Home Comparing Benefits The Benefits and Math of the JetBlue TrueBlue Mosaic Challenge

The Benefits and Math of the JetBlue TrueBlue Mosaic Challenge

Discover why the 2017–2018 JetBlue Mosaic Challenge and Status Match equal financial gold for many a frequent—and even not-so-frequent—flyer.

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The Benefits and Math of the JetBlue Mosaic Challenge
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As detailed in our last post “Act Now for the 2017–2018 JetBlue TrueBlue Mosaic Challenge and Status Match,” JetBlue is generously offering us two fast tracks to its top-tier status through the end of 2018. Below, we break down the perks of TrueBlue Mosaic status and help you personally decided—through a little math—whether the Mosaic benefits outweigh the challenge costs.

Breaking Down the Benefits of Mosaic Status

Waived Change and Cancellation Fees: The Basics
All JetBlue change and cancellation fees are waived for Mosaic members and others on their itinerary, which means every ticket you buy is essentially a “refundable” ticket. A “refundable” ticket runs more than three times the price of a nonrefundable ticket because of its implicit cancellation insurance. It’s important to note that when cancelling tickets, refunds come in the form of a JetBlue credit (stored in your account in what is called your Travel Bank), not in a cash refund. In addition, while ticket change fees are waived, new flights may cost more or less than the original. Pricier flights will require an additional spend. Cheaper flights result in a credit in your Travel Bank. For non-Mosaic travelers, change and cancellation fees on JetBlue range from $75 per person for fares under $100 to $150 per person for fares $150 or more.

Waived Change and Cancellation Fees: The Fine Print
A lesser-known aspect to the overall change and cancellation fee waiver is ticket price protection. If you purchase a JetBlue ticket in either cash or points and that ticket goes down in price, you are entitled to get a Travel Bank or points refund, respectively. While said refunds are not automatic, if you monitor prices and see a decrease in flight price, simply call the dedicated Mosaic telephone line to receive a refund.

Two Free Checked Bags per Person
Mosaic members, as well as others flying on the same itinerary, can check up to two bags for free. For non-Mosaic members, the first bag costs $20, the second $35.

Deeply Discounted Premium Economy (Even More® Space) Seats
Mosaic members can redeem TrueBlue points for Even More Space seats for themselves and others on their itinerary, with a discount around 85%. The price of Even More Space seats is based on distance; for example, a flight between LAX and JFK would cost $90. However, Mosaic members can purchase these seats using just 1,000 points or for 15% of the cost (approximately $13 given the TrueBlue points-to-dollar ratio average of 1 point : $.013).

Complimentary Onboard Alcoholic Beverages
This is one benefit that’s just for the Mosaic member. You’ll enjoy unlimited complimentary alcoholic beverages on board (within reason, of course) in addition to the standard snacks and nonalcoholic beverages served by JetBlue (hello: Blue Taro chips!). Onboard alcoholic drinks range from $6 to $9.

Dedicated Customer Service Telephone Line
Forget about long wait times during blizzards, storms, and holidays. Mosaic members have a dedicated customer service line available 24/7. You will need to put in your TrueBlue number after dialing to verify Mosaic status.

Expedited Check-In Lane, Security, and Boarding
A dedicated Mosaic check-in lane at the airport makes baggage drop-off a breeze. After, whisk through security—Mosaic members and others traveling on their itinerary receive complimentary access to Even More® Speed, an expedited security service at select airports. (Note: We still recommend getting Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check as an even better way to quickly get through security.) Finally, you’ll surely have room for your carry-on baggage as Mosaic members and other travelers on their itinerary are one of the first groups to board the plane.

Bonus Points
Upon receiving Mosaic status, expect a one-time bonus of 15,000 points (valued at $195 in airfare, given the TrueBlue points-to-dollar ratio average of 1 : 1.3). Moreover, you’ll get 5,000 bonus points after three round-trips (valued at $65 in airfare), thanks to the long-standing Take 3 TrueBlue bonus. Additionally, get three bonus points per dollar spent on JetBlue flights (on top of the six points per dollar spent when booking on JetBlue.com), equating to nine points per dollar spent on airfare and effectively providing an 11.7% rebate through points.

 

Mosaic Math 101 Using a Simple Example

Now that we know Mosaic’s benefits and costs (recall from “Act Now for the 2017–2018 JetBlue TrueBlue Mosaic Challenge and Status Match,” a total spend between $1,400 and $1,500 is required during the Mosaic Challenge), it’s time to do a little math. We recognize there are infinite scenarios for valuing Mosaic status, so we’ll keep things simple, looking at a family of four that plans to travel four round-trips per year—hardly frequent flyers (and a very conservative example). You’ll see that, even in their situation, it makes sense for a head family member to complete the Mosaic Challenge now.

Waived Change and Cancellation Fees: The Basics ($600)
Look back on the past year, and see how many times you’ve had to change or cancel an airline ticket at a major loss or paid exorbitant cancellation fees. Let’s say our family of four has to cancel just one of their four planned trips in 2018 due to whatever reason (family emergency, temper tantrums, change of mind, etc.). Though cancellation fees range on JetBlue depending on fare purchased, at a minimum the fee would run $150 for a round-trip per passenger. Four passengers x $150 round-trip cancellation fee = $600 saved.

Waived Change and Cancellation Fees Basics: The Fine Print ($320)
It’s bound to happen that one of the family’s planned four round-trips will go down in price at some point after purchase. Let’s say said round-trip flight drops $80 in price, and you notice this price change and call in. Expect a refund of 4 passengers x $80 in your Travel Bank, a total of $320.

Two Free Bags per Person ($430)
Not everyone checks in a bag these days, so let’s say three members of our four-member family check bags on all flight legs flown (six flight legs—recall one round-trip is being cancelled). And on two legs, extra bags are required for souvenirs. $20 per bag for the first bag x 3 passengers x 6 flight legs = $ 360. $35 per bag for the second bag x 1 passenger x 2 flight legs = $70. We’re looking at $430 in bag fees saved.

Deeply Discounted Premium Economy (Even More® Space) Seats ($924)
JetBlue’s regular coach seats tend to be roomier than other domestic carriers, but still many of us will fork out the money for spacious Even More Space seats. Let’s say you spring for these seats for the family on three flight legs, which happens between LAX and JFK. Given the Mosaic discount for the three legs, we are looking at 4 passengers x $77 savings x 3 flight legs = $924.

Complimentary Onboard Alcoholic Beverages ($108)
This really depends on your drinking habits, but I definitely like a cocktail or two midair. Let’s say the Mosaic member miraculously happens to order two mini cava bottles per flight (2 x 6 flight legs x 9 dollars a bottle = $108).

Expedited Check-In Lane, Security, and Boarding ($100)
These perks are great time-savers, letting you whisk through check-in, security, and boarding. The dedicated Mosaic check-in lane at the airport rarely has a wait. If you and your family already have Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check, there’s no added value to expedited security, but it is valuable to board early. We’ll value this at a flat $100 for the year.

 Dedicated Customer Service Telephone Line ($100)
Time is money, so let’s say this service saves you a total of two hours per year of your hourly rate. Everyone’s hourly rate differs (read: Ann Coulter: $10,000 per fraction of an hour!), so let’s value this at a flat $100 for the rest of us.

Bonus Points ($260)
Upon receiving Mosaic status, expect a one-time bonus of 15,000 points (valued at $195 in airfare, given the TrueBlue points-to-dollar ratio average of 1 : 1.3). On top of that you’ll get 5,000 bonus points after three round-trips (valued at $65 in airfare, given the TrueBlue points-to-dollar ratio average of 1 : 1.3), thanks to the long-standing Take 3 TrueBlue bonus. You’ll also earn three additional bonus points (beyond the typical six points per dollar) for every dollar spent on your own JetBlue flights (but others on your itinerary will not). So to keep this as simple as possible, we’ll just include the one-time bonus.

Sum and Summary ($2,824)
Of course, the value of these line items will vary greatly by traveler (personally, I have saved thousands of dollars in flight change and cancellation fees with Mosaic status). But for this family of four, who rarely travels, the line items still total an overall savings of $2,824 for the year. It’s likely the Mosaic member will also fly solo during the year, giving even more financial weight to his or her Mosaic status. Requiring an investment of only $1,400–$1,500, it makes financial sense, even in this very conservative example, to see the Mosaic Challenge through. So do the math for your own situation and see if you come to the same conclusion. Happy Mosaic Challenging!

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Award-winning travel writer and economist Paul Rubio is a credit card enthusiast, whose sophisticated use of points and rewards has helped him travel to 125 countries for free. Paul is a Harvard graduate with a master’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in economics. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University with a double major in economics and environmental policy and a minor in conservation biology. He attended both undergraduate and graduate schools on full scholarships. Paul worked in the field of wildlife conservation before embracing his writing talents full-time in 2008. Since then, he has won more than two dozen national awards for his exemplary work in travel journalism. The prolific writer contributes to a number of top-tier international, national, and regional publications including Condé Nast Traveler, Fodors.com, Palm Beach Illustrated, Private Clubs, and Robb Report.