The strength of TrueBlue Rewards is in its simplicity. It’s relatively easy to rack up points—especially with the branded credit card—and they can be pooled with friends and family members for free. But there are limited ways to use rewards, and the number of points needed to book a flight is tied to its dollar price, so you won’t find any amazing deals or sweet spots.
What Are TrueBlue Rewards?
TrueBlue Rewards is the loyalty program for low-cost, high amenity airline JetBlue. It’s relatively new because JetBlue only started operating in 1999—but just three years later, Condé Nast Traveler readers named it the best airline in the country.
The main drawback of TrueBlue Rewards is that the points aren’t that many ways to spend them. On the upside, it’s easy to rack them up, there are truly no blackout dates for JetBlue flights, and elite status comes with practical perks like waived change and cancellation fees, free checked bags and complimentary drinks.
The easiest way to earn JetBlue points is by flying with the airline. If you book directly you’ll receive at least 6 points for every dollar you spend; members with Mosaic status earn 3 extra points, for a total of 9 points per dollar—and that’s before using one of the airline’s credit cards. (You reach Mosaic status by flying 30 segments and earning 12,000 base points or by earning 15,000 base points in a calendar year.)
JetBlue’s branded credit cards will get you an additional 6 points for every dollar spent on the airline—or a potential total of 15 points per dollar for those Mosaic members.
Flying with a JetBlue partner, including Emirates, Hawaiian Airlines, Icelandair, JetSuite X, Silver Airways, Singapore Airlines, and South African Airways also gets you points. Rates vary by carrier and booking class. You can eat at TrueBlue Dining restaurants, or shop through the airline’s portal or in-flight on Amazon.
Finally, you can transfer points to TrueBlue from Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and various hotel loyalty programs. Many programs transfer at a 1:1 rate, while Amex transfers at 1.25:1. Promotions can substantially boost your transfer rate.
The points pooling program makes it easy (and free) to combine points. It’s an especially handy perk for families.
What Cards Earn TrueBlue Points
How to Use TrueBlue Rewards
TrueBlue doesn’t offer as many ways to redeem your points as many other loyalty programs. Then again, the process is also relatively straightforward and you’ll generally get solid value for points. Redemption rates are tied to prices, so you’re not going to find any spectacular deals.
Here are all the ways you can use TrueBlue points:
- JetBlue flights. You can pay for any available seat with points, typically around 1.4 cents per point.
- JetBlue vacation packages. For bundles that include flights and hotels, you can usually count on 1.3 to 1.5 cents per point in value.
- Upgrades. Mosaic Members can upgrade from economy to premium economy seats at great rates—a value of up to 5 cents per point.
- Book on Hawaiian Airlines. Use TrueBlue points to book flights on Hawaiian, with one-way flights starting at 6,000 points.
- Magazine subscriptions. Choose from over 20 magazines, for 400 to 3,200 points.
- Share with friends and family. Pool your points with other members to get more redemption options. You can also transfer points for a fee.
- Donate to charity. Choose from 18 different nonprofits. Minimum is 500 points.
This is often the best use of TrueBlue points. While the amount of value you’ll get from using points to buy flights varies slightly, it’s tied to the dollar price of the flight. You can generally count on getting 1.4 cents per point and sometimes more when booking Mint business class. In contrast to many other loyalty programs, generally the less expensive the flight, the more value you’ll get from your points.
One of the best parts of this program is that there are no blackout dates. Unlike with many other airlines, which make it difficult or even impossible to find award tickets, you can pay for any available JetBlue seat with points.
If you’re flexible with your travel dates, the Best Fare Finder can help you find cheaper seats, which translates into spending fewer points. It’s worth noting that JetBlue charges a small fee ($5.60) for domestic award tickets, and international fees vary.
JetBlue Vacation Packages
JetBlue vacation packages are bundled deals that include airfare and accommodation. JetBlue currently offers vacation packages in the U.S., Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, and a few locations in South America. You can use cash, TrueBlue points or a combination of points and cash to pay for them—but if you use a points and cash, you won’t receive your 6 bonus TrueBlue points per dollar.
Vacation packages can offer substantially better value than using your points for flights alone. For example, round-trip flights for two from New York to Bermuda plus a five-night stay at the Coco Reef Bermuda recently cost $1,728 through JetBlue Vacations. Priced separately, the trip would cost $2,477, so the package saves $749. If you paid for part of the package with points, it would cost 21,200 points plus $1,351.55. This gives you a value of 1.8 cents per point. Quite good!
If you’re a Mosaic member, you can use points to unlock flight upgrades, though only from regular economy to Even More Space seats. The upgrade cost varies depending on the length of the flight, as does the price in points. A $10 seat upgrade costs 200 points, $25 seat upgrades cost 300 points, $45 seat upgrades cost 500 points, and $90 seat upgrades cost 1,000 points. You’ll get at least 5 cents per point by doing this, so it’s an excellent use of your TrueBlues.
Book Flights on Hawaiian Airlines
Though you can earn TrueBlue points on 11 partner airlines, including Emirates, Aer Lingus and Icelandair, the only other airline you can use the points on is Hawaiian Airlines. Hawaiian operates in over 30 destinations across 8 countries, expanding your options for award flight destinations. JetBlue now publishes an award chart for Hawaiian Airlines flights, with economy flights ranging from 6,000 (internal Hawaii flights) to 50,000 for international destinations, and business flights ranging from 12,000 to 120,000 points.
This award chart has the potential to be lucrative, but there’s no guarantee that award seats are available. There’s also a hassle factor—you have to call JetBlue to book a Hawaiian Airlines flight using TrueBlue points.
You can redeem your TrueBlue points for subscriptions to more than 20 national magazines, including Better Homes & Gardens, Bloomberg Businessweek, and People. A subscription to Bloomberg Businessweek will cost you $70 for 50 issues, but only 1,600 points, giving you a value of 4.4 cents per point. This is actually a great value—we just wish it applied to flights.
Pooling and Transferring to Friends and Family
JetBlue lets up to seven members group together to share their points free of charge, which is simpler and more transparent than the transfers most other loyalty programs offer. You don’t need to check different account balances or wait for transfers to go through—everything is available at a glance in your TrueBlue account. It’s especially useful for (but not limited to) families, and makes it worthwhile to sign your kids up for TrueBlue membership. Only the Pool Leader can use all the points; make sure it’s someone you trust.
TrueBlue points can also be transferred from member to member outside of your Friends and Family pool for a fee of $12.50/1,000 points.
Instead of redeeming your points for awards, you can make a difference with them by donating them to one or more of the charities JetBlue has partnered with, including the American Red Cross, Wildlife Conservation Society and Make-A-Wish. The minimum donation is 500 points, the maximum is 500,000 and there are no fees—but also no tax breaks.
While it may not offer great deals like some competitors, TrueBlue also provides solid value for its points across all of its redemption options. The program is simple and straightforward, and regular JetBlue customers can easily collect a lot of points.