JetBlue is offering 3 people an all you can jet pass for unlimited travel on Jetblue flights for a year. Winners will be drawn on 3/8. You can fly to anywhere JetBlue flies systemwide without limits, blackout dates or capacity controls! Plus you can bring a free companion with you as well! Sounds awesome, right?
There are some big caveats though:
- You’ll have to enter via Instagram and delete all of your past Instagram pictures!
- If you win you will get a 1099-MISC for $20,000. That will mean a big tax bill unless you manage to successfully dispute the value of the prize.
- You’ll need to pay taxes for each flight segment and if you no-show or fail to cancel a booked flight for you and/or your companion more than 24 hours in advance you’ll be charged $150 per person.
Note that instead of deleting all of your Instagram photos you can also archive them so that you can recover them and your likes after the contest. The winner will be chosen at random, not based on photo quality of the entry.
You can’t fly in Mint class and you won’t earn points for flights.
An upper middle class family in NYC may have a 48% combined federal, state, and local marginal tax rate, which could mean that the pass may cost them $9,600 in extra taxes. Of course that price will vary based on income and where you live, but one thing it won’t be is free. I wish companies would compensate the winner in cash for some of the taxes that will be owed on prizes like this.
You can try to dispute the value of the pass based on what you actually use it for, though that valuation may also open a can of worms.
But with JetBlue rumored to be starting flights to Transatlantic destinations like London soon, maybe the tax hit will make sense? Though you’ll also owe about $200 in taxes for a flight like that…