JetBlue waited longer than most to announce plans for its TrueBlue loyalty program in the wake of the coronavirus groundings. But it appears the carrier used that time wisely. With its announcement today JetBlue draws on similar actions from many other carriers but pulls them together in a package that might deliver outsized value to its members.
We’ve developed a comprehensive program to reward those who have been most loyal to us. Our Mosaic members in particular are eager to restart their travel plans when the time is right. In order to support them, just as they’ve always supported us, Mosaic customers will be able to enjoy their current benefits through 2021. We’re also giving them an opportunity to give the gift of Mosaic to a recipient of their choosing.– Don Uselmann, vice president loyalty and personalization
Mosaics Matter More
For the TrueBlue Mosaic elite program JetBlue announced that it will extend all existing member status a full year, through 2021. This matches many other programs’ actions and helps relieve any stress that the elites might be feeling. JetBlue also will allow every existing Mosaic to designate another TrueBlue member for one year, beginning on 15 June 2020. The request must be made through a dedicated web portal by 1 June 2020. This is similar to Air Canada‘s Altitude status gift program, but that one required the passenger to earn the giftable status through new travel in 2020. In the TrueBlue Mosaic case the gift is just there.
While these moves do reduce the need for existing members to fly on JetBlue again later this year if they want to keep the status they also recognize that travel into the back half of 2020 is likely to remain significantly depressed. The carrier still has not announced when it expects to start restoring capacity and routes in any meaningful level against the current, significant cuts. And multiple indicators suggest business travelers will remain mostly grounded for the rest of the year. With all those considerations it may be easier and smarter for the company to just write off 2020 and start over in 2021 with the Mosaic plans.
The gift timing also means the giftee would need to qualify on their own in the 2021 calendar year to keep the benefits presumably enjoyed in the first half of the year. It is a longer term focus for the company, hoping to grow its elite ranks with the promo.
The carrier also halved requirements for new qualifications to the Mosaic tier. It can now be achieved with 7,500 base points ($2,500 fare, excluding taxes/fees) or 6,000 points and 15 segments.
Getting the co-branded credit card in to support the loyalty efforts is also a big win for the TrueBlue program. BarclayCard already made a sizable advance purchase of points. That was a deal where the bank reached out to the carrier and put “very attractive terms on the table” according to the company’s recent earnings call. Now Barclay’s is looking for a good means to distribute some of those extra points. For the month from 14 May through 15 June all TrueBlue credit card holders will earn double points on all “other” transactions that typically would only earn a single point.
American Airlines also incorporated its cobrand partners in its AAdvantage promotions this year, though that focused on lifetime status, something JetBlue does not currently offer.
Buy now, earn double
Finally, JetBlue also announced that any tickets purchased between now and 15 June for travel by 4 January 2021 will earn double TrueBlue points. These are not Mosaic-qualifying, but doubling the rewards points is still a nice win, particularly in the revenue-based earning scheme that is otherwise somewhat paltry.
This is a short-term play, making it clear that the carrier would like to stimulate some purchases and generate positive cashflow. But JetBlue is not alone in the move. American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have similar promotions running now as well.
That JetBlue waited to make its move now appears a rather trivial issue. Mosaic members receive a generous set of benefits. Perhaps the only missing component would be rollover of qualification earnings to 2021. But the qualification is generally a pretty low threshold anyways, so that’s not a huge loss.
And for everyone else the bonus points either for buying flights or for buying nearly anything else is a nice way to keep the JetBlue brand top of mind, even while there’s no travel happening. For a loyalty program that has to be the key action right now and JetBlue’s play appears a solid one.