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While JetBlue has been around for over 20 years, it's still a young airline compared to its legacy competitors. The airline has had a focus on domestic U.S. and Caribbean destinations, only recently making an appearance in Europe with flights to London, Paris, and a handful of other destinations.
Perhaps because it's still the new kid on the block, the airline takes a different approach than other carriers, a philosophy reflected in its TrueBlue frequent flyer program. JetBlue's frequent flier program was one of the first to move to a revenue-based system. While other carriers were still issuing miles based on the distance flown, JetBlue decided to reward its customers based on the price paid for tickets. While this makes it more difficult to get massive value out of the program, there are definitely ways to maximize JetBlue TrueBlue points.
Earning JetBlue TrueBlue Points
You earn TrueBlue points based on the price you pay for your base airfare at the following rates:
- Blue Basic: 1 point per $1 (an additional 1 point per $1 spent if you book directly)
- Blue / Blue Plus / Blue Extra / Mint: 3 points per $1 (and an additional 3 points per $1 if you book directly)
- JetBlue Vacations Package: 6 points per $1
For Blue Basic, the most you can earn is 2X points on base airfare, while all other fares earn 6X points if you book directly with JetBlue online or using the app. The 6X earning on JetBlue Vacations packages is limited to the airfare portion. The hotel, car rental, cruise & transfer portions of a vacation package all earn 1 point per $1.
Additionally, you can earn more JetBlue TrueBlue points through any of the following:
- Mosaic member: 3 points per $1
- Pay with the JetBlue Card: 3 points per $1
- Pay with a JetBlue Business Card or JetBlue Plus Card: 6 points per $1
This means that the most you can earn on a non-Blue Basic fare is 15 points per $1 (3X on base fare + 3X as a Mosaic member + 3X for booking directly online or using the app + 6X for paying with the JetBlue Plus Card or JetBlue Business Card credit card). Similarly, the most you can earn on a Blue Basic booking is 11 points per $1 spent.
JetBlue credit cards
Flying JetBlue isn't the only way to rack up JetBlue points. One easy way to increase your rewards balance is to use the JetBlue Plus Card from Barclays, which offers 6x points per dollar spent on JetBlue purchases (as noted above), 2x points at restaurants and grocery stores, and 1x on other purchases.
Other benefits include a free checked bag when you fly with JetBlue, a 10% rebate on points redeemed for JetBlue flights, 50% savings on inflight purchases, 5,000 annual bonus points, and the ability to earn 1 tile toward perks and Mosaic status for every $1,000 you spend.
Currently, the card offers new applicants 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and payment of the annual fee. There is a $99 annual fee for this card.
Alternatively, JetBlue offers a $0-annual-fee version of this card which still earns 3x points on all JetBlue purchases, more than the standard 2x most other airline cards offer. Like the premium JetBlue Plus Card, the JetBlue Card also features 2x points at restaurants and grocery stores and 1x on other purchases.
While this card doesn't offer any free checked luggage, you can still use it to earn tiles toward Mosaic status. It will also give you a 50% savings on inflight purchases. New applicants can earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
Own a small business? JetBlue also offers a small-business credit card you can use to earn JetBlue TrueBlue points. Its bonus spending is more geared toward businesses, as it offers 6x points per dollar spent on JetBlue purchases, 2x points at restaurants and eligible office supply stores, and 1x on other purchases.
Other benefits include a free checked bag when you fly with JetBlue, Group A boarding, a 10% rebate on points redeemed for JetBlue flights, 50% savings on inflight purchases, 5,000 annual bonus points, and the ability to earn 1 tile toward perks and Mosaic status for every $1,000 you spend.
Currently, the card offers new applicants up to 60,000 bonus points. Earn up to 60,000 bonus points. Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. Plus, earn 10,000 bonus points when a purchase is made on an employee card in the first 90 days.
Our JetBlue cards comparison has more information about the cards' similarities and differences.
Other ways to earn TrueBlue points
JetBlue is a transfer partner of three major bank loyalty programs: American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou. This means you can top off your account with points earned from your Amex EveryDay® Credit Card or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. However, given the value you generally get from JetBlue TrueBlue points, we don't recommend transferring points to JetBlue, except if you only need a few for a specific redemption.
You can buy JetBlue points. There are also a plethora of other ways to earn JetBlue points, including the TrueBlue Dining program, the TrueBlue shopping portal, taking surveys through JetOpinions, renting cars through Avis or Budget, or staying with IHG hotels.
Redeeming JetBlue TrueBlue Points
While you earn JetBlue TrueBlue points 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. Redeeming points is extremely easy at jetblue.com. One of the biggest upsides to the TrueBlue program is that you can redeem points for any flight with seats available for sale. If you can purchase a ticket with money, you can use points. There are no blackout dates.
Unfortunately, it isn't immediately clear how to get the best value from your points. The value is unique to each redemption, but it will generally fall within the range of 1.0 to 1.6 cents per point. AwardWallet users get an average of 1.24¢ per point, which is a good benchmark to aim for. If you fly 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 can receive at least the average value.
To figure out the award value of your ticket, simply take the price of your fare in dollars, subtract any taxes and fees that would be required for a points redemption, and divide that final price by the number of points required. Make sure you compare the same ticket type (e.g., Blue Plus) when determining the value. Finding high-value redemption opportunities is the best way to maximize JetBlue TrueBlue points.
An average transcontinental award flight example
For example, here's a one-way flight between San Francisco (SFO) and New York-JFK (JFK) that currently costs $253.90. This is in “Blue,” the standard main cabin option for JetBlue. It's important to note that you cannot redeem JetBlue points for Blue Basic.
Alternatively, you can redeem 17,400 TrueBlue points and $5.60 for this flight. Subtracting $5.60 from $253.90 ($248.30) and dividing by the award costs yields a value of 1.427 cents per point — better than average.
However, let's also take a look at the Mint fare on the same flight. You'll notice the massive difference in award cost — a whopping 126,400 points and $5.60. A one-way cash fare costs $1,372.90.
Using the same method as before, this results in an award value of just 1.08 cents per point. My general observation is that redeeming JetBlue points for Mint seats yields a lower cents-per-point value than for the majority of economy fares, sadly.
Short-haul flights: The way to maximize JetBlue TrueBlue points
Let's consider a shorter, cheaper ticket. JetBlue is selling Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Atlanta (ATL) for $93.90 in the Blue cabin on many dares in early 2024. I do want to point out that this is a $25 premium over Blue Basic.
The same award runs 5,600 JetBlue points and $5.60. Doing the math, this is a value of 1.58 cents per point, at the upper range of value you can get out of JetBlue points.
Here's another short-haul example, flying from Boston (BOS) to Richmond (RIC). I selected a Blue fare that costs $118.90.
The same award runs 7,500 TrueBlue points and $5.60. Award value? A solid 1.51 cents per point.
Here's the general (but not absolute) pattern with JetBlue: cheaper cash fares tend to yield better award value than more expensive fares. It might seem counter-intuitive, but if you want to maximize JetBlue TrueBlue points, use them for short, cheap hops. This usually ensures you get the most out of your rewards. I push myself to get 1.5 cents out of my JetBlue points.
What about international fares?
JetBlue has operated routes to Latin America and the Caribbean for many years. However, the airline has recently made a splash in the European market. Awards on international routes tend to have higher taxes and fees, which are important to factor into the award value calculation.
Here is an example round-trip ticket from New York (JFK) to Amsterdam (AMS) in March 2024. The cash price for a Blue fare is $716.50 on the nonstop flights JetBlue operates between these two cities.
An award ticket on the same flight costs 43,800 TrueBlue points plus $135.50. Running the numbers, this is a value of 1.33 cents per point. This is better than average, but still less than the short-haul flight examples above. However, if I really wanted to visit Amsterdam, I'd likely redeem points for this ticket.
In general, I find that you can get decent value out of JetBlue points on reasonably priced international fares. Cheaper tickets still seem to be the way to go to maximize JetBlue TrueBlue points. Make sure to run the math each time to see what value you're getting.
Related: Do JetBlue TrueBlue Points Expire?
What about cash and points?
JetBlue offers the ability to book with a mix of cash and points. If you price out an itinerary in points but don't have enough to cover the redemption, JetBlue will automatically price it as a Cash + Points ticket. While this is nice if you're just shy of a specific redemption, in our experience, Cash + Points bookings typically are worse than the average JetBlue points value. Bookings made completely as an award (aside from the required taxes and fees) are the way to go.
What about partner redemptions?
You can earn JetBlue TrueBlue points with several partner airlines. However, you can only redeem them with one partner: Hawaiian Airlines. Unfortunately, it's impossible to redeem points online. You have to call 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583).
Redeeming points on Hawaiian Airlines isn't all that great of an option, either. Here is a chart of current redemption pricing:
|Between (class of service)||And Hawaii||And West Coast U.S.||And East Coast U.S.||And International Destinations|
|West Coast U.S. (economy)||22,000||-||-||50,000|
|West Coast U.S. (business)||45,000||-||-||120,000|
|East Coast U.S. (economy)||30,000||-||-||50,000|
|East Coast U.S. (business)||70,000||-||-||120,000|
There could definitely be some use for intra-Hawaii flights. However, most of the other prices aren't all that attractive. A flight between Hawaii and the West Coast would need to be over $273 one-way for you to get better than average value from your JetBlue points.
Pool points to get additional value
Short a few points for the redemption you want? JetBlue is one of the few airlines offering the ability to combine points between family members, called Family Pooling. Up to seven TrueBlue members can contribute all their points into a pool. The Pool Leader (and anyone else designated) can redeem points. Pooling is a great way to get more value out of your rewards, as you can avoid having to book Cash + Points awards.
JetBlue recently revamped its elite program, moving from a single Mosaic tier to four different tiers (Mosaic 1 through Mosaic 4). Mosaic status is achieved by earning tiles.
In terms of redeeming TrueBlue points, Mosaic doesn't offer any additional value for your points. But having elite status will improve the travel experience. You do earn bonus points as a Mosaic member on purchased airfare.
Mosaic status offers waived change and cancellation fees, waived baggage fees, priority boarding, and other perks. At Mosaic 2, you can enjoy Even More Space seats, which is something to factor in when you're redeeming JetBlue points. It might not be worth redeeming for Blue Extra when you get some of these perks for free.
The JetBlue Plus Card card can help you earn Mosaic status. For every $1,000 you spend on the card, you're awarded one tile toward status.
I've touched on redeeming points for JetBlue Mint, the carrier's premium cabin product. It isn't featured on all routes. You'll generally find Mint on longer flights to the Caribbean, most transcontinental routes, and on all routes to Europe. It costs substantially more, but it's a solid premium product.
Related: Review of JetBlue's Mint Class
However, as I mentioned, if you want to maximize JetBlue TrueBlue points, redeeming for Mint is usually a poor choice. That's in contrast to many other frequent flyer programs, in which you get the best value for your points when redeeming for premium seats. That's simply not the case with JetBlue.
Final Thoughts on How To Maximize JetBlue TrueBlue Points
Determining when to redeem TrueBlue points is an inexact science. The value you can get from TrueBlue points can vary significantly, and we recommend that you redeem them for at least 1.24¢ cents each, at a minimum. Ideally, you should be getting over 1.5 cents per point.
JetBlue TrueBlue is an easy-to-understand loyalty program that can work really well, especially for travelers located in the northeastern U.S. With JetBlue's entry into the European market and lots of nonstop destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean, you have a good number of destinations to choose from. Redeeming points is a cinch at jetblue.com. The key is knowing when to use them and when to save them for the future.
What's your strategy for maximizing JetBlue points? What value do you try to redeem them for? Let us know in the comments.
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