If Chase were in the car business, it would be guilty of swapping out a rare beauty for a lemon.
My metaphor is meant to convey this: we just lost a great partner and its replacement is essentially useless for those with a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Korean Air SkyPass is out, JetBlue TrueBlue is in.
The TrueBlue program is revenue-based. Each JetBlue point gets you about 1.3-1.5 cents toward the cost of your ticket. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can already use your Ultimate Rewards points at a value of 1.5 cents each–plus you earn points on the ticket.
Thus, there are few situations in which it makes sense to transfer to TrueBlue instead of using the Chase travel portal. Those include the following three scenarios. First, a rare circumstance in which a great fare shows up on the JetBlue website and not on the travel portal. With an Expedia-based search engine now powering the Chase travel portal, this becomes increasingly unlikely. Second, if you are already sitting on many JetBlue points and just want to top off your account for a redemption. Third, if you have TrueBlue Mosaic status some redemption prices are reduced, giving you a greater value than 1.5 cents per point. On the flip side, if you’re booking via the Chase travel portal your flights help you achieve Mosaic status. If you’re just transferring points over to TrueBlue, those flights do not count. I just don’t see a broad value.
Contrast TrueBlue to Korean Air Skypass, which included lucrative redemption opportunities for first class travel not available anywhere else (on Korean Air, China Eastern, and Saudia) as well as attractive redemption rates overall.
In defense of Chase, I’m going to speculate that it never wanted to lose Korean Air SkyPass as a transfer partner? Why would it? Instead, I suspect Korean Air saw too many premium-heavy redemptions and decided to stop it. About six months ago Korean Air began to more closely restrict premium cabin award seats. Flights that used to have four seats available had two at the most and often zero. Perhaps that prompted SkyPass members who actually flew Korean Air often to complain? I’m just speculating…
But RIP Korean Air as one of the best Chase Ultimate Reward transfer options. I will certainly miss it. Now I just need to decide what my Korean Air routing is going to be when it comes time for first class travel.
> Read More: Planning My Final Korean Air Award
Finally, let me just say that if you use your points like I do, you are getting a far better value than 1.5 cents per point through strategic partner transfers. While there are circumstances in which I would use points at that exchange rate, I prefer to hold them for more aspirational premium cabin redemptions.
Having JetBlue as a transfer option is better than not having it at all. Even so, it is a disappointing addition. I’d love to see Chase add JAL or Asiana…