One of the least pleasant (to say the least) features of most airline loyalty programs is that they do not allow the members to transfer miles to friends and family. Well, not without a hefty fee. There are only three airlines, at least of the better known ones, that allow joint family accounts: British Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and starting now JetBlue.
Jetblue has a loyalty program called TrueBlue, and it’s pretty good as it is. It’s a revenue-based program, which means that the amount of points you need to redeem an award seat is tied to the cost of the ticket. Their round-trip flights within the US start at 10,000 points (5,000 for one-way). Besides, unlike other programs, their miles never expire. My recently-booked direct flight from New York to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic cost me 27,000 points plus $97 in taxes. Considering that I paid $19 a day for the All-Inclusive, this whole seven-day vacation is going to cost me about $240 for a week. I wrote a piece on the resort I’m staying at in this post two days ago.
But I digress.
The new JetBlue Family Pooling program allows you to create a pool consisting of 2 adults and up to 5 kids. Unlike British Airways, it doesn’t explicitly prohibits you to redeem points for anyone outside your family pool. Here is the text from the horse’s mouth.
- Families can consist of up to 2 adults and 5 children. At a minimum, there must be 2 individuals in a Family Pooling account.
- The Head of Household will manage all of the points in their Family Pooling account.
- Any adult can start a Family Pooling account and be the Head of Household. You just have to be a TrueBlue member to get started.
- An adult is anyone over the age of 21. A child is anyone under 21.
- Upon accepting an invitation to begin pooling, each family member will select how many points to contribute upfront (with zero transfer fees) and the percentage of points they want to contribute on an ongoing basis per transaction.
- Changes in contributions can be made once a year starting on the date the family account was formed.
- Members are not permitted to join multiple different Family Pooling accounts.
In order to avoid any transfer fees in the future, I recommend that every family member contribute 100% points to the family account. Of course, the only way it works is when there are no trust issues :).
This new feature makes their American Express 20,000-point JetBlue card offer worthwhile if you have a spartner. 40,000 will buy you a ticket all the way down to Lima, Peru (and back of course).
Definitely something to think about.