The Cheapest Way to Fly in JetBlue’s Premium Mint Cabin
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Reviews of JetBlue’s premium Mint cabin have almost been universally positive since the product debuted. Routes featuring Mint continue to be added to JetBlue’s schedule, and experiencing this cabin has been at the top of my #avgeek wish list for months. TPG just booked a last-minute San Francisco – Fort Lauderdale Mint flight for just $599, so it’s definitely possible to score a relative deal for this comfortable in-flight experience. Today I’ll look at both revenue and point options to find the cheapest ways to book JetBlue Mint.
Your best chance of flying a domestic route with Mint service is on a transcon originating in California. Alternatively, fly from New York or Boston to the Caribbean — many of these routes also have the Mint cabin. Due to the product’s popularity, JetBlue’s planning future routes at a quick pace, and it won’t be long before the number of routes is increased almost 50%.
From Boston — San Francisco/Los Angeles/Aruba/St. Maarten/Barbados
From New York — San Francisco/Los Angeles/San Diego/Aruba/St. Lucia/Grenada/Barbados/St. Maarten
From Fort Lauderdale — Los Angeles/San Francisco
JetBlue will launch Mint service from Boston to Las Vegas on January 4, 2018; from Boston to Seattle on February 15; and from New York to Seattle on April 15. Additionally, from December 21 to January 3 this holiday season, JetBlue will fly Mint-equipped A321s between JFK and Palm Springs. Many of the Caribbean routes are seasonal or operate just once a week, so make sure to check JetBlue’s schedule carefully when planning your trip dates.
How to Book Mint
While researching this article, I found it very interesting that there’s no way to use a partner airline program’s miles to book JetBlue Mint award seats. You can book JetBlue flights with Hawaiian miles and Emirates Skywards miles, but they don’t have an avenue to book JetBlue Mint tickets. I called both programs to confirm this was the case. This leaves you with the following options: booking Mint tickets via cash, TrueBlue points, transferring Citi ThankYou points or American Express Membership Rewards points to TrueBlue, or redeeming transferable points to cover a revenue ticket at a rate of anywhere from 1 – 2 cents per point.
Until October 25, you can transfer ThankYou points with a 25% bonus, meaning Citi Prestige, Citi Premier Card and Citi Chairman cardholders will receive 1,000 TrueBlue points for every 1,000 ThankYou points transferred. Amex Membership Rewards points transfer at a 250:200 ratio.
No matter which of the above avenues you use, because the amount of TrueBlue points required is based on the revenue fare of the ticket, the cheapest way to book JetBlue Mint will always be tied to the cheapest route and time you can find for a Mint flight.
To see if I could determine a time or route that was consistently the cheapest, I searched 14 Mint routes for a one-way ticket for both close-in dates (48-72 hours) and three months in the future. I searched a weekend flight and a weekday flight for each route. Many of the Caribbean routes don’t operate on a daily basis and are seasonal, so the mid-week and many close-in searches are N/A. Here’s a chart of the results:
|Origin||Destination||Close-In Weekend||Close-In Weekday||Future Saturday||Future Weekday|
|New York JFK||San Francisco||$1,309||$1,109||$559||$859|
|New York JFK||Los Angeles||$1,059||$1,659||$559||$759|
|New York JFK||San Diego||$829||$1,099||$549||$599|
|New York JFK||Aruba||$448||N/A||$298||N/A|
|New York JFK||St. Lucia||N/A||N/A||$428||N/A|
|New York JFK||Grenada||N/A||N/A||$432||N/A|
|New York JFK||Barbados||N/A||N/A||$299||$299|
|New York JFK||Palm Springs**||N/A||N/A||$559||N/A|
|Fort Lauderdale||Los Angeles||$599||$599||$699||$699|
|Fort Lauderdale||San Francisco||$549||$549||$449||$449|
*Because of Hurricane Irma and flight cancellations, Mint prices were not showing at the time of writing for BOS/JFK routes to Saint Maarten.
** The best price found during the short seasonal JFK-PSP route is shown.
I couldn’t believe some of the prices for the Caribbean Mint routes I found, even close-in. While transcons to Fort Lauderdale are also a great deal at $449 or 41,000 TrueBlue points, nothing beats the sub-$300 fares for flights Aruba from either JFK or Boston. For $298 or 20,100 True Blue points, you can enjoy four and a half hours of lie-flat Mint seats and fantastic service. That’s currently 20,100 Citi ThankYou points with the transfer bonus or 25,250 Amex points transferred to TrueBlue at the 250:200 ratio (given that you have to transfer in 1,000-point increments).
If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the ticket will cost you 19,867 Ultimate Rewards if you redeem through the Chase travel portal. If you have the Business Platinum
® Card from American Express and are grandfathered in to the 50% Pay With Points rebate, the ticket will cost you a very attractive 14,900 Amex points or 19,370 points if you only have the 35% rebate.
Look at flying to Aruba if you’d like the cheapest way to experience JetBlue Mint. Alternatively, it’d be tough to not splurge and try one of the several transcon routes for less than $600. And if you end up splurging for a paid flight, be sure to use your Platinum Card from American Express so that you can take advantage of the card’s offering of 5x points when purchasing airfare through Amex travel or directly through the airline.
When it comes to points, 14,900 American Express Membership Rewards is currently the lowest amount of points for a Mint award ticket assuming you’re a lucky Business Platinum Card from American Express cardmember grandfathered into the fantastic 50% rebate for a bit longer.
Have you found a routinely cheap way to book Mint?
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