JetBlue provides frequent flyer rewards for further spending

JetBlue Airways plane at Cancun International Airport. On Wednesday, March 23, 2022, at Cancun International Airport, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Arthur Widak | Nurphoto | Getty Images

JetBlue Airways has unveiled new perks for less frequent flyers striving for elite status, the latest airline to rethink its loyalty program to reflect changing travel habits.

The new system provides more incremental steps to earning benefits, including the choice of early boarding (excluding Basic Economy ticketholders), priority security screening, an alcoholic beverage on board, or bonus frequent flyer points each time a customer 10 so-called points collects “tiles.”

A customer will receive one of these tiles for every $100 spent on JetBlue and its travel booking platforms or on flights operated by its partner in the Northeast US. American Airlines. Customers can also earn a tile by spending $1,000 on a JetBlue credit card.

The changes are part of the larger overhaul of JetBlue’s TrueBlue program that the airline announced on Wednesday.

Other changes are:

  • JetBlue divides its Elite Mosaic status into four tiers with corresponding benefits. To reach Tier 1 of this program, travelers need 50 Tiles, and that brings benefits like access to extra legroom seats at check-in and same-day flight changes.
  • At the top level, travelers can upgrade to the Mint Business Class cabin after collecting 250 Tiles, if available. You can also book four helicopter transfers on Blade between Manhattan and John F. Kennedy International Airport or Newark Liberty International Airport.
  • JetBlue also offers perks when a customer achieves a level of elite status, such as

The new plan comes as airlines are adjusting their lucrative frequent flyer programs to tie them more closely to customer spending, including rewards credit cards. Many airlines have raised the bar to achieve the status. They also reflect changing travel habits, such as an increasing dominance of leisure travelers, as traditional business travel has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

American Airlines, for example, late last year raised the spending threshold required for customers to achieve elite status. It also introduced temporary benefits for frequent flyer program members who earn loyalty points but not enough for elite status, with perks like earlier boarding and “preferred seat” coupons, which are closer to the front of the aircraft but don’t have them Extra legroom.

And Delta Airlines said in January it would offer free Wi-Fi onboard its aircraft to travelers enrolled in its SkyMiles frequent flyer program.

“We’ve gotten to a point where the dollar is pretty much almighty when it comes to earning status,” said Kyle Potter, editor-in-chief of Thrifty Traveler, a travel and airlines website. “There aren’t many incentives to stay loyal to this airline…unless you’re a classic street fighter.

“JetBlue and other airlines are smart in offering these stopovers to put something within reach, a reason to keep flying that airline even when achieving that big leap in status doesn’t seem possible,” he said.

JetBlue is currently attempting to take over low-cost airline Spirit Airlines, but the Justice Department sued earlier this year to block the deal. Should JetBlue prevail, the airline plans to scrap Spirit’s ultra-low-cost model and retrofit its aircraft in JetBlue style.

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