JetBlue became the first US airline to eliminate change and cancellation fees in February 2020 when the pandemic first began.
Three years later, the New York-based airline is regaining some of the flexibility travelers enjoyed changing flights without notice.
As of March 8th, all newly issued JetBlue Credits are only valid for one year from the original reservation date.
Previously, changing or canceling a JetBlue flight gave credit to a so-called Travel Bank that could be used up to one year from the date of the change.
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For example, let’s say you book a regular “blue” economy ticket with JetBlue on April 1, 2023 and travel on December 23, 2023. If you decide to change or cancel your ticket in the days leading up to Christmas, you will receive a full credit for your ticket, but it will expire on April 1, 2024.
Previously, credits were valid for one year from the date of cancellation.
As you can see, this is a noticeable devaluation to JetBlue’s travel credit policy, especially for those who like to lock their tickets well in advance.
But perhaps even more stinging than the devaluation itself is the way JetBlue made the change. The airline loaded the policy update on its website without warning travelers or offering a window to take advantage of the previous, more lenient policy.
Perhaps coincidentally, JetBlue chose to make the policy adjustment on the same day it announced its highly anticipated transatlantic route from New York to Paris. Tuesday was also the day the Justice Department formally filed a lawsuit against JetBlue’s proposed merger with Spirit Airlines.
The airline may have thought that making adjustments on a busy news day wouldn’t get much attention. Meanwhile, JetBlue defended the move, stating, “Customers may use these funds to book flights available for sale on JetBlue as long as the trip is booked before the Travel Bank expires. Yes, the schedule is always extended by at least 331 days.”
However, the ability to book travel beyond the expiration date of your JetBlue credit has long been an airline policy, so there’s no real way to sugarcoat this devaluation.
Except for the airline’s Blue Basic fares, all JetBlue fares can be changed or canceled without fees. These Basic Economy tickets can be changed for $100 for travel within North America, Central America, or the Caribbean, and $200 for all other routes, before paying any applicable fare difference.
JetBlue’s policy changes will undoubtedly be frustrating for loyal flyers, but the airline’s revised travel credit expiry policies are now largely in line with those of its major competitors.
American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines travel credits generally expire within one year from the original reservation date.