The cross-country battle between Virgin America and JetBlue escalated this week. JetBlue is offering Elevate members up to 75,000 TrueBlue points (potentially north of $1000 in value), matching or exceeding the balance in the Elevate account to attract members crossing over from the west coast to the east.
From now through July 4th Elevate members can send a screen shot of their account balance to JetBlue and receive as many or more TrueBlue points, up to 75k. There is a catch, of course. To keep the bonus points a passenger mus also fly one round trip JetBlue journey before the end of August. Looking at the BestFareFinder there are some sub-$100 round trip flights from Oakland to Long Beach in July on a Tuesday or Wednesday; from San Francisco it can be had for under $150 on a weekend.
This is the latest salvo in a rapidly escalating battle over the future of Virgin America’s loyal customer base in the face of the impending Alaska Airlines merger. In April Virgin America launched the first shot, offering status matches to JetBlue’s Mosaic members. JetBlue responded with a status match + challenge shortly thereafter and now with this massive points offer.
Of course, there’s also the question of whether the massive windfall of points will be enough to move passengers over. For a transcon traveler it might be; Mint is a better premium product than Virgin America’s on the SFO/LAX-JFK routes and the economy products are very similar, with some advantages on each side. But for the west coast folks mostly flying north/south it is hard to see how JetBlue is a viable option, even with the allure of the big bonus points.
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