Why You (Probably) Shouldn’t Buy JetBlue Points

Filed Under: JetBlue

JetBlue TrueBlue has just rolled out a promotion on purchased points. I want to share the details of it, though also want to note that it’s almost never a good deal.

Buy JetBlue points with 60% bonus

Through Wednesday, June 10, 2020, JetBlue TrueBlue is offering up to a 60% bonus on the purchase of points. This is a tiered bonus, as follows:

  • Buy 3,000-9,500 points, get a 40% bonus
  • Buy 10,000-29,500 points, get a 50% bonus
  • Buy 30,000 points, get a 60% bonus

JetBlue lets you purchase at most 30,000 points per transaction (pre-bonus), and at most 120,000 points per calendar year.

In other words, you could buy 48,000 points for $825 (factoring in the 60% bonus), which is a cost of ~1.72 cents per TrueBlue point.

Why buying JetBlue points probably isn’t worth it

Selling points can be huge business for loyalty programs. Many loyalty programs generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue annually by selling points directly to consumers. This can be a win-win for both programs and consumers.

But that’s not really something that works for JetBlue, because TrueBlue is a revenue based frequent flyer program. There are no efficient partner redemptions, and TrueBlue points can be redeemed for at most 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a JetBlue fare (I value TrueBlue points at 1.3 cents each).

There’s not really any way to get value out of TrueBlue beyond that. I’m not sure if they’re hoping that people will see a 60% bonus and assume it’s a good deal, or what exactly the model is for selling points.

Personally I see two situations where this potentially be a good value.

If you’re topping off for an award

If you’re considering an expensive award and buying 1,000 points would get you enough to book that, I could see it being worthwhile. Personally I’d probably just save for my next redemption, but I could see how that could make sense for some. Still, the bonus only kicks in when buying at least 3,000 points, so that’s not particularly useful here.

If you’re Mosaic and upgrading to Even More Space seats

The only real way to get more value out of TrueBlue than the typical redemption rate is if you’re a Mosaic member, which is JetBlue’s status (it ordinarily requires 15,000 flight points per year, or 12,000 flight points plus 30 segments).

If you’re a Mosaic member then you can redeem your TrueBlue points for upgrades to Even More Space seats at significantly reduced rates. These are JetBlue’s extra legroom seats, and the value can be excellent. For example:

  • An Even More Space upgrade that would cost $10 would require only 200 points
  • An Even More Space upgrade that would cost $99 would require only 1,100 points

This is an exceptional value, and buying points at that rate could make sense. However, in general you can expect that Mosaic members will earn enough points through flying to cover upgrades on just about every flight.

Bottom line

JetBlue is selling TrueBlue points with a 60% bonus, which is about as good as their promotions get. This is an opportunity to buy points for as little as ~1.72 cents each.

However, given that TrueBlue is a revenue based program, there aren’t many circumstances under which this is a good deal. I’d say the one real exception is if you’re a Mosaic member and this allows you to upgrade to an Even More Space seat.

Does anyone see value in TrueBlue points that I’m missing?

Comments
  1. You can sometimes beat 1.5c and maybe get up to 2c, but its rare and not something you should bank on. I would not pay more than 1c for these.

  2. I really like JetBlue but I find it kind of offensive that they even sell points with their program. It really just takes advantage of people who don’t know better, like selling a $20 gift card for $25.

  3. This would be a perfect offer for me if…

    1. I wanted to try my hand at commercial lending to a company facing a very challenging economic environment and;
    2. I also had no desire to collect a return on my lending risk and;
    3. I would like to make loans that allow the borrower to change all of the terms of the loan unilaterally at any time.

    Since none of those three conditions are true, I think I am going to hold onto my cash for now but I sure appreciate jetBlue and Alaska and all the other airlines making these amazing offers.

  4. This is one reason I keep telling other investors who think FFP is a good collateral for an airline, it isn’t. It is grossly overvalued. When airlines shift to revenue base, times like this will come bite them back. This gives you almost zero incentive to buy miles, therefore airlines can’t really use this as a last ditch cash grab anymore.

    Right now is still a good time to buy airline stock instead of miles if you are going to take risks anyway. Those of you who are not aware, if you bought JBLU stock months ago at the lowest point, you already made almost 50% profit. (but don’t expect short term huge returns like mine today)

  5. Truly bizarre that they try this nonsense. Anyone that passed second-grade math would take a hard pass.

  6. @Mohammad

    Nothing wrong with the JetBlue credit card except it is from the not so friendly Barclays who many abuse the hell out of them.

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