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Flexibility has always been essential for those of us using points and miles to plan travel. Recently, JetBlue announced that it will be giving TrueBlue loyalty members more flexibility when planning travel by offering a Cash + Points option for bookings on JetBlue flights. More options are almost always better, but let's take a closer look to see what value you can get from this option.
How JetBlue Cash + Points Works
TrueBlue loyalty members now have three options when it comes to paying for flights. As always, customers can use all cash or all points. The new option allows members to use cash and points on a sliding scale, starting with as little as 500 points.
If you want to use any amount of points, select “TrueBlue Points” in your initial search window as shown below.
The search results will provide you with different flight/fare options.
For this example, I chose the Blue fare class. Once you have selected the flight and fare class that works best for you, the website will display “Your price.” By default, JetBlue will show you the price using the maximum number of miles with only the security fees paid out of pocket.
This is when you can experiment with JetBlue's “slider”. Input any number of points that you would like to use (minimum 500) and the slider will calculate the remaining cash portion of the ticket.
So for the BOS to SFO one-way trip ticket that I priced above, I have the following options for payment:
- 44,800 points ($5.60 taxes and fees)
- $458.10 cash
- A nearly endless combination of cash and points!
It is worth noting that the slider adjusts in set increments but you can enter any amount of points you wish to use (500 or more) and the tool will update the dollar amount needed to complete the purchase.
The Fine Print
The Cash + Points option is only available for Blue, Blue Extra and Blue Plus fares. Cash + Points is not currently available on Blue Basic tickets. Also, TrueBlue members may use the Cash+Points options to book a Mint fare. This option can be a nice way to defray the cost of a premium ticket.
Also worth noting is that while the Cash + Points option is available on round trip tickets, JetBlue explicitly recommends against using this option for a round trip ticket. It seems that cancelling or changing a single flight segment is not currently possible and JetBlue recommends booking each flight as a one-way ticket if you are using Cash + Points.
Is this a good value?
As always, it's important to do the math before redeeming points for travel. TrueBlue points are valued at a fixed rate of between 1 and 1.5 cents per point depending on the cost of the flight.
In the example above, the value of each TrueBlue point would be just over 1 cent if you paid for the full fare in points. However, if you were to apply the 20,100 points, you would only offset $180.90 of the cash price.
In fact, it doesn't matter which Cash + Points option you choose, all of the options give you around 0.9 cents per point.
|Points||Cash||Value per point|
Topping Off Your TrueBlue Account
Instead of using the Cash + Points option, you have plenty of options to top off your TrueBlue account. JetBlue is a transfer partner of:
- American Express Membership Rewards (5:4 transfer ratio, immediate transfer)
- Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1 transfer ratio, immediate transfer)
- Citi ThankYou Points (1:1 transfer ratio, immediate transfer)
- Capital One Miles (2:1 transfer ratio, immediate transfer)
- Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 transfer ratio with a 5,000-point bonus for transferring 60,000 points, 1-day transfer)
By the numbers, the Cash + Points option isn't the most valuable way to redeem TrueBlue points. That said, every situation is different. If you have some orphan points to use up or simply want to keep some more cash in your pocket, the Cash + Points option does offer TrueBlue members more flexibility in paying for their travel.
What do you think? Are you excited about this new redemption option?
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