Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What I learned doing the JetBlue Family Pooling

(updated March 2017)

As I mentioned before, my husband and I both gave up on United and on chasing status with "the big 3" a couple years ago. Since he flies NYC-SFO a lot for work, he ended up settling into a pattern of flying JetBlue Mint since it's hands-down the best domestic Business Class and is often the cheapest (his employer requires him to fly on the lowest-priced flight within $100).



Since we both fly quite a bit, we decided to do take advantage of JetBlue's unique-in-the-US family point-pooling program. The big advantage of a Family Pool is that you can avoid the situation where, for example, two of you want to go somewhere and you need 30,000 miles each, but one of you has 45,000 miles and the other only has 15,000. (Most airlines won't let you transfer miles between accounts without a hefty fee).

Another big advantage of Family Pooling is that it's easier to redeem for a single ticket that includes multiple family members. During bad weather or other service interruptions, being on the same ticket together can help keep all the members of your party together during automatic re-bookings and cancellations.

I'll skip the long tale of how I screwed up and just get to the important things I learned:
  • If one person in the family travels a lot more than the others, it's best to make that person the Head of Household
  • Everyone in the family elects to contribute some percentage of their existing and future earned miles into The Head of Household's account (i.e., the Family Account and the Head of Household's personal account are one in the same)
  • Family members traveling without the Head of Household do not have access to the Family Pool for upgrading to Even More Space with points (even if everyone has Mosaic elite status).
  • Further, non-Mosaic Family members traveling without the Head of Household can only upgrade to Even More Space with cash even if the Head of Household books the ticket through their account
  • You can't upgrade to Mint with points if you bought the ticket with dollars (even if you're Mosaic)
  • You can only change your Family Pooling preferences once a year
  • You can't book a reward flight where one person is in Mint and the other person is in Economy. You have to book 2 separate tickets for that.
  • If you have the JetBlue Plus MasterCard, ONLY the primary cardholder receives the 10% rebate on point redemptions.
  • If you have Mosaic status, JetBlue allows you to make changes to your family pool, and can change the head of household, but they won't do this for non-mosaic members.
Also note that the Mint network is expanding. Seasonal service to Aruba and Barbados, and year-round service between Boston and SFO starts March 2016. My Mint reviews are here, and here.

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