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JetBlue Adds Extra Perks for Elite Flyers

Yesterday was a banner day for low-cost carrier loyalty schemes, with both Virgin America and JetBlue announcing major upgrades to their programs.

Virgin America's addition of elite tiers and perks to its Elevate program takes effect on August 8, so that received the first review.

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Today we consider JetBlue's initiative, which is eerily similar to Virgin America's but doesn't launch until sometime later this year.

An Elite Program with a Silly Name

Mosaic is JetBlue's rather contrived name for what any right-minded frequent flyer would call an elite program.

To qualify for a Mosaic "badge," TrueBlue members must log 15,000 base flight points, or complete 30 flight segments and earn at least 12,000 base flight points, in a calendar year. Current TrueBlue members eligible for TrueBlue Mosaic will be automatically enrolled in the program "this fall" (no definite date provided).

Once qualified, Mosaic members will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Free second checked bag for everyone flying on the member's reservation (first bag is already free);
  • Expedited security clearance at 36 airports for everyone flying on the member's reservation;
  • Priority boarding for everyone flying on the member's reservation;
  • Ability to redeem TrueBlue points for Even More Space seats;
  • Access to a dedicated 24/7 customer service line; and
  • Three bonus points per dollar spent for a total of nine points per dollar when booking on jetblue.com.

As an "introductory gift," TrueBlue members who qualify in 2012 will also receive six Even More Space seat upgrades.

TrueBlue awards three points per $1 spent on tickets, so members must spend $5,000 to reach the 15,000-point qualification threshold.

Spending that much on Delta, United, or US Airways would qualify for entry- or mid-level elite status, with complimentary upgrades across much larger flight networks. And in the legacy carrier programs, elite-qualifying points may be earned on partner airlines as well as on the host airline, so qualifying is that much easier.

Perhaps even more damning, TrueBlue Mosaic is notably weaker than even Virgin America's entry-level Silver elite status, which is earned after spending only $4,000.

What Mosaic needs, at a minimum, is complimentary space-available upgrades to Even More Space seats. That's the kind of meaningful benefit an airline's best customers need, and deserve.

As it is, if you're a business traveler looking for a reason to make JetBlue your go-to airline, Mosaic isn't it.

Reader Reality Check

Is Mosaic a game-changer for you?

What would make it one?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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