Earn & redeem between JetBlue and Etihad


This week, Jetblue True Blue and Etihad Guest announced a new partnership whereby you can earn and redeem miles with both airlines. While there are no incredible award sweet spots unlocked with this partnership, one significant benefit is that Jetblue True Blue has access to Etihad business class award space far in advance. That should make it possible to lock up an award seat well before they become available to partner programs like American Airlines AAdvantage. It’ll cost more miles to book via JetBlue, but given that Jetblue True Blue has a pretty favorable cancelation policy if plans change, it’ll be a much better way of booking than via Etihad Guest.

a seat in a plane

Jetblue True Blue Award redemption rates for Etihad business class cabins are certainly on the high side, with a one way economy class award from New York or Boston to Abu Dhabi ringing in at 59,900 miles one way and a business class award fetching a high price tag of 135,900 miles one way. That’s certainly significantly higher than what you would pay with American Airlines AAdvantage. American charges 70,000 miles one way for business class between the United States and the Middle East. however American Airlines only has access to Etihad premium cabin award space at most 30 days in advance of departure. Until the JetBlue partnership, if you wanted to book farther in advance of departure (I saw results out to nearly the end of schedule), your main option has been to use Etihad Guest miles. The problem there is the Etihad Guest cancelation policy, which indicates that you will lose 25% of your miles if you cancel more than 21 days in advance of departure all the way up to 75% of your miles if you cancel within seven days of departure or all of the miles if you cancel within 24 hours of departure.

Those are very significant mileage penalties for cancelations. Booking through Jetblue True Blue features free changes and cancelations, much like American Airlines, but with the added benefit of access to seats much farther in advance.

As we will discuss on this weekend’s Frequent Miler on the Air podcast, one use of this partnership might be to lock in business class award seats through Jetblue True Blue in the hopes that first class award seats will open up closer to departure via American Airlines Then you could cancel your Jetblue award when you book first class through American assuming that it becomes available (the consolation prize is having the business class award seats reserved). That’ll only make sense to those who already have Jetblue points on hand. Personally, I wouldn’t generally recommend transferring points to Jetblue true blue from any of the transferable currencies for this redemption since it is quite a bit pricier than other business class awards to the Middle East.

Also keep in mind that other Etihad routes are available to JetBlue as well, though I could only find nonstop flights between Abu Dhabi and other cities. I couldn’t, for example, book an award from Tokyo to Paris via Abu Dhabi but it seems that you will rather have to book Tokyo to Abu Dhabi as one award and Abu Dhabi to Paris as a separate award through JetBlue.

On the other side, Etihad Guest is offering its distance based award chart on Jetblue flights as follows:

a screenshot of a graph

That’ll make for a reasonable option for transcontinental mint flights if not wildly exciting. A transcontinental flight from Los Angeles to New York, which falls just under the 2500 mile distance span limit, should cost 50,000 Etihad Guest miles one way. While 50K one way for a domestic business class award isn’t incredible, it’s about the best you’ll do for Jetblue Mint these days, which is widely regarded as one of the best ways to fly transcontinentally within the United States. It’s also significantly less than what Qatar Avios is charging for those same JetBlue flights.

On transatlantic routes, you’ll probably be better off booking through Qatar Airways Avios both for better cancellation policy and slightly lower redemption rates. The same is going to be true on most routes to the Caribbean in JetBlue Mint.

The partnership here isn’t wildly exciting, but for those with a lot of JetBlue TrueBlue points, it’s nice to pick up another aspirational use of those points. Unfortunately, you can only redeem TrueBlue points for economy or business class on Etihad — no first class — but the ability to use TrueBlue points to outsized value with Etihad is probably welcome news for those very flush with JetBlue points.

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Nick, big question: Recently, Etihad changed the rules for points expiration. Now, bank transfers don’t reset the expiration clock. Only revenue flights credited to one’s Etihad account reset the expiration clock. Would a JB flight (or AA, etc.) credited to one’s Etihad account reset the expiration clock? Thanks in advance.


wow. Telling people to seat hold with intent to cancel is f***** up. Bad advice. Hurts all parities I think bloggers have ruined and taken advantage of every good thing we have had.


How is this different than anyone who books a backup Southwest flight on points for domestic travel? That’s been a thing for a long time.


I did some searching on this a couple days ago when the news broke. It is true that you can find JFK-LAX in Mint for 50K points and about $45 in fees through Etihad. Still wouldn’t book it until last minute because of the fees.

I was also wondering about the BOS-DUB sweet spot that is just a shade under 3000 miles. Qatar broke its chart to get rid of it. Etihad does price that route at 60k points, but with $1000 in taxes and fees. In fact, all transatlantic Mint redemptions through Etihad have $1000/per ticket fees in each direction. Given the cash price, it is basically unusable.

There is one other development this week: the new seasonal PHX to FLL route with Mint this winter is just a shade under 2000 miles. That means it should price at 26k points with Qatar. It may still be better to pay cash.