JetBlue has joined the parade of airlines offering bonus points to customers buying extra points to close out the year. Their TrueBlue program is offering up a sliding scale of bonus points based on the number purchased and maxing out at 50% extra. Here’s the breakdown:
- Buy between 5,000 – 9,500 to get 20% bonus points
- Buy between 10,000 – 19,500 to get 30% bonus points
- Buy between 20,000 – 29,500 to get 40% bonus points
- Buy 30,000 to get 50% bonus points
Like most programs buying the points outright isn’t generally a great value. For some programs the bonus can work to make the price point pretty reasonable. For JetBlue’s TrueBlue program, however, that price point still probably doesn’t work. The points generally cost 3.76 cents each. At the max value (i.e. buying 30,000 points) the price gets to just a hair under 2 cents per point. The problem with that valuation is that the point redemption value is pretty much maxed out near 1.6 cents each (at least last I checked) so that means it will be very, very hard to arbitrage the points in a way which is financially sound.
In many cases one can justify buying the last few points to top off for an award at a price point which is greater than the “true” value just so you can redeem out the points you’ve already earned, hopefully at a better rate. But because this 50% bonus only kicks in when you’re buying a LOT of points it is unlikely that even that approach will work well.
If you are looking to top off and have a small amount to purchase then certainly the bonus is better than nothing. But I’d be rather hesitant about buying up to the 50% bonus level. Odds are you’re losing money on that deal.