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20K TB Points Offer from Amex. Should I?

20K TB Points Offer from Amex. Should I?

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Old Mar 18, 10, 9:34 am
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20K TB Points Offer from Amex. Should I?

In today's http://FrugalTravelGuy.com blog, Rick provides a link to an offer of 20,000 TrueBlue points for applying for (and one purchase using) a new Amex card. The non-waived annual fee is $40.

I've never flown JetBlue.

Several questions and an observation:
1. I see an uncommon number of threads in this forum about how people dislike/hate/despise JetBlue. Is it really that bad, or is that just a consequence of their changing to Sabre?
2. Can you book reward flights on their website, without using the telephone? Can you book award flights for your accompanying spouse on the website? Can you book extended-legroom award travel on the website?
3. Without a TrueBlue account number it doesn't seem possible to determine how many points a flight requires. Is there a way to make this determination? How many points from AUS to JFK or SFO?

Thank you.
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Old Mar 18, 10, 9:53 am
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Originally Posted by Middle_Seat View Post
In today's http://FrugalTravelGuy.com blog, Rick provides a link to an offer of 20,000 TrueBlue points for applying for (and one purchase using) a new Amex card. The non-waived annual fee is $40.

I've never flown JetBlue.

Several questions and an observation:

1. I see an uncommon number of threads in this forum about how people dislike/hate/despise JetBlue. Is it really that bad, NO! It's just people with bad attitudes and unrealistic expectations.

2. Can you book reward flights on their website, YES!
Can you book award flights for your accompanying spouse on the website? YES!
Can you book extended-legroom award travel on the website? YES!

3. Without a TrueBlue account number it doesn't seem possible to determine how many points a flight requires. Is there a way to make this determination? How many points from AUS to JFK or SFO? YES! Anyone can do that. Go to jetblue.com and on the reservation page there is a box on the bottom that asks if you want to fly on points. Each flight has a different value, it is not like other airlines which offer a flight for X miles.

Thank you.

Last edited by Long Distance; Mar 18, 10 at 9:54 am Reason: typo
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Old Mar 18, 10, 10:32 am
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Originally Posted by Middle_Seat View Post
3. Without a TrueBlue account number it doesn't seem possible to determine how many points a flight requires. Is there a way to make this determination? How many points from AUS to JFK or SFO?

Thank you.
The points are worth between .75 and 1.25 cents each roughly, depending on the price of the seat you're trying to redeem for (more expensive seats value the points lower). So a $100 ticket will be in the 10,000 point range, plus or minus a bit.

The carrier is pretty solid overall though they struggle with IRROPs just like most legacy carriers, possibly even worse than CO, which is saying something. To get great value out of the program as a passenger you really have to commit to flying a lot. For infrequent customers it isn't the best at all.
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Old Mar 18, 10, 10:34 am
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Thank you, Long Distance and sbm12!

When I try the procedure for booking using points (to see how many points will be needed), using Firefox or Chrome and arbitrary dates from AUS to JFK or SFO (e.g., the 21st of any month), I always get this message:
Oops! Try again.
It looks like you're experiencing technical issues. Please click "Search Again" to refresh the page.
When I click 'Search Again', the "Points" option disappears. Perhaps the B6 site has not found a cookie on my computer that indicates a FF account number?

I will use sbm12's figure of roughly 1 cent per point to determine the approx points cost for travel, to see if applying for this new credit card is worthwhile.

UPDATE: The website may be having general problems, as it won't show me purchased-fare prices either.

Last edited by Middle_Seat; Mar 18, 10 at 10:42 am
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Old Mar 23, 10, 1:03 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
The points are worth between .75 and 1.25 cents each roughly, depending on the price of the seat you're trying to redeem for (more expensive seats value the points lower). So a $100 ticket will be in the 10,000 point range, plus or minus a bit.
I am curious about how these estimates were determined. Yesterday I looked at some lowest fare tickets on three different routes and found roughly a $.013/point conversion factor.

Using the data from this morning's two day sale promo I was able to create a spreadsheet to compare fare/point conversions in many markets and compile this chart:
Code:
Fare Points <= $64 5,000 $ 69 5,200 $ 74 5,500 $ 79 5,900 $ 89 6,600 $ 99 7,400 $109 8,100 $119 8,900 $129 9,600 $139 10,030 $149 11,110
For all fares from $69 to $149, the conversion factor ranges from $0.013269 to $0.134951 (rounded).

I'm about to make a purchase that I need to split between a Costco 1% "cash" payback (annual payout date is nearly a year away) and perhaps the JetBlue Amex. I'm trying to decide how much to allocate to each card. A more-or-less instant 30% return in the form of JetBlue "funds" versus "cash" has at least some appeal.

Of course the above is all for the lowest fare bucket. I've not yet looked at what happens with higher fare buckets. Who has more data to share? Any other thoughts? (I have a few other observations but I'll post those separately; this is long enough for now.)

Last edited by ftnoob; Mar 23, 10 at 1:29 pm Reason: Update for spreadsheet error at two highest points level
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Old Mar 23, 10, 1:14 pm
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Originally Posted by ftnoob View Post
I am curious about how these estimates were determined. Yesterday I looked at some lowest fare tickets on three different routes and found roughly a $.013/point conversion factor.
It may have shifted a bit - and in the correct direction - but at the release of the program these were some numbers that were found:



Originally Posted by bmg42000 View Post
Here are some sample point values .

5900 points will get me JFK-PIT in January (fare is 79$)
6300 points for JFK - Pit in August (84$ fare) .
14400 points for JFK - Las on May 27th (179$ fare)
47000 point for JFK - PBI DEC 26th (449$ fare)
Originally Posted by nerd View Post
Points seem to be worth the most on cheap fares. An unscientific survey of fare vs. corresponding point value (in cents per point):

$84 1.33
$179 1.25
$179 1.35
$219 1.25
$254 1.05
$254 1.15
$297 1.05
$357 0.95
$449 0.96
$475 1.05
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Old Mar 23, 10, 2:02 pm
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Thanks for those links, sbm12! I missed those posts in my 3-4 hours of catching up reading yesterday and today.

One thing I'd "left for later" in my previous post was factoring the "cost" of not earning points for a paid flight. Using points for a $69 fare costs a total of 5,614 points (5,200 + (6 * 69)). On a $149 fare the total cost is (11,100 + (6 * 149)) for a total of 11,994 points. That brings the conversion factor range down, with a new low of $0.012291 and a new high of $0.012484. The high to low variation appears to be a result of always using a round figure for number of points required.

I've not seen an official chart from B6, which suggests several considerations:
  • More expensive fare buckets (as opposed to just higher fares in the lowest bucket) may have different conversion factors. nerd's finding of two different exchange factors for two different $179 fares suggests this is indeed the case.
  • The conversion factor could be pretty fluid; it may end up fluctuating seasonally or it may drift lower over time as a steady erosion of value, to mention two possibilities.
From what I can tell there does not appear to have been a shift from the previously posted examples ($79 = 5900 is unchanged, and interpolation suggests $84 is also unchanged). I'm going to speculate that additional research could conclusively show the program is structured to impose a penalty on using points instead of cash on crowded flights (i.e., ones with no seats in the lower/lowest fare buckets).

In any event, I think it would be worth recreating the chart above from time to time to watch for changes in the conversion factor.
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Old May 31, 10, 4:37 pm
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How long to post?

Does anyone remember how long it took their 20k Trueblue points to post from the JetBlue Amex signup offer? I applied and got the Amex. I have also made my first purchase, and that statement has closed, but the payment date for that statement has not yet occurred. I'm waiting for the points to book a set of Labor Day flights and am anxiously watching the rates go up (a busy weekend obviously). I remember that the 20k bonus was for the first purchase but it seems like they're not in a rush to award the points. I may have to wait until the next statement. If anyone remembers when their points posted, I would love to hear about it. Thanks!
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Old Jun 1, 10, 1:11 am
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Originally Posted by bluto View Post
Does anyone remember how long it took their 20k Trueblue points to post from the JetBlue Amex signup offer? I applied and got the Amex. I have also made my first purchase, and that statement has closed, but the payment date for that statement has not yet occurred. I'm waiting for the points to book a set of Labor Day flights and am anxiously watching the rates go up (a busy weekend obviously). I remember that the 20k bonus was for the first purchase but it seems like they're not in a rush to award the points. I may have to wait until the next statement. If anyone remembers when their points posted, I would love to hear about it. Thanks!
It typically takes at least three billing cycles before you see your points in your TrueBlue account. When I got my card in 2006 it was about 2-3 cycles, my dad just got the cards and he just got his points after three cycles. It does take a little while, but once the points begin showing up, you sill see them every month a day or two after your statement closes and recycles.
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Old Jun 1, 10, 7:38 am
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Thanks

Thanks for the info. I also noticed that the fine print says "TrueBlue Points will be awarded to primary Cardmembers 6-8 weeks after the first purchase on the JetBlue Card from American Express." Just passing it along to anyone else waiting like me.
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