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If you are looking for a credit card to earn miles, then you typically have to pay an annual fee, which isn’t worth it for some infrequent travelers. Among the airline credit cards that do have an annual fee, cardholders are generally only rewarded with 2x points for airline purchases, which is no longer competitive with other cards.
But JetBlue introduced three new credit cards with its partner Barclaycard that turn this equation on its head by offering an entry-level card with no annual fee, and a premium card that offers 6x points for cardholders making JetBlue purchases.
Who is Barclay?
Barclay is a well-known credit card provider that has been in the business of serving their customers for over fifty years. They currently partner with over sixty different companies to offer their cardholders more products and better service.
As a company, they value respect, integrity, service, excellence, and stewardship.
How These Cards Work
Previously, American Express offered a JetBlue credit card with a $40 annual fee. Like most frequent flier credit cards, it offered 2x points for airline purchases, and just 1x elsewhere. And while it did offer a 50% discount on in-flight purchases such as food and beverages, it also had a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% imposed on all charges processed outside of the United States.
But when JetBlue announced last year that it would be partnering with Barclaycard, existing cardholders were offered a new JetBlue MasterCard that increased rewards to 4x on JetBlue purchases, 2x at restaurants and gas stations and 1x elsewhere. This credit card, which is not offered to new applicants, also has an annual fee of $40 but has no foreign transaction fees.
Now, new applicants are being offered a no-fee JetBlue Card and a JetBlue Plus card with a $99 annual fee for cardholders. The no-fee card offers 3 points per $1 spent on JetBlue purchases, 2 points per $1 at restaurants and grocery stores and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. For a limited time, new cardholders also receive 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within 90 days of account opening. This JetBlue credit card also has no foreign transaction fees.
For more frequent fliers, the JetBlue Plus World Elite MasterCard features 6x for JetBlue purchases, 2x at restaurant and grocery stores and 1x elsewhere. In addition, cardholders receive a 5,000-point bonus each year on their cardholder anniversary, and a 10% rebate on points redeemed for select JetBlue flights.
Travelers also receive their first bag checked for free for themselves and up to three other companions. Customers can also earn Mosaic elite status in the TrueBlue program after spending $50,000 on their card annually.
The TrueBlue program offers benefits such as waived change and cancellation fees, complimentary alcoholic beverages, two free checked bags and bonus points. New applicants earn 30,000 points after spending $1,000 within 90 days of account opening. There is a $99 annual fee for this credit card but does not carry any foreign transaction fees.
The TrueBlue program also offers badges for customer loyalty, and as cardholders collect these badges, they can be rewarded for activities such as flying. The more loyal a cardholder is, the more badges can be earned. There are currently over 400 different badges you can earn through the TrueBlue program.
The Take 3 Bonus is another perk and means you can earn 5000 bonus points for simply purchasing and flying at least three roundtrip JetBlue flights in just one calendar year. Keep in mind, however, that award flights will not apply to this offered bonus. The Take 3 Bonus can only be earned once per year, and it does not count toward cardholders Mosaic status.
To use your points, sign on to your TrueBlue account that you created for free and it will then provide you with your TrueBlue Points options. You can also look at these options in both dollars and points to compare the overall value you are receiving.
Finally, there is a JetBlue Plus business card that has terms that are similar to the personal version, but it earns 2x at office supply stores instead of grocery stores.
JetBlue Credit Card Cons
While JetBlue credit cards may offer many perks including in-flight discounts and even credits on various vacation packages, it is also important to note the disadvantages you may experience with these cards.
JetBlue has very few alliances which makes the points you can earn with these cards not as flexible as you can find with other airlines that may have more alliances and partnerships with other companies. JetBlue had previously partnered with American Express for over ten years, and when they switched to Barclaycard and Mastercard, they awarded cardholders with some improvements over the old American Express cards which made it easier for the cardholders to make the transition.
JetBlue credit cards also carry a higher than usual APR and there is no introductory APR offer for any type of purchases or balance transfers. The expected APR for any JetBlue card will fall between 13.24% and 21.24%. You may also see an APR of 26.24% depending on the status of your credit.
Getting a JetBlue credit card is really only a good deal if you plan on traveling a lot and you are a dedicated JetBlue customer. If you prefer to fly through a different airline, then you should consider other credit card options elsewhere. The frequency of how often you use the airline should at least be once a year minimum to really benefit from the JetBlue credit card.
How They Compare to Other Airline Cards
Other airline cards tend to have very similar terms. For example, American Airlines offers the AAdvantage Platinum Select card from Citi; United has its MileagePlus Explorer card from Chase (reviewed here), and Delta has its Gold SkyMiles card from American Express (reviewed here). Each of these three cards offers 2x miles per dollar spent at their respective airlines and 1x miles for all other purchases.
Other common features with the AAdvantage Platinum Select card and the MileagePlus Explorer card include priority boarding, a free checked bag, an annual fee of $95, and no foreign transaction fees.
By offering 6x for airline purchases, the new JetBlue Plus card rewards travelers for their ticket purchases substantially more than most other airline cards. In addition, these Delta and American Airline credit cards offer in-flight discounts of 20% and 25% respectively, while all of the JetBlue cards from Barclaycard increased that discount amount to 50%.
(Full Disclosure: Citibank, as well as American Express & Chase advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
On the other hand, JetBlue still lacks the intercontinental networks of the large legacy carriers, and cardholders will not benefit from being able to redeem their points for flights on carriers that are part of an international airline alliance.
While the legacy carriers have first-class sections on all of their aircrafts, JetBlue only offers an economy-class product on most of its flights, although it does offer its Mint premium-class seats on some transcontinental routes and some Caribbean destinations.
By increasing the rewards and benefits offered by JetBlue credit cards at these price points, JetBlue and Barclaycard are putting pressure on their competitors in a very crowded market.
The Barclaycard JetBlue Plus and Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card Comparison
When comparing these two credit cards from big industry leaders, we can see some clear differences. The Barclaycard and the MileagePlus Explorer card both offer an average interest rate, an average annual fee, and a higher redemption value than other similar credit cards. They are also both ideal for earning rewards, including airline rewards.
However, the redemption value on a Barclaycard is 1.8 cents per point on flights, while the United MileagePlus Explorer card only offers a 1 cent redemption per point on flights.
Comparison of the JetBlue Credit Cards
There are three JetBlue credit cards available. These are the JetBlue Credit Card, the JetBlue Plus Credit Card, and the JetBlue Business Credit Card.
The JetBlue Plus Credit Card offers a 10% points dividend to cardholders that choose to redeem their points. Keep in mind though that this perk is not applicable to the credit card that has no annual fee.
Upon signup, and after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days, you will receive 10,000 points on the no annual fee card, but you will also not be eligible to receive any anniversary points. There is a 0% foreign transaction fee, a 50% in-flight discount on purchases, but you do not get a free checked bag benefit like you would with the other two cards.
The JetBlue Plus Card is the second consumer option and provides the cardholder with a 30,000 points bonus upon sign up after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days. There is a $99 annual fee on this particular card, but you are also eligible to receive 5,000-anniversary points. You get all the benefits of the previous card in addition to getting the first checked bag for your flight free. You will earn more points on each JetBlue purchase with the Plus card. The Plus gives you six points per each dollar spent, while the previous card only gave three points.
The third JetBlue credit card option is the JetBlue Business Credit Card. This card is very similar to the Plus card in the signup points, annual fee, and other discounts and benefits. The point earnings are also the same as the Plus card with the exception of earning points in grocery stores or restaurants. With the business card you can earn points in restaurants and office supply stores rather than grocery stores.
To obtain any one of these three JetBlue credit card options, you must have excellent credit in order to be approved. If you find that you are a more frequent flier, then the Plus card would benefit you the most, even with the higher annual fee. However, if you don’t find yourself making many purchases, spending less, and not traveling as much, then the no annual fee card would be more suited to your preferences and lifestyle.
Simply put, to begin earning any real rewards for the JetBlue Credit Card, you will have to spend over $500 annually on JetBlue.
Should I Apply for a JetBlue Credit Card?
To determine if it would be in your best interest to apply for a JetBlue credit card, you should first check your credit to make sure it is in excellent standing. Next, you will want to look into the sign-up bonuses that are currently available.
When assessing the sign-up bonus, make sure to read the terms and conditions. How much will you have to spend on purchases in the introductory period before you can see the bonus? Is the bonus enough to help offset the higher annual fee of $99 for the Plus card? How will you be able to use your points?
Consider the points rebate you will see with the card as well. JetBlue offers unlimited perks on this offer which means you can continuously reap the benefits and will not hit a cap like with other providers.
Remember, not all rewards credit cards are created equal, but a good credit score will help you qualify for the best of them. It’s a good idea to check your credit before you fill out any applications. You can do so by viewing your two-free credit scores every 14 days on Credit.com.
It’s also important to read all of the terms and conditions associated with a card you are considering carefully. You’ll want to comparison-shop to find a card that’s right for you. You can check out our recent ranking of the Best Cash-Back Credit Cards in America here.
At publishing time, the JetBlue Plus, AAdvantage Platinum Select card from Citi, the United Mileage PlusExplorer card and the Gold Delta SkyMiles card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
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October 29, 2020