Get Up to 50% More When Buying JetBlue Points
As is American, JetBlue is selling frequent flyer points with a kicker: up to 50 percent more points for larger purchases.
Although the terms of the two promotions appear similar, the underlying value propositions are very different.
Between February 1 and March 15, TrueBlue members will receive up to 50 percent more points when purchasing them for their own accounts or as gifts for other members, as follows:
- Earn a 20 percent bonus when buying 5,000-9,500 points
- Earn a 30 percent bonus when buying 10,000-19,500 points
- Earn a 40 percent bonus when buying 20,000-29,500 points
- Earn a 50 percent bonus when buying 30,000 points
Points are normally priced at approximately $37.63 per 1,000 points, or 3.8 cents each. Purchasing 45,000 points (30,000 points plus the 15,000 bonus points) for $1,129 would reduce the per-point price to about 2.5 cents.
Deal or No Deal
This promotion is strikingly similar to one currently in effect from American, which also features a bonus of up to 50 percent for purchased frequent flyer miles.
But whereas American's promotion may make economic sense, the same cannot be said for JetBlue's. That's because of the very different structures of the two airlines' programs.
In American's program, awards are priced according to region -- 25,000 miles for a flight within the continental U.S., for example -- regardless of the price of a comparable paid ticket. So if those 25,000 miles were cashed in for a $250 ticket, each mile would be worth 1 cent. But redeeming the same number of miles for a $750 ticket would make the miles worth 3 cents each.
Since the miles have no preset value, it's at least possible to cover the cost of purchased miles by redeeming them for an expensive ticket.
But since JetBlue's program prices awards according to the market price of a comparable paid ticket, there's no chance of squeezing outsized value from points by using them for extra-pricey award flights.
When redeemed for award flights on JetBlue, TrueBlue points are worth about 1.5 cents apiece, regardless of how they're redeemed. And it simply doesn't make sense to buy points for 2.5 cents each when they're only worth 1.5 cents.
Reader Reality Check
Have you purchased miles or points directly from the airlines?
Did you get good value for them?