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Airline deals are coveted in the credit card business and closely watched by points junkies. The JetBlue news will make waves in a small but passionate crowd.

American Express Co., the lender that’s ending its partnership with Costco Wholesale Corp., is also parting ways with JetBlue Airways Corp., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The airline reached a new credit-card agreement with Barclays Plc and MasterCard Inc., said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the deal hasn’t been announced. New York-based AmEx, the largest credit-card issuer by purchases, has partnered with JetBlue since 2005.

Airline deals are prized by credit-card issuers because they often come with annual fees and the promise of awards for free trips can lure customers to spend more. Competition among banks and payment networks for co-brand agreements has intensified as merchants seek better terms.

AmEx said Thursday it will terminate its exclusive deal with Costco in the U.S. next year after the companies failed to renew their 16-year partnership. The warehouse-club retailer, which ended its agreement with AmEx in Canada last year, hasn’t disclosed a replacement for its U.S. stores.

The U.S. Costco business accounts for about 20 percent of AmEx’s loans and 10 percent of its cards. The lender’s contract with New York-based JetBlue expires at year-end, a person familiar with the matter said in October.

AmEx shares tumbled 9.2 percent since Thursday’s announcement that its deal with Issaquah, Washington-based Costco would end, the biggest two-day drop in more than five years.

Doug McGraw, a spokesman for JetBlue, declined to comment, as did AmEx’s Elizabeth Crosta, MasterCard’s Jim Issokson. Marc Hazelton at London-based Barclays had no immediate comment.

To contact the reporters on this story: Elizabeth Dexheimer in New York at; Mary Schlangenstein in Dallas at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Eichenbaum at Steven Crabill, Dan Reichl.

This article was written by Elizabeth Dexheimer and MARY SCHLANGENSTEIN from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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Tags: credit cards, jetblue airways, loyalty

Photo credit: An empty JetBlue waiting area at John F. Kennedy Airport. Angelo DeSantis / Flickr

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