You have a new redemption partner when looking for Avios flights between London and New York or Boston – JetBlue.
Even better, for now, there are NO surcharges to pay on transatlantic flights. All you pay is Air Passenger Duty and airport taxes.
You can also book JetBlue domestic flights in the US which come with a flat $10 of taxes and charges. The new routes to the USA from Paris and Amsterdam are also bookable.
Has JetBlue suddenly joined the oneworld alliance?
It hasn’t become a British Airways partner either.
This is all down to the partnership between Qatar Airways and JetBlue, and the fact that Qatar Airways has now adopted Avios as its loyalty currency.
Qatar Airways brought new airlines for earning and spending Avios
Last year, Qatar Airways adopted Avios as its loyalty currency.
It also opened up immediate, free, reversible transfers of Avios between British Airways Executive Club and Qatar Privilege Club.
This opened up a huge number of new Avios ‘earn and burn’ partners. Suddenly you could redeem and earn Avios on Virgin Australia and earn Avios when renting a car from Hertz amongst other things.
JetBlue was an outlier
JetBlue was treated a little differently to the other Qatar Privilege Club airline partners. It was ‘earn only’ with no ability to redeem Avios.
This has now changed. JetBlue is now a full ‘earn and burn’ Avios partner.
Where does JetBlue fly transatlantic?
As well as its domestic US network, JetBlue offers transatlantic services from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Amsterdam and Paris.
You can fly:
- London Heathrow to New York JFK, Boston
- London Gatwick to New York JFK, Boston
- Amsterdam to New York JFK, Boston
- Paris to New York JFK (Boston to launch April 2024)
Dublin (New York, Boston) and Edinburgh (New York) will be added for summer 2024. Amsterdam flights may have to be scrapped for summer 2024 due to the Dutch government reducing the number of flights at Schiphol.
Flights mainly use an Airbus A321LR aircraft, which is a single aisle plane. These have the range to fly from the US East Coast to Western Europe. The upcoming XLR version will have an even longer range and allow transatlantic flights to reach deeper into the US or Europe.
JetBlue has an impressive Business Class product called Mint Suite, which includes a door. We haven’t reviewed it yet but you can read about it in this HfP article. There are also two over-sized seats in Row 1 called Mint Studio to take advantage of the space around the bulkhead.
The only downside of the JetBlue business class product is the lack of airport lounge access. This is a ‘feature’ of the airline aimed at keeping fares down – albeit not a popular one!
What do Avios redemptions cost on JetBlue?
JetBlue is not using the standard Qatar Airways partner reward chart. In fact, I can no longer find this chart on the Qatar Airways website so it may have been retired.
For flights between UK / Europe and the US, the key numbers are:
- 156,000 Avios return / 78,000 Avios each way in Business Class
- 50,000 Avios return / 25,000 Avios each way in Economy
Obviously you cannot use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher or a Barclaycard upgrade voucher on these flights.
What are the taxes and charges?
Qatar Airways has – for now – decided not to levy any surcharges on JetBlue redemptions. This makes them good value compared to using your Avios on British Airways.
Let me stress the phrase ‘for now’. Treat this as a special launch offer. Surcharges will be added to transatlantic JetBlue redemptions at some point in 2024 so it is worth booking sooner rather than later.
Here is some sample pricing:
- 156,000 Avios + £262 return in Business Class between London Heathrow and New York JFK
- 156,000 Avios + €88 return in Business Class between Amsterdam Schiphol and New York JFK
- 78,000 Avios + £254 one-way in Business Class between London Heathrow and New York JFK
- 78,000 Avios + $10 one-way in Business Class between the US and Europe
- 50,000 Avios + £158 return in Economy between London Heathrow and New York JFK
For comparison, using British Airways, you would pay 180,000 Avios (peak) or 160,000 Avios (off-peak) + £350 return in Business Class between London Heathrow and New York JFK.
Not only do you make a saving with JetBlue but arguably you are getting – lack of lounge apart – an equal or better product, although as I say we haven’t reviewed it yet.
How do you book?
Historically, partner redemptions using Qatar Airways Avios have worked on a ‘request’ basis via an online form.
Very quietly, with no announcement, Qatar Airways has started adding direct online booking for partner airlines. By the end of the year I believe most partners will be available.
JetBlue flights can be booked online.
The first step is to open a Qatar Privilege Club account and then to link it to your British Airways Executive Club account via the instructions in this HfP article.
You do NOT need to transfer your Avios across to your Privilege Club account. Linking them is enough – Qatar Airways will suck them directly from your BA account when you book.
Avios availability for JetBlue flights, in both Business (Mint) and Economy, is very good. It is driven by cash tickets – as long as JetBlue has cash tickets left in its cheapest ‘bucket’, you can book them for Avios.
Here is how it looks:
You can book domestic US redemptions on JetBlue in the same way. Boston to New York, for example, is 8,500 Avios + $10 one-way in Economy.
It’s not clear what sort of surcharges will be added to these tickets by Qatar Airways when they are eventually introduced. For now, however, you can book at these ‘limited edition’ zero surcharge rates.
Cancellation fees are $25 per ticket up to 24 hours before departure, and $100 within 3-24 hours of departure. All Avios and taxes will be returned to you, less the fee.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.