Like many, I got in on the JetBlue points match promotion they offered a few months ago wherein they gave out millions of free points by matching Virgin America frequent flyers’ point balances. This was one of those “if it’s too good to be true, it’s because JetBlue’s marketing department didn’t think this through” situations, because there was literally no downside. Except getting shit on by a bird.
The crazy thing is that I had JUST transferred over and redeemed 50,000 Virgin America points the day before JetBlue announced the promo. I assumed I was out of luck, since I didn’t have enough Starpoints left to do another big transfer, but I emailed JetBlue anyway, practically begging them to show mercy. I included my Virgin Elevate account transaction history so they could see that literally the day before, I had around 58,000 points in my account. To my great shock and surprise, I got a response back a few hours later that they had matched me to the old balance, so I was in for 75,000 JetBlue points as soon as I took a round-trip flight. I expect that if I hadn’t emailed within minutes of the promotion’s launch, I wouldn’t have been so lucky. I don’t think JetBlue realized how easy it was for people to load up on Virgin points by transferring from SPG, but kudos, props, and big-ups to them for not changing or “clarifying” the terms of the promotion mid-course.
I last flew JetBlue 10 years ago to go to a job interview, and when I didn’t get the job, I decided to blame JetBlue rather than my own lackluster resume. I always remembered them being pretty nice, though, so I was excited to give them another go around. I booked SFO to Long Beach, which is a great airport – primarily because they don’t have gates, so you get to walk on the tarmac outside the plane. I firmly believe that flying would be magnitudes more fun if you always got to see the outside of the plane before boarding, rather than walking down a sterile jetbridge.
One consequence of the airport’s open design, however, is that birds can fly in and out, and they like to congregate on the light fixtures above the food court. I was cheerfully eating my hummus and pretzel combo pack when I noticed a blob of bird shit on the table next to me. I stood up to move to a different table after realizing what was afoot, although it was too late, since I apparently sat in a pile of it without first noticing it on my chair. A friendly JetBlue flight attendant pointed it out and even offered me some wet wipes he had in his suitcase, which makes me appreciate the service JetBlue offers – even outside the airplane!
I know it’s good luck if a bird shits on your head (although I suspect that people just started saying that because of how much it sucks when a bird shits on your head), but what about when you sit in it and get bird shit all over the seat of your pants? Well, I can provide you with a “data point” that it certainly isn’t bad luck, since I had an entire row to myself on the way back and my 75,000 points posted about a week later.
Looking at the actual goal of the promotion – to wean me off Virgin America’s slick, black leather teat – I did come away with a lot of warm fuzzies about JetBlue. The big con would be the route network, since they just don’t fly very many places direct from SFO. If they offer a direct flight and I know I’m flying economy, I’ll definitely pick JetBlue. The leg room is better, and I like the DirectTV they offer better than Virgin’s IFE, since most of the channels on Virgin don’t work. Flying premium becomes more of a toss-up. Price being equal, I prefer Virgin’s Main Cabin Extra to JetBlue’s extra legroom seating, since Virgin gives you unlimited free movies and snacks. However, because Virgin considers Extra to be a separate fare class, it’s often more expensive than the Even More Space upgrade. I suppose it would depend on the cost difference and schedule. As for first class, even though I’ve never flown JetBlue’s Mint, I’m sure it’s better than Virgin’s first class, which I love. Pricing for transcons looks similar, so I can almost guarantee that I’ll fly Mint instead of Virgin First the next time I’m planning a trip and can spring to sit up front. Otherwise, obviously I’d fly Virgin if I wanted to fly in first, since JetBlue doesn’t offer first class on most flights.
What do you think? Did you fly JetBlue to get 75,000 points? Has a bird ever shit on you? Do you know of any other points/miles blogs that have used the phrase “slick, black leather teat?”