A while back I ran an analysis of JetBlue‘s TrueBlue program focusing on the redemption value of their points. Unlike many programs, the TrueBlue points have a relatively fixed range of values so figuring out what they’re worth is a bit easier to calculate. I happened to be looking at an award flight on JetBlue this weekend and the cost of the ticket was way lower than I expected it would be based on my historical data. This triggered a new analysis and, much to my surprise, the numbers are looking really good.
Last time around the valuation was pretty well fixed between $0.008 and $0.013 per point. Not particularly horrible but also nothing really special, particularly compared to some of the premium cabin redemption options in other programs. This week’s analysis shows those numbers are about the same spread – a range of roughly 50 cents – but the values are now about 20-25 cents higher than they were before. Of the 51 data points I reviewed only 6 show a valuation of less than 1.25 cents per point so even within the range the trend appears to be increased values.
The absolute lowest valuation I found was a JFK-Boston one-way ticket that was $159 in cash or 15,200 points for a value of 1.046 cents per point. At the other end of the spectrum, a $345 round-trip from JFK to Cancun, Mexico and back rang in at $345 or 22,500 points for a whopping 1.53 cents per point valuation.
Beyond that, I’m still not seeing a ton of patterns on where the valuations are particularly higher or lower. It isn’t necessarily by market; AUS-BOS ranges from 1.05-1.40, though others are more closely grouped. It isn’t even necessarily a direct 1:1 correlation on fare as the same JFK-SEA fare showed up at two different redemption levels 1,700 points apart.
Certainly there is a decent amount of this valuation increase that can be attributed to fares being higher which is most certainly not something to celebrate as a consumer. But the increased value is certainly a nice thing to see as it appears to be exceeding the fare increases in many cases, at least for routes I’m relatively familiar with the price history on.
Combined with some other recent changes, like a shorter distance threshold for the Go Long! bonuses, this change sees the TrueBlue program becoming more customer friendly. And if the rumors I’ve been hearing materialize (which I’m pretty sure will happen) that pattern will definitely continue.
n.b. – All awards also have some taxes component and the calculations exclude those form both the award and the cash fare for a true cents per point valuation comparison; some international routes will realize $100 or more in taxes, above and beyond the numbers listed in this post. The cpm valuations take this into account in all cases.
- Comparing Southwest’s Rapid Rewards 2 and JetBlue’s TrueBlue programs
- Long flights are now a bit shorter on JetBlue
- JetBlue & American Airlines announce earning reciprocity
- A frequent flyer promo you shouldn’t pursue
- JetBlue adds online mall for mileage earning
- TrueBlue 2 is alive!
For anyone interested, the data I collected for this analysis is below.
*=round-trip fare; all others are one-way
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