NOTE: Please read comments about potential eligibility requirements that are not officially listed on the promotion site. As with everything YMMV.
For any of you who follow the major blogs, you’ve heard by now that JetBlue is running a promotion where they will ‘match’ your Virgin America points balances after you send them an email with a screenshot of your Virgin America balance and fly a single round-trip flight with them by August 31.
It’s not quite a ‘match’ as the bonuses are tiered, but the ratios are all greater than 1:1:
If you already have the points, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and get on your way (and do it stat because hordes of others will get in line soon)! But if you don’t, then what?
Well, because Virgin America recently became a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG, things are much more interesting, as you can transfer SPG points in order to pad your VX balance before sending a request off to JetBlue. Unfortunately, the requests do take a bit of time to process, but assuming that goes through and then JetBlue acknowledges your registration, is it worth it?
Let’s do some math.
For each tier, here are the number of SPG points (assuming don’t have any Virgin America miles already) you’d need to transfer to hit that tier (remember that for every increment of 20,000 SPG points you transfer, you get an extra 5,000 miles).
|Promo Tier||SPG Points|
|500-5000||0/1500/2500 (depending on SPG status)|
|30001-50000||25001 (+5000 from bonus)|
|50001+||40001 (+10000 from bonus)|
Virgin American points are worth about 2.1-2.3 cents when redeemed towards their flights, but VX happens to be a bit marked up relative to other airlines, so let’s conservatively (and arbitrarily) say you’ll get about 1.7 cents of value. JetBlue points are good for 1.4 cents towards flights, and they are generally price competitive, so we’ll leave it there.
Since there’s also a required flight component, let’s also assume you live in a JetBlue (B6) serviced-area and can get a round trip flight for either $100 or $200 (both are reasonable from quick glances).
How good a deal is this? Well, here’s the value you get:
|Promo Tier||B6 Points||VX Points||Value (minus $100)||Value (minus $200)|
But this excludes the SPG points you had to give up. Combining the above two tables, we can calculate a breakeven point for how much you have to value your SPG points at for it to be a good deal (breakeven = value / # points). If you value them below the breakeven point, go for it. Above, don’t:
|Promo Tier||SPG Points||Value (minus $100)||Breakeven||Value (minus $200)||Breakeven|
|500-5000||2500*||$12.50||.50 cpp||-$87.50||-3.50 cpp|
|5001-10000||5001||$225||4.50 cpp||$125||2.50 cpp|
|10001-30000||10001||$590||5.90 cpp||$490||4.90 cpp|
|30001-50000||25001||$1210||4.84 cpp||$1110||4.44 cpp|
|50001+||40001||$1900||4.75 cpp||$1800||4.50 cpp|
Simply put, this promotion offers some mammoth value if you have more than 10,000 SPG to spare. I’m already game because I actually have enough VX points to qualify for the top tier, and Michael just sent off a 20,000 point transfer. Esther also had enough points to qualify for the top tier from MSing on the VX card. What about you? Are you in?