Skift Take

The points' match from JetBlue shows the extent to which the airline will go to compete with Virgin America, its soon-to-be-stronger adversary.

JetBlue and Virgin America have been sparring over customers ever since JetBlue failed to acquire its rival earlier this year.

The skirmish started with JetBlue using free flights to woo disaffected Virgin America customers unhappy with its acquisition by Alaska. In return, Virgin America offered to match the elite status of any JetBlue TrueBlue member in Virgin America’s Elevate program.

JetBlue then matched that deal.

JetBlue’s latest offer, announced on Friday, raises the stakes. In a campaign called #goforthwithjetblue, the carrier is offering to match the balance of points from Elevate in TrueBlue accounts, in many cases, rounding up the mileage. The blog Point me to the Plane, which was one of the first to report on program, called the deal “pretty awesome,” while View From the Wing (VFTW) suggested it was the “deal of the year.”

Current Virgin America Elevate Points JetBlue TrueBlue Points Match
500 – 5,000 5,000
5,001 – 10,000 10,000
10,001 – 30,000 30,000
30,001 – 50,000 50,000
50,001 and up 75,000

Source: JetBlue

JetBlue will match the Virgin America program with TrueBlue points on a tiered basis with the highest incentive going to those who match 50,001 or more miles; those members can get up to 24,999 bonus points based on the program’s rounding.

JetBlue runs a revenue-based program for redeeming its TrueBlue points, pinning each point to be worth approximately 1.4 cents of flight credit (or 1.7 cents in Mint, according to One Mile at a Time). By that formula, JetBlue is effectively giving away $1,275 in airline credit to some passengers.

The generous incentives have propelled some to transfer points into their Elevate accounts specifically in order to take advantage of the program. One commenter on VFTW planned to transfer points from several credit card loyalty programs into the Elevate program just to make ends meet.

Indeed, JetBlue appears to have struck a chord among frequent flyers, giving both Virgin America frequent flyers and the general points community a strong incentive to try the carrier. And though the promotion may attract as many points hackers as it does Virgin America members, it’s a strong indication of how committed JetBlue is to building up its loyalty program base — and competing against the new Virgin America.

To be eligible for the promotions, Elevate program members need only to send a screenshot of their program balances by July 4 and take a round trip flight on JetBlue before August 31. Full details are available on a JetBlue landing page.


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Tags: frequent flyer miles, jetblue airways, loyalty, virgin america

Photo credit: JetBlue announced a TrueBlue program to match the points of Virgin America customers. Pictured are JetBlue customers flying in Mint class. JetBlue

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