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This week JetBlue announced it is adding first class seating for the very first time on its routes from JFK to Los Angeles and San Francisco starting next June.
It’s called Mint, features full flat bed seats, and every other row has sliding privacy doors for the ultimate in exclusivity. They’re pricing it aggressively at just $499-$599 each way for non-refundable tickets and $999 for refundable tickets.
While JetBlue isn’t allowing any upgrades of coach tickets to the new Mint service, you actually can use your JetBlue True Blue points to buy a seat.
And contrary to what you might think, they aren’t gouging you for it. Right now it costs just 29,100 points to buy a one-way Mint ticket with your JetBlue TrueBlue points. That compares to a $499 one way fare, with a decent 1.7 cent per mile value for the ticket.
Now that $499 fare won’t last long. They are increasing it to $599 after an introductory period. But even then it will cost under 35,000 points for a seat assuming they keep the 1.7 cent per mile conversion rate.
That’s fewer points than Delta SkyMiles charges for this route – seats with them are usually 80,000 or more miles roundtrip.
But it’s more than United charges, with many flights available for 25,000 miles each way (50,000 miles roundtrip).
And American usually charges similar mileage as United, but for the last few months American has almost completely locked out award availability on its JFK-LAX/SFO flights in 2014 as it rolls out new upgraded planes. So you can’t find a seat for fewer than the peak rate of 100,000 miles roundtrip.
Virgin America charges 75,000 points roundtrip if you redeem from a Virgin Atlantic account. More if you redeem from a Virgin America account.
So JetBlue’s new Mint service isn’t just priced aggressively in cash. It’s a really good deal with points too, especially given it could end up being the highest quality product in the skies.
If you don’t have a lot of JetBlue points you can transfer from American Express Membership Rewards at any time instantly. Every 250 Amex points = 200 JetBlue points so you lose 20% in the process, but it’s still a decent deal to give this service a try while it’s still reasonably priced.
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