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Triple Frequent Flyer Points on JetBlue? Well, Sorta

If you haven't already, you'll soon see the following JetBlue ad copy plastered all over the Internet: "Thrice Is Nice—Get your Award Flight faster with triple TrueBlue points."

Triple points? System-wide? On an airline with good prices and great service? That will get the juices of any mileage collector flowing. For most travelers, however, there's less here than first meets the eye.

But first, the deal. TrueBlue members will earn triple points for flights booked on JetBlue's website and completed between August 17 and September 23. Registration prior to qualifying flights is required.

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My quibble is with the characterization of the bonus as triple points.

As any TrueBlue member knows, JetBlue's program normally awards double points for flights booked on its website. In fact, the program was designed to have value—and to be competitive with other carriers' programs—only when earning at that rate. In other words, double points are effectively the norm in JetBlue's program.

So for the great majority of TrueBlue members, who routinely book online to earn double points, this so-called triple-points deal amounts to getting three points instead of two, a 50-percent bonus.

To be sure, a 50-percent bonus is an offer well worth considering. But it's not triple points. It's not even double points.

What JetBlue's rather disingenuous wording brings to mind is the tactic used by some retailers who continually advertise heavily discounted or sale prices, when the supposed "base" price from which the discounted price is computed is a sham, an artificially inflated price created solely to make the selling price look like a deal.

Triple points? Well, yes, but triple the points that no smart TrueBlue member would be satisfied with.

JetBlue's overstatement isn't a prosecutable offense. But it's indicative of the complicated relationship airlines have with the truth. And it explains why airlines are held in such low esteem by consumers.

No Bonus for All-You-Can-Jet Passes

No doubt JetBlue fans will wonder whether the bonus can be applied to flights taken using the airline's $599 flight pass, good for unlimited flights between September 8 and October 8.

In JetBlue's own words: "Each All-You-Can-Jet Pass is eligible for 35 TrueBlue points. Flights booked on the pass are not available for additional TrueBlue points." So, no triple (ahem) points.

That's O.K. These are both solid offers, even if they're not combinable—and even without misrepresenting the true value of the bonus promotion.

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