Last month, I had the opportunity to fly JetBlue Mint from NYC to SF. Here are a few ways to book the JetBlue Mint experience for "free."
Before we get started, check the map below to see if JetBlue Mint is available in your city.
The main reason why I wanted to try Mint is that it's the best domestic business class available — it's the closest experience to international first class. I'll be using NYC to SF as an example in this post.
How much does JetBlue Mint cost?
Looking at flights one or two weeks out from NYC to SF, the cash rate is $600-1,200.
The funny thing is, even if you look six months in advance, the lowest rate is $659, which is more expensive than the $609 last minute rate. If you look 2-3 months out, it's also more expensive than a last minute ticket.
On the right-side menu, you can "Select Fare" for TrueBlue points to see the points rate. The lowest points fare is 46,100 points + $5.60 taxes/fees.
If you already have a stockpile of TrueBlue points, this is a good redemption option. Here's the breakdown:
- 12,300 TrueBlue points per way for SFO/JFK via Economy
- 46,100 TrueBlue points per way for SFO/JFK via Mint
- 46,100/12,300 = 3.75 Economy flights
Economy = $180 per way
Mint = $609 per way
Value lost via Mint:
= Economy flights value - Mint flight value
= $180 * 3.75 - $609
= $66 "lost"
Economy = 1.46 cents per point
Mint = 1.32 cents per point
By flying Mint class, you're only spending $66 extra in value, which is worth it in my opinion.
JetBlue Plus MasterCard
One thing you can do if you don't have the points readily available is to apply for the JetBlue Plus MasterCard. The normal offer is 30,000 points, and there's currently an increased offer of 40,000 points after $1,000 in spend within the first three months. We don't have an affiliate link for the offer, but we do want you to get the best offer out there. Apply for the increased public offer here.
Depending on how you meet minimum spend for the card, you might be able to earn the full 46,000 points needed to book Mint class because you can earn 6X on JetBlue purchases, and 2X points at restaurants and grocery stores.
Who should apply for this card?
You should apply for this card if you are over Chase 5/24 because there are Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve that can offer more value. You can book the Mint flight directly on the Chase Travel Portal.
Booking with points
Chase Ultimate Rewards
JetBlue is not a transfer partner, so you can't transfer Ultimate Rewards Points out for more value. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you're getting 1.25x on travel, meaning you'll have to spend 48,720 points to book the Mint flight.
Booking the flight with the Chase Sapphire Preferred is not optimal because it's too similar to the statement credit redemption value. Also, you would spend the majority of the signup bonus on a one-way flight.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve redeems points at 1.5x on travel, so you'll need 40,600 points for Mint flight. If your goal is to get 1.5 cents per point, then this is a good value.
Citi ThankYou Points
The Citi ThankYou Points transfer at a rate of 1,000 TY points to 800 TrueBlue points. This works for the Citi ThankYou Premier or the Citi Prestige cards.
You will need to transfer out 58,000 TY points to JetBlue to book the flight with points. To me, this is not worth it.
Instead, I would wait for a Citi Transfer Partners Promotion for a higher redemption value. 1,000 TY points become 1,250 TrueBlue points (promo based on historical promotion rates, future ones may vary), making the flight 38,720 TY points.
With the Citi Prestige, you can redeem flights for 1.25x, making the Mint flight 48,720 points.
Again, I would wait until a Transfer Partner Promotion before transferring points for flights.
Amex Membership Rewards Points
If you have an American Express card that earns MR points, including the Amex Everyday card, then you can use transfer partners.
By using Amex Transfer Partners, you can transfer 1,000 MR points to 800 TrueBlue points, meaning you'll need 57,625 points to book a flight. Not worthwhile in my opinion.
However, if you wait for a transfer partner promotion, you can transfer points at a 1:1 rate.
If you have the Amex Business Platinum card, you can get a 35% rebate on your flights. This means you can get 1.5 cents per point, which is a good redemption value. If you applied for the Business Platinum before June 2017, then you get a 50% rebate, which is the best redemption value.
The Amex Business Platinum with the 50% rebate is a no-brainer redemption for me. The runner up is using Citi ThankYou Points when there is a transfer partner promotion.
If you don't have any points yet, then the JetBlue Plus MasterCard with a 40,000 signup bonus is a good option to earn a "free" flight.