JetBlue Reward Optimization for Beginners

JetBlue's network isn't as extensive as some legacy carriers, but it has sweet spots that others don't.

Rand ShoafJuly 15, 2020
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Since its revamp in 2009, JetBlue’s TrueBlue loyalty program has made a splash in the U.S. frequent flyer scene. Although JetBlue’s route network can’t contend with those of bigger airlines like United or American, there is still plenty of value to be had when redeeming your TrueBlue points.

A benefit of the JetBlue TrueBlue program is that you know exactly how much value you get when you redeem points for flights. This guide goes over what you need to know to start using your points.

How to get started using your points

As you’d expect, the most popular way to use TrueBlue points is for flights on JetBlue. You also have the option to redeem points for Hawaiian Airlines flights.

Redeeming points on JetBlue flights

To begin an award flight search, log in to your TrueBlue account from the upper right-hand corner of JetBlue’s home page.

After you've logged in to your account, you can search for a flight by entering your departure city and destination, along with your travel days. Be sure to click “Use TrueBlue points” before hitting “Search flights.”

The results page will show your flight options, along with fare classes that include Blue, Blue Extra and Mint.

Then just choose the flight that best matches your desired itinerary and price. You can also view and compare the lowest daily price on a weekly calendar.

Redeeming points on Hawaiian Airlines

Although JetBlue has a handful of partner airlines that let you earn TrueBlue points, the only partner airline where you can redeem TrueBlue points for flights is Hawaiian Airlines.

Unlike redeeming points for JetBlue flights, when you redeem TrueBlue points for Hawaiian Airlines flights, the cost is based on a fixed-price award chart.

To use your JetBlue points to book an award flight on Hawaiian Airlines, you have to call 1-800-JETBLUE and make the reservation. You'll need to give the representative your destination and travel dates to search for award availability.

What to consider when redeeming

Determining how much value you'll get from your TrueBlue points is easy. In the TrueBlue program, the cost of an award flight in points is directly related to the cost of the price of the flight in cash. The higher the price of the flight in cash, the more points it'll cost to book as an award flight.

This means that the value you get for your points can vary depending on things like demand, routing and fare class of the flight you want to book.

NerdWallet currently values JetBlue points at 1.1 cents each, which is the approximate value you should expect to get from your points when you redeem them for flights. To calculate your JetBlue redemption value, use this easy formula: price of flight in cash divided by price of flight in points.

For example, a recent search turned up the option to book a flight from New York to Los Angeles for 7,700 points or $124. That means you’re getting a value of 1.61 cents per point ($124 flight price divided by 7,700 points equals $0.0161). This beats the average value of 1.1 cents per point, making it good use of your points.

A few program sweet spots

As the New York-to-L.A. example shows, some trips get you more value for your points than others. Here are some “sweet spots” for redeeming your TrueBlue points.

Fly JetBlue Mint across the U.S.

If you want to fly in luxury across the U.S., using your points to book a flight in JetBlue’s Mint class is a great option. Mint is JetBlue’s premium cabin with lie-flat seats that will let you stretch out on longer flights.

The number of points you’ll need to fly in Mint can vary significantly. You can expect to pay anywhere from around 50,000 to over 120,000 points for a flight from Los Angeles to New York.

Visit the Caribbean

Using JetBlue points to visit a Caribbean island is an excellent way to stretch your points further. And with JetBlue’s 22 destinations in the Caribbean, you have a lot of options.

You can find one-way economy flights to the Caribbean for as little as 3,400 points.

Fly to Central America

JetBlue currently only operates a handful of routes to Central America, but you can get a great deal when using your points to fly there. Depending on your U.S. departure city, you can find one-way flights starting around 4,000 points.

Fly to South America

You can get a steal when you find a low fare to South America on JetBlue. You can find select routes for under 4,500 points for a one-way flight to northern South America, which amounts to considerable savings compared to using United or American Airlines miles.

The bottom line

JetBlue gives its TrueBlue loyalty members lots of ways to use points. But some flights offer better value than others. When you’re ready to book, always search multiple flight options to compare points prices, while keeping in mind that a value of 1.1 cents per point or better means you’re getting a good deal.

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