Early Details of the New JetBlue MasterCard!

In February of last year, JetBlue announced that they were cutting ties with American Express and that Barclaycard would be the new issuer and that MasterCard would be the brand of choice. While that announcement seems like eons ago, it appears that the release date of the details of the new product may be weeks away. Yesterday, a loyal reader sent me an email with this detail:

We can’t share the full details of your new card just yet, but in March your existing JetBlue Card from American Express® will be transitioning to the JetBlue MasterCard from Barclaycard.*
We’d like to thank American Express for their partnership over the past years and, we are excited to welcome Barclaycard as the new issuer for our program.
For now, keep using your current JetBlue Card from American Express. You will continue to earn TrueBlue points, and you can manage your account as you normally would.
In a few weeks, you will receive more information from Barclaycard and JetBlue about the exciting new card benefits, so stay tuned!

 

The former American Express JetBlue product was pretty sad. The most I ever saw for a sign up bonus was 20,000 TrueBlue points. For inexpensive flights, that was pretty significant, but in markets where the paid fare was high, or at least comparable to competitors, that often did not even get you one roundtrip. In the credit card space as it has existed over the past several years, that just wasn’t enough to be competitive with the average offers out there.

While I have no insight into what prompted the change from American Express to Barclaycard, I can’t imagine that there were too many people clamoring for the JetBlue Amex, given the benefits. I do know that Barclaycard is fairly aggressive when it comes to travel credit cards. They used to regularly offer 50,000 USAirways miles for signing up for that credit card (before USAirways merged with American) and that’s a big reason how we got our family of four to Australia in business class.

It remains to be seen what the actual offer would be. My guess is that they are going to come in higher than the 20,000 TrueBlue points that the Amex topped out at to attract people to the card. It would also be nice if they added other secondary benefits like a free checked bag or priority boarding. But in the end, it’s about the points offer for me and it sounds like in a few weeks we’ll find out what the offer will be!

As a reminder, the JetBlue TrueBlue program is run similar to that of Southwest Airlines in that the number of points it takes is directly tied to the cost of the ticket. For example, a one way flight from Portland to JFK in May is $77 or 4,600 TrueBlue points. And a flight from Portland to Los Angeles is $235 or 15,700 TrueBlue points. With traditional award programs, it would be 12,500 miles to fly from Portland to JFK or from Portland to LAX.

You can see that inexpensive routes on JetBlue would be worth considering. I’d much rather spend 4,600 TrueBlue points to get to New York than 12,500 American Airlines miles, for example. But I’d also much rather spend 12,500 American Airlines miles to get to Los Angeles versus 15,700 TrueBlue points.

Additionally, JetBlue offers TrueBlue points every now and again for signing up for the TrueBlue program and flying with them within a certain timeframe. Their newest promotion is offering 3,500 TrueBlue points for signing up for the JetBlue frequent flyer program and taking a flight by March 14. If you’re planning to travel on JetBlue anyway in that period, it certainly makes sense to sign up. But I wouldn’t change my travel plans for 3,500 points. This offer comes around once or twice a year and I’ve seen it as high as 7,000 points.

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Because the Amex card came with such a paltry bonus, I never signed up and thus, have only flown JetBlue once. However, that all could change come March should the Barclaycard bonus be worth considering. Rest assured that as soon as I learn more, I’ll share it here!

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