Skip to content

JetBlue significantly devalues a lucrative Mosaic elite seating perk

Oct. 13, 2020
5 min read
JetBlue significantly devalues a lucrative Mosaic elite seating perk
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Airlines are busy making policy adjustments throughout the pandemic. Some changes have been positive. A few others, well, haven't.

In April, major U.S. carriers extended elite status through 2021. JetBlue offered one of the most generous perks in addition to its extension announcement. All current Mosaic elites could gift a full year of status to a friend or family member.

But now, six months later, the carrier has quietly devalued one of its top perks for Mosaic members. As first spotted by Dansdeals, JetBlue has substantially raised the redemption rate for elites looking to use points for extra-legroom seats.

JetBlue's Mosaic elite status offers a unique set of perks that are unlike most other carriers. Mosaics receive waived change and cancellation fees, free baggage, complimentary liquor and more. They don't get free upgrades to Mint or free extra-legroom coach seats.

Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter for more airline-specific news!

Instead, one of the most valuable perks for elites has long been the ability to redeem TrueBlue points at "significantly reduced" rates towards the purchase of Even More Space seats. In the past, this has been quite lucrative.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

On a three-hour hop from New York to Florida, Mosaics could expect to pay 600 or so points for an extra-legroom seat that'd normally cost $55 or so. That's roughly a nine cent per point redemption, well above the TPG's valuation of 1.3 cents per point. The exact numbers varied by route, but most redemptions hovered at around eight or so cents per point.

Of course, it'd be great if JetBlue offered free extra-legroom seats to elites like the legacy U.S. carriers do. But with redemption rates this good, I never bothered to think twice. Redeeming points for seats was the single best TrueBlue redemption option.

Related: What is JetBlue elite status worth in 2020?

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Effective immediately — and without any warning — JetBlue has roughly quadrupled the prices for seats purchased with points.

On a flight from New York to Fort Lauderdale in April, JetBlue is now charging 2,400 points for an aisle in the Even More Space section. That same seat sells for $56, making the redemption rate about 2.3 cents per point.

The same story applies across all the routes and dates that TPG checked. On a flight from New York to Los Angeles in June, JetBlue is now charging 2,100 TrueBlue points or $50 for a window in Even More Space — a roughly 2.4 cent per point redemption. For a hop from New York to Boston, the carrier is charging 1,200 points or $27 for an extra-legroom seat, another 2.3 cents per point redemption.

In explaining the change to TPG, JetBlue states that:

As a revenue-based program, our pricing model aligns with changes in travel demand and redemption values are linked to fare and ancillary fees. Although there was a change in the redemption rate for Even More Space seats, our most loyal customers are still able to redeem their points for Even More Space seats at significantly reduced rates. Mosaics continue to receive 15,000 bonus points when qualifying for Mosaic status, even at the lowered thresholds for this year, which can be used to redeem options such as Even More Space seats.

While the new redemption rates are still above the TPG's valuation, they're a far cry from the eight or more cents per point rate Mosaics used to enjoy.

But what's really irksome is that JetBlue made this change quietly without warning elites of the impending devaluation. As the industry slowly recovers from the pandemic, airlines are going to need to win as much business as they can get.

Many carriers will lean on their frequent flyer programs — and elites in particular — to generate extra cash. However, silent devaluations erode flyers' trust and make it harder to win business from the most loyal customers.

Another one of the key benefits of Mosaic status is waived change fees. In recent weeks, most major U.S. airlines have permanently eliminated change fees — except JetBlue.

Instead, it's taking a different approach by promising to waive change fees for all tickets booked through at least Feb. 28, 2021. If every flyer (not just Mosaics) gets free changes due to the broad coronavirus waiver, then this historically elite-only benefit is irrelevant. Combined with the devaluation for redeeming TrueBlue points for extra-legroom seats, there's much less reason to requalify for Mosaic.

Related: How to redeem points with the JetBlue TrueBlue program

Even More Space seating is going to cost a lot more points for Mosaic elites (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

In July, JetBlue announced that it will enter a strategic Northeast-focused alliance with American Airlines. The two carriers promised reciprocal elite benefits. While we've yet to hear the details, hopefully, the carrier will sweeten the deal for Mosaics — and roll back this untimely devaluation.

For now, with the greatly reduced redemption rates for Even More Space seats, one of the most valuable Mosaic perks has been significantly scaled back.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
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
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
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

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
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
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • 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

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees