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JetBlue just launched a new buy points promotion. Now through June 30, 2022, this new offer gives TrueBlue members the ability to buy points for as little as 1.77¢ each. But, is that a good deal? Let's take a look at when it makes sense to buy JetBlue points—and when it doesn't.
General Note on Buying Points
Generally speaking, buying points or miles without a bonus or discount isn't a good idea. Airlines and hotels typically sell points for a lot more than what they're worth. This is especially true for programs—like JetBlue—that utilize a fixed-value, revenue-based points currency.
However, there are a few exceptions. If you only need a few more points to confirm a redemption you'd like to make, a points sale can be the perfect time to top off your account with a bonus or at a discount. Additionally, buying points can save you some cash if the price to buy points for a redemption is cheaper than paying for the same product outright.
Buy JetBlue Points Key Terms
- This promotion is valid through June 30, 2022.
- Purchases of TrueBlue points are non-refundable.
- Purchased points will generally post within 72 hours.
- Any purchased TrueBlue points will not count toward qualification for Mosaic elite status.
- TrueBlue members may purchase a maximum of 70,000 points per transaction, and a maximum of 120,000 points per calendar year.
- See all terms and conditions here.
There's at least one version of this buy points promotion:
40% discount (1.77¢ per point)
- 1,000 – 2,000 points — no discount
- 3,000 – 19,500 points — receive a 20% discount (as low as 2.56¢ per point)
- 20,000 – 39,000 points — receive a 30% discount (as low as 2.07¢ per point)
- Buy 40,000 – 50,000 points — receive a 40% discount (as low as 1.77¢ per point)
You'll find the best rate when purchasing between 40,000 and 70,000 points. With the 40% discount, you can buy 70,000 points for $1,241.63 (including the 7.5% tax recovery fee). That's roughly 1.77¢ per point.
You'll notice that there is a 7.5% tax on this sale. Interestingly, you may not have to pay it. When domestic airlines levy a Federal Excise Tax on mileage purchases, it's with the assumption that the purchased miles will be used for domestic air travel. However, as many award travelers are probably aware, this might not be the case. If you use those purchased miles for international travel, hotel stays, gift cards, or any other redemption, you should be able to get it refunded.
To learn more, check out Gary Leff's post about it at View From The Wing.
If you get the fee refunded, this promotion's best rate drops to just 1.65¢ per mile — which is still pretty bad.
Great JetBlue Redemptions
Unlike zone-based award programs (like American Airlines AAdvantage) or category-based programs (like Marriott Bonvoy), JetBlue's TrueBlue currency operates at a fixed value of between 1¢ and 1.5¢ per point. The advantage of a program like this is that the ability to use points is steady. You don't have to find award availability to get a good redemption. The disadvantage is that you're rarely going to find any outsized value for your points.
But just because you're not going to find any ‘sweet spots' in JetBlue's non-existent award chart doesn't mean that there are no valuable point redemptions. With fixed-value currencies, if cash fares are cheap, award prices are also cheap.
For example, this transcontinental route between New York and Los Angeles shows several flights available for just 9,400 points+ $5.60.
JetBlue also happens to offer one of the best domestic business-class products available. If you're keen to try JetBlue ‘Mint', there are some great deals out there for points redemptions. For example, you can book this New York to Las Vegas itinerary in JetBlue Mint for only 42,200 points.
At the optimal purchase rate of 1.77¢, that's $747 in points respectively, plus $5.60 taxes and fees. That may sound fairly reasonable — until you realize that the cash rate for the same flight is just $433:
In this case, it would make much more sense to buy the flight outright than buying JetBlue points for this redemption. However, if you don't have quite enough TrueBlue points, it could make sense to top off your account with a purchase.
Maximize Your Purchase
TrueBlue point purchases are processed by Points.com, meaning your purchase will not qualify for any standard travel category bonus. With that in mind, if you decide to buy JetBlue points, your best options are to use the purchase to meet the minimum spend for a sign-up bonus, or to use a card optimized for non-bonused spending.
If you're looking to build your stash of TrueBlue points, three of the best options would be the:
- Citi Custom Cash℠ Card – which earns 5X ThankYou Points in the category you spend the most in when paired with a Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card.
- Citi® Double Cash Card – which earns 2X ThankYou Points when paired with a Citi Premier or Prestige Card.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited® – which earns 1.5% cashback on everyday purchases, which can be transferred to Ultimate Rewards points if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
Other Ways to Earn TrueBlue Points
If you're not in a bind for time, perhaps a better way to earn TrueBlue points might be with a sign-up bonus on a JetBlue co-branded credit card:
- JetBlue Plus Card — Earn 70,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and payment of the annual fee.
- JetBlue Card — Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
- JetBlue Business Card — Earn up to 70,000 bonus points. Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days, and earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $6,000 on purchases within the first 12 months.
JetBlue TrueBlue is also a transfer partner of the following programs, with instant transfer times:
- American Express Membership Rewards (250:200 transfers)
- Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1 transfers)
- Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:1 transfers)
You can also transfer points from IHG Rewards to JetBlue at a ratio of 10,000:2,000.
Even with a 40% discount, this promotion to buy JetBlue points presents a pretty poor value for your money. This is one of the poorer prices we have seen during a promotion to buy JetBlue points. It falls far short of the 1.38¢ per point value of TrueBlue points in typical redemptions. After all, due to the currency's fixed value, buying points will make sense in very few situations.
If you're right on the cusp of being able to afford an expensive redemption, then this promotion could be the fastest way to get there if you don't have transferrable points. Otherwise, you should probably steer clear.
Can you think of any other time when it makes sense to buy JetBlue points?
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