Last fall, JetBlue flights became bookable with Qatar Airways Privilege Club Avios. While we initially saw a smoking deal to Europe (that was quickly killed), a sweet spot for JetBlue Mint class remains: some flights to the Caribbean can be incredibly reasonable with Avios in Mint class. Since you can easily combine and move Avios from one Avios program to another and since all of the major transferable currencies transfer to Avios and since we frequently see Avios transfer bonuses, I think that JetBlue Mint class to the Caribbean can be a compelling deal.
The sweet spot is flights covering 2,000 miles flown or fewer
While Qatar Airways is a oneworld airline, they maintain a partnership with JetBlue TrueBlue. While Qatar publishes a distance-based award chart for oneworld flights, awards on JetBlue do not quite correspond to that.
Unfortunately, both transcontinental US and transatlantic JetBlue Mint flights are relatively pricey (at 74K / 78K Avios one way, respectively, as recently covered by One Mile at a Time).
However, some short-distance Mint flights from the East Coast to the Caribbean are a different story. For example, you can book JetBlue Mint class from New York JFK to Aruba for 26,000 Avios and $20.10.
That’s a great deal compared to cash prices, which on that date start at $743 per passenger in Mint class.
And, as has been the case in JetBlue Mint on other routes, when there is availability, that availability often exists for multiple passengers. In fact, that same date, I could book six passengers in Mint class for 26,000 Avios each (for a total of 156,000 Avios — 6 x 26,000).
Sometimes you can get an even better deal as compared to the sometimes-outrageous cash prices for Mint flights to the Caribbean. For instance, on June 29th, I found space for 4 passengers from New York to St Maarten at 26,000 Avios and $10.10 each.
Believe it or not, on that same date JetBlue is offering Mint on that flight for $1,733 per passenger one-way.
Using 26,000 Avios to book that flight in Mint class is quite a bargain.
Believe it or not, a return flight a week later costs more than $1800 in Mint class (and no, there is no discount when booking round trip). You could book that route on those dates for 52,000 Qatar Airways Avios round trip — which you can look at as being a reasonable-enough deal for four hours in comfort each way or an outrageously good deal as compared to the more than $3500 cash price per passenger.
This pricing, however, applies to only the shortest JetBlue Mint class routes. While you won’t fly in luxury for hours on end, it could nonetheless be a very comfortable way to get to the Caribbean for a reasonable number of miles — particularly for a family.
Jetblue Mint routes that qualify
Using the search tool on this page, you can peruse routes that feature JetBlue Mint service, though the tool isn’t quite as useful as it seems at first glance since in some cases it lists Mint service that I think only exists on connecting itineraries.
Again, the 26K pricing applies on routes that cover fewer than 2,000 miles flown. That means that, for example, New York JFK to Aruba rings in at 26,000 Avios one way in Mint class as shown above (that routes measures 1,951 miles flown according to GCMap.com).
However, New York JFK to St Lucia (UVF) measures 2,009 miles flown — and unfortunately, that route prices at 74,000 Avios one-way via Qatar.
Routes where I would expect the 26K Mint Class pricing to apply include:
- New York JFK to/from Aruba (AUA)
- New York JFK to/from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands (STT)
- New York JFK to/from St Maarten (SXM)
- Boston (BOS) to/from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands (STT)
- Boston (BOS) to/from St Maarten (SXM)
The JetBlue website suggests that some other Mint routes exist to/from the Caribbean, but I think all of the other example origin cities listed with Mint service to the Caribbean connect in either New York or Boston.
While the qualifying routes are very limited at the time of writing, it is worth keeping your eye on any new routes that pop up since those that cover less than 2,000 miles flown could be an excellent value.
How to find JetBlue Mint seats that should be available to book with Qatar Avios
JetBlue award tickets are bookable directly on the Qatar Airways website. You just need to log in to your Qatar Airways Privilege Club account and then you should see a box to select to book an award flight on the home page search tool.
I say that you should see a box to check to book an award flight because, perplexingly, sometimes that box just doesn’t show up. However, if you can’t see that check box there, you can try searching through the Qatar Airways app on your phone as awards can also be searched and booked in the app (in fact, Greg reports successfully booking through the app recently when the website returned an error on his award search).
However, the major limitation when using the Qatar Airways website to search for JetBlue awards is that the Qatar site only allows you to search one day at a time. That can make finding availability feel like a slow slog (particularly given the fact that JetBlue doesn’t even offer Mint service on all dates). However, there is a workaround that we published back when JetBlue flights first became bookable with Avios: using ITA Matrix to find the right fare basis code.
ITA Matrix is a somewhat nerdy flight search tool, but it is awesome for searching for JetBlue Mint awards because it allows you to limit search results to the exact fare class that Qatar can access for award bookings and you can view a month of availability at a time.
To find these awards:
- Go to matrix.itasoftware.com
- Enter the airport codes
- Click the box to “Show advanced controls”
- In the “routing codes” box, type C:B6 (this means you only want to search on the carrier (airline) JetBlue (B6 is the two-letter code for JetBlue) and only on a nonstop route (B6+ would indicate more than 1 leg, but by not including the plus you automatically filter to only nonstop flights)
- In the “extension codes” box, type F bc=I. That stands for “fare basis code” and limits results to fares in the “I” fare bucket. That’s the type of fare that can be booked with Qatar Avios
- Instead of searching an exact date, choose to see a calendar of lowest fares.
- Then, input a date and the system will search for 30 days following that date. Find any date that shows a fare available and when you search that date on the Qatar Airways website, you should find the award bookable with Avios.
- Go to the Qatar Airways website. Log in and enter the city pair and dates you’ve already found via ITA Matrix and enter those and check the box to book an award (alternatively, use the Qatar Airways app).
Here are step-by-step screen shots. Start by entering your airport codes at ITA Matrix and then expand the box that says “Show advanced controls”.
In the advanced controls boxes, input C:B6 for routing code and F bc=I for extension code.
Then choose to see a calendar of lowest fares.
From there, just enter a start date and then click “Search” (or adjust the number of passengers first as it suits your needs).
The results page shows 30 days of results. As you can see, there isn’t a ton of availability within 30 days of June 1st, but there is almost weekly availability on Saturdays (which might be the only day they fly Mint equipment).
Kind of confusingly, the search results look like they show two months and there is no availability in July, but keep in mind that the calendar only shows availability within 30 days of the date you entered — so while you see two months worth of dates, keep in mind that it is only searching for 30 days from June 1st in the above situation — so there is availability in July, but not within 30 days of June 1st.
For instance, if I change the search date (which you can do in the date box on that search results page) to June 15th, it’ll show me availability within 30 days of June 15th, which would include the first couple of weekends in July (when there is indeed availability).
You do not need to worry about the cash prices. Any date that shows availability for the “I” fare class should work via Qatar Avios regardless of the cash price. In other words, all of the dates above that show any cash price should have seats available to book via Qatar Privilege Club.
Note that while the flight above only shows availability once a week during the summer months, JetBlue seems to have more plentiful Mint service and availability at other times, like later this month and early next month.
Again, pick any date with a cash price shown in the ITA Matrix results and then log in to your account at QatarAirways.com and check the box to search for an award on that route and date and it should be available to book with Qatar Avios.
Economy class on the same flights costs 13,000 Avios
It is worth nothing that you could alternatively book economy class on the same short-distance JetBlue routes for 13,000 Avios one-way. Whether or not that’s a good deal will obviously depend on cash rates. To find economy class availability, follow the steps above but instead of fare basis code “I”, you want to search for fare basis code “P” by typing F bc=P in the extension code box.
You will very likely see “P” class available on more days of the week, but in many cases 13K may not be competitive given relatively low economy class fares. Personally, I’d be happy to spend double on Mint class though.
Keep in mind how easy it is to amass Avios
Keep in mind that quite a few airlines share the Avios currency (British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and Qatar for now; Finnair will join Avios soon). Furthermore, Avios is one of the easiest currencies to amass since all of the major transferable currencies (like American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, Bilt Rewards, etc) transfer to at least one of the Avios programs.
If you have Avios in any of the airlines noted above, it is possible to move those Avios between each of the participating airline programs. For instance, if you have British Airways Avios, you can move those Avios to Qatar Airways to book JetBlue flights. The first step is to make sure that all of your personal details (including things like name, date of birth, and email address) match exactly between the two programs between which you’d like to move your Avios. Then see this post for more detail on combining Avios: How to transfer Avios between British Airways, Qatar, Iberia, and Aer Lingus.
We often see transfer bonuses to the various Avios programs (see our Current Point Transfer Bonuses page for any current bonuses or for a peek at historical bonuses). For instance, we sometimes see a 25% transfer bonus from Amex Membership Rewards to British Airways Executive Club Avios. If you find that type of deal, you could transfer 21,000 Amex points to British Airways and end up with 26,250 Avios. Then, move 26,000 Avios from British Airways Executive Club to Qatar Airways Privilege Club using the information in the post linked above. You’ll then be able to book JetBlue Mint class pending availability of the flights (which you should always verify before you transfer).
Given the easy ability to put together Avios and the fact that JetBlue seems to release multiple seats in Mint class when Mint is available, it seems like it could be relatively easy to book an entire family in Mint class to the Caribbean for an entirely reasonable number of points.
It has been possible for the past several months to book JetBlue Mint class using Qatar Privilege Club Avios. While many long-baul Mint flights cost a relatively high number of Avios, there is a sweet spot afoot for short-distance Mint flights to and from the Caribbean: those routes that cover fewer than 2,000 miles flown cost just 26,000 Avios in Mint class. That doesn’t include many routes, but for those based in New York or Boston, this sweet spot could represent a refreshing way to try out Mint service.