In June of 2014, jetBlue introduced a radical change to its philosophy: the introduction of a second cabin onboard select aircraft. This departure from its egalitarian all economy layouts was met with not only concern from loyal passengers, but also critical fanfare! Mint sought to shake up the premium fare market by upping the game and providing elevated service at a fair cost and can be found on select Airbus A321 aircraft that serve transcontinental flights as well as weekend Caribbean service from New York and Boston.
For this flight, we booked utilizing the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal utilizing 20,000 points and $185. Conversely, we could have also transferred miles to jetBlue at a 1:1 ratio for increased value if we hadn’t wanted to offset with cash, or earn miles on this flight. We could also have booked using cash for $485 plus taxes and fees.
I booked this flight as a part of a longer trip that brought me to Toronto for a conference, a quick one night layover in New York, and ultimately to St. Lucia! Being that I was flying right around the new year, rates between Toronto and New York were astronomically high for such a short flight, especially given that I wanted to fly into JFK for the TWA Hotel and my morning flight in jetBlue Mint. I could’ve otherwise opted for cheaper fares into Newark or LaGuardia, including routes on Porter Airlines, but I decided to err towards convenience once factoring in the cost of transferring airports.
Given how high the rates were on my preferred flights, I decided to take a look at purchasing with points. I first checked Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club, a transfer partner for my Chase Sapphire Reserve and a great source for booking Delta flights with points, and while the flight was available, it commanded 40,000 miles - far too rich for me. Instead, I opted to book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal - you get a 1.5x bonus by booking here - where I was able to snag this flight for 12,771 points. In addition, flights booked through the portal are eligible to earn miles with the airline, so I credited my Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account where I earned 349 miles.
Porter the - friendly, quirky & lovable - Canadian carrier with a raccoon as its mascot who flies solely a fleet of Bombardier Q400 Dash8s! Depending on where you live, you've probably never heard of them, but as Canada's third largest carrier they offer a relatively extensive domestic network as well as service to the US cities of: Chicago-Midway, Myrtle Beach, New York-Newark, Washington-Dulles & Boston.
What's with raccoon, you ask? He's a delightful nod to Porter's home base of Toronto - who at a time was overrun with raccoons, but being too polite and caring to eradicate them alternative methods of control were found. Since then, the raccoon has been an unofficial calling card for the city. In my mind, he's a brilliant marketing play with a lot of personality and a great differentiation for a different type of carrier.
We booked this flight directly with the airline at www.flyporter.com , selecting the standard fare to include a carry on bag, but not a seat assignment. Final cost came to $120.73 charged to my American Express Platinum Card earning 600 points thanks to the 5x points earned when booking directly with the airline.
When I was falling in love with aviation as a kid, I first saw Cathay Pacific on an episode of The Amazing Race, and knew I had to fly them to Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific began service in 1946 from its home base of Hong Kong International, now serving 79 destinations worldwide and is a founding member of the OneWorld alliance.
We booked this flight through Expedia using the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card, selecting an Economy fare which included seat selection, a carry-on, and two checked bags. The total came to $606.03, earning 909 Travel Rewards Points at 1.5x points per dollar. In addition, since this flight was booked through Expedia, we also netted 242 Expedia Points. We strategically used this purchase to count towards the $1,000 minimum spend to achieve a 25,000 point sign-up bonus from Bank of America.