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The credit cards, issued by Barclays, both offer sign-up bonuses, plus the ability to earn extra points on JetBlue, restaurant and grocery store purchases. Either card will also snag you discounts when you buy cocktails or food in-flight, and they also both feature 0% intro APR offers.
The TrueBlue points you earn with either card can be redeemed for flights on JetBlue or Hawaiian Airlines, and for packages with JetBlue Vacations. You can also pool points with up to seven other TrueBlue members or transfer points to another TrueBlue member for a fee. As Mastercards with no foreign transaction fees, both cards travel well all over the world, even if you're in a country JetBlue doesn’t serve.
From there, though, the cards go their separate ways. The JetBlue Card sticks to a shorter list of benefits, but its $0 annual fee makes it budget-friendly. The JetBlue Plus Card packs on the perks in exchange for an $99 annual fee. Here’s how they compare:
JetBlue Plus Card
3 points on JetBlue purchases; 2 points at restaurants and grocery stores; 1 point elsewhere
6 points on JetBlue purchases; 2 points at restaurants and grocery stores; 1 point elsewhere
Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
Limited-Time Offer: Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.
Other travel perks
50% in-flight savings on cocktails and food purchases
50% in-flight savings on cocktails and food purchases
First checked bag free for you and up to three companions on the same reservation
Mosaic benefits after you spend $50,000 in a calendar year
$100 annual statement credit after you buy a JetBlue Vacations package worth $100 or more
10% redemption bonus when you redeem TrueBlue points for flights
5,000 points bonus each year
When to pick the JetBlue Card
A $0-annual-fee travel card isn’t easy to find, so if you're adamantly opposed to paying for the privilege of holding a card, the JetBlue Card is an option. It can certainly allow you to rack up rewards while keeping costs low, especially since you can earn elevated rewards on more than just direct spending with JetBlue.
The in-flight discounts are also a nice plus for a $0-annual-fee.
However, you won’t get as many extras as you would with a card that charges an annual fee. In the case of the JetBlue Card, new cardholders can get this sign-up bonus: Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. That sum of points might cover a round-trip, short-haul flight — like New York to Boston or Washington, D.C., to Charleston, South Carolina — but it's a modest bonus at best and won't take you very far.
Plus, in exchange for no annual fee, there's also no free checked bag benefit, a key perk for many airline travel cards.
If you just want to quickly increase your stash of TrueBlue points without a lot of fuss, the JetBlue Card keeps it simple. But more frequent JetBlue passengers may get enough value out of this card’s higher-end counterpart to make the annual fee worthwhile.
» MORE: Full review of the JetBlue Card
When to pick the JetBlue Plus Card
The hallmark of the JetBlue Plus Card is its substantially higher sign-up bonus: Limited-Time Offer: Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days. That could cover one or two longer round-trip flights. You’ll get the same 50% off in-flight purchases, but you'll also earn a higher rewards rate on JetBlue purchases: 6 points per $1, which is double the earning rate of the JetBlue Card. (You’ll earn the same 2 points per $1 at restaurants and grocery stores and 1 point per $1 on everything else.)
Now, this is where the JetBlue Plus Card starts cooking with gas, despite its $99 annual fee:
Free checked bags for you and up to three others on your reservation. At $30 per bag each way if you book the lowest Blue fares, this can save you up to $240 on a round-trip vacation.
A discount on JetBlue Vacations packages of up to $100 each year for packages costing at least $100. The discount comes in the form of a statement credit.
A 5,000-point bonus each account anniversary. NerdWallet values JetBlue points at an average of 1.5 cents cents each for domestic redemptions, so that's up to $75 in value you get back each year automatically — making the effective annual fee $24.
Mosaic status if you spend $50,000 per calendar year. That gets you extras like priority boarding, access to an expedited security line, free on-board alcoholic beverages and waived cancellation fees. Ordinarily, you would have to spend $5,000 on JetBlue flights or $4,000 and fly on JetBlue 30 segments in a calendar year to earn Mosaic status.
Light packers, infrequent travelers or lower spenders are less likely to get the full value out of this card. Still, if a longer JetBlue flight or two is in your future, even if it’s not this year, it may be worth considering the JetBlue Plus Card for now, then downgrading to the JetBlue Card later to save on the annual fee. JetBlue points don’t expire, so you can hold on to that bonus for as long as you would like.
» MORE: Review of the JetBlue Plus Card