If you count yourself as one of the many consumers who love to fly JetBlue – it has one of the highest rated rewards programs of any airline according to U.S. News & World Report – the arrival of a new co-branded airline credit card is something to celebrate.
But is it worth it for you?
We poked around at every detail behind the new JetBlue Plus Card and compared it to other cards likely to compete for space in your wallet, including the original JetBlue travel rewards card.
Here's what we found:
First, the JetBlue Plus Card contributes to the incredibly popular TrueBlue Rewards and its family pooling program, where any member of your family who flies JetBlue or uses a JetBlue reward card can contribute to the points pool, and then adds some key features that we think make it worth a closer look.
Here are some more specifics to consider with the JetBlue Plus Card:
The upfront rewards are what make this a major contender for your new travel rewards card. The value of the 30,000 points in the introductory offer, credited to you after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days, should easily equal at least one round-trip flight based on our calculations, which would then cover you for the card's $99 annual fee.
Say you have your heart set on a fall sightseeing trip to New York City from San Francisco. At the time of this writing, that would take 21,400 points plus $11.20 for one ticket, according to the airline's website. That same round-trip flight in dollars would be $316.20.
There are plenty of other benefits to keep this card in rotation long after the initial sign-up. Cardholders can continue to earn points and perks this way:
The card also covers all the basics:
In addition, the JetBlue Plus Card offers a 0 percent APR for 12 billing cycles on balance transfers made within 45 days of opening your account, making this a decent choice if you're looking to consolidate some credit card debt.
This card even stretches a bit beyond the traditional miles-earning credit card by offering you an opportunity to earn $100 in statement credit each calendar year you purchase a JetBlue Vacations package on your card. Since this is a per calendar year benefit, you could actually collect this benefit twice within the first several months of opening your account. Let's say you book a Jetblue Vacations package over Thanksgiving; there's your first $100 credit. Then, come spring break time in March or April, you book a JetBlue Vacations trip to the beach; there's your second $100 credit.
JetBlue services nearly 100 cities in the U.S. and is growing, but it's not ubiquitous like larger airlines, so if you are too far from a JetBlue hub to take advantage of its average of 925 daily flights, this is not going to be a great card for you.
For more information, please visit the airline's "Where We Jet" list. There is also a disclaimer on some of these perks, such as with the free checked bags: "on JetBlue-operated flights only." Make sure you check the fine print and ask questions.
Likewise, if you aren't totally sure you will take at least one flight per year on JetBlue or you don't plan on using the "Plus" card very often, the math may not work out and you may not earn more than the annual fee, which in today's environment of competitive credit card offers, is like leaving money on the poker table – there is no reason for it. If that's the case, investigate some of the many cash-back credit cards out there.
Also good to know: The card is touting "TrueBlue Mosaic" benefits after one year, but you would have to spend $50,000 or more per year on your card in order to qualify. For folks like me who use several cards actively to maximize rewards, it's very unlikely I would reach this annual amount on one card – or even close to it. Mosaic benefits include zero JetBlue change and cancellation fees, several different upgrade options and a dedicated 24/7 customer service line.
We decided to put the JetBlue Plus Card head-to-head with another popular travel card, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, despite both being owned by the same parent company Barclays Bank Delaware since JetBlue cards ceased to be backed by American Express in early 2016.
Here are a few key differences:
This is a no-brainer for frequent JetBlue customers, even more so if you live in near a JetBlue hub city. The airline is expanding in several directions, with new Caribbean destinations, flights to Cuba now that the U.S. travel ban is over, and – particularly noteworthy for bi-coastal fans of the "Mint" experience – JetBlue is doubling down on the "lie-flat" experience with additional A321 aircraft to accommodate and more transcontinental flight frequency