JetBlue launches Pennies for Points: Should you “buy” points for 1-2 cents apiece?

Aug 2, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect that some cardholders are being offered TrueBlue points for 1 cent apiece.

Credit card issuers have been getting creative in how they can retain cardholder value during the pandemic. In the past few months, we’ve seen dozens of limited-time credit card perks, including elevated bonus categories, statement credits and more.

Now, JetBlue is back with another one of these perks for select JetBlue Plus cardholders with the launch of Pennies for Points.

Pennies for Points gives targeted cardholders the opportunity to round up purchases to the nearest dollar and turn the spare change into TrueBlue points. While it sounds like an innovative feature, whether it’s actually valuable is another question.

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

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Pennies for Points overview

Pennies for Points is a new pilot program available to select JetBlue Plus cardholders. With it, cardholders can round up purchases to the nearest dollar and essentially buy points at a rate of 1 cent or 2 cents per point, depending on which offer you were targeted for. It’s similar to the Flight Cents program offered by some Barclays AAdvantage Aviator credit cards.

For example, if you charge $8.20 to your card, the purchase gets rounded up to $9. In exchange for the extra $0.80, you’ll receive 40 or 80 bonus points, depending on the offer.

The pilot will run from now through Oct. 31, 2020. Targeted cardholders must activate the feature through the Barclays site to participate. If you decide to participate, you can choose the maximum amount you want to round up during each statement period.

Related: JetBlue Plus Card review

(Photo by JetBlue)

Is it worth it?

Unfortunately, this feature isn’t as valuable as it might sound. Pennies for Points allows you to essentially buy TrueBlue points for either 1 cent or 2 cents apiece. While buying points for 1 cent apiece would be the best deal we’ve seen for buying TrueBlue points, 2 cents apiece wouldn’t be as exciting. TPG values TrueBlue points at 1.3 cents and since the points have a fairly fixed value, you’re not going to get much more than this from any TrueBlue redemption.

You could argue that the 2-cent price tag is lower than the usual 2.8-3.5 cents JetBlue usually charges to buy points. However, the airline routinely runs buy-points promotions where you can acquire them for as low as 1.71 cents apiece.

Regardless of which offer you were targeted for, we typically don’t recommend buying points unless you have a specific redemption in mind and are just short of the points you need.

Keep in mind, JetBlue is a transfer partner of some of the major transferable points programs — American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards. So you can easily top off your balance if you carry a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Related: The complete guide to the JetBlue TrueBlue program

Bottom line

While it’s nice that JetBlue is trying to make it easier to collect points without flying, charging extra for them isn’t very enticing. JetBlue offered co-branded cardholders a much better deal earlier in the summer where every purchase earned 2x TrueBlue points.

Related: A guide to navigating COVID card bonuses and benefits

Featured image by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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