JetBlue and Emirates have been partners for years; however, the partnership just got a lot more appealing: You can now redeem Emirates Skywards miles for JetBlue first class, also known as Mint.
Many points and miles hobbyists might not have (or even collect) Emirates Skywards miles, so this may seem like a not-particularly useful addition. However, Emirates Skywards are some of the easiest miles to get, as the airline partners with all five of the major transferable point programs:
Here's a closer look at this new partnership and when — and how — to take advantage of it.
Emirates Skywards redemption rates on JetBlue
As with most of its mileage partners, Emirates Skywards uses a distance-based award chart for JetBlue redemptions. Even before this week, Emirates Skywards members could book economy awards on JetBlue. These award tickets started at 8,000 Skywards miles each way.
Now, Emirates has added the ability to also book JetBlue Mint awards. Theoretically, these premium cabin awards start at 16,000 Skywards miles each way — but we couldn't find any JetBlue Mint award tickets available for any flights under 1,000 miles in distance. Realistically, JetBlue Mint redemptions start at 40,000 Skywards miles each way.
Here's the published award chart for redeeming Skywards miles for JetBlue award flights:
You can now book JetBlue Mint award flights, like from Boston to St. Maarten, for 40,000 Emirates Skywards each way. Or, book JetBlue Mint from New York to Las Vegas for 52,000 Skywards miles each way. Booking that same first class flight from New York to Las Vegas through JetBlue costs $849 or 77,600 TrueBlue points one-way.
In short, there are significant savings to be had.
How to search and book JetBlue awards online
The easiest way to book JetBlue awards through Skywards is to do so online. To start your search, go to the Emirates website and log in to your Skywards account. Click "Book Classic Rewards Flight," then "Search Partner Flights Only." Finally, enter your routes, dates and cabin and click "Search."
Limitations on JetBlue award searches
Unfortunately, the Skywards award online search tool is missing certain routes.
For example, JetBlue operates Mint between the Northeast and various parts of the Caribbean. You can search the website for Boston to St. Thomas and New York-JFK to St. Maarten — but not New York-JFK to St. Thomas. Although JetBlue recently launched flights to London with a new Mint product, you can't search for awards between New York-JFK and London on the website.
You can still book these awards, but you'll have to call Emirates Skywards to do so (800-777-3999). This process is actually incredibly easy. The phone call took just 12 minutes to work with an agent to find award availability and put a JetBlue Mint award on hold (see details below on holding awards).
Finding JetBlue award availability
There's no way to search on JetBlue's website — or a paid service like ExpertFlyer — to find awards available for partner airlines. Manually searching through Emirates' award search tool can be frustrating, particularly for routes that operate once a week only.
You'll want to search at another site before starting your search on Emirates' website. That said, NerdWallet got the scoop from Emirates on how to find JetBlue Mint award availability.
To book JetBlue awards through Skywards, there needs to be availability in the following fare buckets:
P fare class for JetBlue economy awards.
I fare class for JetBlue Mint awards.
One way to search for fare class availability is to use ITA Matrix.
To start, enter the origin and destination airports. Add commas between locations to search multiple destinations. For example, you can search routes from New York-JFK to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Aruba at the same time.
To limit a search to JetBlue Mint flights, click "Advanced Controls" and enter "o:b6" (translation: operated by JetBlue) in the Outbound Routing Codes and "f bc=i" (translation: I fare class) in the Outbound Extension Codes. If your dates are flexible, you can search up to a month at a time by selecting "See Calendar of Lowest Fares" option.
Then, click on any date that has availability to see the flight options that have "I" fare class availability and should be bookable using Emirates Skywards miles.
Hold JetBlue awards while you transfer miles
If you need to transfer miles into Skywards and don't want to miss out on award availability, Emirates Skywards phone agents can put an award on hold for you. This way you know that you have the award available before transferring points.
To put an award on hold, call Emirates Skywards at 800-777-3999. Give the agent your Emirates Skywards account number, route and dates. Explain that you need to transfer miles into your account and ask for an award hold. The agent should confirm the award availability, hold an award and email a confirmation with the flight details.
Tip: Consider all of your redemption options
Just because you can use Skywards miles to book JetBlue Mint doesn't mean that it's the best option.
Before booking through Skywards, check how much JetBlue is charging for the same flight. Then, consider whether it's cheaper to book through the JetBlue TrueBlue program or a hybrid point program, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
While it's nice to have a new redemption option, it's important to check your other booking options to make sure you're getting the best deal.
» Learn more: 5 times you'd want to redeem more miles for a flight
If you're considering JetBlue Mint
Points and miles collectors have a rare new opportunity to book JetBlue Mint awards. You can redeem as few as 40,000 Skywards miles to fly JetBlue Mint flights under 2,000 miles in distance. And most JetBlue Mint routes — whether coast-to-coast or to the Caribbean — cost 52,000 Skywards miles each way.
A tool like the ITA Matrix and a phone call to Emirates can help secure your ideal award ticket.
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