We're loving JetBlue's new initiatives lately. Just a couple of weeks ago, they launched their premium service "Mint" class, which offers passengers flat-bed seating, upscale dining, and gift boxes at an affordable price. Now, just in time for peak family travel season, they have launched Family Pooling, the latest addition to their TrueBlue loyalty program.
The new program comes from what Director of Loyalty Marketing, David Cantyl, describes as the airline's guiding principle: bringing humanity back to air travel. Rather than having to save for years, Canty said at the new program's launch, "We want customers to actually be able to use their points." The Family Pooling program will achieve this by allowing families (the word "family" has a broad meaning here, too – a nice perk) to pool their points so that they can earn free travel much faster. Here's how it works...
First, you have to assemble your family pool. JetBlue says that family has many meanings, so the only stipulation is that there must be at least one (and up to two) adults over the age of 21, and up to five people under 21. One adult serves as head of household (and has control over the family's points) and invites the other "family" members to join the pool.
Once the other members receive and accept their invitations, they have the option to make a one-time contribution of their own (previously accrued) TrueBlue points. they can choose to contribute all or just a percentage to the pool -- which is great for those of us who get emotionally attached to our hard-earned loyalty points and don't want to give them all away. They then decide the percentage of points earned to go into the family pool from there on out – the percentage can change once a year.
The family can set a goal (their dream family vacation, for example) on their TrueBlue homepage and track their progress as their miles add up. When the time comes, only the head of household can redeem the points, but they can make bookings for everyone.
A Few Reasons We Like It:
This is the first program we know of that focuses on frequent family travelers, an long-neglected, yet increasingly mobile, demographic. The program also makes currency available to families that they can utilize; for example, children that are old enough to fly in a paid seat, but not old enough to make their own travel bookings and redeem their own points, will be able to contribute those otherwise unused points to the pool.
The customer, too, has flexibility in that they can keep some points for themselves, while still contributing to the family pool and, as an added bonus, JetBlue has also announced that TrueBlue points will never expire.
One Thing to Bear in Mind:
Only the head of household can redeem the points. Everyone in the family pool who is not the head of household relinquishes control of the points they have agreed to contribute; so, if you want to retain some independence and the opportunity to go your own way, you might want to not sign away 100 percent.