JetBlue vs. American Airlines: Which Is Better?

American Airlines gives JetBlue a run for its money in this showdown of domestic carriers.

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When planning a trip, you might find yourself comparing JetBlue Airways to American Airlines to determine which airline is best for your upcoming travels. Both airlines have appealing features, but there are distinct differences between them. Here, we'll compare their route networks, credit cards, loyalty programs and more to help you decide which of these two airlines is right for you.

Where they’re based and where they fly

Winner: American Airlines

While both airlines travel within the U.S. and internationally, American's network is far more extensive. Not only does American fly to more places than JetBlue, but it is also a member of the Oneworld alliance, which offers even more destinations.

JetBlue Airways

JetBlue flies to more than 100 cities within the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America. It also launched flights from New York to the U.K. in August 2021.

Within the U.S., JetBlue's route network can lead to odd routings. For example, traveling from Nashville, Tennessee to Miami — which should be a short trip — typically requires a layover in New York or Boston.

JetBlue's hubs include:

  • Boston.

  • New York-John F. Kennedy.

  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

  • Los Angeles.

  • Orlando, Florida.

  • San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Although JetBlue is not in an alliance, it partners with a handful of airlines to earn and redeem points and (in some cases) reciprocate benefits. These partners include American Airlines, Aer Lingus, Emirates Airlines, Porter, Qatar Airways and more.

American Airlines

American is one of the largest airlines in the world. Its flight network offers more than 350 destinations in 50 countries for travelers to choose from. Additionally, as part of the Oneworld alliance, the airline and its partners serve as many as 1,000 destinations in more than 170 territories.

The top airport hubs served by American Airlines include:

  • Atlanta.

  • Boston.

  • Charlotte, North Carolina.

  • Chicago-O’Hare.

  • Dallas-Fort Worth.

  • Los Angeles.

  • Miami.

  • New York-John F. Kennedy.

  • New York-LaGuardia.

  • Philadelphia.

  • Phoenix.

  • Raleigh, North Carolina.

  • San Antonio.

  • San Francisco.

  • Washington, D.C.

Travel credit card availability

Winner: American Airlines

American Airlines is our choice for the best travel credit card availability. It offers credit cards from both Citibank and Barclays and has a premium credit card option that includes airport lounge access when flying American or its partners.

JetBlue credit cards

JetBlue offers two personal and one business card from Barclays. Each card offers a welcome bonus with a low minimum spending requirement. The cards include benefits like a 50% discount on inflight purchases, no foreign transaction fees and bonus points on JetBlue purchases.

  • JetBlue Card ($0 annual fee): Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

  • JetBlue Plus Card ($99 annual fee): 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.

  • JetBlue Business Card ($99 annual fee): Earn 80,000 bonus points and a $99 statement credit after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

American Airlines credit cards

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® versus the JetBlue Plus Card is a good comparison because they both have a similar annual fee — $0 intro for the first year, then $99 and $99, respectively. However, since the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® waives the fee the first year, you can try its benefits before committing to an annual fee.

Airline loyalty programs

Winner: American Airlines

When it comes to comparing JetBlue versus American's loyalty programs, AAdvantage beats out TrueBlue. With AAdvantage, you can redeem miles for flights on American Airlines and its Oneworld partners, whereas JetBlue's options are limited to JetBlue and a smaller handful of partners.

JetBlue TrueBlue

With JetBlue TrueBlue, members are able to earn points by flying, spending on a JetBlue credit card and participating in eligible partner activities. You can pool points with up to seven family members and friends to quickly earn points toward booking your next flight.

Points can be redeemed for a relatively fixed value. NerdWallet values JetBlue points at 1.5 cents each. TrueBlue points never expire and they can be redeemed at any time for any available seat.

JetBlue's elite status program has three levels — member, Mosaic, and Mosaic+.

You'll have three ways to reach Mosaic status:

  • Earning 15,000 qualifying points.

  • Flying 30 segments and earning 12,000 qualifying points.

  • Spending $50,000 on the JetBlue Plus Card or JetBlue Business Card.

Mosaic+ launched in 2022 and is available only for this year. To become Mosaic+, you'll need to earn 45,000 qualifying points or spend $150,000 on an eligible card to achieve this status.

American Airlines AAdvantage

Members of the AAdvantage program earn miles by:

  • Flying on American.

  • Crediting partner flights to AAdvantage.

  • Spending on a co-branded credit card.

  • Shopping, dining and other partner activities.

Miles generally receive the most value when redeemed for flights on American or its partners. NerdWallet values AAdvantage miles at 1.5 cents each, but you can generally receive much higher value when redeeming for premium class international flights. Additionally, some Web Special Awards offer tremendous value as well.

There are five primary levels of AAdvantage elite status, ranging from a basic member to AAdvantage Executive Platinum. At the very top is ConciergeKey, an invitation-only elite status that is reserved for its best customers.

Starting in 2022, American switched its qualifying metrics to a Loyalty Points-based system where each eligible mile earned is equal to 1 Loyalty Point. To reach Gold — the first level of elite status — you must earn at least 30,000 Loyalty Points. By comparison, Executive Platinum requires 200,000 Loyalty Points.

Extra fees

Winner: JetBlue

Based on the NerdWallet analysis of airline fees, JetBlue has lower fees on average than American Airlines.

JetBlue Airlines

With JetBlue, a typical one-way fare has an average fee of $39, according to the NerdWallet airline fee study. This includes a checked bag, overhead carry-on bag and selected seat.

For flights within the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean, JetBlue charges $35 for the first bag and $45 for the second bag on most tickets. Fees for the first checked bag are waived with Blue Plus and Mint tickets, Mosaic members and travelers with an eligible JetBlue card.

American Airlines

On American Airlines, the NerdWallet airline fee study found that the typical one-way flight has fees of $49. American Airlines charges $30 for the first bag and $40 for the second bag in most destinations. The first checked bag is complimentary if you have:

  • An eligible AAdvantage Aviator or Citi AAdvantage credit card.

  • AAdvantage Gold or higher elite status.

  • Oneworld Ruby or higher status.

  • Confirmed Business and Premium Economy tickets.

In-flight experience

Winner: JetBlue

JetBlue is NerdWallet's choice as the best airline for onboard entertainment with a perfect 5.0 score.

When you compare American Airlines versus JetBlue economy seats and comfort, there is no competition. Flying with JetBlue gives travelers the most legroom of all domestic airlines, with 32 to 34 inches of seat pitch.

JetBlue Airlines

JetBlue offers one of the best in-flight experiences of any domestic airline. Whether you're chatting online with friends or catching up on work emails, JetBlue has free, high-speed Wi-Fi available at every seat from gate to gate on every plane. And unlike some airlines that require you to bring your own device, JetBlue has seatback devices for every passenger with movies, live TV from DirecTV, music from SiriusXM and more.

Plus, JetBlue offers Mint service for premium travelers on select coast-to-coast, Caribbean, and Latin America flights, plus all flights to and from London. Each Mint Suite offers a fully lie-flat seat, a sliding door for privacy and direct aisle access.

American Airlines

American Airlines offers multiple levels of tickets, ranging from basic economy to Flagship First.

In economy, passengers have only 31 inches of seat pitch unless you elect for Main Cabin Extra or higher tickets. American's Flagship business and first class seats offer lie-flat seating on select transcontinental, Hawaii and international flights.

All passengers can enjoy free entertainment by streaming free movies, TV shows, music and more to a Wi-Fi-connected device. However, if you want to access the internet, you'll need to pay to get connected.

The bottom line

In the competition of JetBlue versus American Airlines, there’s a clear winner: American. Although JetBlue has a better in-flight experience on similar routes, American has so much more to offer, with a larger route network and the ability to earn and redeem with its Oneworld partners.

American has more credit card options to earn miles and receive benefits, including a premium card that has airport lounge access. AAdvantage members have the ability to maximize their rewards by redeeming for outsized value with international premium cabin tickets and Web Specials.

So, while JetBlue may be the better option on some routes, American offers more value overall with its rewards and can fly its members to far more destinations around the world.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

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