(Forbes) – New incentives for flying JetBlue Airways went live last week as the carrier looks to keeping up its relationship with its most loyal passengers.
In a missive released on May 14th, the New York City-based air carrier announced that members of the JetBlue TrueBlue loyalty program could now enjoy their elite status extended through 2021 without the need to requalify this year.
Airline elite status across most major air carriers in the United States is earned through a combination of flying and spending a tiered amount on travel each year. At JetBlue, elite or Mosiac loyalty status is earned by annually collecting flight points, which accrue at a rate of 1-3 points per dollar spent on travel. Once Mosaic status is reached, frequent flyers earn a variety of benefits including free checked bags, early boarding and priority security treatment.
Like with other carriers, that status also needs to be earned on a rolling basis — so the perks earned through 2020 for travel through 2021 need to be earned again in 2021 for travel in 2022.
What JetBlue and its peers have realized, however, is that travel this habits this year have been severely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. And without as many travelers in the air, the ranks of loyalty members could easily shrink for 2021 — creating less of an incentive for frequent flyers to resume life with their favorite carriers.
To help mitigate that risk, JetBlue and other carriers are effectively putting a freeze on elite status for 2020. Already, most other carriers in the United States have made similar moves to JetBlue. Early in April, Delta extended its Skymiles loyalty program through 2021, rolling the elite miles that travelers had already earned this year into the next. Shortly after that, United and American followed suit with their own versions of extended loyalty.
JetBlue’s own campaign comes over a month after major legacy carriers made their moves. And like its peers, JetBlue also has a unique take on its loyalty extensions. In addition to the extension of status through 2021 and reducing the qualification thresholds for 2020, the carrier is allowing Mosaic members to nominate other travelers for elite status, effectively doubling the size of the carrier’s elite passenger base. Mosaic members have through June 15th to nominate a member for status that will last through June 15th of 2021.
Combined, JetBlue’s promotions provide a strong incentive to consider traveling later this year. But like its peers, JetBlue is largely at the mercy of the pandemic, shelter-in-place restrictions and federal guidance around when it’ll be safe to travel by air again. If all of those constraints do end up relaxing before the end of the year, some travelers may reap some lucrative benefits.