The cheapest ways to fly in JetBlue’s premium Mint cabin
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Reviews of JetBlue’s premium Mint cabin have been almost universally positive since the product debuted back in 2013. It even took home the TPG Award for best domestic business class multiple years in a row. The seats are spacious and private, the food and drinks are consistently great, and perhaps most importantly, it’s often reasonably priced.
We’ve seen Mint routes for under $300 per person, so it’s possible to score a relative deal for this comfortable inflight experience. Also, although the airline isn’t a part of any formal airline alliance, there are a few ways to book Mint with points and miles. Today, we’ll look at both revenue and award options to find the cheapest ways to book JetBlue Mint.
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Aircraft and routes
JetBlue’s Mint product is only available on select A321, A321neo and A321LR aircraft. You’ll find these planes operating a growing number of transcontinental, Central American, Caribbean and U.K. flights. Here are some key Mint routes:
- New York-JFK to/from Los Angeles (LAX), Las Vegas (LAS), San Diego (SAN), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Aruba (AUA), St. Maarten (SXM) and London (LHR).
- Newark (EWR) to/from Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Aruba (AUA) and St. Maarten (SXM).
- Boston (BOS) to/from Los Angeles (LAX), Las Vegas (LAS), San Diego (SAN), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA) and St. Maarten (SXM).
- Los Angeles (LAX) to/from Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR), Miami (MIA) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL).
Note that some Mint routes are seasonal or operate just once a week, so make sure to check JetBlue’s schedule carefully when planning your trip dates.
Aside from on the new A321LRs flying to London and select A321neo flights between New York-JFK and Los Angeles (which offer even better seats), JetBlue offers a consistent business-class cabin across its Mint-equipped fleet.
There are 16 Mint seats spread across five rows, with each row alternating between a 2-2 configuration (odd-numbered rows) and 1-1 configuration (even-numbered rows). All seats are fully lie-flat and feature a massage function, a built-in power outlet, USB port and seatback entertainment. That said, the seats in the even-numbered rows offer the most privacy, complete with closing doors.
Booking JetBlue Mint with cash
Not surprisingly, the most straightforward way to book Mint tickets is naturally with cash. As mentioned, we’ve seen Mint fares go for under $300 one-way. However, you can usually expect to pay around $600 each way on cross-country routes, $500 each way on Caribbean routes and around $1,000 to the U.K.
To see if we could determine a time or route that was consistently the cheapest, we searched 14 Mint routes for a one-way ticket for both close-in dates (less than 72 hours) and three months in the future. Here’s a chart of the results:
|New York-JFK||San Francisco||$959||$817|
|New York-JFK||Los Angeles||$799||$667|
|New York-JFK||London Heathrow||$1,979*||$992*|
|New York-JFK||St. Maarten||$430||$430|
|Los Angeles||Fort Lauderdale||$699||$599|
*Price each way when booking a round-trip ticket
Overall, the Caribbean Mint routes are typically going to be your best chance at flying Mint at the lowest prices. Booking a couple of months in advance will often score you lower prices, but the differences aren’t always that significant. In one of our examples, it was cheaper to book close-in than far out so there’s no hard and fast rule there at the moment.
How to book JetBlue Mint with points
There are three main ways to book JetBlue Mint tickets with points. You can either redeem directly through JetBlue TrueBlue, Emirates Skywards or your credit card’s travel portal. Some transferrable card points such as Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards also transfer into the JetBlue program. Although you can also book JetBlue flights with HawaiianMiles, it doesn’t have an avenue to book Mint tickets.
While booking Mint seats via TrueBlue might seem like the most obvious option, it is rarely the most valuable. JetBlue uses a dynamic pricing scheme so the price of an award flight will always be tied to the cash rate. The more a flight costs in cash, the more it will cost in points.
TPG values TrueBlue points at 1.3 cents per point. However, based on our experiences, the redemption value tends to be around 25% lower for Mint award tickets than for the rest of the seats on the plane. As such, you’ll usually be better off saving your points for economy redemptions.
Luckily, in July, Emirates Skywards began offering Mint redemptions. Previously, only economy awards were available.
Emirates prices JetBlue awards based on the distance flown. And in many cases, the redemption rates can actually be a good deal. Emirates’ award chart for JetBlue flights is as follows. As you can see, Mint is always double the price of economy in this program.
|One-way distance (miles)||Economy||Mint|
|0-250||8,000 miles||16,000 miles|
|251-500||10,000 miles||20,000 miles|
|501-1,000||14,000 miles||28,000 miles|
|1,001-2,000||20,000 miles||40,000 miles|
|2,001-3,000||26,000 miles||52,000 miles|
|3,001-4,000||32,000 miles||64,000 miles|
|4,001-5,000||38,000 miles||76,000 miles|
|5,001-6,000||44,000 miles||88,000 miles|
|6,001-7,000||50,000 miles||100,000 miles|
|7,001-15,000||60,000 miles||120,000 miles|
To give you an idea, here are the rates for some popular Mint routes:
- New York-JFK to Aruba (AUA): 40,000 miles (1,951 miles in distance).
- New York-JFK to Los Angeles (LAX): 52,000 miles (2,475 miles in distance).
- Boston (BOS) to San Francisco (SFO): 52,000 miles (2,704 miles in distance).
- Los Angeles (LAX) to Miami (MIA): 52,000 miles (2,342 miles in distance).
JetBlue’s new route from New York-JFK to London Heathrow would cost 64,000 miles (3,451 miles in distance). That said, reports suggest that U.K. flights are not bookable with Skywards miles yet. All other routes are bookable online via Emirates’ website. As long as there’s “I” fare availability, it should be bookable through Emirates.
Considering transcontinental routes sometimes start around $900 each way, you can get about 1.7 cents in value per mile with these redemptions, which is pretty solid. If you need Emirates miles, you can transfer points to Skywards from all major transferable points programs, including Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1 ratio), Amex Membership Rewards (1:1), Bilt Rewards (1:1), Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:1), Capital One miles (2:1) and Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred).
The final option to consider is redeeming your transferable points at a fixed rate directly through your credit card’s travel portal.
For instance, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’re able to redeem your points on the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal for 1.5 cents apiece. This means that a $300 Mint ticket to the Caribbean would cost just 20,000 Chase points. Meanwhile, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Ink Business Preferred Credit Card holders can redeem at 1.25 cents each toward travel in the Chase portal.
If you have The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and receive the 35% Pay with Points rebate (up to 1 million points per calendar year), that ticket would come out to a very attractive 19,500 Amex points.
JetBlue Mint is a wonderful product and there are plenty of affordable opportunities to fly at almost any given time. The cheapest Mint fares are typically offered on flights to the Caribbean, but if you’re booking far enough in advance, you can find good deals on cross-country and U.K. flights as well.
Although there historically haven’t been many good ways to book Mint awards with points, this is no longer the case now that Emirates Skywards offers Mint redemptions. When cash fares are low, redeeming your points at a fixed value through your credit card’s travel portal may also be an appealing option.
Additional reporting by Richard Kerr.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
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