If JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes really wonders why engagement and profitability in his TrueBlue loyalty program seem to lag behind others, let me spell it out: it’s a lousy program overall.
JetBlue TrueBlue Loyalty Program: The Problem Is Not The Northeast Alliance
The Northeast Alliance with JetBlue and American Airlines is on trial this week, with the U.S. government arguing such closer cooperation should be prohibited on anti-trust grounds. In making his case for why the alliance should proceed, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes argued that it will help grow JetBlue’s loyalty program by giving more members more opportunities to earn and redeem points.
Loyalty programs can have a 30-35% margin, Hayes says. Some airlines make more of a profit from their loyalty programs than from actually flying, he testified yesterday (incidentally, this has applied to American).
— David Slotnick (@David_Slotnick) September 28, 2022
While Hayes laments that revenue from TrueBlue is only 7-10% of overall revenue, I think he misses a couple of key points.
First, the program is lousy. Sure, frequent flyers, called Mosaics, enjoy free checked baggage, same-day changes, pre-boarding, and liquor onboard…but no upgrades. While elite status no longer revolves around upgrades in an era in which premium cabins often sell out, the lack of any sort of upgrade possibility to Mint business class puts JetBlue members at a distinct disadvantage.
Second, the lack of airline partnerships are a huge drawback, as Hayes points out. But a Northeast Alliance is not necessary in order to add partner-earning and redemption options. Look at how well, for example, Air Canada has added a diverse mix of partners to its Aeroplan program. Or look at Alaska Airlines and its partnerships before it even entered the oneworld alliance.
Certainly, the ability to earn and redeem on American Airlines could increase the value proposition of TrueBlue, especially if members have access to more seats at higher prices, similar to the way AA prices awards on its own metal.
But that’s not a reason for the Northeast Alliance and JetBlue’s frustration over the tepid growth of its loyalty program should cause immediate introspection. If there is value, consumers will come.
There are some good arguments to be made for the Northeast Alliance (and also several good arguments against it). But in either case, the weak TrueBlue loyalty program of JetBlue is not to be blamed on the Northeast Alliance, but JetBlue’s lack of vision in crafting a program that offers a meaningful value proposition to its members. It is a total missed opportunity since JetBlue offers such a compelling onboard product.
Biden is doing what obama should have done and trump should have done.
Obama was corrupt. Trump was incompetent, corrupt , fat and ugly. Finally biden is taking a stand against concentration of market power. His stand against northeast alliance is good.
Capitalism is a bloody joke right now. Just like rule of law is a joke.
Biden? hahahaha He’s easily the worst alleged president in history. The Democrats can’t win an election without cheating because their mental model is completely faulty, and based on evil principles such as theft. No one has done more to hurt airlines than Biden. Remember all those unConstitutional “mandates”? Who did all that? Who continues to push for them?
You bring up a valid difference in Jetblues rewards program & the big 3 US airlines. What a missed opportunity for Jetblue. Is it that Jetblue has an established group of dedicated flyers?
Ben and TPG just needs to shill Mint a little more as the best thing in America, that should rectify the situation.
JetBlue is the best thing in America…but there’s a logical distinction between acknowledging that and supporting a Northeast Alliance or a merger with Spirit.
I totally agree. Jetblue does have the best product in America. I agree with the ‘insider’ that posted about JetBlue’s leadership. As an investor, it appears the problem is Joanna Gherity. Maybe instead of focusing on “woke”, they should focus on reliability and increasing quality of operations.
For now, B6 needs to focus on the NEA trial and NK merger without running off the tracks.
Once the above are complete, B6 can focus on its nuances.
Personally, I’d like for them to open lounges in key cities.
Lounges in Boston and JFK would support the NEA and Euro operations and drawing business PAX.
A lounge at LAX would be appreciated by red eye PAX heading to the east coast.
Lounges in FLL and MCO would be the leisure crowd, but there’s many a retiree willing to buy a membership so wifey can relax in peace prior to departure .
Instead of just handing out access to every Tom, Dick, and Harry like the Widget has done; entree would require Sapphire status, flying Mint, or buying an annual membership for access.
As Mosaic, I can upgrade at check-in to Extra More Space seats if there are any available, and there is almost always still availability on those seats. It’s true that I can’t upgrade to Mint, but consistent extra legroom seats is not nothing.
You can only do that at check in? I can do it for free when I book my tickets on United with any status above silver (and I can get the seats for free for up to 8 people traveling with me!). I’m not sure how this is much of a benefit if you can only do it at check in.
You can “buy” an extra space seat at booking for ~200 pts, that are then refunded once you fly. That was only introduced this year, so hoping it stays for the future. The day-of at the airport only upgrade to EMS system was not competitive with other airlines.
Their points can have some redemption value on B6 metal. Grabbed SAN-JFK last week for around 8k points. It was perfect to drain my orphaned miles. They come in handy as another option (for me) on the occasional locator as well since I can transfer MR’s.
I haven’t gotten good value from them in years, in fact I closed my JetBlue plus card just the other day. They had no retention offer and no no fee downgrade so that’s all folks
Fun fact! Robyn Hayes and Joanna Geraghty are Killing the company… they start their employees off at 21hr… Joanna made a statement that ontime performance is not an issue to them… The inflight crews are not happy…. profit sharing doesn’t exist at the company, no incentives…. but Pilots get rewarded with raises and so does management… their loyalty program is trash.. TVs never work, wifi forget about it.. just hope your not on a 321 aircraft what else.. from an insider trust me the care of the passengers isn’t there.
Are you a steward? Don’t you have a union? Other people are fighting for their wages, maybe you should too. I don’t disagree with you but most of your problems are self imposed, like your forced vaccinations. That’s because you guys overwhelmingly vote for Democrats who want authoritarian control. Remember the “safe and effective” you guys believed in so much? I fly with you guys on occasion going down to Florida and I do agree with you on many other points you made.
I may have missed it, but I’m surprised that Matt didn’t shill for Barclay’s Jetblue Plus card which has upped its bonus offer from 60K to 80K. I usually got about 4 free tickets DCA-FLL via bonuses/miles-earned and having my wife also churn got about that much as well. With the card, we also got free bags and 1/2 price drinks onboard so a pretty good deal for us rear-flyers.
It’s tough for us to travel now because I think we may be limited to a week per school year to fly with the child outside of the “spring break” which is madness. I’d rather risk the county coming to arrest us for truancy than pack onto a spring break flight. Jetblue also allows use of their miles to cut down on costs for their packaged resort deals, but I think those appear to be overpriced ($1800 AFTER 200K miles!)
In any case, my family has had many wonderful free jetblue flights over the years due to the barclay program so I’m not griping.