Partner-less No More: JetBlue Joins AMEX Membership Rewards

Partner-less No More: JetBlue Joins AMEX Membership Rewards

JetBlue Airways has joined the American Express Membership Rewards program — marking the first partnership ever for the New York-based carrier. Beginning Dec. 8, cardmembers enrolled in Membership Rewards will be able to transfer points directly into TrueBlue, JetBlue’s frequent flyer program.

Membership Rewards members will be able to redeem points for travel on JetBlue by visiting www.americanexpress.com/rewards, or by calling 1-800-AXP-EARN. A flight reward is valued at 100 TrueBlue points — equivalent to 25,000 Membership Rewards points, or 50,000 Membership Rewards Options points. Enrollees are required to transfer a minimum of 1,250 Membership Rewards points, or 2,500 Membership Rewards Options points into their TrueBlue accounts.

Of course, Membership Rewards is also partnered with the nation’s largest credit-based frequent flyer program — Southwest Rapid Rewards. With Southwest, 1,250 Membership Rewards points transfer to one Rapid Rewards credit. Given that 16 credits equal a free flight, a Membership Rewards member would need to transfer 20,000 points.

Under TrueBlue’s rules, 1,250 Membership Rewards points transfer to five TrueBlue points. With a free flight available at 100 points, a total of 25,000 Membership Rewards points are required — 5,000 more than with Rapid Rewards.

Of course, such a bare-bones comparison is of dubious value. Experience shows that the majority of customers who transfer points do so only to top off an existing account — precious few actually make wholesale transfers in the entire amount required for a free flight.

In essence, this partnership offers an additional option for JetBlue customers who already rack up points by flying — a sizeable population, given JetBlue’s dominance on the Eastern Seaboard.

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