Received an email from jetBlue this morning with an invite to participate in their Pennies for Points pilot program.
Basically every transaction is rounded up to the next whole dollar and you receive 1 point for every .02 you round up. Runs from 7/31 to 10/31.
Normal earnings on the card are:
6x on JB purchases
2x restaurants and grocery
1x on everything else
The example they give is a taxi fare of $8.20.
Normal earning - 8 points
Pilot program earning - 48 points (8 base points + 40 points for rounding up .80 to $9 at 1 point for every $.02)
Round up total capped at $500 per statement period which could equal 25,000 extra points per statement. Of course that would require an insane number of transactions as less than $1 would go toward the $500 for each transaction made.
But the potential is there!
This may not appeal to everyone but with jetBlue being the family's airline of choice, it seems like a deal to me. Unless someone can give me a downside?
AA has a similar program. It sounds like you're buying miles at 2 cents each.
What sort of cents-per-mile values have you been able to get upon redeeming?
We fly enough every year that I can average 1.8- 2+ cents a piece after taking into account AF, rebate after redemption, free bags, etc.
I understand they're hoping people won't have an issue paying little by little for a few extra points. Can be seen as much less of an impact compared to buying a whole mess of points all at once (which I've never done and usually never makes sense).
And at two cents a piece, it probably won't help someone who can't maximize their return.
I can average 1.8- 2+ cents a piece after taking into account AF, rebate after redemption, free bags, etc.
Sounds like, on average, a money loser.
Can be seen as much less of an impact compared to buying a whole mess of points all at once (which I've never done and usually never makes sense).
Not sure what you mean by "impact", but if you mean the immediate impact on your bank account or credit card balances by spending a lot of money at once, then, yeah, I can see that.
I actually think situations like this are great way to think about point value. If you could, at any time (or even during a separate promotion), buy a whole mess of JB points at $.02 each, would you? If you wouldn't, it's likely that JB points are worth less than (or perhaps equal to) $.02 to you. If they're worth equal, in most cases the flexibility of cash wins.
This happened recently with me and Hilton points. I was valuing them at $.0055 because I am able to optimize my usage of them pretty well (they are typically valued at 1/2 cent or less). Then Hilton comes out with a 100% bonus when you buy points, effectively selling them at a half cent each. If they are really worth $.0055 to me, I should buy all I can, and make a 1/20th of a cent on each point I buy. Free money. But I didn't. I subsequently lowered my personal Hilton point valuation to $.0050.
I flew Jet Blue regularly to visit my father in his final years and was able to earn enough miles to get three award tickets. I valued the miles at $.015 each.