The Ultimate Guide to JetBlue’s points match deal

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Intro: JetBlue’s points match deal is arguably one of the best non-credit-card related deals we’ve seen in years.  While the deal itself is simple, figuring out the best way to “play the deal” is not.  Due to the very short amount of time available, I decided to publish this guide immediately despite it being a work-in-progress.  My plan is to follow up with additional strategy posts, and to update this guide as we go along…

Last Updated 6/30/2016 4:35 PM ET: Added info about reports of JetBlue denying some requests to enroll in Points Match, and a likely workaround.

Previously Updated 6/30/2016 3:30 pm ET: Added answer to question about how long it takes to get reply from JetBlue that you’ve registered (answer: about 3 days)

Previously Updated 6/29/2016 12:30 pm ET: Added link to post about status matching to JetBlue.

Previously Updated 6/28/2016 8:00 am ET: Added answers to timing questions for miles from Elevate portal (too long) and ScoreBig (less than 2 days)

Previously Updated 6/26 9:40 am ET: Added answers to questions about booking revenue flights

As reported via Quick Deals, JetBlue is currently offering to match the number of points in your Virgin America Elevate account simply by registering and then flying a JetBlue roundtrip flight.  Depending upon the number of points in your Virgin Elevate account, the points match ranges from 1 to 1 (get one JetBlue point for each Virgin Elevate point you have) to 10 to 1 (get 10 JetBlue points for each Virgin Elevate point you have).  If you don’t have Virgin Elevate points, it is still possible to get them, but you don’t have much time.  You must email JetBlue a picture of your Virgin America point balance by July 4th 2016.

JetBlue’s points match deal

Quick Take: Is this deal worth pursuing?  YES.  If you can slip a roundtrip JetBlue flight into your travel plans by August 31, then this is potentially a fantastic deal.

Basics of JetBlue’s points match deal

Here are the necessary steps:

  1. Acquire Virgin America Elevate points (details and options below), if you don’t already have them.
  2. Email a screenshot of their account dashboard to pointsmatch@jetblue.com by 7/4/2016. Screenshots must include first name, last name, and points balance.  Include your JetBlue TrueBlue number in the email.  If you don’t yet have an account, you can sign up here.
  3. JetBlue will assess your balance and eligibility and will email you to let you know if you’re officially registered.
  4. Book and fly one roundtrip JetBlue flight by 08/31/16

Here are the points match ranges:

JetBlue’s points match deal Match Ratios

Quick Q&A

Promo details:

  • How long does it take to receive a reply from JetBlue after emailing a screenshot? Most recent reports have said that it has taken just under 72 hours (e.g. 3 days).
  • I already have a JetBlue flight booked for this summer. Will that qualify? No. You must book your flight after successfully registering with this promo.
  • Can I book a flight to qualify, but not actually fly it?  No, you must fly to qualify.
  • Can I book the flight through a travel agency? Yes.  JetBlue says yes “As long as it is on JetBlue ticket stock (not a partner airline’s) and you have your TrueBlue number attached.”
  • When will the JetBlue points be awarded?  The terms state “TrueBlue points will be awarded within 4-6 weeks after round-trip flight.”
  • Can I pay for my qualifying JetBlue flight with JetBlue TrueBlue points? No. The terms state “Offer does not apply to non-revenue travel.”
  • Can I qualify for the round trip flight by flying a partner airline? No. You must fly JetBlue.
  • Can I qualify for the round trip flight by booking a vacation package? No.
  • Will JetBlue honor the deal even if I get Virgin America points by transferring them in from other programs?   I believe so. JetBlue has confirmed most requests to enroll in Points Match even for those who transferred points in, but there have been some reports to the contrary.  Please see this post for more details. [this question is purposely repeated in two sections]

About Virgin America Elevate Points:

  • What are Virgin America points worth?  Points are usually worth about 2.2 cents each (sometimes more) when used to buy Virgin America flights. Points can be worth much more when used to book awards on high value partners.
  • Do Elevate points expire?  Yes, after 18 months of inactivity.  Any activity in your account (earning or redeeming miles) resets the clock.
  • Can I move Elevate points from one family member to another?  Yes, you can transfer up to 30,000 points per calendar year, but they’ll charge you 2 cents per point to do so.  Not recommended.
  • Does Virgin America have a family pooling option?  No
  • Will Virgin America points be converted to Alaska Airline miles due to the acquisition?  Probably at some point, but we don’t know for sure.
  • If Virgin America Elevate points are converted to Alaska Airline miles in the future, what will the conversion rate be?  It could be anything from 1 to 1 to 1 to 2 (1 Elevate point becomes 2 Alaska miles), but we have no way of knowing for sure at this time.

About JetBlue TrueBlue Points:

Transfer points:

  • Will JetBlue honor the deal even if I get Virgin America points by transferring them in from other programs?  I believe so. JetBlue has confirmed most requests to enroll in Points Match even for those who transferred points in, but there have been some reports to the contrary.  Please see this post for more details. [this question is purposely repeated in two sections]
  • Can I move points from Virgin Atlantic (VS) to Virgin America (VX)? No
  • Which transferable points can I use to get Virgin America points?
    • SPG (1 to 1, or better yet, 20,000 to 25,000)
    • Citi ThankYou (2 to 1)
    • Amex Membership Rewards (2 to 1, plus $0.0006 per point fee with a max fee of $99)
  • How long does it take to transfer SPG points to Virgin America?  Reports vary from 9 hours to 14 business days.  The vast majority of reports show that the transfer completes in less than 2 days (usually less than 24 hours).
  • How long does it take to transfer Citi ThankYou to Virgin America?  Less than 24 hours.
  • How long does it take to transfer Amex Membership Rewards to Virgin America?  Instant (don’t forget that they tax $0.0006 per point, with a maximum fee of $99)
  • Can I transfer my SPG points to a family member’s Virgin America account?  Indirectly, yes. As recommended by Starwood Lurker on Flyertalk, you can transfer your SPG points to your family member’s SPG account (if they live with you), and then they can transfer SPG to VX.  BUT (this is a big but), the member to member transfer can take anywhere from 2 business days to 10 business days.

Buying Points:

  • How much does Virgin America charge to buy points?  5.2 cents per point.  Ouch.  If you want to do this despite the high price, shop through Yazing to get 15% cash back.
  • Can I buy transferable points instead, and then transfer to Virgin America?  Yes, as long as you have an existing SPG account.  Through July 1, SPG is offering 30% off points.  Get 2.5% cash back by navigating to Points.com via Giving Assistant (sign up with this link to get $5), or Yazing.  Note that you should get your points in less than 24 hours, but there is no guarantee that the transfer from SPG to Virgin America will happen in time.  Note that your SPG account must be opened for 14 days before you can buy points (thanks Audrey)

Other ways to get Virgin America Elevate points:

Strategy:

  • What is the best way to get points for this deal? SPG is probably the best option thanks to having a much better transfer ratio than the other transferable points programs, plus the fact that they’re selling points at a discount right now.  Click here to read an in-depth overview of my own personal strategy with this deal..
  • How many points should I acquire? The sweet spot in the transfer chart is arguably with just 500 Virgin America points, you get 5,000 JetBlue points. However, since the promotion requires a round trip flight, and it can only be done once per member, I think that the real sweet spots are at the middle and high end of the chart: 10,001 Virgin America points match to 30,000 JetBlue points (1 to 3 ratio!); 30,001 Virgin America points match to 50,000 JetBlue points; and 50,001 Virgin America points match to 75,000 JetBlue points.
  • Does it make sense to register for the deal, then transfer my Virgin America points to a family member so that they can register for the deal too?  It’s a great idea, but Virgin America limits transfers to 30,000 points per calendar year and they charge you 2 cents per point to do so.  It might make sense to do this 11,000 points at a time in order to secure 30,000 JetBlue points per person (but don’t forget the flight requirement).
  • JetBlue’s status match is currently available through June 30th, should I request a match since this promo will have me flying JetBlue soon? Maybe!  Please see: JetBlue Status Match.

Questions? Suggestions?

Please comment below with questions and suggestions. I’ll update this post with relevant information.

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