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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.
JetBlue flyers historically haven’t had the most compelling credit card options — the co-branded personal and business options with Amex were available for a while, but last year we learned that the partnership was on the outs. Today it was announced that, as rumored, Barclaycard will take over as issuer of the two JetBlue co-branded cards, and in the process it will add some improved and expanded perks.
The New JetBlue Rewards MasterCard
If you’re a current holder of the JetBlue Card from American Express, you’ll be receiving a notification from Barclaycard that your card will replaced with a JetBlue Rewards MasterCard as of March 21, 2016.
In addition to a snazzy new mosaic design, the card will feature some revised benefits. For the most part, though, it won’t have any revised fees; the annual charge will still be $40, for instance. The JetBlue Rewards MasterCard will earn 4 bonus TrueBlue points per dollar on purchases made with the airline (compared to 2 bonus points per dollar with the old Amex version), 2 points per dollar on all restaurant and grocery spending and 1 point per dollar on everything else— so, just as TPG hoped, bonus categories are back! Other new benefits include a 5% points rebate when you redeem for award travel, no foreign transaction fees and access to MasterCard World Elite perks such as concierge service, “lost luggage treatment” and VIP events.
Finally, the card offers the ability to earn a $100 companion travel discount after spending $500 on the card by June 30, 2016 — a bit more than three months after current cardholders will be transferred to the new version, so in line with a sign-up bonus timeframe.
The New JetBlue Business MasterCard
Just as the personal JetBlue Card from Amex is being transitioned to a new Barclaycard-issued version, the business flavor will get a reboot, too. On March 21, 2016, current cardholders will similarly move to a new MasterCard — in this case called the JetBlue Business MasterCard.
This card entails a few more changes than the personal version. For one, the annual fee will increase from $40 to $99 upon renewal, and charges related to late payments; returned payments; and returned checks will be adjusted. On the up side, foreign transaction fees will be eliminated.
Benefits-wise, this business card does justify the higher annual fee with more perks than the regular JetBlue Rewards MasterCard. In addition to offering 6 bonus TrueBlue points per dollar spent with JetBlue; 2 points per dollar on spending at restaurants and office supply stores; and 1 point per dollar on everything else, the card features an annual bonus of 5,000 points — worth $50-$70 based on TPG’s latest valuations.
The card also offers a 10% points rebate on all redemptions, and it entitles you to a free checked bag for you and up to three traveling companions when you pay for a JetBlue flight with your JetBlue Business MasterCard.
It’s great news that Barclaycard will be improving upon the two JetBlue cards from American Express when the transition goes into effect in March, and we’re hopeful that JetBlue will introduce additional similar cards for new customers as well. We’ll have to wait and see, but for now these changes are definitely good news for current JetBlue Card holders, as they’ll enjoy expanded bonus categories; MasterCard World Elite perks; a points rebate of up to 10% percent on all redemptions; and the ability to earn a $100 companion discount with the personal version. A free checked bag for business cardholders and up to three companions is another nice addition.
With JetBlue adding more international destinations to its portfolio, such as Aruba and Barbados, it’s great to see that these cards won’t charge foreign transaction fees. That, plus the addition of bonus spending categories such as restaurants, grocery stores and office supplies, makes the JetBlue Rewards MasterCard and the JetBlue Business MasterCard better options for non-airline spending.
That said, TPG values JetBlue TrueBlue points at just 1-1.4 cents apiece — you can earn more valuable rewards with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, both of which accrue transferable points that can be redeemed with a variety of hotel and airline partners (including JetBlue, in the case of Amex Membership Rewards). So, while these cards will boast better benefits, they’re still most appropriate for very frequent JetBlue flyers, especially those who live near one of the carrier’s hubs so they can take advantage of the perks often.
What do you think about JetBlue’s new co-branded cards?