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JetBlue has been around for 17 years, a young airline compared to its legacy competitors. Perhaps because it's still the new kid on the block, it likes to take a different approach than other carriers, a philosophy that is reflected in its TrueBlue frequent flyer program.
How JetBlue TrueBlue Works
JetBlue's frequent flier program was one of the first to move to a revenue based system. While other carriers were issuing miles based on the distance flown, JetBlue decided to reward its customers based on the price paid for tickets.
Currently, you earn 3x points per dollar paid for its “Blue” class fares and its premium Mint premium class product, 4x points are earned for “Blue Plus” fares which have a free checked bag included, and 5x for “Blue Flex” fares which offer two checked bags and no change fees.
You'll earn another 3x points for booking your flight online at JetBlue.com, and an additional 3x if you've earned Mosaic elite status in their program. You can also earn a further 6x points purchasing a JetBlue Getaways vacation package.
The easiest way to increase your rewards balance is to use the JetBlue Plus Mastercard® from Barclaycard, which offers 6x points per dollar spent on JetBlue purchases, 2x points at restaurants and grocery stores and 1x on all other purchases.
Other benefits include a free checked bag, a 10% rebate on points redeemed, and the ability to earn Mosaic status after spending $50,000 on the card in a calendar year.
This card offers new applicants 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within 90 days of account opening. There is a $99 annual fee for this card and you receive 5,000 points each year on your account anniversary.
The offer for the JetBlue Card and the JetBlue Plus Card have expired. You can see a full list of available cards in our marketplace.
Alternatively, JetBlue offers a no-fee version of this card which still earns 3x points on all JetBlue purchases, more than the standard 2x from most other airline cards. Like the premium JetBlue Plus, the JetBlue Card also features 2x points at restaurants and grocery stores and 1x on all other purchases. New applicants can earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within 90 days of account opening.
You can catch a breakdown of the Barclaycard JetBlue cards in our card review.
JetBlue is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, so you can top off your account with points earned from your The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express or American Express® Gold Card.
Finally, the TrueBlue program also has a unique program called Badges where you earn miles for completing certain tasks (think boy scouts). For example, you can earn additional points by flying to a new city, purchasing their ‘Even More Space' seats with extra legroom (available to Mosaic members), or even by friending JetBlue on Facebook. Just be sure to opt-in to their Badges program, and you'll probably find yourself earning points unexpectedly as you interact with JetBlue and travel their system.
Unlike other airline programs with several different tiers of elite status (silver, gold, platinum etc), JetBlue only offers a single level called Mosaic. You earn it by flying 30 segments and earning 12,000 points, although it only counts points from the fare itself.
You can also reach Mosaic status by earning 15,000 points, or by spending $50,000 on the JetBlue Plus Mastercard® in a calendar year. Mosaic status offers waived change and cancellation fees, waived baggage fees, priority boarding, and other perks.
While JetBlue awards points strictly based on how much you paid for your flights, there's some variability on how much points are worth when you go to redeem them.
I've found the points to be worth an average of about 1.4 cents each, with some fares offering just under one cent per point and others returning as much as 1.8 cents per point.
Unfortunately, there isn't much rhyme or reason as to how to get the best value from your points. If you are flying often and plan on purchasing some tickets with cash and redeeming points for others, it would be best to save your points for when you are able to receive at least 1.4 cents in value.
To figure this out, simply look at the price of your fare in dollars, subtract any taxes and fees, and divide that amount by the number of points required.
For example, here's a round trip flight between New York-JFK and Los Angeles that sells for $432.20. Alternatively, you can redeem 25,700 TrueBlue points and $11.20 for this flight. Subtracting $11.20 from $432.20 reveals $421 in value for your 25,700 points, or just over 1.6 cents per point making it better than average value.
However, this round-trip flight from Boston to Aruba with little-advanced notice costs $1,717.66 or 177,600 points and $69.56, which returns about 0.93 cents in value per point. So if you were faced with the choice of using your points for this flight or paying cash, you would be better off paying cash and saving your points for another trip where they would be worth more.
However, there is one exception to this 1.4 cents rule. If you have Mosaic status, then you can use your points to upgrade to their Even More Space seats with extra legroom, starting at just 200 points for a seat upgrade that costs $10 and topping off at 1,100 points for an upgrade that sells for $99.
Not only is this a fantastic use of your rewards that returns values of nearly 10 cents per point, but these seats also offer an amazing 37-41 inches of pitch. This works out to even more legroom than the extra legroom economy class seats offered by its competitors and more room than most domestic first class seats.
On previous JetBlue flights where I selected Even More Space seats, I found that I was able to reach the aisle from my window seat without asking my seatmates to get up. So if you are lucky enough to reach Mosaic status, using these inexpensive awards to upgrade to your seat should be a no-brainer.
More JetBlue TrueBlue award flight examples:
Seattle to Anchorage for 5,600 points & $5.60
San Francisco to New York for 11,900 points +$5.60 or JetBlue's fully lie flat Mint Class for 45,300 points + $5.60
JFK to Bermuda for 4,500 points & $5.60
Boston to Cancun for 9,500 points & $27
Another attractive option for redeeming your TrueBlue points is the JetBlue Getaways program, which includes airfare and your choice of hotels. While you can't redeem your points for the entire cost of a vacation package, they do offer points + cash options that is quite attractive. When I compared the price of the packages to the number of points required, I found that it returned about 1.8 cents per point, which is well above average. So if you are looking to purchase a flight and a hotel, you can lower your out of pocket costs and stretch your points a bit further this way.
Finally, JetBlue is one of the few airlines that offers the ability to combine points between family members called Family Pooling. Up to two adults in the same household and five children under the age of 21 can combine their points towards an award.
By understanding how JetBlue's TrueBlue rewards program works, you can go as far as possible with your reward points.
- JetBlue Barclaycard Rewards Cards
- Intro to the JetBlue True Loyalty Program
- Are Amex JetBlue Cardholders Eligible for the Barclays Cards?
- Review of JetBlue's Mint Class
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