JetBlue TrueBlue 25% Transfer Bonus From AmEx Membership Rewards

Through September 15, 2014, American Express is offering a 25% bonus on points transferred from Membership Rewards to JetBlue’s TrueBlue program. The bonus is hard coded into the transfer ratio, meaning you can take advantage of the bonus as often as you’d like. The transfer ratio is ordinarily 250:200, so with the bonus the transfer ratio is 250:250.

TrueBlue-Transfer-Bonus

Why TrueBlue Membership Rewards transfer bonus is great

This is actually a potentially lucrative transfer bonus. TrueBlue is a revenue based frequent flyer program, so the number of points required for a redemption is correlated directly to the cost of a revenue ticket.

Take the following flight between New York and Los Angeles, for example. An economy ticket would cost $203, while a Mint ticket would cost $599.

JetBlue-TrueBlue-1

Meanwhile the cost of an award ticket would be 14,000 TrueBlue points plus $5.60, while the cost of a Mint ticket would be 34,900 TrueBlue points plus $5.60.

JetBlue-TrueBlue-2

Now, American Express Membership Rewards do not normally transfer at a 1:1 ratio to JetBlue, rather for every 250 Membership Rewards points you transfer, you get 200 JetBlue TrueBlue points.

If you add in a 25% transfer bonus, that’s effectively a 1:1 ratio, so you’re really getting 1.41 cents per Membership Rewards point on the above economy redemption, and 1.70 cents per Membership Rewards point on the above Mint redemption.

Crunching the numbers:

  • ($203-$5.60) / 14,000 points = 1.41 cents per point
  • ($599-$5.60) / 34,900 points = 1.70 cents per point

That’s great given that there are no capacity restrictions, so you can apply these towards the cost of any paid ticket. The Mint redemption value is especially good. I’ve really wanted to try JetBlue’s new Mint, and at $599 one-way was prepared to pay, since that’s quite reasonable. But if I can redeem 35,000 Membership Rewards points for that same ticket, that’s a heck of a deal.

But regardless of whether you’re redeeming for economy or Mint, redeeming Membership Rewards points at anywhere in the 1.41-1.7 cent per point range is quite good, in my opinion.

Get even more value with TrueBlue redemption promotions

In addition to the above, keep in mind that JetBlue often has promotions on redeeming points.

There are usually quite a few terms associated with them, but the promotions are frequent. For example, most recently they offered a 20% discount on award redemptions, which is one of a handful of promotions they’ve offered so far this year.

If you were to transfer points from Membership Rewards to TrueBlue, and if a similar award sale were offered in the future, you could get even more value out of TrueBlue points. For example, a 20% discount on redemptions would translate to 2.04 cents per Membership Rewards points towards the cost of a Mint ticket.

TrueBlue transfer bonuses aren’t frequent

For what it’s worth, these transfer bonuses from Membership Rewards to TrueBlue aren’t very frequent. The last one was offered in mid-2012, and was for 30%.

Bottom line

Up until now I’m not sure if I’ve ever suggested transferring a flexible points currency to a program with revenue based redemptions, but in this case the numbers “add up.” If you take advantage of this promotion you’re looking at a minimum of 1.41 cents per Membership Rewards point towards the cost of a JetBlue ticket, which is pretty good. And the value gets even better when redeeming for Mint!

JetBlue-Mint

Will you be taking advantage of the AmEx transfer bonus to JetBlue TrueBlue?

Comments

  1. The starting ratio of points transfers for Amex to JetBlue is 250 to 200, respectively, not 250:250. With the bonus, it’s now 250:250, but this post is written with the assumption that the starting ratio is 250:250, and the bonus makes it 250:312.5, (1:1.25) which isn’t true. Also, a better way to redeem for mint is probably arrival miles, which in that case, a little over 50k are needed, which is comparable to other transcon J redemption rates.

  2. “But if I can redeem 28,000 Membership Rewards points for that same ticket, that’s a heck of a deal.”

    It would take 35k membership rewards points correct? Because as you stated earlier the normal ratio is not 1 to 1. It’s only 1 to 1 after the transfer bonus.

  3. This post’s math doesn’t make any sense. And the version in my RSS made even less sense. The numbers have all changed. It should just be taken down IMHO.

    You’re arguing that a 35,000 one way MR redemption in domestic business is a good deal??? I’m so confused.

  4. Your math is off, Ben.

    And 70k points for Mint R/T is way, way overpriced. Better to just eat the $599 each way, J/F flight redemption should typically be in the 6-10% bracket, not 1-1.5%.

  5. @ E — Not sure I agree. Would you pay over 1.7 cents cash per Membership Rewards points/ That’s roughly around what I value them.

  6. Ben, considering there are opportunities for >5% ROI via MR…. yes, destroying so many MR points for a $599 one way ticket could be better spent.

  7. @ E — Are you defining ROI based on the sticker price? If so I’d say that’s flawed logic. If you wouldn’t pay the retail price for an experience, don’t really view it was as fair assessment of “return.”

    And if you do view it as what you’d be willing to pay, then would you buy Membership Rewards points for three cents?

    Don’t disagree with you in general, but in this case I would pay cold, hard cash for JetBlue Mint, which is why I’d be happy with that kind of return.

  8. Isnt jetblue a partner of BA? and avios RT Econ for 3k mi coast to coast 25k avios?

    Would one be better off redeeming the exact same seats through avios?

  9. @ Manik — That just means they have a baggage agreement. They don’t have an agreement for earning and redeeming miles.

  10. @Ben,

    While I agree, to a certain extent, that your “flawed logic” has merit – it does run out of pavement once we consider the fact that airlines don’t have to negotiate and, for the most part, collude to ensure price stability for a given product category. Therefore the “sticker” price as you mention does have some weight since it is difficult to call in and say “hey that is too much give me a discount or else I’ll fly someone else…” – /fail capitalism on that front.

    Also, considering that there are rev pax for these classes of service at those prices, it also justifies that the ROI can be based off of that experience. Now – is Mint like La Compagnie? Not according to the assessments posted so far (JetBlue being far superior). That again creates the perception of incinerating so many miles for such a low $ redemption. While it may be > than the 1cpd threshold (unlike, say, Hilton), there are still other avenues to pursue. Just look at any J(+) redemption on an Asian carrier transpacific – even with the “sticker” price, people get the perception (and reality) of a higher ROI by burning miles for those products.

    And as an aside – I would never buy points unless I had to top off for that final ticket of something aspirational. And the nice thing about MR is that you don’t have to buy – they still loan you and then deduct from future earnings. So your point is moot, there.

    I, too, don’t disagree with you (in general) – you obviously know what you are doing in this realm; my point was that in my own experience and personal travel goals I wouldn’t burn the miles when $600 each way is very easy to stomach (especially compared to the competition).

  11. I can’t get excited about a promotion that lets you extract about a penny and a half in value out of these points. The day we get there is the day I switch to cash back.

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