JetBlue adds online mall for mileage earning


Fullscreen capture 7152010 110706 AM JetBlue’s TrueBlue program has joined the ranks of frequent flyer schemes offering online shopping “malls” as a means for earning points in their programs. The shopping portal –ShopTrue – was announced today and is operated by points.com. ShopTrue provides TrueBlue members the ability to earn points through their online shopping at over 800 websites.

Looking at the earning rates in a number of the stores, however, the program does not appear particularly compelling:

  American United Continental JetBlue Delta
eBags 7 4 10 3 9
Sears 3 2.5 5 1 3
iTunes 3 2 1 2
Best Buy 1 1 2 0.5 0.5
Borders 3 1 2
Buy.com 1 1 2 1 1
Shutterfly 5 3.5 4 2
Gap 3 2 3 1 2
Macys 3 3 3 1 5
Dell Home 2 1.5 2 0.25 2

 

The argument can be made that the JetBlue points are worth a bit more than some of the other programs based on the lack of blackout dates and the relatively fixed and known value that the points carry for redemptions. Still, they are not likely to be worth triple the value of points in legacy programs, and that appears to be roughly where they are pricing out overall.

More partners is always good and more ways to earn points is always good. But there is a value proposition at play as well and in most cases the ShopTrue mall appears to be losing on that value play. At first blush it appears that the other points programs or a cash-back site would be a better value for an online shopping portal.

N.B. – The above numbers make Continental look like a great program for online shopping. They have had a number of reported issues with folks having to fight to receive miles that they were due. I urge caution and diligence should you choose that route. You may end up investing more time to claim the miles than the points are really worth.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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