How to Get Big Travel With Small Money Using the JetBlue Cards

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

JetBlue often gets less attention than other airlines in the miles and points world, partly because they’re not part of a traditional alliance to redeem miles to as many exotic, far-flung destinations.

But they’re certainly getting miles and points enthusiasts’ attention now with their recent Virgin America mileage matching promotion.  And Barclaycard now offers 3 JetBlue cards which can help you earn lots of JetBlue points!

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The JetBlue Cards

Use JetBlue Points to Fly to Terrific Destinations in the US, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and More!

I’ll show you how to get the most out of your JetBlue points, especially if you have one of the JetBlue credit cards.

The Basics of JetBlue’s Frequent Flyer Program

Link:   JetBlue TrueBlue Frequent Flyer Program

JetBlue’s loyalty program TrueBlue has a lot of excellent perks.  And it’s great for folks looking for flexibility.

Like Southwest, there are no blackout dates, and you can reserve an award seat on any flight as long as there’s a seat for sale.

But the price of an award ticket is tied to the paid cost of the flight.  So you’ll pay more points for expensive tickets, and fewer if there’s a seat sale.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The JetBlue Cards

JetBlue Award Flight Prices Depend on the Cost of a Paid Ticket

Also like Southwest, you’ll earn points based on the what you paid for your ticket, not on how many miles you fly.  And JetBlue also offers bonus points for booking paid flights online.

JetBlue points never expire.

Finally, JetBlue allows you to pool your points with family members, making it easy to combine points for an award.  And avoid having smaller amounts of points you can’t use spread across family members’ individual accounts.

Why Fly With JetBlue?

Many folks like JetBlue because the airline focuses on the customer experience in the air.  All JetBlue flights offer complimentary drinks and snacks, extra legroom, and free inflight entertainment including Wi-Fi and TV.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The JetBlue Cards

You Had Me at Free Snacks! Everyone Gets Complimentary Treats (NOT Just Pretzels) & Non-Alcoholic Drinks on JetBlue Flights. Plus Free Wi-Fi and Inflight TV

And if you fly between certain cities, JetBlue’s Mint service (what they call Business Class) offers lie-flat seats, premium food, and better amenities.

JetBlue is an especially good option for folks who live in one of JetBlue’s focus cities (Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Long Beach, New York, Orlando, and San Juan).

What Are JetBlue Points Worth?

Typically, JetBlue points are worth ~1.4 cents each when you book the cheapest seats called Blue fares.  And when you book Mint (Business Class) award tickets, they’re worth ~1.7 cents each.

However, this isn’t always the case!  I’ve found examples where booking Mint award tickets results in a value of ~1.3 cents per point.  And some Blue fare tickets where points are worth much more (~2.6 cents per point).

Examples

I checked non-stop flights between New York (JFK) and Barbados.

Here are prices for a paid, one-way ticket:

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The JetBlue Cards

On This Example Travel Date, It Costs $213 to $399 for a One-Way Ticket Between New York and Barbados

And here are the number of JetBlue points required for the same flight:

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The JetBlue Cards

The Same Flights Cost 8,600 to 28,700 JetBlue Points Plus ~$7 in Taxes and Fees

Let’s see where you’ll get more value for your points:

Blue Fare

You’ll pay $213 cash or 8,600 JetBlue points plus ~$7 for a one-way Blue fare ticket from New York to Barbados.

To calculate the cents per mile, first subtract ~$7 from the cash price of the ticket.  So $213 – ~$7 = ~$206.

Then ~$206 / 8,600 JetBlue points = ~~2.4 cents per point.

Blue Plus Fare

It costs $228 or 9,800 JetBlue points plus ~$7 for a Blue Plus ticket, which includes a free checked bag and cheaper change and cancellation fees.

Subtracting the ~$7 in taxes from the $228 fare, you’d get a slightly lower value of ~2.3 cents per point (~$221 / 9,800 JetBlue points).  But you’d also get a free checked bag (worth $20 to $25).

Mint Fare

The $399 Mint fare includes 2 free checked bags, plus you’ll get a lie-flat seat and fancy meals & drinks.

Subtract ~$7 from $399 and you get ~$392.  That works out to ~1.4 cents per point (~$392 / 28,700 JetBlue points).

In this case, you’re getting far less dollar value per point.  But when you factor in the improved service and free checked bags, this might not matter to some folks!

Note:  If you have the JetBlue Plus or JetBlue Business card, that changes the valuation.

Because you’ll get a free checked bag for yourself and up to 3 companions on the same reservation, when you use the card to pay for your ticket (even the taxes on award flights!).  So you can choose a Blue fare instead of Blue Plus (though note that the cancellation policies differ slightly between the two).

Cardholders also get 10% of their redeemed miles back.  So the math changes a bit, and your points are worth more.  In this example, cardholders would get:

  • ~2.7 cents per point on a Blue fare (~$206 / 7,740 JetBlue points after rebate)
  • ~2.6 cents per point on a Blue Plus fare (~$221 / 8,820 JetBlue points after rebate)
  • ~1.5 cents per point on a Mint fare (~$392 / 25,830 JetBlue points after rebate)

So being a JetBlue cardholder gives you a better return on your points.

Other Examples

I found different values on the other routes I checked, for example New York (JFK) to Los Angeles.

Here are prices for a paid, one-way ticket:

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The JetBlue Cards

A Paid One-Way Flight Between New York and Los Angeles Costs $169 to $599

And here’s what you’d pay with JetBlue points:

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The JetBlue Cards

You’ll Pay 10,700 to 45,300 JetBlue Points, Plus ~$6, for a One-Way Award Flight

If you’re not a cardholder, here’s how the math works out:

  • ~1.5 cents per point on a Blue fare (~$163 / 10,700 JetBlue points)
  • ~1.5 cents per point on a Blue Plus fare (~$178 / 11,800 JetBlue points)
  • ~1.3 cents per point on a Mint fare (~$593 / 45,300 JetBlue points)

If you are a cardholder, and you take into account the 10% mileage rebate, you’d get:

  • ~1.7 cents per point on a Blue fare (~$163 / 9,630 JetBlue points)
  • ~1.7 cents per point on a Blue Plus fare (~$178 / 10,620 JetBlue points)
  • ~1.5 cents per point on a Mint fare (~$593 / 40,770 JetBlue points)

I’d avoid the Blue Plus fare in this case, because you’ll already get a free checked bag when you use the card to pay for your award ticket taxes and fees!

JetBlue Credit Cards

Link:   Barclaycard JetBlue Plus

Link:   Barclaycard JetBlue

Link:   Barclaycard JetBlue Small Business

You can now earn lots of JetBlue points by signing-up for one of the Barclaycard JetBlue credit cards.

The Barclaycard JetBlue Plus and Barclaycard JetBlue Business cards both offer a sign-up bonus of 30,000 JetBlue points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

So the sign-up bonus could be worth up to ~$810 if you get a value of ~2.7 cents per point, like in our previous example (30,000 points x 2.7 cents per point = ~$810).

Or $450 if you book flights at ~1.5 cents per point (30,000 points x 1.5 cents per point = $450).

The cards also offer:

  • 5,000 JetBlue additional points each year on your account anniversary
  • 6 JetBlue points per $1 you spend on airfare with JetBlue
  • 2 JetBlue points per $1 you spend at restaurants & grocery stores (personal card) or restaurants & office supply stores (business card)
  • 1 JetBlue point per $1 you spend everywhere else
  • Free first checked bag for cardholder and up to 3 companions on the same reservation when you use your card to pay for your ticket
  • 50% discount on eligible in-flight purchases like cocktails, food, and movies
  • 10% of points back when you redeem them
  • Annual $100 statement credit when you purchase a Getaway Vacation Package of $100 or more
  • Earn JetBlue Mosaic elite status each year after spending $50,000 or more on purchases (including early boarding, free checked bags, and free flight cancellations and changes)

The $99 annual fee is NOT waived for the first year.

The JetBlue Card has NO annual fee, but it comes with fewer benefits, including a lower sign-up bonus, no anniversary bonus, and fewer points per $1 on spending.

You’ll get:

  • 10,000 JetBlue points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of opening your account
  • 3 JetBlue points per $1 you spend on JetBlue purchases
  • 2 JetBlue points per $1 you spend at restaurants and grocery stores
  • 1 JetBlue point per $1 you spend everywhere else
  • 50% discount on eligible in-flight purchases like alcohol, food, and movies

So you won’t get as many JetBlue flights, a points rebate, or free checked bag with this card.

Are These Cards A Good Deal?

These cards are NOT the best option for folks new to the world of miles and points.  If you’re just starting out, you’ll be better off applying for Chase cards, since they recently made it difficult to be approved for most cards if you’ve opened ~5 or more in the last 24 months.

Chase also has a lot of great cards for beginners, including Southwest cards which give you a jump on earning the Southwest Companion Pass.  Or the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which gives you lots of flexibility because you can transfer your points to airline and hotel partners.

But consider the JetBlue cards if you already have lots of other cards, or live in a JetBlue focus city with lots of non-stop flight options.

Where Could You Go With the SignUp Bonus?

With the Barclaycard JetBlue Plus and Barclaycard JetBlue Business cards, you’d have a minimum of 31,000 JetBlue points after completing the $1,000 minimum spending requirement.

And don’t forget, you can transfer American Express membership rewards to JetBlue to top off your account for an award.

New York

New York to Barbados on a random date this fall costs 8,600 JetBlue points, and the return flight costs 7,400 points, or a total of 16,000 JetBlue points plus taxes round-trip per person.

So the sign-up bonus is almost worth 2 round-trip tickets to Barbados!  And you could transfer the extra 1,000 JetBlue points required from American Express Membership Rewards.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The JetBlue Cards

Two Can Fly to Barbados From New York This Fall for 32,000 JetBlue Points Round-Trip

And for being a card member, you’d get back 10% of the points you spent, or 3,200 points returned.

Long Beach, California

If you live near Long Beach, California, you might consider a trip to Anchorage for just 18,500 JetBlue points round-trip.  And you’d have plenty of points left over from the sign-up bonus for another ticket!

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The JetBlue Cards

Folks in Long Beach Can Visit Alaska for 18,500 JetBlue Points Round-Trip

You’d get 1,850 points back for being a cardmember.

Fort Lauderdale

From Fort Lauderdale, you can fly to Quito, Ecuador, for as little as 7,100 JetBlue points each way!

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The JetBlue Cards

It’s Cheap to Get to Quito From Fort Lauderdale.  And It’s a Great Jumping-Off Point If You Want to Visit the Galapagos Islands

That means your sign-up bonus could get you 2 round-trip flights to see Ecuador.  And Quito is a great jumping-off point if you want to visit the Galapagos Islands!

Bottom Line

Depending on how you use your JetBlue points, the sign-up bonuses from the Barclaycard JetBlue Plus and Barclaycard JetBlue Business cards could be worth over ~$800 in JetBlue flights.

And remember with these cards, you’ll get a free checked bag when you use the card to pay for your flight – even taxes on award tickets!

The JetBlue Card isn’t as good a deal, because it has a lower sign-up bonus and fewer perks.  But it could be a good choice if you prefer a card with no annual fee.

JetBlue isn’t for everyone, but if you live in a city with lots of JetBlue flights, these cards could be an excellent deal for you.  Just remember to keep Chase’s new application rules in mind, and apply for the Chase cards you want before you consider these cards!

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 20,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

4 responses to “How to Get Big Travel With Small Money Using the JetBlue Cards

  1. Any idea if Barclays will let you sign up for the regular personal and the personal Plus card?

  2. @DWT not in my experience. I had the no annual fee version, signed up for the Plus card and they denied me, stating that I already had a JetBlue card.

  3. Will barclays let you have a jetblue card for personal and one for business? i have a personal jet blue mastercard now with monthly spend on it too.

  4. I got approved for both, the reason why they initially denied ME, was because as a new card holder – they didn’t want to give me a credit line more than 11k so I asked them to split the credit line between both cards and I got em’!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *