New JetBlue upgrades include allowing travelers to pool loyalty points

Posted at 12:47 PM, Oct 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-11 12:47:43-04

(CNN) — Want to combine your frequent flier points with friends and family to earn free flights faster?

JetBlue Airways will now allow members of its TrueBlue loyalty program to register as a family to share loyalty points within a designated group.

“It’s a GREAT way for family and friends to combine points so they can earn a free ticket a lot easier and quicker,” aviation blogger Johnny “Jet” DiScala wrote in an e-mail. “I wish the other airlines would do the same.”

Adult TrueBlue members can sign up for family pooling, including one other grownup and up to five children who are also members. Each family member can decide what percentage of their points to contribute to the family account. From there, the chosen “head of household” can monitor the family’s account and redeem points at JetBlue. Members can join only one JetBlue “family.”

JetBlue executives may be trying to strengthen a loyalty program that doesn’t have as many airline partner options as traditional carriers. JetBlue lists American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Aer Lingus and Emirates among its loyalty partners. In contrast, United Airlines lists 28 worldwide Star Alliance airline partners in its MileagePlus program. Delta Air Lines SkyMiles Award Travel program lists 26 worldwide partner airlines.

TrueBlue allows members to use points for any seat on any JetBlue operated flight with no blackout dates, and its points don’t expire. And while other airlines allow loyalty program members to transfer miles, they often charge a fee for the service.

JetBlue’s upgrades haven’t stopped there. The airline is also moving to make its cross-country service between New York City and its West Coast cities San Francisco and Los Angeles more attractive for business class travelers. It announced its new premium “Mint” seating last month. Starting next summer and fall, certain flights between New York and the two West Coast cities will start offering fully flat beds, private suites, dual power outlets with USB ports, amenity kits and a tapas menu.

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