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With the news that JetBlue plans to launch flights from New York and Boston to London in 2021, it’s worth considering your points collecting strategy if you want to utilize the airline for a European getaway.
First, a few obvious caveats: These flights aren’t launching for a couple of years, and we don’t know exactly what JetBlue’s TrueBlue loyalty program will look like by then. We also don’t know what the flights will cost, or how many points you’ll have to redeem; JetBlue has a revenue-based rewards model, which currently values JetBlue points at around 1.3 cents each no matter the flight, though who’s to say if that will change over the next couple of years?
And since there a lot of unknowns and a long time between now and the launch of these routes, we wouldn’t recommend stockpiling JetBlue points specifically. Instead, take advantage of the fact that JetBlue is a partner of three major transferrable rewards currencies, meaning you can throw in your lot with one or more of them, and take advantage of JetBlue’s European routes if and when they make sense. The goal is to not get locked into a certain airline, and all of these points could be used with a myriad of other programs, if JetBlue ends up not being right for you.
JetBlue is Chase’s newest transfer partner, and you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to your TrueBlue account (though not vice versa) at a 1:1 ratio. We wrote about why this isn’t necessarily the best use of your points here, but if you’ve collected some JetBlue points elsewhere, this is a great option for topping off your account to score a specific flight redemption.
If you pair a Chase Sapphire Reserve (which earns 3x points per dollar on travel and dining on its own) with a Chase Freedom and a Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can earn 1.5% cash back (1.5x points) on every purchase, and 5% cash back (5x points) on certain spending categories that rotate every quarter you activate, up to $1,500 with the Chase Freedom.
Amex Membership Rewards points, earned with The Platinum Card® from American Express, the American Express® Gold Card, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, and the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, transfer to JetBlue at a 1000:800 ratio, meaning 1,000 Membership Rewards points equate to 800 JetBlue points. That said, Amex and JetBlue occasionally run promotions that bring the ratio to the same 1:1 you’d get from Chase.
We’ve covered the Amex Platinum here, and it includes the most perks of any consumer credit card out there, including access to multiple lounge networks, annual Uber and Saks credits, Gold status at multiple hotel chains, and 5x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines, and 5x points on hotels booked through Amex’s travel site.
Again, this isn’t typically going to be the best use of these points from a valuation perspective, but it’s a great way to rack up extra points for your JetBlue account to score that future flight to London.
You can earn Citi ThankYou rewards points with the Citi Prestige, Citi Premier Card, and Citi Rewards+ Card, and they transfer at a 1:1 ratio with the Prestige, and 1000:800 on lower-end cards, though they run fairly regular promotions that bring that up to 1:1, or even higher.
Between the three cards, you could earn 5x points on air travel, 3x points on cruises and hotels (via the Citi Prestige card only), 2x on dining, just for starters. Like the other rewards programs, JetBlue is only one of several possible transfer partners here, and not generally the most valuable.
The moral of the story here is that if you find yourself in need of JetBlue points come 2021 to fly to Europe, they’re one of the easiest rewards currencies in the world to accumulate. I wouldn’t recommend hoarding your Chase, Amex, or Citi points explicitly for the New York airline’s inaugural Europe flights—there are still just too many unknowns—but it’s one more reason to put your daily spend on a card that earns flexible rewards points, rather than tying yourself to a specific airline.
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