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When you're looking to travel within the U.S. or internationally, you may end up comparing Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways for your trip. Both airlines are rated highly in our analysis of the best airline rewards programs (No. 4 and 5, respectively), and each has pros and cons based on what you're looking for in an airline.
In this article, we'll compare JetBlue versus Delta based on:
Co-branded credit cards.
We’ll compile all this information to help you decide which one, Delta or JetBlue, is best for you.
Where they’re based and where they fly
When comparing flight options, Delta is the clear winner (it serves double the number of countries). While both airlines service many of the same cities, Delta offers far more destinations total. It also offers a global network of destinations that dwarfs JetBlue by many magnitudes, in large part because Delta is a member of the SkyTeam Alliance.
JetBlue is primarily a North American airline that offers flights between 100 cities in 25 countries. These destinations include the U.S., Canada, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. In summer 2021, JetBlue launched its first flights across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom.
There are six focus cities for JetBlue, including:
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Florida.
San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Delta Air Lines
Delta travelers have access to a global network of up to 300 destinations in over 50 countries around the world. The airline is part of the SkyTeam Alliance, which has 19 airlines and operates at more than 1,000 airports globally.
There are significant Delta hubs and key markets in the following cities:
Travel credit card availability
Delta takes the cake for the best airline credit card between the two companies.
In fact, in our comparison of the best airline credit cards, we chose Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card as the best domestic airline credit card, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card as the best premium airline card, and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card as the best airline card for small businesses.
In short, Delta's credit card offerings are exemplary.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
JetBlue Airlines credit cards
Barclays is the card issuer for JetBlue's credit cards and it offers three cards for JetBlue travelers (two personal and one business). However, none of the JetBlue cards could be considered a premium travel card. Depending on the card, you can have access to free checked bags, bonus points on the card's anniversary and the ability to earn Mosaic elite status based on your spending.
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 60,000 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 60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days, and earn 10,000 bonus points after a purchase is made on an employee card.
» Learn more: Is the JetBlue Plus card worth its annual fee?
Delta Air Lines credit cards
American Express offers four personal and three business versions of the Delta credit cards, including a premium version that brings with it complimentary SkyClub access and an annual companion certificate. Terms apply.
Aside from the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, each of the other cards is available for either personal or business customers. Travelers who want to earn elite status can get a status boost and MQD spend waiver based on their total spending on the Platinum or Reserve versions of the Delta card. Terms apply.
Personal credit cards
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card ($0 annual fee): Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card ($0 intro for the first year, then $99 annual fee): Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card ($250 annual fee): Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card ($550 annual fee): Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Business credit cards
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card ($0 intro for the first year, then $99 annual fee): Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card ($250 annual fee): Welcome Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card ($550 annual fee): Welcome Offer: Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Airline loyalty programs
Winner: Delta SkyMiles
While neither of these loyalty programs is our choice as the best overall airline loyalty program (that distinction went to Alaska Airlines), when you compare Delta versus JetBlue, Delta scored higher for the value of its rewards and elite status benefits.
JetBlue TrueBlue loyalty program
The TrueBlue loyalty program has two levels of status — member and Mosaic. As a member, you'll earn 2x miles when you book on JetBlue.com or through the airline's app. Points don't expire and can be redeemed for any seat at any time with no blackout dates. Plus, you can pool points with family and friends for no additional charge.
The next tier up, Mosaic status, includes:
First two checked bags for free.
Free drinks and more.
While these benefits are attractive, you cannot redeem points for outsized value. NerdWallet values JetBlue points at 1.5 cents each. While this is toward the higher-end of airline miles and points values, JetBlue operates a fixed-value loyalty program where points have a fairly narrow redemption value.
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles loyalty program
Delta SkyMiles offers four levels of elite status (known as Medallion) above the basic membership type. To earn Medallion status, you'll need to meet mileage or segment targets plus spend a minimum amount with the airline. At each higher level, you'll earn more miles for every dollar you spend on tickets and receive more benefits, like complimentary upgrades, fee waivers and perks at the airport.
SkyMiles can be redeemed on flights with Delta and its SkyTeam partners. Having these alliance partners adds extra value to SkyMiles because you can redeem them between city pairs that Delta doesn't fly its own planes between.
On average, we value Delta SkyMiles at 1.3 cents per mile. However, the value that you'll receive depends on how you redeem them. In general, international premium cabin flights offer higher value than many domestic flights.
» Learn more: The guide to the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program
Fewer extra fees
JetBlue is our choice as the better airline for fewer extra fees. On average, you can expect to be charged $39 for a checked bag, overhead carry-on bag and a selected seat on a typical one-way fare on JetBlue. By comparison, Delta charges an average of $45 for these same features.
Both airlines offer credit cards that eliminate the first checked bag fees for you and your companions.
» Learn more: Which airlines have the best (and worst) fees?
JetBlue doesn't charge change or cancellation fees for all flights booked after June 8, 2021, except for Blue Basic (basic economy) fares. Blue Extra tickets also receive free same-day switches, which is a good value for travelers who want more flexibility. And there are no fees for advance seat selection for all fares except Blue Basic.
Mosaic elite status waives fees for same-day switches, two checked bags for you and your travel companions, and inflight drinks. Having either of the JetBlue credit cards with an annual fee also waives fees for the first checked bag.
Delta Air Lines
The fees you'll pay on Delta depends on your elite status level with the airline. Overall, Delta has a lower fee for checked bags than JetBlue ($30 versus $35), but Delta charges more for seat selection (average $15 versus $4).
Those with Silver Medallion status and above, or with select Delta credit cards, receive a free checked bag on their flight.
Our top choice among all airlines for in-flight entertainment is JetBlue. However, when you compare JetBlue's in-flight entertainment against Delta's, the competition is close — Delta comes in second above all other airlines.
» Learn more: Best airlines for onboard entertainment
JetBlue is the clear winner for in-flight entertainment with free Wi-Fi, live TV, movies and in-flight messaging. It is also the only major U.S. airline that has seatback screens at every seat. Other airlines have a mix of seatback screens and requirements that passengers bring their own device. Most airlines offer Wi-Fi, but they often charge to access it, while JetBlue's Wi-Fi is free for all passengers.
All JetBlue economy seats offer the same benefits and in-flight experience. JetBlue Mint is available on some of the airline's longer flights, such as New York to London or Seattle to Boston. Mint is the airline's version of first class, and the front-row Mint Studio has a larger area and the largest TV on a U.S. airline.
Delta Air Lines
Your in-flight experience with Delta varies significantly based on what fare you purchased. Basic economy and main cabin seats are the traditional economy seats on other airlines.
Delta Comfort+ provides extra legroom and other benefits, while first class and Delta One offer premium service and the most space available on any Delta flight. Passengers have access to free in-flight messaging, but there is a charge for Wi-Fi. There are over 1,000 hours of free movies, TV, music, and games, but not all planes have seatback screens. On some planes, you'll need to connect your portable device to Wi-Fi in order to access the entertainment.
Caveat: First class
While JetBlue has the better economy fare experience, when you look closely at both airlines' first class products — Delta One and JetBlue Mint — the choice is more difficult. Both offer comfortable lie-flat seating, personal service, and in-flight meals and drinks. However, passengers have more choices of where they can fly with Delta One because the JetBlue Mint routes are limited.
The bottom line
In the competition of Delta versus JetBlue, there’s a clear winner: Delta Air Lines. Delta offers numerous credit cards for both personal and business customers at a variety of price points that fit every traveler's budget. SkyMiles members have more ways to redeem SkyMiles for tickets to destinations around the world on Delta or its partners.
Plus, SkyMiles can be redeemed for premium cabin seats at a value that's potentially much higher than the average. While JetBlue has a better in-flight experience and lower fees, Delta is the better overall choice.
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:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card