JetBlue TrueBlue: Another Great Domestic Rewards Program

One of the United States' premier domestic (and regional international) carriers, JetBlue Airlines hosts a loyalty rewards program called TrueBlue. Like the Southwest Rapid Rewards Program, the TrueBlue program is perfect for the avid domestic (and a little beyond) flyer, and is an easy program to navigate. Members are never far from being able to travel all around North and South America without needing to break the bank, and get a fair and consistent price for their miles.

Redeeming TrueBlue Miles for Flights

The Value of a TrueBlue Mile

A reward mile is a form a currency, and as such, it has value. We calculate the value of a TrueBlue mile off of the number of miles needed to redeem a flight for free, divided by the monetary value of that flight. For JetBlue's TrueBlue program, that gets us an average value of 1.6 cents per mile. In the table below you can see several itineraries, both domestic and international, that show how the value of a TrueBlue mile changes between different flights.

Flight

BlueBlue PlusBlue Flex

LAX-SFO

1.61.61.5

JFK-ORD

1.51.51.4

DFW-JFK

1.31.41.4

JFK-PUJ

1.91.81.7

BOS-BOG

1.81.61.6

JFK-LAX

1.51.41.4

For the most part, domestic flights consistently fetch between 1.4 and 1.6 cents per mile, while international flights (PUJ and BOG) seem to get a bit higher value of 1.6 to 1.9 cents. In the other frequent flyer programs we have reviewed(with the exception of Southwest), values may fluctuate between 0.5 cents per mile and 4 cents per mile making the JetBlue program very consistent in comparison. Essentially, if the mile value for any JetBlue flight you hope to book is less than 1.3 cents per mile, then you are getting a poor deal for your miles.

The good thing with JetBlue however is that there is much less worry about getting a poor deal compared to larger international carriers. Let's take a look at how much TrueBlue miles are worth compared to another carrier, such as United Airlines' MileagePlus miles.With large carriers, miles to different locations are fixed. Fare prices on the other hand are free to change throughout the year, meaning the value of the mile will also change throughout the year making it harder to know when you are getting a good deal. In the graph below, you can see how the number of MileagePlus miles needed to redeem free flights has a messy correlation with fare price while JetBlue has a near linear one.

pricemiles

For United, the only way to know if you are getting a good deal is if you divide the price by the miles and see if it higher than 1.2 cents per mile. JetBlue on the other hand, regardless of price, you will be getting a mile value between 1.3 and 1.8 cents per mile. The downside to all of this however is at least with international carriers, you can shop around until you get a really good deal. A flight from New York to Vancouver on United can be $600 but be redeemed for 25,000 miles-a 2.4 cent per mile value. Essentially, for the frequent flyer who wants to be able to redeem miles with minimal worry and effort, TrueBlue is the perfect program. If on the other hand you want to be able to maximize and play with rewards miles, a larger carrier would be the better option.

The Differences Between Blue, Blue Plus, Blue Flex, and Blue Mint

JetBlue, like Southwest has three (sometimes four) cabin classes. The first three can be found on every flight while Blue Mint can only be found on a handful of long-haul flights. There are essentially two main factors that separate each class with mile value not being one of them. The highest JetBlue cabin class, Blue Flex, can be redeemed for basically the same value as the lowest cabin class, Blue. Blue does have a slight advantage in most cases, but the difference is overall negligible. The two factors are checked bags and booking flexibility.

fares

Blue fare does not grant a checked bag, while Blue Plus allows one and Blue Flex allows two. Deciding to bring a checked bag (or two) could mean a difference of over $200 or 14,800 miles-meaning you should always question the necessity of a checked bag when booking with JetBlue. The second factor is when it comes to cancellations and changes. Tickets in the Blue tier can charge you up to $135 for a cancellation while Blue Flex charges nothing. If your plans are tentative, going with the Blue Flex may be a viable option considering it could save you nearly the full price of your flight. On the other hand, if you are confident in your plans not changing, and can pack everything into just a carry on, Blue fare will end up saving you a lot of miles.

Partners

JetBlue has exactly one partnered airline in which TrueBlue members can book flights with their miles: Hawaiian Airlines. It may only be one, but that is still one more than Southwest, who has no partners that accept Rapid Rewards. TrueBlue members can use their miles to book flights on Hawaiian airline flights, making available several flights between the Hawaiian Islands, and of course, between Hawaii and mainland United States as well. To book a flight with your miles however, you will need to call 1-800-JETBLUE to make the reservation.

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Credit Cards

There are two credit cards that can earn extra TrueBlue points: the JetBlue Rewards Mastercard, meant for consumers, and the JetBlue Business Rewards Credit Card, intended for small business owners. The consumer card awards four points per dollar on JetBlue purchases – this is on top of three points per dollar you get when normally booking flights. Using the card to pay at restaurants and grocery stores gives an additional two points per dollar, and all other shopping nets one point. The cards come with some additional features, such as in-flight discounts and bonuses – all of which I cover in-depth in our review of the JetBlue Credit Card.

Membership Rewards (MR), earned through certain American Express credit cards, can also be transferred to TrueBlue points at a 5:4 ratio. We value a single MR point at $0.01, so as long as you can get the average TrueBlue value of 1.4 cents or better you will come out ahead by transferring. Given that American Express and JetBlue dissolved their partnership in 2015, it’s yet unclear whether the ability to transfer MR to TrueBlue will stick around much longer.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195. 1.69%
$250
Receive 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
$581
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 52,560 x $0.01 = $526
Bonuses
25,000 x $0.01 = $250
0 x $0.01 = $0
Less Annual Fees -$195
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 581

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195.
APR N/A
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 per calendar year for baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, when available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • $0 Intro Annual Fee for the 1st year, then $195.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
$0 1.52%
$100
Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months.
$522
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 42,240 x $0.01 = $422
Bonuses
10,000 x $0.01 = $100
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 522

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 14.74%-25.74% Variable
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%.
  • $0 balance transfer fee. Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days from account opening.
  • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 1x points on other purchases.
  • Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Blue from American Express®
No Annual Fee 1.00%
$0
$343
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.01 = $343
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 343

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee No Annual Fee
APR 15.24%, 18.24% or 20.24% Variable

Card Details

  • No annual fee
  • Free ShopRunner Membership
  • Online Year-End Summary of Purchases
American Express® Green Card
$0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $95 0.72%
$0
$248
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.01 = $343
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 248

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $95
APR

Card Details

  • Membership Rewards program allows you to use points for rewards with 500+ brands
  • Baggage insurance
  • Roadside assistance
  • Car rental insurance
  • Global assist hotline
  • Travel insurance
  • Return protection
  • Purchase protection
The Platinum Card® from American Express
$550 -2.21%
$0
Earn 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 3 months
$-757
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.01 = $343
Less Annual Fees -$1,100
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months -757

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $550
APR N/A
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Final Thoughts

JetBlue is a great domestic alternative to Southwest. As long as you get a value above 1.3 cents per mile, which as we established is likely, you are getting a great deal for your miles. The three cabin classes also provide a lot of price flexibility, while JetBlue's extension across North America and some of South America will make this program perfect for any frequent domestic flyer whose boundaries go a bit further than the borders of the U.S.

Comments and Questions

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