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3 reasons why JetBlue needs a premium credit card — and what it might look like

Feb. 21, 2022
8 min read
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Since its launch more than two decades ago, JetBlue Airways has made waves in the domestic airline market by offering "the most legroom in coach, free brand-name snacks + drinks, and free wi-fi, live tv and movies at every seat."

Over the years, the carrier has continued to disrupt the industry, whether it's the TPG award-winning Mint business class or its routes to London that launched last year.

As I'm based in New York City, it's no surprise that JetBlue continues to be my carrier of choice. If you're a fan of JetBlue too, you likely are buried in the JetBlue TrueBlue ecosystem. You may be a Mosaic elite member or even carry a JetBlue credit card for some excellent airline perks.

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All of its biggest competitors offer a premium credit card, so why shouldn't JetBlue do the same for its fans? Rumors even surfaced last year that a premium card was coming, and just last week, a similar idea was floated for a higher-tier business card. In other words, this isn't a totally outlandish idea.

Here are the three reasons I believe that JetBlue should roll out a luxury card, along with the perks I envision this potential card offering.

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There are only 2 personal card options available

(Photo by The Points Guy)

Let's start with some historical context. American Express was the longtime issuer of JetBlue's cobranded cards, but in 2015, Barclays won the contract.

Ever since, there have been two personal credit cards available for consumers: the JetBlue Plus Card and the JetBlue Card. (If you own a business, the issuer offers the JetBlue Business Card.)

Both consumer cards offer key benefits for frequent flyers — and here's a quick comparison of the JetBlue Plus and JetBlue cards side by side:

CardJetBlue Plus CardJetBlue Card
Annual fee$99.$0.
Sign-up bonusEarn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
Rewards rateEarn 6 points per dollar on eligible JetBlue purchases, 2 points per dollar at restaurants and eligible grocery stores, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.Earn 3 points per dollar on eligible JetBlue purchases, 2 points per dollar at restaurants and eligible grocery stores, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Benefits
  • Free first checked bag for you and up to three travel companions.
  • 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary.
  • Annual $100 statement credit after purchasing a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more.
  • 50% inflight savings on eligible food and drink purchases.
  • Earn automatic Mosaic elite status if you spend $50,000 or more on purchases each calendar year with your card.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 50% inflight discount on eligible food and drink purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Like others at TPG, I love my JetBlue Plus Card for many reasons — and the $99 annual fee is more than reasonable for its long list of benefits.

For one, the card has helped me achieve Mosaic elite status (which gets me free same-day switches, same-day Even More Space upgrades upon availability and more). In addition, I earn a whopping 15 points per dollar on JetBlue flights (a 19.5% return according to TPG's valuations).

While the perks on the JetBlue Plus Card are quite lucrative, they start to feel a bit repetitive once you achieve Mosaic elite status. A premium JetBlue cobranded card could unlock a whole suite of unique benefits for its most loyal flyers — such as a round-trip companion certificate or annual airline credit that other premium cards already offer.

The information for the JetBlue Plus, JetBlue and JetBlue Business cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

It's also worth noting that American, Delta and United all offer at least four different cobranded credit cards for consumers — so adding a third for JetBlue loyalists would be a great option.

Related: Best credit cards for JetBlue flyers

There's a new level of Mosaic elite status

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Historically, there has only been one tier of JetBlue Mosaic elite status.

But in late 2021, JetBlue announced huge changes for Mosaic status — improving existing benefits and even adding an all-new tier, Mosaic+.

It's worth noting that Mosaic+ is only available for 2022 (as of now), but we wouldn't be surprised if the airline decided to make this second tier a permanent part of the elite program. The biggest advantage of having Mosaic+ is that you'll receive four upgrade certificates to Mint (excluding on London routes), which is a benefit that you do not get with traditional Mosaic status.

To achieve Mosaic+, though, you'll need to earn 45,000 Mosaic qualifying points or spend $150,000 on purchases with the JetBlue Plus or JetBlue Business cards in the calendar year. If there were a premium JetBlue card, perhaps the spending minimum would be lowered, or you would automatically receive some Mosaic qualifying points to help you achieve this higher elite status level faster.

Although Mosaic+ is supposedly temporary for this year, it's clear that JetBlue is piloting some loyalty changes that start to rival some of the bigger airlines.

Related: What is JetBlue elite status worth?

JetBlue is expanding its route network and partners

(Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy)

JetBlue is no longer a small carrier that services just a few domestic routes. The airline offers dozens of international routes throughout Latin America, the Caribbean and now London.

Although it's unlikely that JetBlue would ever service far-flung destinations in Asia or Australia (but, never say never), the airline offers a lot of connectivity with partner airlines, such as Aer Lingus, Emirates and Qatar Airways. These partnerships can help you connect through JetBlue hub cities and to hundreds of destinations worldwide — along with the ability to earn and/or redeem points.

And of course, American Airlines and JetBlue Airways partnered last year to create the Northeast Alliance. This has helped both airlines increase their connectivity, especially in New York and Boston.

With millions of JetBlue flyers every year, the airline is growing — both in terms of product and route network. That means there is a growing appetite for more cobranded cards, and this is where JetBlue could offer cardholder perks like a Priority Pass lounge membership that would be especially useful when flying out of international airports.

Related: We put AA and JetBlue to the test: Does the new alliance deliver on promised elite perks?

What a premium JetBlue card could look like

A JetBlue Mint Studio. (Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy)

Premium cards come with premium annual fees, so this card would likely come with an annual fee of at least $150 (but more likely upward of $200). In exchange for this higher price, here's a list of some benefits on my wishlist (including some that I've listed throughout this post):

  • Higher earning rate on JetBlue purchases and/or a broader range of everyday purchase categories.
  • Priority Pass lounge membership.
  • More Mosaic qualifying points based on card spending.
  • Lower spending threshold to earn Mosaic+ status.
  • Round-trip companion ticket.
  • Annual Mint upgrade award.

I know having a few of these extra perks would convince me to apply for a premium card, especially since I fly the airline on a regular basis.

Related: Newly minted: Reviewing JetBlue’s brand-new business class from London to New York

Bottom line

JetBlue's growth and innovation over the past few years demonstrate that its loyalty program is ripe for a premium airline card. As I'm part of a customer base that would be willing to pay a premium annual fee for bigger (and better) benefits, I'm hoping that we see big loyalty changes come soon.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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1 - 3X points
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Intro offer

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Annual Fee

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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases