Ultimate Rewards Adds Transfer Partner JetBlue

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Ultimate Rewards, the travel rewards currency of Chase, has added a new option to transfer your points to: TrueBlue, the frequent flyer program of JetBlue. The transfer rate is 1 Ultimate Reward = 1 TrueBlue Point.

That makes for a total of nine airline and three hotel loyalty programs partnerships within the Ultimate Rewards program.

Airlines

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
  • Iberia Plus
  • Singapore Krisflyer
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Korean Air (Ultimate Rewards lost Korean as a transfer partner less than a week ago)

Hotels

  • World of Hyatt
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards

Why I love JetBlue

I love JetBlue. I just flew them from Washington, D.C. to Charleston, South Carolina last week and was happy as could be in my comfy and roomy economy seat with Cheez-Its and free wifi.

JetBlue has the roomiest economy seats compared to all other domestic carriers–I’m talking width and pitch–and all their flights have free wifi which has always worked for me. Free wifi is certainly not the status quo. The JetBlue economy cabin resembles domestic Business Class on other American carriers more than it does their economy cabins.

Who JetBlue is Good For

  • Those who live in a JetBlue focus city: Boston, New York, Long Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Orland, San Juan (Washington, D.C. and Tampa are the two close runners-up in number of departures)
  • Those who fly transcontinentally often and want the nicest product on the domestic market, and for a fair price to boot

When JetBlue Transfers Will Make Sense

The cost of a TrueBlue award is tied to the cash price of the ticket, so this means there aren’t technically “sweetspots” since the revenue cost of a ticket fluctuates. Whether or not it’s worth transferring your Ultimate Rewards to JetBlue will depend on the day. I often find that JetBlue has really good points prices in comparison to legacy carriers, and when you consider how much more superior of a product they have that makes the deal even sweeter.

As the sixth largest airline in the United States, low-cost carrier JetBlue’s network is growing rapidly. It won’t take you as many places as the legacy carriers, but where they can take you they will take you in a nicer product.

JetBlue Mint Class
JetBlue Mint Class

Mint Class is the nicest Business Class experience on a transcontinental flight in the United State by far, and if you book it in time you can get one of the enclosed suites (there are four in each Mint Class on rows 2 and 4, and they are first come first serve).

There are other points that transfer to JetBlue, but none at a 1,000 to 1,000 ratio like Ultimate Rewards do. So if you want to transfer points to TrueBlue, Ultimate Rewards is the most economical option.

  • 1,000 American Express Membership Rewards = 800 TrueBlue Points
  • 1,000 ThankYou Points = 800 TrueBlue Points
  • 6,000 Marriott Points = 1,000 TrueBlue Points (for perspective, most transfers to airlines from Marriott are 3,000 = 1,000 airline miles)

Don’t Forget to Price Compare

Make sure you compare the cost of redeeming Ultimate Rewards through Chase’s online travel portal before transferring your points to JetBlue. Depending on the type of Ultimate Reward-earning card you have, your points will be worth different amounts when redeemed through the Chase travel portal:

  • Sapphire Reserve = 1.5 cents each
  • Sapphire Preferred = 1.25 cents each
  • Ink Business Preferred = 1.25 cents each
  • Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Ink Business Unlimited, or Ink Business Cash = 1 cent cash back OR whatever the value is of the account you transfer them. Example: If you moved your Freedom Ultimate Rewards to your Sapphire Reserve Ultimate Rewards account, they are worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed through the travel portal (or you could also transfer them to airline partners).

The value of TrueBlue points is not set but tends to be around 1.3 or 1.4 cents each, so there will be circumstances when it behooves you to redeem through the travel portal at a fixed value on the cash price versus transferring to TrueBlue. That statement particularly applies if you hold a Sapphire Reserve Card.

And of course, don’t loose sight of the bigger picture that transferring Ultimate Rewards to partners like Singapore, United, and Hyatt can reap even more value from your points on premium cabin and/or international redemptions or expensive hotel rooms that would otherwise cost tons of cash. I value Ultimate Rewards at two cents each thanks to redemption opportunities that programs like Singapore/United/Hyatt offer, so consider the opportunity cost of redeeming your Ultimate Rewards as TrueBlue points before doing so (especially if you have a big international trip in the pipeline).

Bottom Line

JetBlue is Ultimate Rewards ninth airline partner and third domestic airline partner. More options is always a good thing, and is quite welcome after the loss of partner Korean Air (hey Chase, give us another Asian program to work with!)

If you hold a Sapphire Reserve Card, it will likely not be a better deal to transfer your Ultimate Rewards to JetBlue since you can redeem through the Chase travel portal for 1.5 cents each and JetBlue points are worth around 1.3 to 1.4 cents each typically. If you don’t have a Sapphire Reserve, you’ll need to do the math yourself, just don’t forget to consider that a two cent per point value is attainable with Ultimate Rewards when transferred to other loyalty programs for international/premium cabin airline awards and expensive Hyatt hotels.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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