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Travelers looking to earn rewards flights and other travel perks have a lot of options when it comes to airline rewards cards.
Airline credit cards have some of the best perks and bonuses available to frequent travelers. These cards typically earn points or miles on everyday purchases. Once you’ve accumulated enough, you can redeem them for rewards flights, seat upgrades and other travel perks.
Frequent JetBlue travelers have not one, but two airline credit card options to consider. JetBlue Card (This offer is no longer available on our site) offers no annual fee, but if you want to rack up Award Flights faster, paying the $99 annual fee for JetBlue Plus Card is the way to go.
Both cards earn extra points for every dollar spent on JetBlue purchases and at restaurants and grocery stores, and both offer perks associated with JetBlue-operated flights.
Still, some key differences separate these sibling cards. Let’s take a look at the basics for each card, then discuss why we believe JetBlue Plus Card’s extra perks more than make up for the annual fee.
At a glance: JetBlue Card vs. JetBlue Plus Card
|JetBlue Card||JetBlue Plus Card|
|Sign-up bonus||10,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on qualifying purchases within 90 days of account opening||30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on qualifying purchases within 90 days of account opening|
|Rewards||3 points per $1 spent on JetBlue purchases, 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants and grocery stores, 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases||6 points per $1 spent on JetBlue purchases, 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants and grocery stores, 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases|
|Point value||Points required for an Award Flight varies by destination and is tied to current fares||Points required for an Award Flight varies by destination and is tied to current fares|
|Variable APR for purchases and balance transfers||12.99 percent, 20.99 percent or 25.99 percent||12.99 percent, 20.99 percent or 25.99 percent|
|Introductory APR for balance transfers||0 percent intro for 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening||0 percent intro for 12 Billing Cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening|
|Foreign transaction fees||None||None|
|Other benefits||50 percent off eligible in-flight cocktail and food purchases on JetBlue||
50 percent off eligible in-flight cocktail and food purchases on JetBlue
Free first checked bag for you and up to 3 companions on the same JetBlue reservation
Earn 5,000 bonus points annually after your account anniversary
10 percent of points back every time you redeem
Annual $100 statement credit after you purchase a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more
- The winner: Why we prefer JetBlue Plus Card
- Counterpoint: Why you might want JetBlue Card instead
- Heads up: What to consider when applying for a JetBlue credit card
- Bottom line: Is JetBlue Plus Card right for you?
When comparing two travel rewards cards, it makes sense to start with the sign-up bonus. With JetBlue Card, you’ll get 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
JetBlue Plus Card triples that bonus, offering 30,000 bonus points after spending the same amount in the same timeframe.
But how much is that worth in dollars? It’s hard to say, as the amount of points required for an Award Flight varies based on current fares. When fares are lower, so is the point total needed for an Award Flight.See why JetBlue’s TrueBlue program made our list of the best airline rewards programs
Typically, JetBlue’s TrueBlue points are worth about 1.4 to 1.5 cents each. Let’s look at a couple of recent fares* we found on flights out of New York City:
- A one-way flight from New York City (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX) starts at $179, or 12,200 points. In this example, points are valued at about 1.47 cents.
- A one-way flight from New York City (JFK) to Dallas (DFW) starts at $214, or 14,300 points. In this example, points are valued at about 1.50 cents.
*Fares are for basic Blue-level flights. Upgrading to Blue Plus, Blue Flex or Mint fares may reduce the redemption value of your points.
The actual fares you find may vary, but if you consider an average point value of about 1.45 cents, the 10,000 sign-up bonus from the JetBlue Card is worth about $145 while the 30,000 sign-up bonus from the JetBlue Plus Card is worth about $435. That’s a difference of almost $300!
Based on the sign-up bonus alone, JetBlue Plus Card is the clear winner. But that’s not the only way it comes out ahead. JetBlue Plus Card cardholders also receive:
- Twice as many points on all JetBlue purchases. Six points per dollar spent versus three points per dollar spent with JetBlue Card.
- Free first checked bag. At $25 per checked bag for basic Blue fare options, just four free checked bags per year make up for the card’s $99 annual fee. What’s more, you’ll get free checked bags for up to three friends traveling on the same reservation, which can add up to a $100 value per trip.
- 5,000 bonus points annually on your account anniversary. Given the above point valuations, that’s a value of about $73.
- 10 percent points bonus every time you redeem.
- $100 statement credit when you purchase a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more with your JetBlue Plus Card.
- TrueBlue Mosaic benefits for one year. When you spend $50,000 or more on purchases with your JetBlue Plus Card in a calendar year, you’ll receive the benefits of JetBlue’s TrueBlue Mosaic program for one year. Those benefits include additional free checked bags, expedited security lines, early boarding and complimentary onboard alcoholic beverages, among other perks.
Eric Roberge, a Certified Financial Planner™ and founder of the financial planning firm Beyond Your Hammock, just finished comparing the two for his own credit card decision. He ended up choosing JetBlue Plus Card for its more rewarding point system.
“I’m pretty loyal to JetBlue when flying, and groceries and restaurants are the two categories I already spend most of my money on, so it was a perfect fit,” Roberge says.
Both JetBlue cards offer few perks beyond travel with JetBlue. Although you can use TrueBlue points to contribute to charitable causes, subscribe to magazines and newspapers, and bid on unique memorabilia and experiences in the TrueBlue Shop, the real value comes from redeeming points for JetBlue Award Flights.
If you only fly JetBlue occasionally, then JetBlue Card is probably enough for you. You can still receive the 10,000 point sign-up bonus if you meet the minimum spend, plus you’ll earn points on JetBlue purchases, restaurants and grocery stores, and everyday spending.
If you don’t think you’ll earn enough in additional rewards to make JetBlue Plus Card’s $99 annual fee worth it, stick with the more basic JetBlue Card. You’ll still receive pretty generous rewards and perks for a card with a $0 annual fee.
JetBlue Card and JetBlue Plus Card are both great choices for anyone who wants to fly on JetBlue. Whichever JetBlue credit card you choose, you’ll enjoy these great perks:
- Two points per dollar spent at restaurants and grocery stores
- No blackout dates
- Points that don’t expire
- No foreign transaction fees
- 50 percent off eligible in-flight food and cocktail purchases
- A 0 percent introductory APR offer on balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles following each transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of opening your account (the variable APR then jumps to 12.99 percent, 20.99 percent or 25.99 percent for both cards)
But even with all those perks, you may be better off keeping another card in your wallet for your everyday spending.
For instance, the Citi® Double Cash Card offers 1 percent cash back when you make a purchase and an additional 1 percent cash back when you pay for that purchase, all with a $0 annual fee. That’s a higher rate of return than you’ll get for everyday, non-bonus purchases with either JetBlue card.
Roberge also recommends signing up for JetBlue’s TrueBlue rewards program before you apply for a JetBlue credit card. He credits his enrollment in the program for the special promotional offer he received, which gave him 40,000 points as a sign-up bonus with JetBlue Plus Card instead of 30,000 points.
We can’t confirm the cause-and-effect there (and the 40,000-point offer is not currently available online), but signing up for the rewards program before applying for the card can’t hurt.
JetBlue Plus Card is an excellent travel rewards card for anyone who regularly flies with JetBlue.
You can easily make up for the initial $99 annual fee by qualifying for the sign-up bonus. And perks like the annual 5,000-point bonus, waived check bag fees, statement credits and in-flight refreshments discounts mean that this card should still offer plenty of value in subsequent years. If you’re a frequent JetBlue flyer, it’s a no-brainer.
If you don’t travel frequently on JetBlue, you may want to consider a more general travel rewards card like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®. Cards like these typically let you redeem points or miles for travel spending with virtually any airline, hotel, car rental agency or cruise line.
At a glance: Other airline rewards cards to consider
|United MileagePlus® Explorer Card||40,000 bonus miles when you spend 2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening|
|Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card||30,000 bonus miles when you spend 1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening|
|Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express||Earn 30,000 bonus miles when you spend 1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening|
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