Recognizing consumers' frustrations with many frequent flier programs, JetBlue is beefing up its TrueBlue loyalty program this fall. Instead of rewarding consumers with points according to the length of their flight, it will shift to a points-per-dollar-spent model.
Beginning Sept. 28, all customers will earn three points per dollar spent and six points per dollar for flights purchased at Jetblue.com. JetBlue Card for American Express holders are already entitled to this benefit.
TrueBlue's point redemption opportunities will also receive a substantial makeover. Under the new program, all seats on all flights will be available for redemption. Additional benefits will be added throughout the fall when JetBlue adds new hotel, car, and retail partnerships.
"Frequent flier memberships are commonplace these days, but they're frequently a point of frustration," said Dave Canty, JetBlue's director of loyalty marketing, in a statement. "Airlines have made miles easy to earn but not always easy to use. At JetBlue, we knew there had to be a better way to reward loyalty."
JetBlue's customer loyalty took a significant hit in 2007 when it left a planeload of passengers sitting on the runway for 11 hours at New York's JFK airport. It immediately addressed the public relations nightmare by issuing an apology and changing the protocol for how such delays are now handled.
Under the new loyalty program, passengers are rewarded "Go Big" bonus points for reaching a variety of thresholds. Travelers will gain an additional 500 to 4,000 bonus points for every 3,000 points they earn. Customers who surpass the top 12,000-point tier will receive 4,000 bonus points each time they earn an additional 3,000 points.
Long-distance fliers will receive "Go Long" perks. Those who fly 10 one-way long-haul flights—those totaling at least 2,000 miles each—within a year will gain 10,000 bonus points.
TrueBlue points will expire if customers do not take at least one paid JetBlue flight or make a qualifying purchase with their JetBlue Card from American Express within one year of their last transaction.