JetBlue, Barclays Said to Be Near Deal to Renew Card Partnership

JetBlue Airways Corp. and Barclays Plc are nearing a deal to renew their years-long credit-card partnership, according to people familiar with the matter.

Barclays has entered exclusive negotiations to retain the portfolio, though talks could still fall apart, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations. JetBlue opened up a so-called request-for-proposal process -- inviting other banks to bid on the portfolio earlier this year -- that drew interest from issuers including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“We are in the middle of contract negotiations with the finalist and I describe it as a meaningful improvement over existing economics of our deal and we’ll be prepared to discuss more in the coming weeks,” JetBlue President Joanna Geraghty said during the airline’s first-quarter earnings call on Tuesday, without naming the finalist. “We believe this will help us close the gap in loyalty revenue to our peers over the next few years.”

A representative for Barclays declined to comment.

The lender has had a string of wins in its U.S. card business in recent months, including securing Gap Inc.’s credit-card portfolio from Synchrony Financial along with debuting a card for the nonprofit AARP after purchasing that business from JPMorgan Chase & Co. The firm announced earlier Tuesday it would partner with the startup Amount to offer more point-of-sale financing options to retailers.

“Our RFP is helping us evaluate the right partner in this new travel landscape as we emerge from this crisis, and in light of other co-brand deals that have taken place since we last signed our agreement,” JetBlue said in an emailed statement. “We will announce more once we complete our RFP process.”

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