JetBlue

6 Thoughts On Yesterday’s JetBlue Points Match Trip To Las Vegas

JetBlue-A320-Economy - 4

As some of you may recall, in late June JetBlue came out with their Points Match promotion, where they basically offered to match the points balances of Virgin America Elevate members.

This presented quite an opportunity, as Starwood is transfer partners with Virgin America, meaning you could transfer Starpoints to Virgin America, and then get those points matched.

In my case I was lucky to have just over 50,000 Virgin America Elevate points, which JetBlue would match to 75,000 points. The one catch was that I had to take one roundtrip flight by August 31.

I’ve had a busy few weeks of travel, so only took my roundtrip flight on JetBlue yesterday, given that the promotion expires on Wednesday.

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Virgin America Throws Shade At JetBlue Points Match Promo

Virgin-America-Bonus

Ever since Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America was announced, it seems like Virgin America and JetBlue have been competing more fiercely than ever before. This is likely because JetBlue also wanted to buy Virgin America, but was outbid. Since that time, we’ve seen several promotions and positive changes from both carriers.

A fierce rivalry is good news for competitors. JetBlue ran what was by far the most generous promotion, when they offered to match the points balances of Virgin America Elevate members. The idea behind the promotion was great — if someone earned a lot of points on Virgin America through flying, why not throw those passengers a huge bone that will encourage them to switch some business around?

What JetBlue probably hadn’t considered was the opportunity this presented for people who weren’t even loyal Virgin America flyers. Specifically, Starpoints can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to Virgin America Elevate, and you even get a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred.

To maximize the promotion many people transferred 40,001 Starpoints to Virgin America Elevate, getting them 50,001 Elevate points (worth ~2.2 cents each towards the cost of Virgin America tickets), plus 75,000 JetBlue TrueBlue points (worth ~1.5 cents each towards the cost of JetBlue tickets). That’s potentially $2,000+ worth of travel for 40,001 Starpoints, which is a heck of a deal.

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Review: JetBlue Mint A321 New York To Los Angeles

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I’ve been wanting to try JetBlue’s Mint since it was introduced a couple of years ago, so I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity.

I could tell the Mint experience would be different even before we got on the plane. As the gate agent scanned our boarding passes he said “enjoy your Mint experience” to each passenger. While it sounds like a scripted line (and likely is), over the next six hours I experienced a level of hospitality that I forgot exists at US airlines.

I boarded through door L1, where I was greeted by Agda, one of the Mint flight attendants. Since I managed to be the first passenger aboard, I took the opportunity to snap some quick pictures of the cabin.

As you can see, JetBlue’s Mint cabin has a total of five rows. Three of those rows (one, three, and five) have four seats per row, while rows two and four have just two seats per row, which are known as the Mint suites.

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Introduction: An Insane Week In The Sky

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One of the main reasons I travel is to review new airlines, which is why many of my trips are quick and have crazy routings. However, this trip ended up being insane, even by my standards, as I ended up flying over 33,000 miles in a week. I did this trip with my friend Matthew from Live and Let’s Fly, and we had a heck of a time.

The planning for this trip started when Qatar Airways published an extremely cheap business class fare between Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Casablanca, Morocco. While you could fly Qatar Airways the whole way, what intrigued me most was the ability to fly Royal Air Maroc between Doha and Casablanca for the same price, given that the two airlines codeshare on the route.

The route is operated by Royal Air Maroc’s brand new 787, so that seemed like an awesome opportunity to try them. I know booking a roundtrip between Colombo and Casablanca seems quite random (and it is), but distance never exactly stopped us from traveling anywhere. 😉

The other benefit is that a lot of airlines publish cheap fares out of Colombo, so we could easily book cheap premium cabin tickets to get back from Colombo to the US.

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JetBlue Will Let You Earn More Points For Tickets You’ve Already Purchased

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In March, JetBlue relaunched their new co-branded credit cards — JetBlue Card and JetBlue Plus Card — which are being issued by Barclaycard.

In my opinion JetBlue Plus Card, which has a $99 annual fee, is most compelling:

— The card offers a 30,000 point sign-up bonus upon completing minimum spend
— You receive 10% of your points back every time you redeem points
— You receive 5,000 points upon your account anniversary each year
— You receive a first checked bag free
— You receive 50% off eligible inflight purchases

In other words, the 5,000 point anniversary bonus almost negates the card’s annual fee, and the 10% refund on points redemptions, first checked bag free, and 50% discount on eligible inflight purchases, gives this card outsized value long term.

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My First JetBlue Mint Experience: I’m In Love!

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Good morning from Los Angeles! I’ve just wrapped up one of the most insane trips of my life, where Matthew and I flew 33,000+ miles in one week, including about three days of nonstop flying, without staying in a hotel. Suffice to say that slipping into a “real” bed last night was even more enjoyable than usual.

After flights on China Eastern, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Saudia, and Pakistan, I was very much looking forward to my JetBlue Mint flight from New York to Los Angeles. As a reminder, I booked this as a paid ticket for ~$600, which is their advance purchase pricing in the market.

JetBlue has been known for over a decade for their great economy product, so how do they perform in the premium market, which they enterd a couple of years ago? Very, very, very well. I had fairly high expectations, but they were exceeded.

To sum it up, JetBlue Mint is like a breath of fresh air compared to flying the legacy carriers in the market. That’s not even meant to be a “mint” pun, but it’s actually true. The seats and amenities are excellent, the food is simple and delicious, and the service is the best I’ve ever had on a domestic flight.

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Great Deal: 25% Off JetBlue Award Tickets

JetBlue-A321

JetBlue has a revenue based frequent flyer program, meaning the number of points required for a redemption is directly correlated to the revenue cost of a ticket. Therefore there’s not really a best time to redeem points, since you’ll always get roughly the same amount of value per point.

Well, the one exception is when JetBlue is offering award sales, as they are right now. I’m guessing this one will be especially useful for many, given how many people suddenly have 75,000+ TrueBlue points. 😉

JetBlue is offering 25% off award flights when you redeem by 11:59PM EST on Thursday, August 4, 2016.

The basic terms of the promotion are as follows:

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JetBlue Flights To Cuba Are Now On Sale, And They’re A GREAT Use of Points

JetBlue-A321

Now that sanctions between the US and Cuba have been lifted, US carriers will soon be flooding the Cuban market with capacity.

In March we learned the details of all the flights that US airlines wanted to operate to Cuba, which required approval from the Department of Transportation. Obviously a vast majority of airlines wanted to fly to Havana, though there were also available slots to other Cuban cities.

In June the DOT awarded slots to US airlines for all Cuban destinations other than Havana. That’s because there were enough available slots for all requested flights to cities other than Havana, since the demand wasn’t as high for those.

Meanwhile there’s a lot more demand for flights to Havana than available slots, so earlier in the month the DOT tentatively announced the routes to Havana that are approved, which include the following:

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JetBlue Adds Mint Class Between Los Angeles And Fort Lauderdale With Incredible Pricing

JetBlue-Mint

JetBlue has nicely been expanding their Mint Class product, which is their impressive fully flat business class product available on select Airbus A321 aircraft. JetBlue first offered this product on their flights from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco, though they’re now also expanding it to flights from Boston to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Chances are you’ve noticed the effect of Mint Class regardless of whether you’ve ever flown the product or not. Mint Class has significantly decreased the premium cabin fares in the markets they serve, including for JetBlue’s competitors. For example, to this day you can book $599 one-way Mint Class fares on JetBlue’s transcon routes.

Not only is that great pricing on JetBlue, but as a result we’ve seen competitors adopt similar pricing in the market. Those who like buying discounted business class are probably very happy about this, while those booking economy and hoping to upgrade may not be, since it has led to more business class seats being sold, and therefore fewer upgrades.

JetBlue has a total of 16 Mint Class seats on their A321s, spread across five rows — three of the rows have four seats per row, while two of the seats have just two seats per row, with fully enclosed “suites.” The pricing is the same for all seats, and assigning them is on a first come first serve basis, meaning the “suites” typically get reserved pretty quickly.

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How I’m Earning $660+ Worth Of Travel On JetBlue

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A couple of weeks ago I posted about why I applied for JetBlue Plus Card shortly after I registered for JetBlue’s incredible points match promotion (the promotion was fully honored, though registration is now closed).

Through that promotion TrueBlue members could earn up to 75,000 bonus points for showing a points balance with Virgin America, plus taking at least one flight with JetBlue by August 31, 2016.

What’s also cool is that people are already reporting earning their 75,000 bonus points. Some people took their JetBlue flight earlier in the week, and had all their points post in the past few days. While I’ll only be taking my roundtrip flight on JetBlue in a few weeks, this promotion contributed to me applying for JetBlue Plus Card, and for good reason.

I figured I’d post a reminder of this, given that I last posted about this back towards the beginning of JetBlue’s promotion, so many people hadn’t yet decided if they’d take advantage of the points match offer or not.

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DOT Tentatively Grants 8 Airlines Rights To Fly To Havana — Here Are The Routes

Havana-Flights

Early last year sanctions began to be lifted between the US and Cuba, following the embargo that was in place for decades. This was huge news for those looking to travel to Cuba, since it created more circumstances under which US tourists could visit (and those travel restrictions have been eased even further since then).

What is far from instant, however, is actually restoring commercial flights between the two countries. Air treaties between countries are complicated matters even under normal circumstances, let alone a situation like this, where they’re making up for decades of non-diplomacy.

As I wrote about in February, the US and Cuba signed an agreement to restore commercial service between the two countries. Under this agreement, US airlines could start bidding on routes between the US and Cuba, for up to 110 flights per day.

Only 20 of those daily frequencies could be commercial flights to Havana, though, while the other frequencies would have to be to other cities in Cuba (where there’s presumably a lot less demand). US airlines had a 15 day window where they could request flights to Cuba, so at the end of that we learned of all the flights US carriers wanted to operate to Cuba, which far exceeded the number of available frequencies.

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Official: JetBlue Is Fully Honoring Their Incredible Points Match Promo

JetBlue-A321

Last Friday I wrote about the insane promotion JetBlue is offering, where they’ll match your Virgin America Elevate points balance if you take one flight with them by August 31, 2016.

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.

The timing of this promotion couldn’t have been better for me, since I transferred points from Starwood Preferred Guest to Virgin America Elevate early last week, so my Elevate balance was ~53,000 points (despite having only ever once flown with Virgin America).

I submitted my request for a points match shortly after the promotion was launched, and was approved hours later.

Obviously there has been a lot of concern around whether or not JetBlue will fully honor the promotion, given that I don’t think they intended for people to transfer points to Virgin America as a means of qualifying for the promotion. However, that’s on them, as they should have known better, in my opinion.

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No, JetBlue Hasn’t Discontinued Their Points Match Promotion

Virgin-America-Points-Balance

Last Friday I wrote about the insane promotion JetBlue is offering, where they’ll match your Virgin America Elevate points balance if you take one flight with them by August 31, 2016.

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.

The timing of this promotion couldn’t have been better for me, since I just transferred points from Starwood Preferred Guest to Virgin America Elevate early last week, so my Elevate balance was ~53,000 points (despite having only ever once flown with Virgin America).

I submitted my request for a points match shortly after the promotion was launched, and was approved hours later.

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