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When JetBlue announced three new credit card offerings, the airline’s regular customers took notice.
“They’re our primary airline, and we basically put everything but our mortgage on our card,” says John Overholt, a librarian in the Boston area who is planning to apply for JetBlue Plus Card. “It’s time we got something more useful out of it.”
But JetBlue customers who were carrying the JetBlue Card from American Express have a harder decision to make.
JetBlue is offering a special deal to people with the old card, but the new Barclaycard MasterCard options are good enough to make existing cardholders wonder which they should choose.
Let’s look at them side by side.
|JetBlue Card from American Express (now defunct)||JetBlue Rewards MasterCard (replacement for AmEx)||JetBlue Card||JetBlue Plus Card||The JetBlue Business Card|
|Rewards rate per $1 spent||2 points on JetBlue purchases, 1 point elsewhere||4 points on JetBlue purchases, 2 points at restaurants and grocery stores, 1 point elsewhere||3 points on JetBlue purchases, 2 points at restaurants and grocery stores, 1 point elsewhere||6 points on JetBlue purchases, 2 points at restaurants and grocery stores, 1 point elsewhere||6 points on JetBlue purchases, 2 points at restaurants and office supply stores, 1 point elsewhere|
|Annual fee||The $40||$40||$0||$99||$99|
|Sign-up bonus||Earn 20,000 TrueBlue® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.||None||(This offer is no longer valid on our site) Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.||(This offer is no longer valid on our site) Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days||Earn 30K points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days|
|Other travel perks||None||$100 companion travel discount after spending $500 in purchases by June 30, 2016||First checked bag free for up to four people on JetBlue flights||First checked bag free for up to four people on JetBlue flights|
|Redemption bonus||None||5% redemption bonus when you redeem TrueBlue points for flights||None||10% redemption bonus when you redeem TrueBlue points for flights||10% redemption bonus when you redeem TrueBlue points for flights|
|Anniversary bonus||None||None||None||5,000 points bonus each year||5,000 points bonus each year|
All of the new JetBlue cards have a few improvements over the old JetBlue Card from American Express. They all come with EMV chips, which the old card didn’t have. Better yet, none of the new JetBlue cards has a foreign transaction fee, while the JetBlue Card from American Express had a 2.7% fee. For frequent travelers, the ability to use a card abroad without paying a fee on every purchase is key.
Like the JetBlue Card from American Express, all the new JetBlue cards offer 50% savings on in-flight purchases such as cocktails, food and movies. That’s an unusually good deal.
Determining the better card for you
If you’re an existing JetBlue Card from American Express customer, you have a choice to make. You can go with the replacement card, called the JetBlue Rewards MasterCard, or one of the new cards.
The rewards rate on the JetBlue Rewards MasterCard is slightly higher than that of JetBlue Card, but still not as high as JetBlue Plus Card. However, its annual fee is in between those two cards too: $40, compared with $0 for JetBlue Card and $99 for JetBlue Plus Card. Avid travelers might find JetBlue Plus Card’s higher fee worthwhile because the rewards rate is higher. If you’re a frequent JetBlue flier, you’ll want to do the math to see whether the extra points are worth it.
Most people, however, won’t be able to get the JetBlue Rewards MasterCard; it’s only for those who had the old AmEx. If you’re like Overholt, who wasn’t an AmEx customer before the switch, it’s a matter of deciding whether you’ll earn enough in additional rewards on JetBlue Plus Card or the JetBlue Business Card to make the $99 annual fee worthwhile. If not, go with JetBlue Card.
Image via iStock.