It’s back. JetBlue has renewed its Kickstart offer, offering double base points on all flights booked by January 31 and flown by February 29, 2016. Unlike other airlines, which frequently offer bonus redeemable points that do not count toward elite status, JetBlue’s Kickstart promotion gets you double base points, meaning that they will count toward its Mosaic status. You do need to register for the promotion before booking, but that’s all it takes. Note that JetBlue’s site has been a touch wonky the past few days, so make sure you get a confirmation screen (and save a screen shot).
As a reminder, you achieve Mosaic by earning either 15,000 base flight points or 12,000 base points plus 30 segments in a year. Since you normally get three base points per dollar spent, you’ll need to spend $5,000 to hit it (or $4,000 with a decent amount of flying).
If there’s such a thing as a controversial elite program, TrueBlue would be the model for it; most people either love it or hate it. You get a first and second bag free, which is pretty typical. You also get early boarding, premium security access, double base points and a dedicated customer service line. Also standard for elite programs. The extra 15,000 bonus points for earning Mosaic and free drinks onboard are a nice added touch. As far as I’m concerned, however, the best part of the program is that change and cancellation fees are waived for not only Mosaic members but also others on their itinerary. So even if one person in your family has status and the others don’t, you can plan your trip without having to worry. This policy also allows you to get a credit for the tickets if the fare drops between the time of purchase and flight. Most of the other benefits carry over to your family members, as well. What’s not to like?
The most common complaint I hear is about upgrades, or lack of them. At most airlines, elite status will get you either a “more room in coach”-type product or an upgrade to first class. At worst, it will put you in line to get those benefits. No such luck at JetBlue. The only “upgrade” benefit that they give you is that you can use your points to buy an Even More Space seat. Whoo-hoo. While I can understand an airline wanting to protect the integrity of a premium product by charging for it, we’re just talking about a few inches in this case.
There are a few other inherent disadvantages to TrueBlue. Given JetBlue’s route network, there’s not much you can do with you points if you are looking for global access (a drawback for all passengers, not just the elite members). I’ve also found that if I have Mosaic status and call the regular line, the agents won’t help me. They insist on transferring me to the Mosaic line. Since JetBlue hold times are often quite long, this almost doubles my time on the phone (Your mileage may vary, however, based on the agent; I’ve never had one who would help me themself, though).
A Few Other Restrictions
The catch is always found in the fine print, but it’s not too bad for Kickstart. Unfortunately, any bookings that you made prior to registration won’t count toward the promotion (They’ve now announced this promotion in the second week of January in consecutive years now, so if you have to make a booking at this time next year, it might make sense to wait.). Of course if you currently have Mosaic status, there’s nothing to stop you from cancelling (Be sure to cancel it, not just change it.) and rebooking a previously booked flight, although the price may have changed. You do need to spend actual cash (Reward flights don’t count.) and it has to be on JetBlue metal, not a partner. Finally, only dollars spent toward the base price of the ticket earn points. Money spent for fees won’t even get you a pat on the back.
I love these “gimme” offers. It costs nothing to sign up and the worst case scenario is that you simply don’t participate. And if you don’t get any flights in now, there will probably be a status challenge in the fall. Good luck!