JetBlue Takes 2 Hours And Charges $15 To Redeem Customer's Gift Card

Angela won a “Wish List” contest from American Express, which let her buy a $100 JetBlue gift card for $70. JetBlue managed to wipe out that $30 savings and any good will Angela might have felt by making her waste 129 minutes trying to redeem the card–and then charging her $15 for the service. At the end of her letter to AmEx and JetBlue, Angela writes, “I don’t know about other AmEx cardholders, but spending almost two hours on hold in order to be able to use something you’ve already paid for is not on my Wish List.”

Several months ago I was a winner of one of AmEx’s Wish List contests, where I had the opportunity to purchase a $100 JetBlue gift card for $70. I have been a very loyal JetBlue customer, so while the chance to save $30 on a future flight doesn’t sound like a big deal to some people it sounded like an ok deal to me.

The reality of actually USING this gift card, though, has been such an ordeal that I am writing this letter to both of your companies, and cc’ing Consumerist.com and other consumer websites, to warn other people of this awful customer service experience.

1. Gift cards can not be used at jetblue.com, they can only be used over the phone

2. Bookings over the phone are charged $15, while bookings done at jetblue.com can be done for free

3. As I start this letter I have currently been on hold tonight for a cumulative 96 minutes, and counting, trying to speak to someone who can actually help me book a flight with this gift card

4. I have spoken to JetBlue reps tonight, but the THREE reps that I have spoken to thus far have been unable to help me, so I am now waiting to speak to a fourth rep

5. The first rep picked up after I’d been on hold for approx 30 minutes, said that she can’t help me with a gift card booking, and transferred me to another department

6. The second rep picked up approximately 20 minutes later, at about the 50 minute mark, said “hold please,” and put me back in the queue, without even telling me that he was doing so. I don’t know if he sent me to another department or not; in fact, I don’t even know what department he was in.

7. The third rep picked up at about the 70 minute mark, said that the department I need for gift card redemption is TrueBlue, she gave me their 877 number in case I got disconnected, and transferred me there (also: if the number for TrueBlue is 877-889-3225, then WHY do both jetblue.com and the back of the physical giftcard itself list 1-800-jetblue as the number to call to book a flight using a gift card?)

8. I’m still on hold, in the queue for TrueBlue. My wait time is currently under 20 minutes.

If you look at my flight history you will see that while I might not fly often, I have been VERY loyal to JetBlue. Since November 2009 I have flown to two international and three domestic locations, all on JetBlue. All paid for using either my American Express card or my JetBlue points for free flights.

I’ve now been on hold for over 100 minutes total tonight, and I’m still on hold (where my expected wait time has now jumped from under 20 minutes to under 30 minutes.) I have spoken to three different reps, in at least possibly two different departments. And I still have no flight booked! I want to use my AmEx and spend money with JetBlue.

I’ve already used my AmEx to spend money with JetBlue, to get this gift card to begin with!

This process is unacceptable, there has got to be a better way to treat people who want to book flights with you, using gift cards that your companies have provided. Especially when jetblue.com is not set up to accept gift cards. I have this $100 JetBlue gift card that I will be spending, but after this is used up perhaps it will be time to start trying out other airlines. JFK is my home airport, T5 might be lovely and all but JetBlue is not the only airline in town.

Ps: I did finally speak with a rep tonight; the fourth rep was the charm, I was able to use my $100 gift card, and get my flight booked.

Total time I spent on the phone with JetBlue tonight? 129 minutes. (I have the cell phone log to prove it.) Most of that time was spent on hold. I don’t know about other AmEx cardholders, but spending almost two hours on hold in order to be able to use something you’ve already paid for is not on my Wish List.