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The JetBlue cards from Barclaycard are now available. Earn 30,000 points after $1,000 spent in the first 90 days with the JetBlue Plus Card ($99 annual fee) or 10,000 points after $1,000 spent on purchases in the fist 90 days with the JetBlue Card ($0 annual fee). Get more information here.
Now through September 17, 2015, JetBlue is offering up to a 50% bonus on purchased TrueBlue points. Unlike the last JetBlue points bonus from April, this one is not tiered. Points purchases from 1,000-2,500 points will not earn a bonus, while purchases of 3,000-30,000 points will earn a flat 50% bonus.
TrueBlue points normally cost between 2.75-3.5 cents apiece plus a 7.5% tax recovery fee, for a total of around 3.0-3.8 cents per point, depending on how many you buy (the more you buy, the lower the cost per point).
With this bonus, however, the cost goes down to about 1.97-2.4 cents per point. You can purchase a maximum of 30,000 points (plus 15,000 bonus points) per transaction, up to an annual maximum of 60,000 points (plus 30,000 with this bonus). Those maximums are per member, not per account, so they’re enforced whether you’re purchasing points for your own account or someone else’s.
TrueBlue points are only worth about 1-1.4 cents each when redeeming toward airfare, since JetBlue has a fixed-value loyalty program where redemption rates are pegged to prices. For example, these flights from New York JFK to Los Angeles start at $189 in coach or $599 in Mint business class.
If you redeemed points, you’d be paying 10,700 + $5.60 for coach, or 45,300 + $5.60 for Mint.
That works out to a value of 1.7 cents per point for coach, or 1.31 cents per point for Mint; that’s not great if you’ve paid nearly 2 cents per point, especially considering that the lowest coach fare no longer includes checked bags thanks to JetBlue’s new fare-bundling system. To put it another way, if you purchased points at 1.97 cents each, redeeming them for that Mint seat would be like spending $892 on airfare you could have purchased outright for $599.
If you were thinking about purchasing TrueBlue points to top up your account for a specific award anyway, you might as well take advantage of this bonus. However, I wouldn’t suggest speculatively purchasing TrueBlue points at these rates, since you’ll likely get nowhere near the value that you’ll pay to purchase them.
If you’re looking for other ways to top up your TrueBlue account, remember that the program is a transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards if you have a card like the Premier Rewards Gold Card, The Platinum Card from American Express or the EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express. The transfer ratio is 250 Amex points to 200 JetBlue points — that’s also a pretty poor value, but it could be worthwhile if you have just a handful of Membership Rewards points and no plans to use them, or if you have so many that you can afford to sacrifice them for a specific award redemption.
Also keep in mind that TrueBlue points purchases are processed by Points.com, so you won’t get any airfare or travel category bonuses by using a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Citi Premier Card to pay for your points purchases.