New JetBlue Credit Cards Worth It?

New JetBlue Credit Cards Worth It?

 

New JetBlue credit cards have been announced by JetBlue and BarclayCard, as well as a conversion card for existing JetBlue AMEX cardholders. Here are the details of the cards, followed by a FAQ with my analysis.

JetBlue Card

  • Bonus: 10,000 TrueBlue points after $1000 spend in the first 90 days (limited time offer)
  • 3X points per dollar on JetBlue spend
  • 2X points per dollar on restaurant and grocery store spend
  • 1 point per dollar for all other spend
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee

 

JetBlue Plus Card

  • Bonus: 30,000 TrueBlue points after $1000 spend in the first 90 days 
  • 5000 points as anniversary bonus each year on your account anniversary
  • 6X points per dollar on JetBlue spend
  • 2X points per dollar on restaurant and grocery store spend
  • 1 point per dollar for all other spend
  • Free first checked bag for the primary cardmember and up to 3 companions on the same reservation when using the card to purchase tickets on JetBlue flights
  • 10% redemption bonus for redeemed TrueBlue points
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $99 fee is NOT waived the first year

 

JetBlue Business Card

  • Bonus: 30,000 TrueBlue points after $1000 spend in the first 90 days 
  • 5000 points as anniversary bonus each year on your account anniversary
  • 6X points per dollar on JetBlue spend
  • 2X points per dollar on restaurant and office supply store spend
  • 1 point per dollar for all other spend
  • Free first checked bag for the primary cardmember and up to 3 companions on the same reservation when using the card to purchase tickets on JetBlue flights
  • 10% redemption bonus for redeemed TrueBlue points
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $99 fee is NOT waived the first year

 

Conversion from AMEX: JetBlue Rewards Card

  • No bonus, as a conversion card
  • 4X points per dollar on JetBlue spend
  • 2X points per dollar on restaurant and grocery store spend
  • 1 point per dollar for all other spend
  • One-time $100 companion travel discount after spending $500 on purchases by June 30, 2016
  • 5% redemption bonus for redeemed TrueBlue points
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $40 fee is NOT waived the first year


FAQ

Biggest News?

For me at least, the biggest news is the JetBlue Card, which has no annual fee and also no foreign transaction fee. That's a great combination, as far as I'm concerned, and makes the card a keeper, if I get it.

 

Which JetBlue Card is Best?

Naturally which JetBlue card is best depends on how much you fly JetBlue, how you value JetBlue TrueBlue points, and your spend habits and travel preferences. If you book paid JetBlue tickets a lot, particularly JetBlue Mint Business Class, you'll likely want either the JetBlue Plus Card or the JetBlue Business Card, since these award 6 JetBlue points per dollar of JetBlue spend. The only difference between the two cards is that the business card replaces the 2X grocery store bonus with a 2X office supply store bonus. But as I'll discuss below, you can do better than 2X at restaurants, grocery stores and office supply stores with other cards, so that difference if you have other cards is a moot point.

The other nice benefits worth highlighting with the JetBlue Plus and JetBlue Business card are the 10% redemption bonus (akin to the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card, although that one is capped at 10,000 AAdvantage miles per year, and there's no cap with the JetBlue cards), the 5000 bonus points each year on your card anniversary (worth about $65) and free first checked bag for you and 3 companions, if you purchased your JetBlue flight with your card.

If you have similar travel patterns to my family and occasionally travel JetBlue, at most a couple times a year, then the no annual fee JetBlue card is your best bet. You can keep the card forever, and use it just for purchases where it makes sense. If you don't have the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card or the AMEX Business Rewards Gold card, which offer 3X on all airline spend if booked directly with the airline, you could use the JetBlue's 3X on all JetBlue purchases. 

My spend, if I got the JetBlue Card, would be quite narrow: 2X on grocery spend when abroad, since the card has no foreign transaction fee. And yes, I do like to browse grocery stores in foreign cities when I have time, to pick up some unique products either as makings for a picnic or to bring home as souvenirs or gifts. Currently I do have the AMEX Business Rewards Gold card, and will likely keep the card since AMEX has made signup bonuses once in a lifetime and the 3X on all airfare bonus ends up paying for the card's $175 annual fee.

 

Which Transferable Points Transfer to JetBlue?

AMEX Membership Rewards points still transfer 250:200 to JetBlue TrueBlue points and transfers are typically instant (see How Long Do AMEX Membership Rewards Transfers Take?). I dislike that the transfer ratio isn't 1:1, however, and consider Membership Rewards points too valuable to transfer at anything less than a 1:1 ratio, so I personally wouldn't transfer Membership Rewards points to JetBlue unless just a few more points were needed for a Mint redemption.

 

Does JetBlue Have Any Partners I Can Book Using TrueBlue Points?

Right now the only JetBlue partner you can book is Hawaiian Airlines, which I wouldn't consider aspirational, much as I hate to say it, being from Hawaii. You can earn TrueBlue points on JetBlue partners such as Emirates, Singapore Airlines and South African Airways, but so far you can't redeem TrueBlue points on these partners. I asked about this and was told that JetBlue is working on making points redemptions on these airlines possible.

Keep in mind however that TrueBlue points are tied to the cost of a ticket, so most likely it will continue to be a better deal to earn transferable points such as Ultimate Rewards or AMEX Membership Rewards points and transfer those to Singapore KrisFlyer to redeem for awards, particularly if your goal is Singapore Suites on the A380.

 

How Much is a JetBlue TrueBlue Point Worth? How Much is the 30K Bonus Worth?

Since TrueBlue point redemption is tied to the dollar cost of the ticket rather than being region based or distance based, you can't get amazing value from the points the way you can from other airline miles. That's the flip side of having a program where you can use points for any ticket: you can, but a ton of points are required, compared to other programs.

Let's take the following example of JetBlue Mint, for a random October 2016 travel date. There are JetBlue Mint tickets at $974 and also a few at $599. If you wanted to redeem TrueBlue points, the $974 ticket would cost you 74,400 TrueBlue points, an the $599 ticket would cost you 45,300 TrueBlue points. Either way, you're getting 1.3 cents per TrueBlue point. That makes a 30K bonus worth about $390, which is fairly low as bonuses go, and about on par with the 25K Alaska Visa since I value Alaska miles more highly than JetBlue TrueBlue points.

Now consider that on certain days you could redeem 32,500 AAdvantage miles for a saver award in American Airlines First Class on the A321 for JFK-LAX, and that you can earn 50,000 AAdvantage miles from a single Citi AAdvantage card signup (see Best Travel Credit Cards). Yes, that amount will go up to 50K miles effective March 22, 2016 after the 2016 AAdvantage Award Chart Devaluation. But that's still the amount a single card signup bonus, whereas the 30K TrueBlue points from a JetBlue card aren't sufficient to cover even the cheapest possible JetBlue Mint award, and aren't even half the amount required for more expensive JetBlue Mint awards.

 

Which Other Cards Should I Consider?

A number of other cards have higher signup bonuses: the 60K Ink Plus, 55K Chase Sapphire Preferred, 50K Citi AAdvantage cards, the 35K SPG AMEX and SPG Business AMEX, the targeted 50K AMEX Premier Rewards Gold and 50K AMEX Business Rewards Gold cards, etc.

Also keep in mind the category bonuses of the following cards when you're weighing the 2X restaurant, grocery store and office supply store bonuses:

  • Ink Plus: 5X on all office supply store spend, making possible 5X on all Amazon and 5X on all Whole Foods, as well as other retailers whose gift cards you can buy at office supply stores
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2X on all travel and dining
  • Chase Freedom (no annual fee): typically has one 5X quarter for restaurants, and one 5X quarter for grocery stores
  • AMEX EveryDay Preferred: 4.5X for grocery stores if you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle. But note that there IS a foreign transaction fee, which the JetBlue cards don't have

Bottom Line

For those who have significant spend on JetBlue, the new JetBlue Plus and JetBlue Business cards with their 6X bonus on JetBlue purchases should be very welcome. For more occasional JetBlue travelers, the JetBlue card is a great unique offering, as a no annual fee card that also has no foreign transaction fees. While I have my hands full applying for Chase co-branded cards before 5/24 goesdt into effect in April (see Which Chase Credit Cards to Apply For Before 5/24 Rule Takes Effect?) and also the 35K SPG Business card, I'd definitely consider the JetBlue card in the future. And while I don't focus on collecting TrueBlue points due to the limited value of each point, that's no reflection on the airline itself, which I enjoy flying more than the legacy carriers, due to JetBlue's usually friendlier crews.

What are your thoughts on the new JetBlue cards?

Related Posts

Review: JetBlue Mint Suite

Earn Singapore KrisFlyer Miles for JetBlue Flights

JetBlue Family Pooling Account: How It Works

JetBlue Travel Bank Credit Compensation for Delayed Flight

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