Chase, JetBlue

Is JetBlue a Great New Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner?

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Today, Chase added JetBlue as a 1:1 transfer partner. At first glance, this is great news. A new partner is always better than not.

But I really would have liked to have seen a better partner added, especially given the quite sad news of Korean Air and Ultimate Rewards parting ways yesterday.

The nice thing here is that of the 3 US credit card transfer programs, only Chase has both a 1:1 ratio and no fees. The Citi and Amex transfers both give less than one JetBlue point per credit card point. Amex also adds a small cash surcharge on the transfers.

So should you utilize this new partner?

If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, generally the only reason to ever transfer in is to top off an award or, potentially, transfer in to JetBlue to redeem on Hawaiian Air – which uses the specific award chart below OR if you can find a redemption on the very high end of the scale. What do I mean? JetBlue has no fixed award chart, but rather uses the dollar value of flights and then converts to TrueBlue costs – at a rate of around 1 cent a point all the way up to around 1.9 cents a point for some Mint fares. But it’s rare that I ever see a redemption over about 1.6 cents. And at that rate, I’d rather just redeem for the JetBlue through the Chase portal and also earn TrueBlue points on those flights, making the portal the better value (or just save the points for transfers to better redemption value redemption partners like Hyatt, Singapore, or Flying Blue.

If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Preferred, but no Reserve, the equation changes as you can only redeem through the portal at a value of 1.25 cents per point. In this case you may well be able to get up to 50% more value via a transfer than a portal redemption – but you’ll always need to do your math. It still won’t beat the value of other partners but, with the lower portal redemption, it could make sense for the right flights.

Here’s that Hawaiian chart.

You can do OK with this, but you’re unlikely to get outsized value. Hawaiian Air’s own chart is better, where US-Hawaii flights in first start at 40,000 one way.

Long story short, always do your math.

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