JetBlue Points Match Promotion FAQ

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Yesterday I wrote about the insane promotion JetBlue just launched, where they’re offering to match your Virgin America Elevate points balance if you take one flight with them by August 31, 2016.

JetBlue-Points-Match-2

In some cases they’ll even match your account at a better than 1:1 ratio. For example, if you have 50,001 Elevate points, they’ll give you 75,000 TrueBlue points.

JetBlue-Points-Match-1

I lucked out because I happened to have just over 50,000 Elevate points in my account, after making a points transfer from Starwood Preferred Guest earlier in the week.

Virgin-Australia-Starwood-1

So I submitted my request as soon as it launched, and was approved for the promotion within hours. I’ve been getting a ton of questions about this promotion, especially since you can transfer Starpoints to Virgin America Elevate points at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. In other words, 41,000 Starpoints will get you 51,000 Elevate points.

With that in mind, I figured I’d answer the questions I’m getting most often in an FAQ format. If you have any other questions, let me know in the comments section.

How long does it take to transfer Starpoints to Elevate?

Consistently less than a day, and sometimes even less than 12 hours. You can only submit your points match request after you have the points in your account.

Can I transfer my Starpoints to someone else’s Elevate account?

Nope, the names have to match. In theory you can do a Starwood household transfer of points as a way of getting around that limitation, but that takes several days to do, so probably isn’t ideal if you want to register soon.

Is the best strategy to transfer 40,001 Starpoints to Virgin America?

Yes, in theory, if you don’t have any points in your Elevate account at the moment. At some point I think it’s going to look very suspicious when a bunch of people are submitting accounts with 50,001 JetBlue points, but hey, they made the promotion…

How much are JetBlue points worth?

JetBlue points can typically be redeemed for ~1.3-1.6 cents each towards the paid cost of a ticket. For example, take the below flight between New York and Los Angeles for a comparison of paid costs vs. points costs:

JetBlue-Points-1 JetBlue-Points-2

I’d note that redemptions in Mint Class typically get you a lower per cent value than economy redemptions.

Also keep in mind that JetBlue sometimes offers discounted redemptions (they recently offered 15% off), which can get you even more value. Furthermore, if you have the JetBlue Plus Card you get a 10% refund on points redemptions, which can help you maximize your points even further.

Lastly, I’d note that JetBlue lets you form family accounts, where you can pool the points of up to two adults, plus up to five children.

Family-Pooling

Can JetBlue points be redeemed on partner airlines?

While JetBlue has several partner airlines, the only one on which you can redeem points is Hawaiian, and the value offered there isn’t very good.

How much are Virgin America points worth?

Virgin America Elevate points can typically be redeemed for ~2.2-2.4 cents towards the cost of a paid ticket on Virgin America.

Virgin-America-Elevate-1 Virgin-America-Elevate-2

Also keep in mind that Alaska Airlines is taking over Virgin America, and at some point their points programs will combine. It’ll likely be a couple of years before that happens, though we don’t really know what the combined program will look like.

Can Virgin America points be redeemed on partner airlines?

Yes, and in some cases the values are excellent. Virgin America partners with airlines like Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, etc. I’d note that for the most part, Virgin America doesn’t have access to premium cabin awards on Singapore Airlines, so I don’t see much value in that partnership.

You can find Virgin America’s partner redemption calculator here.

To give a couple of examples of some of the roundtrip redemption rates:

  • Los Angeles to Sydney in Virgin Australia business class costs 80,000 points plus $130 in taxes (though there’s typically only availability within a week or so of departure)
  • New York to London in Virgin Atlantic business class costs 35,000 points plus $1,150 in taxes and carrier imposed surcharges

Virgin-Atlantic-Upper-Class - 1
Virgin Atlantic’s 747 Upper Class

Am I eligible if I just joined JetBlue’s TrueBlue program?

Yes, per the terms, all that matters is that you submit the request by July 4, 2016.

Is a previously booked roundtrip flight on JetBlue eligible?

In order to complete the offer you need to take a roundtrip flight on JetBlue by August 31, 2016. Only tickets booked after registering qualify, and not previously booked travel. I’d also note that we don’t know whether two separate one-ways would qualify. The terms don’t clarify, so I’d assume it actually has to be one roundtrip, rather than two one-ways.

Could JetBlue cancel the promotion?

Technically, yes. The terms state the following:

Offer can be cancelled or modified at any time.

At the same time, it would generate a lot of ill will and show some really high level incompetence on their part if they did. So they can change the terms at any time, and there’s no way for us to know if they will. But if they do, it would make them look very bad, especially since they should have seen this coming.

Should you transfer Starpoints now?

As I explained in my post yesterday, I value Starpoints at 2.2 cents each. So does it make sense to transfer Starpoints? 41,000 Starpoints are worth ~$900 to me. For that you’d receive the following, after completing a flight on JetBlue:

  • 51,000 Elevate points (enough for ~$1,100 worth of travel on Virgin America, or you can redeem them on partners)
  • 75,000 TrueBlue points (enough for ~$1,000 worth of travel on JetBlue)

Assuming you can get value out of travel on Virgin America and JetBlue, I’d say this is an incredible value. Personally I think Starpoints are worth transferring to Virgin America Elevate even without a further bonus. Even if the promotion weren’t honored, I don’t think there’s a massive loss here.

So yes, I would consider doing so.

Can I transfer any points except Starpoints?

Yes, Virgin America Elevate is also transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou, and points transfer at a 2:1 ratio. I value those points at ~1.7 cents each, meaning you’re “paying” ~3.4 cents per Elevate point.

I’d much rather transfer one Starpoints than two Membership Rewards or Citi ThankYou points, but everyone values their points differently.

Elevate-Citi

Is there any other way to get Starpoints?

Keep in mind that at the moment Starwood is selling Starpoints for 30% off, which can represent a great value, especially in conjunction with this promotion.

Starpoints-Discount

Bottom line

This is a crazy generous promotion. Hopefully it’s honored as is, and a lot of you can take advantage of it. If you have any other questions or experiences to report, please post below!

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Comments

  1. Okay so for 624.75 I can buy 25500 SPG due to the sale then transfer to VA for 30500 miles then fly jet blue for 50000 miles. I hate to buy miles or points but I can use these points for around 650 in airfare for VA and around 660 of airfare for JetBlue. Am I crazy for considering doing this? I wish I could buy more than 30k in SPG.

  2. @Charles, if someone else in your household has an SPG account, you can ask them to buy starpoints and then transfer his/her starpoints to your SPG account. The transfer within the same household should be free.

  3. I was told twice that my screenshot is too small but it looks exactly like the sample one they sent and is full resolution. Did you need to screen cap your entire computer screen or something of the such? This is pretty frustrating.

  4. I currently have none of the three accounts mentioned. Do you think it is possible to open accounts in all three programs (two SPG), purchase SPG points (spouse and I), transfer to Elevate, etc…? Am asking in regards to both timeframe for transactions as well as terms and conditions of all programs involved. I know it seems crazy, but what a deal!

  5. I submitted my approval request around 11am PST today and haven’t received a reply yet.

  6. Forget about acquiring Elevate points last minute, can Jetblue afford to honor this promotion at all considering that there is no downside for anyone with significant Elevate points to participate?

    In fact why would anyone not participate?

  7. Having issues doing 2 20k points transfers. First went through, but second errors out. Called SPG and they said the system now only allows 1 transaction to the same partner within 24 hours, not just the total points limit. Anyone get this issue?

    Might just be misinformation from the rep…but still a technical issue.

  8. I submitted my email on Friday at 6:25pm, E.S.T. and still have not heard anything 25 hours later.

  9. DC-PHLyer- only one air mile transfer every 24 hours. I made a mistake of transfering 40k SPG for 50k Virgin America. I then transferred AMEX 200 for 100 VA points.

  10. How quickly do points transfer with Nights and Flights awards? I needed to book 5 nights in LA anyways.

  11. If we transfer our 40k SPG points to Virgin to get the 50k elevate points, does that qualify us for the Virgin America Gold Status since it takes 50k points to get Gold or do the points have to be earned through airline spending?

  12. I’m in the Saturday no response camp (~11am ET).
    I sent it again just to be sure. I’m very worried…

  13. Can I sign up for a Virgin America account & them immediately transfer points into the account or is there a waiting period before this can happen?

  14. @Z I’m in the same boat as well and also worried. Maybe I’ll re-send my email as well just in case. Maybe they are starting at the top or most recent and working backwards…

  15. @Yaswanth @Z @GusA @Jonathan:

    I still haven’t heard back from my Saturday 11am PST submittal. Have you all heard anything? Starting to get worried… and I want to book my flight before fares go up! 🙂

  16. I sent the email request on Friday 6/24 at 10PM PST.
    I received a reply this morning Monday 6/27 at 8A PST, stating I am registered.

    “You are now registered for #GoForthWithJetBlue Points Match!
    Way to let your independent flag fly! To take advantage of the #GoForthWithJetBlue Points Match and earn your bonus TrueBlue points, just book and take a roundtrip JetBlue flight by August 31, 2016.
    Once you fly, your points will automatically be added to your TrueBlue account within 4 – 6 weeks.
    Thanks again for spreading your wings!
    See you onboard soon,
    The TrueBlue Team”

  17. @SeattleTodd Still nothing. I even checked my Junk/Spam folders. I wonder if they are just slammed. I hope they don’t have a quota or cutoff limit for the promotion.

  18. Just a couple of data points — I transferred 40k SPG to Elevate on Saturday morning. Took about 24 hours to post. Emailed my screenshot to JetBlue Sunday afternoon — no response yet.

    Also, I sent the email twice because I noticed after sending the first one that Gmail had “optimized” (i.e. shrank) my first pasted image and the points balance was illegible. Did another screen shot with zoomed in view on the browser and made sure to paste, click on the image, and select “Original Size” instead of the default “Best Fit”. Hope that’s helpful to someone!

  19. Sent request on Monday morning 9 am pst, still no response yet. I used attachment in gmail, is that a problem? I didn’t see the problem @Ken saw though, How did you save your screenshot? I copy paste to paint and saved as jpeg.

  20. Now I’m really nervous… the points match promotion is no longer linked off their “Current Deals” section on the True Blue page. 🙁

  21. Ummm, I foresee that they will change the terms and conditions. Not sure if they will honor earlier submissions.

  22. @Sophia — I used the Windows program “Snipping Tool” to snip the top of my Elevate account profile page. Second time through, I did Ctrl-MouseScrollWheel to enlarge the page before snipping.

  23. I called JetBlue and, while I didn’t learn anything real, they did say the process is manual and they are swamped with requests. Apparently they received over 1500 requests on Saturday alone and just can’t get through it all.

    I’m still mystified why I haven’t heard back when I applied Saturday morning and others who applied late Friday night have heard back over 24 hours ago, but they said it can easily take over 72 hours to hear back at this point.

    So fingers crossed that’s all it is and nothing bad is going on.

  24. @SeattleTodd Thanks for the info, that’s good to know. I wonder if Tweeting the JetBlue account on Twitter would help? Most airlines seems to be pretty good about customer service on that platform. I hope they don’t retroactively change the conditions or cap the # of matches. I’d have rather kept my Starpoints than move them to Virgin Elevate.

  25. Finally got my approval tonight about 72hours after submitting for anyone still waiting. I think they are starting to push more approvals through.

  26. So jealous! I submitted mine 3.5 days ago (almost exactly 84 hours) and still haven’t heard anything back. 🙁

  27. Does anyone know if I have to book with JetBlue’s website, or if I can use something like Kayak or Chase Travel Portal to book and specify my freq flyer # there?

  28. Another data point:
    Sent June 26 3:53pm, received points match response June 29 (today) after 8pm

  29. FYI
    I sent a registration request email on 06-25(Sat) at 4:32pm.
    I received a confirmation email on 06-30(Thur) at 9:59am.
    My personal speculation is that either they have grossly underestimated the promotion response and can’t process the request fast enough OR they are just dragging their feet to artificially limit the participants.

  30. Sent screenshot on 6/25. Denied 6/28 (but email not delivered until today) because I supposedly didn’t meet the terms of the promotion? Now Dan Deals saying tons of people getting denials based on transferring in miles rather than earning them from flying with retroactive change in eligibility terms. Called Jetblue today and their CSR says no new/retroactive restrictions that she is aware of (CSR sent email to the “team” that is handling these match requests asking for reasons why I was denied).

    If true about this retroactive change in terms, then Jetblue is doing a wonderful job of ensuring I’ll never fly them if I have a choice. Already filed DOT complaint.

  31. @ Mser — Did you include the screenshot as an attachment, or place it in the body of the email? Did it look exactly like the example? And what was the format of the screenshot you sent? Thanks!

  32. As I mentioned, I applied Saturday morning 11am PST. Still hadn’t been approved by *Wednesday* afternoon, so I called and basically said I needed to have my application evaluated now — mentioned that I knew the roundtrip tickets I wanted to buy (truth) and didn’t want the fares to go up. The main agent put me on hold for about 10 minutes while she presumably talked to a TrueBlue agent — she came back and said I should expect to see my approval with in the hour. I was really cynical about this, but lo and behold about 15 minutes later I received my approval in email!

  33. Here’s one – does an open jaw round trip qualify? such as SFO-LGB-OAK? Probably not worth the risk, but wondering if anyone knows.

  34. SFO and oak are co terminal. It should be fine. But since it is limited time, why take the risk?

  35. Do you know if you can leave and come back on the same day roundtrip and still qualify for the points match? I didn’t see any requirements about the length of stay at your destination.

    Also, do you know if you can book through Blue Inc and still qualify for the points match?

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