I’ve never considered revenue-based JetBlie TrueBlue a good frequent flyer program, even though I do like their seat configuration and the whole idea of civilized flying in economy. The only time I did use TrueBlue points was when I flew to Puerto Plata to stay at the Lifestyle Tropical AI resort in the Dominican Republic. The thing is I didn’t want to waste my limited vacation time on transfer in Miami (AA), and I didn’t want to fly into Santiago airport (also AA); I’d done it before and didn’t enjoy the 2-hour plus transfer. JetBlue flies non-stop to Puerto Plata, so I didn’t mind overpaying a little bit.
A few days ago, when I was working on another blog post about Lifestyle Tropical new offer, I checked the JetBlue rates again and found a much better picture. Basically, there were a few days in December with a very low points rate to POP, and with AMEX running a 30% transfer bonus promotion (until Nov 30), it means you pay 250 AMEX MR points for 260 TrueBlue points. Here is a quick quote from the post.
Your JetBlue roundtrip flight will cost you $100 in taxes and 15,750 MR points (because you can only transfer the points in 250-point increments). In the meantime, United and American charge 35,000 miles for the same flight. It’s like getting 2 AA or UA miles for an AMEX MR point. Not too shabby, is it?
That got me thinking. Maybe there are other routes out there where we could get good deals. And what do you know—there are! All examples are for flights from JFK.
You can have a roundtrip flight to Cancun for 15,000 AMEX MR points and $68 in taxes.
You can fly to Punta Cana for 16,750 Amex MR points and $100 in taxes. Actually, you should try a calendar search to find the lowest rates if your dates are flexible.
You can fly to Aruba for 25,500 Amex MR points and $65 in taxes.
Finally (because I stopped looking), you can fly to St. Maarten for the New Years Eve for 13,250 AMEX MR points and $65 in taxes, but only if you can (or, I don’t know, want to) stay on the island for 13 days). 🙂
American Airlines roundtrip flights to all these destinations would cost 35,000 miles and they would route via Miami vs. non-stop JetBlue flights. So you can see how all the above deals are great, right?
Or are they?
JetBlue Revenue and TrueBlue Values Are Directly Linked
You should never make any decisions without seeing the whole picture. Don’t worry, I’m talking to myself.
I was very excited to find these deals. They look really good, especially from my hub city. But then, I thought, why not see how much these flights would really cost me if I bought the tickets the old fashion way. For cash.
A flight to Cancun for the same dates and flights would cost me $313.
Punta Cana? $381.
What does it mean? It means that the best values you can derive from an AMEX MR point for these TrueBlue deals (when you take airport taxes into account) are ranging between 1.7 and 1.8 per point. Which isn’t too bad, but, well—you can do better with Membership Reward points!
When a 30% promo brings these rates to a more realistic level, this nicely highlights how overpriced AMEX regular transfer rates are.
However, if you don’t fly in premium classes and could use a JetBlue ticket in the near future, then using this promo makes perfect sense. I’ve mentioned the near future because JetBlie often discounts its routes when the date draws nearer, although it’s not always the case.
So, is the 30% AMEX MR Transfer Bonus to JetBlue a good deal. Good—perhaps—but killer deal it isn’t.
Remember that the promo is valid until Nov 30.
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