We have been getting a little excited – possibly too excited, given that it is not in a major airline alliance and the flight times are not great – about JetBlue’s new routes from London Heathrow and Gatwick to New York and Boston.
The Heathrow flights from Terminal 2 will launch first, operating daily from 12th August. The flights are initially as follows:
- B620 (London – New York) departs Heathrow at 6:10pm
- B67 (New York – London) departs New York at 10:05pm
Gatwick flights will commence from 29th September from the North Terminal, also daily:
- B644 (London Gatwick– New York) departs Gatwick at 12pm midday
- B643 (New York – London Gatwick) departs New York at 7:48pm
The Boston launch date is not yet confirmed.
In February, JetBlue unveiled its new business class ‘Mint’ seat that would operate the London flights. This looks like an impressive product given the restrictions of a single aisle aircraft. It features improved bulkhead seats with even more personal space and the option for buddy dining, which it is calling ‘Mint Studio’ (below).
JetBlue is not part of any airline alliance, unfortunately, so you can’t earn or redeem miles with either British Airways or Virgin Atlantic. It is a partner with Emirates but redemptions were only allowed for economy seats.
This has now changed.
You can now redeem Emirates Skywards miles for JetBlue business class seats
Here is the Emirates Skywards redemption page for JetBlue. ‘Mint’ (business class) seats are now listed.
It is a distance based chart.
JetBlue ‘Mint’ business class from London to New York or Boston will cost, based on a distance of around 3,200 to 3,400 miles, 64,000 Emirates Skywards miles each way.
Taxes and charges are also due – it isn’t clear how high these are.
Whilst you can book US domestic redemptions on JetBlue on the Emirates website by selecting ‘Book Classic Rewards Flight’ and ‘Search Partner Flights Only’ and unticking the ‘My dates are flexible’ box, you cannot book the new transatlantic flights yet. You need to call Emirates.
In terms of availability, it appears that any cash ticket being sold in I-class (the industry code for discounted business class) can be booked as a reward.
If you can use ITA Matrix or have ExpertFlyer, you can track down which flights have I-class for sale. If neither of these tools mean anything to you, it is easier to look at cash prices on the JetBlue website. The dates with the lowest cash fares should be bookable as rewards.
The question, of course, is whether redemptions via Emirates Skywards are good value. We have seen some good value introductory cash fares of around £1,000 return but these won’t last. You may also value the flexibility of a redemption ticket.
Remember that Emirates Skywards is a 1:1 transfer partner with American Express Membership Rewards. Even more impressively, points transfer instantly if your accounts are already linked.
We will do a follow up article on this topic when JetBlue’s cash pricing has settled down – it won’t be £1,000 return long term – and it is clearer what sort of value a redemption offers.
Use Emirates Skywards miles for Lancashire cricket tickets
At the other end of the Emirates Skywards redemption chart, we have cricket!
Whilst we wait for Arsenal VIP football packages to reappear on the Emirates Skywards website for the new season, a more modest sporting redemption is available.
Emirates Skywards is offering tickets for the following Royal London One Day Cup cricket matches:
- Lancashire v Middlesex on 3rd August
- Lancashire v Worcestershire on 8th August
- Lancashire v Essex on 12th August
All matches are at Old Trafford. It will cost 1,500 Emirates Skywards miles per ticket, and you are getting standard General Admission tickets.
From what I can make out, tickets are currently only available to Lancashire Cricket members so this may be your only way of getting hold of them.
How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards (August 2021)
Emirates Skywards does not have a UK credit card. However, you can earn Emirates Skywards miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards. These are:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 20,000 Emirates Skywards miles. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with two free airport lounge passes.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 30,000 Emirates Skywards miles
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 5,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 5,000 Emirates Skywards miles. This card is FREE for life.
Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Emirates Skywards miles which is an attractive rate. The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Emirates Skywards mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.