JetBlue unveiled sweeping changes to its TrueBlue loyalty program Wednesday, a move that executives say will give frequent flyers more choice and flexibility in how they use their benefits and ways for even non-elite members to start earning perks.
"This is a big change, it's a great evolution. We're very excited about it," Chris Buckner, JetBlue's vice president of loyalty, told USA TODAY. "Loyalty programs can get complicated. ... We pride ourselves on doing the best we can to make it as simple for customers as possible."
Some of the new benefits include pet fee waivers, free alcoholic drinks onboard and upgrade certificates for Mint business class.
Here's what the airline wants travelers to know about how the new program works:
From points to Tiles
Buckner said the changes were based largely on customer feedback.
"We are listening constantly," and one of the biggest comments was that the existing points system for earning Mosaic status with the airline was confusing, he said.
As part of the overhaul, JetBlue is switching to a new system it's calling Tiles to help travelers track their progress toward status.
More time to procrastinate: Real ID deadline delayed (again). You can keep traveling with an old ID until 2025.
Customers will earn one Tile for every $100 spent with the airline (whether on airfare, fees or even vacation packages), including on flights operated by American Airlines. Customers also can earn Tiles at a rate of one per $1,000 in spending on Jetblue-branded credit cards.
The lowest level of Mosaic status begins when TrueBlue members earn 50 Tiles, but the benefits start accruing even sooner.
Choice benefits before status
For every 10 Tiles earned before the first 50, JetBlue travelers will have a choice of Perks You Pick to take advantage of. The offerings include early boarding, a priority security lane, one free alcoholic drink onboard and a few bonus points opportunities.
New levels of Mosaic
Once a TrueBlue member has earned 50 Tiles, they will automatically get all the Perks You Pick and start accruing more benefits.
The new Mosaic program will have four tiers of status.
Level 1, at 50 Tiles, includes priority boarding, checked bags and upgrades to extra legroom seats at check-in, among other benefits.
Level 2, at 100 Tiles, includes all level 1 benefits plus upgrades to extra legroom seats at booking when available.
Level 3, at 150 Tiles, includes all level 2 benefits plus four upgrade certificates to Mint business class that can be used at the time of booking.
And Level 4, at 250 Tiles, includes all level 3 benefits plus two more Move to Mint certificates and credit for four Blade helicopter transfers between Manhattan and JFK or Newark airports.
Buckner acknowledged that many airlines upgrade loyal customers to domestic first class without the need to redeem certificates, but he said Mint is more akin to international business class on many carriers.
At each Mosaic level, TrueBlue members will also be able to pick additional extra perks, including a pet fee waiver, a $99 statement credit on their JetBlue-branded card or priority access to Mint suites on select aircraft when available, among other benefits.
How will Mosaic status be assigned in the new TrueBlue program?
According to JetBlue, Mosaic-qualifying points will be retired in spring 2023 and existing TrueBlue members will be assigned to a new Mosaic tier. Members' new status level will be determined by their 2022 or 2023 spending, whichever is higher when the transition occurs, and existing Mosaic members will not lose status during the transition if they would not otherwise qualify.
JetBlue has not announced any changes to how redeemable TrueBlue points are accrued or spent – only Mosaic qualifying points are being phased out for Tiles.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: JetBlue updates TrueBlue loyalty program, expanding Mosaic options