JetBlue has a revenue based frequent flyer program, meaning the number of points required for a redemption is directly correlated to the revenue cost of a ticket. Therefore there’s not really a best time to redeem points, since you’ll usually get roughly the same amount of value per point no matter when you redeem.
The one exception is when JetBlue is offering an award sale, as they are right now. At the moment JetBlue is offering 20% off fall award flights. The basic terms are as follows:
- Book an award flight by August 29, 2018
- Fly September 17–November 6, 2018 (discount not available for travel on October 8 or for Mint)
- Monday–Thursday & Saturday travel only (not valid for fights on Friday and Sunday)
- When you search for an eligible award flight, the fare that you see will automatically include the discount
While we’ve seen somewhat similar promotions in the past, this one is especially good. In the past we’ve sometimes seen 15% off, though 20% off is quite rare. Furthermore, sometimes in the past you’d get the 15-20% back as points several weeks after the purchase, while in this case the discount is being deducted at the time of booking, so the price you see on JetBlue’s website reflects the lower cost.
While JetBlue’s program is revenue based, there’s some variance in terms of the value you get per TrueBlue point through redemptions. Ordinarily JetBlue points can be redeemed for ~1.5 cents each towards the cost of a paid ticket on JetBlue.
For example, during the promotion you can redeem just 5,000 TrueBlue points plus $5.60 for a $98 ticket between New York and Tampa.
That comes out to about 1.85 cents per point, which is an excellent value.
When the fare is the same a week later outside the promo period, that ticket would cost 6,200 points, so you can see that the discount is applying correctly.
Also keep in mind that if you have JetBlue Plus Card you get a 10% refund on points redemptions, which can be stacked with this. If you have the card, the 5,000 point ticket would cost you just 4,500 points in the end, which is a value of ~2.07 cents per point. That’s a phenomenal redemption.
Yesterday I wrote about how JetBlue TrueBlue was added as a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, and how under most circumstances that doesn’t represent a great deal, since you could redeem points earned with the Sapphire Reserve for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a ticket (and then you’d earn points and elite credit for the reservation).
However, if you can stack a 15% off promotion with the 10% refund you get for having JetBlue’s premium co-brand credit card, this could be an excellent value, and it could be worth transferring points to take advantage of this.
For a revenue based frequent flyer program, the best time to redeem is during a promotion. This is an excellent offer for anyone looking to travel this fall on JetBlue. Best of all, if you have the JetBlue Plus Card (as I do), you can get a further 10% refund on your award redemption, and you might be able to redeem for over two cents per point.