Maximizing TrueBlue and JetBlue Mosaic for Free Flights and Perks
Whether you earn JetBlue Mosaic status through flying or through spending with products like the JetBlue Plus Card, there are various tricks to getting the most out of your points. Below, TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Jason Steele walks through the basics of earning, redeeming and more.
JetBlue and Barclaycard recently announced three new credit cards that are quite compelling for flyers. In particular, the JetBlue Plus and the JetBlue Business cards offer Mosaic status to cardholders who spend $50,000 on these cards within a calendar year.
With that in mind, in today's post I'll take a closer look at some of the unique features of JetBlue's TrueBlue program and Mosaic in particular, with the goal of helping you make the most of this status.
JetBlue was one of the early adopters of the so-called revenue-based model for frequent flyer programs. This means that the points you earn are strictly based on the cost of your ticket, and there's a strong link between the price of a ticket and the points required for an award.
On the earning side, JetBlue customers receive the following base flight points for airfare purchases:
- 3 points per dollar spent on the most basic Blue class fares, as well as the premium Mint class product
- 4x for Blue Plus fares, which include a free checked bag and reduced change fees
- 5x for Blue Flex fares, which offer two free checked bags and waived change fees
In addition, travelers have the following opportunities to earn additional points:
- 3x points for booking airfare at JetBlue.com
- 3x points for having Mosaic status
- 6x points for using the JetBlue Plus Card or 3x points for using the no-fee JetBlue Card
- 6x points for purchasing a JetBlue Getaways vacation package
Finally, JetBlue offers a flat 200 points for purchases of its Even More Space extra legroom product, and 300 points for paying a pet fee for its JetPaws program.
You can also earn points through the following partner activity:
- JetBlue credit cards, including the new no-fee JetBlue Card, the JetBlue Plus Card and the JetBlue Business Card. For more information on these cards, read my recent post, JetBlue Introduces 3 New Cards from Barclaycard.
- Partner flights on Emirates, Hawaiian, Silver Airways, Singapore Airlines and South African Airways
- A variety of other rental car, hotel, shopping and service partners
Redeeming Points for Maximum Value
On the redemption side, it's a little bit more complicated. As with other revenue-based award travel programs, points can be redeemed for any flight at any time. Currently, TPG's monthly valuations peg the value of TrueBlue points at 1.0 - 1.4 cents each.
I compared the cash price and the points required on four different routes, including short-haul, transcontinental, international and medium-haul itineraries. I also examined each of the three economy fare classes as well fares for the premium Mint class, when offered. In addition, I looked at prices for flights the next day, with a 7-day advance fare and with a 21-day advance purchase. Finally, I subtracted any taxes and fees paid on award tickets when comparing the cash price to the award ticket cost in miles.
As a result, I found the best value per point on a short-haul flight with one week's advance purchase (JFK-BOS) where the points were worth 1.62 - 1.77 cents each, depending on the fare class. I also found 1.59 cents per point on that flight with 21 days of advance notice. For example, a medium-haul flight between Denver and Boston with one-day advance notice offered a value of 1.51 - 1.58 cents per point.
On the other end of the spectrum, I found points to be worth the least on a JFK-LAX transcontinental flight leaving the next day. This award booking returned only 0.96 cents per point for awards in each of the economy fare classes, and a dismal 0.91 cents per point for the Mint seat award. However, most of the other sample flights returned values pretty close to 1.40 cents per point — on the high end of the range of TPG's current valuations.
In addition, JetBlue offers its Best Fare Finder that shows a calendar featuring the cost in points for any day of the month.
Finally, Mosaic members also have the ability to redeem points for upgrades to JetBlue's Even More Space seats, starting at just 200 points. JetBlue's Even More Space section has standard coach seats, but offers a mind boggling 37-41 inches of pitch (the distance from any one part of the seat to the same part of the next seat), which can permit passengers seated by the window to reach the aisle without forcing their seatmates to get up. In contrast, the extra legroom sections on American, Delta and United offer a mere 35-38 inches of pitch.
Although the price of these Even More Space is not documented on JetBlue's site, the airline did share the upgrade prices, which were drastically reduced in January:
- $99 seat - 1,100 points
- $90 seat - 1,000 points
- $45 seat - 500 points
- $25 seat - 300 points
- $10 seat - 200 points
As you can see, this works out to a phenomenal 9-10 cents per point in most cases. So while you won't receive Even More Space seats for free as a Mosaic member, the award price for this upgrade offers the best value per point, by far. In fact, I would argue that the ability to upgrade to these Even More Space seats with points may be the most valuable aspect of Mosaic status. Additionally, there have been reports of the 200-point Even More Space bonus posting even when an elite member redeems points for the upgrade.
JetBlue offers a single level of elite status called Mosaic, which you get by earning 15,000 base flight points in a calendar year. Base flight points are the 3x-5x points that you receive from purchasing a JetBlue ticket, regardless of how you bought it or your method of payment. This works out to $5,000 of spending on the lowest Blue fare class, which earns 3x points per dollar. Alternatively, you could earn Mosaic status by a combination of flying 30 segments and earning 12,000 base flight points in a calendar year.
Finally, you can earn Mosaic status by spending $50,000 in a calendar year on the JetBlue Plus personal or business card from Barclaycard.
Benefits of Mosaic status include:
- Waived change and cancellation fees
- First and second checked bags for free
- 15,000 bonus points upon qualification
- Access to Even More Speed, JetBlue's expedited security program. Even TSA PreCheck members will find this to be valuable when they are randomly denied access to the PreCheck lines.
- Priority boarding
- 3 additional points per dollar spent on JetBlue flights
- A dedicated customer service line
- Complimentary alcoholic beverages in flight
- The ability to buy up to Even More Space extra legroom seats for as few as 200 points, as mentioned above. This section offers several inches of additional legroom, and even more than other airline's premium economy offerings.
- Priority check-in, including the use of a dedicated check-in area at its JFK hub. During my last visit to JetBlue Terminal 5 at JFK, this was a huge benefit as the check-in area was a zoo. In contrast, there was a dedicated Mosaic check-in room with no line, much like some airline's international first class check-in areas.
This a unique and innovative aspect to the TrueBlue program. To participate, you must first opt in to the Badges program, which is free. Then, the program tracks your flights taken and your miles flown. You earn virtual badges by doing things such as visiting different cities, donating points to charity, earning points through partners, flying with your pet and all sorts of other creative tasks both large and small. Plus, when you earn certain badges, you'll get additional TrueBlue points. The Badges program also allows you to compare your "achievements" to other travelers. I can certainly see how this adds some fun to the program.
Just as JetBlue is different than other carriers, its TrueBlue program and Mosaic membership are different than other elite status programs. TrueBlue can be much more rewarding than the frequent flyer programs from legacy carriers, especially when you can earn an additional 6x points from the JetBlue Plus Card.
On the other hand, Mosaic members can't get free upgrades to seats with additional legroom, a staple of other airline's elite status programs. Still, by knowing the ins and outs of TrueBlue and Mosaic, you can earn the most possible rewards, while having some fun flying JetBlue.