restrictions that usually apply to such fares. As a result, walk-up fares are the same as those purchased six weeks out.
In addition, VIP Club members get priority check-in, security and boarding, as well as discounts on hotel stays and car rentals.
There are some drawbacks, however. Almost all of Sun Country’s flights begin or end in Minneapolis, and frequency is limited. But if the idea takes hold, it shouldn’t be long until both the routes and the number of flights increase.