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American Express Membership Rewards is running a promotion offering a 25% transfer bonus to TrueBlue, the frequent flyer program of airline partner JetBlue. The usual transfer ratio is 5 Membership Rewards points to 4 TrueBlue Points, but with the 25% transfer bonus, the ratio will instead be 1:1. This offer ends September 15, 2014.
The best use of this promo would be to book in JetBlue’s new Mint business class, which is currently offered on service between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles, and between New York and San Francisco starting in October. Round-trip flights in Mint can be had for 69,800 TrueBlue Points, or 34,900 one way. That gives you a return of about 1.72 cents per point, which is a little below where I value Membership Rewards, but still reasonable.
You could also consider transferring points if you just need to top up for an economy redemption, though in general you’re only going to get about 1.1-1.4 cents per point, so it’s not the best use of Membership Rewards.
Here’s are some search results for a JetBlue itinerary between LAX and JFK on October 22-29, 2014:
Transferring to JetBlue might not be the most effective use of Amex Membership Rewards. In comparison, domestic business class can be had on Delta for as few as 50,000 SkyMiles at the saver level, or on United (by transferring to Star Alliance partner Air Canada) also for 50,000 MileagePlus miles.
However, JetBlue is a better option than the 80,000 and 100,000 mile standard awards on Delta and United, respectively. For example, here are search results on Delta for the same dates as above:
Saver availability is often hard to come by, so if you’re planning a transcontinental along one of these routes and can take advantage of the Membership Rewards transfer bonus, JetBlue is worth considering. At present, you can book JetBlue flights through the end of April, 2015.
Though the Business Gold Rewards card doesn’t have the benefits package of the more premium Business Platinum Card, it also doesn’t have that card’s $450 annual fee. In fact, the $175 annual fee on this one is waived the first year, so getting it is like a risk-free trial of its benefits plus it comes with appealing bonus spending categories like 3x on the category of choice and a range of 2x spending categories as well.
- Special Offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership
- Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories
- Plus, 2X points on the 4 remaining categories and 1X points on other purchases
- 3X and 2X apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter
- Track, organize, and stay on top of your business expenses with powerful expense-tracking tools
- No foreign transaction fees
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
- Terms and limitations apply
- See Rates & Fees