Editorial Review

JetBlue Plus Review: A Bundle of Benefits for a Reasonable Annual Fee

Its ongoing rewards are generous compared with many other airline credit cards, and benefits like free checked bags and a yearly points bonus can easily make up for the card's $99 annual fee.

Erin HurdJune 12, 2020

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Our Take

4.9

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: If you're a JetBlue loyalist or could easily be one, this card is a great pick, thanks to its bevy of benefits. Even if you fly with the airline only once or twice a year, it may still make sense.

Barclays JetBlue Plus Credit Card

JetBlue Plus Card

Annual Fee

$99

Regular APR

15.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Balance Transfers for 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to account within 45 days of account opening

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free checked bag

  • Redeem for any seat

  • Bonus rewards categories

  • High rewards rate on JetBlue purchases

Cons

  • Has annual fee

  • Best for those loyal to JetBlue

Alternate Pick: Flexible rewards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Transfer points to JetBlue, or use elsewhere

You'll earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining and 1 point per $1 elsewhere. You can transfer points on a 1:1 basis to multiple airline and hotel programs, including JetBlue, or you can use them to book travel through Chase at 1.25 cents per point. But you won't get any airline-specific perks. The annual fee is $95.

Read our review

Full Review

For JetBlue loyalists who travel frequently, the JetBlue Plus Card adds up to a great deal. Beyond its generous rewards rates and introductory bonus, cardholders receive a bundle of benefits, including an ongoing annual point deposit that helps make up for a good chunk of the card's $99 annual fee. The ability to use this card to spend your way to status may also appeal to some frequent flyers and is rare among airline credit cards.

Even casual JetBlue flyers could find enough value from the Barclays-issued JetBlue Plus Card to make it worth carrying. If your family usually checks bags, even just taking one trip a year could justify the cost of the card.

Of course, JetBlue's not as large as other airlines, so this card's usefulness depends on where you live and where you want to go.

Nerd tip: If you love JetBlue but are hesitant to pay an annual fee, there is a $0-annual-fee version called the JetBlue Card. It earns decent rewards, but you won’t get free checked bags with it. For more information about that card, see our full review here.

JetBlue Plus Card: Key features

Card type: Airline.

Annual fee: $99.

Sign-up bonus: 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to account within 45 days of account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 15.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Rewards:

  • 6 TrueBlue points for every $1 spent on purchases made directly with JetBlue Airways.

  • 2 points for every $1 spent on restaurant and grocery store purchases.

  • 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

NerdWallet values JetBlue points at 1.3 cents each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data on hundreds of economy routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 1.3 cents or more in value from your JetBlue points.

APR: 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: $0.

Other benefits:

  • 5,000 bonus TrueBlue points every year after your account anniversary.

  • First checked bag free for you and up to three traveling companions when you use your card to book your travel.

  • Earn JetBlue Mosaic status after spending $50,000 in purchases each calendar year with the card.

  • Annual $100 statement credit when you purchase a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more with the card.

  • Save 50% on in-flight cocktail and food purchases on JetBlue.

  • 10% points rebate when you redeem rewards.

Why you might want the JetBlue Plus Card

Earn extra points on more than just travel

Many airline credit cards offer bonus rewards only on purchases made with the airline. Not so with the JetBlue Plus Card, which also earns elevated points on restaurant and grocery store purchases. That can make it a good choice for everyday purchases.

Free checked bags

When you pay for your travel with the JetBlue Plus Card, you’ll get the first checked bag free for you and up to three travel companions. Without the card, your first checked bag would cost $35, so that’s a one-way savings of $140 if you each checked one bag. If your journey is round-trip, that savings multiplies to $280. If your family of four takes two roundtrip JetBlue flights each year that adds up to savings of $560.

Annual bonus helps offset the fee

Some cards offer only a one-time bonus, but the JetBlue Plus Card rewards cardholders with something extra every year. Each year on your cardmember anniversary, you’ll be automatically awarded 5,000 TrueBlue points.

Based on NerdWallet valuations, those annual bonus points are worth around $65, which lowers the card's effective annual cost of ownership to $34.

Spend your way to status

If you’re a loyal JetBlue flyer who logs a lot of miles each year, the ability to earn elite status could be appealing. Spend $50,000 on your JetBlue Plus Card in a calendar year, and you’ll enjoy the benefits of Mosaic status. Perks include:

  • No cancel/change fees.

  • First and second bags free.

  • Early boarding privileges.

  • Free beer, wine and cocktails on board.

  • Ability to redeem points for Even More Space seats at a reduced rate.

To be sure, $50,000 is a hefty threshold to reach. But the ability to spend your way to status is rare among airline cards, and if you fly JetBlue a lot, these perks can be quite valuable.

Why you might want a different card

Annual fee not waived for the first year

Many airline credit cards don’t charge the annual fee for the first year you hold the card. But the JetBlue Plus Card's $99 annual fee will be charged to your card automatically within six weeks of opening the account. If an annual fee is a dealbreaker, you could opt for this card's little brother, the $0-annual-fee JetBlue Card. Or you could aim for a general travel rewards card like the Discover it® Miles. It earns 1.5 miles back on every purchase, and you can redeem miles at a value of 1 cent apiece for credit on your statement against travel purchases, including airline tickets. The annual fee is $0.

Not many sweet spots for JetBlue redemptions

Since JetBlue doesn’t publish an award chart that dictates how many points you’ll need for certain routes, it’s harder to find sweet spots to maximize redemptions. The number of TrueBlue points you’ll need will fluctuate with the cash fares of the tickets.

Even though JetBlue is considered to be a low-cost airline, unlike some low-cost competitors they do have a premium-class cabin (called Mint). But in most cases, it’s not a good value for your TrueBlue points to redeem for a Mint seat.

JetBlue's footprint is limited

JetBlue is a growing airline with a large footprint in places like the Caribbean and Central America, in addition to domestic destinations. But the airline certainly isn't ubiquitous. If you don’t live close to a JetBlue hub like Boston; New York (JFK); Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Florida; or Long Beach, California, you’ll have to take connecting flights to get where you want to go. If driving to a JetBlue-serviced airport is completely out of your way, it’s probably not worth pursuing this card. A better option for you might be a general travel card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It earns 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points per $1 spent on travel and dining at restaurants, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Crucially, those points are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed for travel booked through Chase. And you can often get a better value by transferring points to the card’s travel partners, one of them being JetBlue. The card's annual fee is $95.

Should you get the JetBlue Plus Card?

If you’re a frequent JetBlue flyer, or even a casual traveler who flies the airline a few times a year, the JetBlue Plus Card may deserve a spot in your wallet. The value cardholders can get from perks like free checked bags and a yearly points bonus can outweigh the annual fee.

If you’d have to go out of your way to fly to and from an airport that JetBlue services, you’re probably better off with a more flexible travel rewards card.

To see how this card stacks up against the competition, see NerdWallet's list of the best credit cards to get.

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