JetBlue and Singapore Airlines have introduced reciprocal mileage-earning.
This relationship makes a lot of sense for both airlines, and it makes a lot of sense for passengers. There are good, strategic reasons to select one earning option or the other for your flying.
JetBlue gets onward connecting passengers, and Singapore Airlines gets feed for its New York JFK – Frankfurt – Singapore flight. Interestingly, they’ve developed a relationship with Virgin America which helps them support their San Francisco – Hong Kong and Seoul onto Singapore flights.
Their Star Alliance partner United has a hub in San Francisco and yet Singapore went outside of the alliance for that partnership. United has a hub at Newark, but Singapore ended their Newark – Singapore non-stop and continues to operate their JFK flight… while United is completely abandoning JFK.
Clearly Singapore feels United isn’t getting the job done for them. (And I’ve seen quite a bit of discounting of economy seats on Singapore’s Houston flight, another one out of a United hub.)
For passengers — especially U.S.-based passengers in the Northeast (eg Boston and New York-based, though also South Florida) — this presents strategic options.
- JetBlue points don’t expire, while Singapore miles expire after three years. So JetBlue is good for the occasional flyer who doesn’t play the mileage game aggressively.
- Singapore is a transfer partner of American Express, Chase, Citibank, and Starwood — so the points are easy to get and top off. Thus it’s a great option for the occasional JetBlue passenger. Plus Singapore has good premium cabin award availability on their own aircraft, and good United domestic award pricing.
- This makes it possible to fly JetBlue and still earn points that can be redeemed for premium cabin international travel. In fact, you can fly JetBlue’s excellent premium cabin Mint product and earn miles that can be reasonably-well redeemed for premium cabin experiences as well. You don’t have to choose between your miles and a good travel deal any longer.
To my mind this makes JetBlue travel a lot more attractive, precisely because I consider the TrueBlue program an also ran but the Krisflyer program is quite useful.