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Leaving JetBlue and TrueBlue: value is HALF of what old TrueBlue program was! (Proof)

Leaving JetBlue and TrueBlue: value is HALF of what old TrueBlue program was! (Proof)

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Old Mar 30, 10, 4:42 pm
  #1  
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Leaving JetBlue and TrueBlue: value is HALF of what old TrueBlue program was! (Proof)

Before I explain this, a brief background on me: I have loved JetBlue from day one and have been a regular flyer of the Airline for the better part of 8 years. I fly them on average 14 times a year, that is 14 roundtrips or 28 legs a year. I fly for business mostly with some personal mixed in and I frequent California, Las Vegas, Florida, Phoenix & Denver regularly but have also gone to several Caribbean destinations with the airline. I know every snack by name and brand I've been loyal. I also bought the All You Can Jet Ticket last year. In short, when they fly the route I am taking, I always fly on "the Blue" making me a pretty idyllic customer who spends a lot of money each year on the airline.

I am also new to Flyertalk, registered today at the suggestion of a friend who is a employee in the industry.

When JetBlue started really growing and got a new CEO, I noticed the changes like any frequent traveler would: higher average fares (I remember back when JetBlue was usually the cheapest option), charging for extra leg room, refundable tickets, aggressive route expansion, degraded quality of inflight service, etc. I was fine with it and recognized that JetBlue was going from being "special" to just becoming another airline. I chalked it up to a necessary business move and continued to fly the airline as much as ever. With the recent change of the True Blue program, I was interested, but skeptical as it seemed like I might benefit, because sometimes fares were astronomical these days on JetBlue and I figured I would reap added value in points.

So here's the rub. The new True Blue Program sucks. And it sucks bad and I'm going to lay it out and I challenge anyone to refute it.

I think its too new for people to really know it yet, but as a frequent flyer on JetBlue, I see it now and its plane (plain) as day that this thing is going to hurt their business because if it is causing ME to change airlines and stop using JetBlue, then it will certainly crush the infrequent user who sees significantly less benefit to flying JetBlue than I do and simply opts for another carrier where the path to a free ticket is easier and more clear cut. I am preparing a spreadsheet because I want to spell out to JetBlue's management team why I am leaving but for now, here is the quick math.

Under the old True Blue program, you got to 100 points and bam, free roundtrip ticket. Long haul flights were worth more points and short haul and JetBlue had a cool little picture that showed you your progress. Brilliant and simple. My trips racked those up and I enjoyed building the inventory of free flights up so I could fly my family for free from time to time. I didn't care that they expired in a year...I used them up!

Forget that the new True Blue program is convoluted, its designed to be. If it wasn't then the value you extract as a regular user would be much more clear and people would throw a fit. Make it unclear and people can't really make an argument to complain. Im not saying they were that devious when putting the program together, but why not just equate the program to dollars or miles, two things we all understand? It's like those point systems on the Xbox and Wii Video Game consoles: $1 equals 800 points? What? It feels like Monopoly Money. TrueBlue is set up the same way. And those "big bonus" additions of huge points? Who cares? The amount of points necessary to book flights is so high and so ridiculous that your GO BIG BONUSES are a joke! They don't matter one bit. They advertise "free flights start at 5000 points. Well, guess what. That is for one way trips from JFK to Syracuse when you are up in the air for 38 minutes. Here is a piece of a personal example of mine:

I have flown JetBlue 8 times since November 1 for 16 individual legs. Destinations include the following locations, all initiated at JFK.
Denver, San Francisco, Long Beach, Salt Lake City, & Las Vegas. Some destinations were flown more than once and there was a Florida trip in there as well. The amount of flying I have done would have alotted me roughly two roundtrip tickets under the previous program when you include their old online booking bonuses and the point value long haul of flights. So how many points do I have now? 29,000 because of some Go Big bonuses including some worth 4,000 points. Sounds great, but let me show you some random checks of point values for a handful of destinations to illustrate what a joke the new system is. You do the same thing and see what you come up with.

Based on Checks I did Today: Random Dates Selected
New York to San Diego: Average Points for Roundtrip Needed 32,000!
New York to Salt Lake City: Average Points for Roundtrip Needed 28,000
How about Denver? That is closer! 26,000
And Syracuse? I checked it and its 6,300 points to go there, each way! For a total of 12,600 points. I guess I could fly the Mrs. to Syracuse.

So I don't have enough yet for San Diego, but I can get to Denver or Salt Lake if I am really flexible with the dates. Yes, you have to be crazy flexible too because they have many one way flights that are 23,000+. Sure you can use the new points anytime but who is going to get 50,000+ points anytime soon if it took me 6 months to get to 30 and I LIVE on those planes!

By my calculations, the program offers flyers 40% to 50% less of what the old True Blue system did. I understand some degradation given the need to compete, but this is enough of a punch in the gut that I am signing off of JetBlue after my currently booked flights are taken. I am actively looking for the best alternative airline. It might mean going to Delta. Might be someone else. I don't look forward to making the change but I need to so that I can ensure the most benefit from my frequent travel.

Bottom line is I'm out. See ya later TrueBlue and JetBlue I will miss you. I will also miss T5. Has been a great place to arrive early before a flight. I don't want to go to Delta, but they do have inflight Wifi now which is pretty good and at least their reward program is clear.

Last edited by sbm12; Mar 31, 10 at 6:34 am
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Old Mar 31, 10, 6:47 am
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Originally Posted by HandSolo View Post
I always fly on "the Blue" making me a pretty idyllic customer who spends a lot of money each year on the airline.
Are you actually spending a "lot of money" or just flying a lot? The new program is very much designed to reward the latter, not the former type of customer.

Originally Posted by HandSolo View Post
but why not just equate the program to dollars or miles, two things we all understand?
They did. Points are earned at a very specific rate per dollar spent and are redeemed within a pretty tight range. Most of the bonuses available are based on dollar spend as well.


Originally Posted by HandSolo View Post
but who is going to get 50,000+ points anytime soon if it took me 6 months to get to 30 and I LIVE on those planes!
People who spend more money on their tickets, people who fly more true transcons or people who simply fly more than you. I hate to break it to you, but 16 segments since November 1 actually isn't a ton of flying. Yes, it is a lot - way more than the vast majority of the public would ever do - but there are a good number of folks who fly way more than that. I've personally flown over 50 segments in that same time-frame. I'd actually say that earning 29K points that fast is pretty good.

Originally Posted by HandSolo View Post
By my calculations, the program offers flyers 40% to 50% less of what the old True Blue system did.
It has lowered the value for customers who are always buying the lowest fares. For the folks who have to book last-minute or higher fare seats - particularly on shorter flights - the value has increased dramatically. Under the old program a one-way JFK-LGB purchased for $109 three months out was worth 3x the TB points that a walk-up JFK-BOS ticket for $300+ was worth. Great for the customers who can plan ahead but not necessarily "fair" or really encouraging to the folks the airline actually wants to attract and reward.

Originally Posted by HandSolo View Post
Bottom line is I'm out. See ya later TrueBlue and JetBlue I will miss you. I will also miss T5. Has been a great place to arrive early before a flight. I don't want to go to Delta, but they do have inflight Wifi now which is pretty good and at least their reward program is clear.
Yes, the SkyMiles program is clear. As mud. Just wait until you accrue your first 25K points and go to redeem for a domestic flight to discover that they are really more than that. Or you discover that the 100K points you thought were enough for a ticket to Europe in Biz are really a third of what you need for that reward.

I actually think that jetBlue's TB2 program is - along with Rapid Rewards - the most clear about exactly what you earn and what the redemption costs are of the loyalty programs in the USA. That doesn't mean it is the right program for you - it isn't for me either generally speaking - but that also doesn't mean that it is bad, confusing or misleading, at least not IMO.
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Old Mar 31, 10, 6:48 am
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Um, have you looked at the DL forum? Not a day goes by when people don't complain about not being able to find any award availability on DL or having seats only available at ridiculously high redemption levels. jetBlue's new programme rewards more money coming into jetBlue which is what a loyalty programme is supposed to do--generate more income. Redemption under the old true blue programme was not easy in the last couple of years and now with new partners coming on line, jetBlue/True Blue will only get stronger.
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Old Mar 31, 10, 11:34 am
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I agree with the OP. I don't fly nearly as much as they do, but I enjoyed the old program. You got 100 points and you got a free flight anywhere JetBlue flew. If you have the JetBlue Amex card then every $200 = 1 point. Now in the new program you earn your points based on how much you paid for your ticket, not just using the airline.

Last year I flew from JFK to Aruba with my girlfriend and earned 24 points (6 points each way and that was doubled because I booked online) I also received a $320 credit because whenever I saw my flight had decreased in price I called up and got a credit. With this new program I feel like I'm being penalized for trying to find the cheapest flight. I won't get as many reward points because I'm not spending as much money on the flight. I originally liked the program because I felt more rewarded for using JB compared to other airlines and the entire program was easy to understand. With this new program it just doesn't seem worth it to me and I'm debating whether or not to keep my Jet Blue Amex because the value just isnt the same.

Though with this announcement of a partnership between JetBlue and American, maybe things will change a little.
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Old Mar 31, 10, 7:39 pm
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Redeemable points are worth about $0.01. Since you get 6 points for each dollar spend, your "return" is 6% (even better when factoring bonus points). I think that is excellent.

Example:

4/3 B6 #635, $182 or 13,500 points. Value: $0.01348/point.

Last edited by Dieuwer; Mar 31, 10 at 7:46 pm
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Old Apr 1, 10, 12:23 pm
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I have been using TB through my B6 Amex since 2006 and as a leisure passenger have enjoyed 4 free r/t under the old program. For me I found the program to be a raging success, I would book my flights several months out and achieve low fares upon search. However, I experienced in July of 2009 why the new program is maybe a little bit more "fair" as SMB12 noted. I had to make an emergency flight and paid full fare and only received the standard points for my flight as if I paid a quarter of the price. I didn't complain, I earned my fourth set of truepasses and flew free in Feb of this year.

So far I am building my points up I didn't fly too frequently before, though now I am attending school on the West coast so that is going to change, it appears as though I should get some use out of the points for memorial day. I remember when many people were disappointed with TB1 and I didn't want a change, but now with TB2 I wasn't crushed. I understand why the airline is making this move.

Also, in regards to the free WiFi on Delta, BetaBlue was introduced, what two years ago? I understand that there were some early glitches, totally acceptable, but why after two years is BetaBlue the only a/c with WiFi? My friends flew from JFK-SEA on Delta (737-800) and they had free WiFi and TV. So I thought jetBlue was pioneering the way for WiFi and now, sadly, they are way behind. I wish there was WiFi, when, oh when jetBlue?

I still pretty exclusively fly jetBlue, they are cheaper a fair amount of the time. With TB2, if they are more expensive at least I get points for it! I hope that jetBlue continues to surge forward and not fall into the mundane flying experience that almost everyone else offers.
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Old Apr 1, 10, 2:26 pm
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There was some discussion a few weeks ago about B6 offering a version of elite status past a certain TB point threshold - free upgrades to EML, dedicated/priority phone support, complimentary alcoholic drinks, etc.

I think that would go a long way towards closing the perceived value gap.

Oh yea, and WiFi would of course kick .... WN is going to deploy it across their fleet by end of year. I'm much more loyal to B6 than WN these days, but that service offering could tip the scales a bit in favor of WN.
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Old Apr 1, 10, 3:48 pm
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A frequent flyer program is supposed to create consumer loyalty. TB2 does not do that for the majority of travelers.
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Old Apr 1, 10, 6:28 pm
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TB2 loyalty

I think they need to get the current system up and running better (aka no need to send a message to get the points posted ) and then head on to increase the value of TB2. I agree the offering EML upgrades (if available) to the very loyal customers (those who are in the top 10%) would be nice. Call the 'Professional Jetters ' or something like that . If WN can do it then so can B6 . Of course they need to limit this so that you do not have the situation as on other airlines in which 1/2 the flyers are elite . They can also do priority boarding / priority security if desired for the next tier ) . Finally the can create a Jetblue gold (or even orange to match the plane) credit care so one can buy these elite features (like on DL/CO) . But first they need to get the systems up and reliable and get rid of the 30 minute wait for a res agent when their is bad weather. Fix the reliability issues and then add elite processing .
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Old Apr 1, 10, 7:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Long Distance View Post
A frequent flyer program is supposed to create consumer loyalty. TB2 does not do that for the majority of travelers.
Create or reward?

It can go either way and I think that rewarding it is really what the airlines would prefer to do. Remember that loyalty is about more than just time spent with the partner; there is a value proposition to both the consumer and the company that has to be met to make things work out in the long run.

Folks who spend a lot of time AND money are well rewarded. Folks who spend a lot of either one are slightly rewarded. Folks who only spend a little aren't rewarded much at all.

The program already has "tiers" of a sort with the Go Big and Go Long bonuses. There are rewards there for the most frequent passengers and the ones who spend the most. We can debate if they are enough of an incentive, but there is something very tangible in play.
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Old Apr 1, 10, 7:36 pm
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Solo,

The old program was advantageous for you. That was a good thing for you.

For me it was not. I fly 2 or 3 times per year and risked losing awards. Then I signed up for the B6 AMEX and spend my paycheck using AMEX. I repay the balance in full. I get awards and have to plan accordingly so I still would risk losing awards.

Under the new TB2 I get to continue spending my Paycheck using my AMEX and at 20,000 points I get what is the equivalent of an old TB value or better, and I get to keep it so long as I use my AMEX TB B6 card.

For me and my family the new TB2 program is a win win situation!

Sorry for your loss. But I totally disagree with your opinion.

TB2 Rocks!

PS Now I don't have to worry about blowing an award on a short hop such as JFK to Boston, or JFK to Buffalo.
I can cash in my TB points and not sweat the small stuff.

Last edited by billymach4; Apr 1, 10 at 7:46 pm
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Old Apr 5, 10, 12:06 am
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I couldn't agree with HandSolo more. Everything they said is exactly what I have been saying since this new program was initiated.I despise the new True Blue program. The old program was so much simpler to earn a reward flight for me.Why should I be penalized for being a good consumer who does not want to pay top dollar to fly.Yes,I have had to travel last minute and the flights did cost a lot more than I would usually pay, but I never felt beat out of points under the old system.The new system is great for the traveler who is not cost conscious.It is also good for that last minute business trip or emergency. The hold times to speak with a True Blue agent are ridiculous and redeeming old points is now like a job. The agents seem quite overwhelmed by the new system (as several have stated to me)and forget about trying to get points that are owed to you processed since they are so backlogged with requests(I was told that this evening).Using the speak up on their website gets you an automated response that they are also backlogged and it will take longer than usual for a reply.I have flown Jet Blue since day 1. I was at the run through of T5,I was excited to be a part of it.I am a Jet Blue amex cardholder. I belong to the Jet Views Forum from Jet Blue and the way they packaged the new True Blue is not what it ended up being.I loved flying Jet Blue. I am glad that the new program has found its fans and I respect other views,but for me the new True Blue is a failure.
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Old Apr 8, 10, 7:18 pm
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i have the jetblue AMex card for the past 3 years. love the card. the first year we had 4 free flights, this year we have 5 free flights to Vegas. BUT with this new jetblue program i won't have a free flight until next year. i always get my points from using the AMEX card for dining, movies, and theater tickets so all points are doubled. i very rarely pay for a plane ticket, so this new program is not working very well for me. if i get 20000 points a year with the new program i might get a free one way ticket on a trancon flight, where the old program would have gotten me a free round trip transcon. it is what it is but i do not like it.
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Old Apr 8, 10, 8:06 pm
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Originally Posted by time2fly4 View Post
Why should I be penalized for being a good consumer who does not want to pay top dollar to fly.
Well, let me turn that around and ask, why should you be rewarded for being a customer who does not want to pay top dollar to fly?
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Old Apr 8, 10, 8:21 pm
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Trueblue is truecrap. This is officially the worst FF program in the industry, period.

They want it to be confusing and try to encourage people to purchase higher fares. It has absolutly ZERO perks for regular weekly fliers.

It caused me and many other people I know to leave Jetblue for Airtran or Southwest out of there secondary hub Boston.

Jetblue has none of the following perks-

Companion Pass - both WN FL
Priority Boarding - both WN FL
Elite - FL
Security lane "fly by" -both

No brainer!!
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