What Is JetBlue Elite Status Worth?

JetBlue elite status isn't worth a ton, but could be worth it if you fly often and live near a hub.

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JetBlue Airways’ frequent flier program, TrueBlue, differs from others by offering just one tier of elite status: Mosaic. You can earn JetBlue elite status by flying JetBlue and its partners or spending enough on JetBlue’s credit cards.

The value of JetBlue elite status varies depending on how often you use the carrier, but according to our calculations, it’s generally less than that of legacy carriers like Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

Whether you’re new to the frequent flier world or a seasoned pro deciding on JetBlue as your preferred airline, here’s what you need to know about what JetBlue elite status is worth.

JetBlue Mosaic: $1,987, earns up to 9x miles

JetBlue has only one elite level, Mosaic, which we consider comparable with other airlines’ mid-tier status.

There are three different paths to qualifying for Mosaic status.

Once granted Mosaic status, look forward to an increased earning rate. You'll get an extra 3x miles on top of the base 3x earned for flying JetBlue. You'll also get an additional 3x miles for booking on JetBlue’s website, for a total of 9x miles.

Other perks include:

  • Two checked bags.

  • Free same-day flight changes on all fares.

  • Free Even More Space seats (24 hours before departure).

  • Complimentary alcoholic beverages on board.

While JetBlue is not part of any major alliance, it does have a partnership with American Airlines, which allows for reciprocal elite perks that are similar to American’s Platinum status. When flying American, those with Mosaic status will get:

  • Two free checked bags.

  • Free Main Cabin Extra seats.

  • Free same-day flight changes.

  • Dedicated check-in and more.

Our analysis determined that those who earn Mosaic status can get a raw estimated value of $1,987 from it.

The value of JetBlue miles

If you're going to be pursuing JetBlue elite status, you may question how much JetBlue miles are worth. According to our most recent valuations here at NerdWallet, JetBlue miles are worth 1.5 cents apiece toward travel on JetBlue. Since JetBlue’s point value is pegged to the dollar, it’s hard to extract more value from the program, making the 1.5 cents a firm but attractive number.

How the value of JetBlue status compares to competitors

The value of JetBlue status is significantly lower than legacy mainline carriers in the U.S. This value will be different for everybody, but according to our analysis, JetBlue status has an estimated raw value that is slightly less than that of Alaska, Delta and Hawaiian, and is significantly less than American.

A big factor in JetBlue’s lower valuation lies in the inability to upgrade to business or first class on a complimentary basis. Many JetBlue aircraft do not have a business class cabin equivalent. Unfortunately, even when scoring a plane that does have Mint or Mint Studios, these prized lie-flat seats are not available to Mosaic members as complimentary upgrades.

What does present strong value for JetBlue elite status includes:

  • The ability to get pricey Even More Space upgrades (which NerdWallet values at $833).

  • JetBlue fee waivers (also valued at $833).

  • Free checked bags (valued at $333).

Here’s how the value of JetBlue elite status compares to other major airlines in the United States.

Should I earn elite status with JetBlue this year?

The decision to pursue JetBlue status is a personal one that depends on your home airport and the destinations you frequent, how much you value Mosaic benefits, and how difficult or easy it would be for you to acquire Mosaic status.

Once you earn JetBlue elite status in a particular year, you maintain status for that year and enjoy it for the entirety of the following year. If you start a plan to attain Mosaic status in 2023 and earn it by, say, July 2023, you will have status for the remainder of 2023 and all of 2024.

It’s important to note that JetBlue is planning changes to Mosaic membership in 2023 that will likely alter the benefits of Mosaic and the requirements for achieving it. Unfortunately, details have yet to be released at press time.

Will you get value out of the status?

The only way to get value out of JetBlue elite status is to fly JetBlue and American. JetBlue does have a few other airline partners, including Hawaiian, Icelandair and Qatar Airways, but you cannot get elite perks like upgrades, baggage allowance and increased point earnings on them. You can simply earn points on these partners (and also redeem them on Hawaiian Airlines).

Can you credit your flights to JetBlue?

Yes, if you put in your TrueBlue number, you can earn TrueBlue points on JetBlue and its airline partners, but earning Mosaic qualify points is a different situation. Points and segments on JetBlue operated flights and flights with JetBlue vacation packages apply toward Mosaic status. American Airlines flights count toward Mosaic-qualifying points but not Mosaic qualifying segments. Flights with any other airline partner do not count toward Mosaic status.

Can your credit card earning help you out?

JetBlue is one of the few airlines that will grant elite status solely through spending on a co-branded credit card. Spend $50,000 in a calendar year on your JetBlue Business Card or JetBlue Plus Card and you’ll automatically get elite status.

JetBlue elite status value, recapped

If you’ve been asking yourself what JetBlue elite status is worth, our analysis helps answer that question and shows that it’s less valuable than mid-tier elite status with other legacy carriers. However, the actual value will depend on how often you fly JetBlue and partner American Airlines and how often you can take advantage of the elite status perks.

Methodology

Value of each tier

To determine the value of each elite status tier, we considered those perks that carry a clear value, and we omitted luxury benefits (like dedicated phone lines) that do not. Specifically, we considered:

  • Bonus miles earned.

  • Bag fee offsets.

  • Premium seating upgrades.

  • First class upgrades.

  • Upgrade certificates.

  • Fee waivers.

  • Other individual program perks with clear value.

The table below explains these benefits as well as the assumptions we made in calculating their value.

Elite benefit

Explanation

Assumptions

Bonus miles

The number of extra miles or points earned for this status tier. For example, Alaska MVP members receive 50% bonus miles.

The traveler will fly the number of miles needed to achieve this status tier, and the miles are worth the value that we estimate here.

Bag fee offsets

The value of offset bag fees.

The traveler takes advantage of these offset bag fees every 10,000 miles flown.

Premium seating upgrades

Complimentary upgrades to economy plus, economy comfort, etc.

The traveler is upgraded once every 2,500 miles, discounting those times they are upgraded to first class. We estimate the value of these upgrades at $50 apiece.

First-class upgrades

Complimentary upgrades to first and business class.

We assume that higher elite tiers within a given program are more likely to be upgraded, with a maximum upgrade rate of 75% across all programs.

We estimate the value of these upgrades at $200 apiece.

Upgrade certificates

Complimentary upgrade certificates, such as American Airlines systemwide upgrades.

Since members can pick which flights receive upgrades for these, we peg them at a slightly higher value of $300 apiece.

Fee waivers

The value of change/cancel fees that are offset from holding the status.

Travelers change or cancel one flight per 5,000 miles flown (i.e., 10 times for 50,000 miles flown).

Other perks with clear value

Includes lounge membership, mile bonuses, etc.

Here are the raw estimated values for each program tier:

Airline

Entry Tier

Mid-Tier

High Tier

Ultra-Tier

Alaska

$810.

$2,160.

$5,638.

$5,638.

American

$2,158.

$7,500.

$15,153.

$29,008.

Delta

$876.

$2,442.

$4,696.

$11,209.

Frontier

$400.

$1,113.

$2,750.

-

Hawaiian

$620.

$2,040.

-

-

JetBlue

-

$1,987.

-

-

Southwest

-

$138

$1,108

-

Spirit

$32

$910

-

-

United

$1,251

$3,494

$6,235.

$13,053

Cost of earning each tier

Airlines offer different thresholds for achieving each status tier, which can be broken into two categories:

  1. Number of miles flown.

  2. Combination of other factors, including elite qualifying dollars spent.

For No. 1, we will estimate the cost of achieving each tier as:

Number of miles needed to achieve tier multiplied by the median cost of flown mile (12 cents, per a separate analysis we conducted). For example, Hawaiian requires 20,000 flown miles for Gold status, so the cost of achieving this tier is 20,000 x $0.12 = $2,400.

For No. 2, we will estimate the cost of achieving each tier as:

Number of elite qualifying dollars divided by the fare-to-cost ratio. The fare-to-cost ratio is a percentage value that represents the average “base fare” to “total cost” of airfare (83% per our separate analysis). For example, AAdvantage Gold status requires $3,000 EQDs, so the cost of achieving this tier is $3,000 / $0.83 = $3,614.

If an airline requires a combination of Nos. 1 and 2, we used No. 2 as the cost of earning because this is usually more difficult to achieve. In other words, it's rare to hit a minimum spending requirement without hitting the mileage requirement.

Here is the estimated cost to earn each status tier:

Airline

Entry tier

Mid-tier

High tier

Ultra-tier

Alaska

$2,400.

$4,800.

$9,000.

-

American

$3,614.

$7,229.

$10,843.

$18,072.

Delta

$3,614.

$7,229.

$10,843.

$18,072.

Frontier

$2,400.

$6,000.

$12,000.

-

Hawaiian

$2,400.

$4,800.

-

-

JetBlue

-

$6,024.

-

-

Southwest

-

$7,028.

$14,056.

-

Spirit

$2,000.

$5,000.

-

-

United

$4,819.

$9,639.

$14,458.

$21,687.


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