The fortunes of the two sides had differed since the Bluebirds left Elland Road with a 4-0 win on October 25, with Leeds going 12 games unbeaten and Cardiff winning just three of their 11 games as Simon Grayson’s men nosed ahead of them in the table.
But Craig Bellamy, so often a scourge of Leeds in his Newcastle days, opened the scoring for Jones’ outfit in the 11th minute and, after Robert Snodgrass had curled home a wonderful 59th-minute equaliser, Michael Chopra’s opportunist strike won it for Cardiff with 11 minutes remaining.
Chopra ran on to an innocuous-looking long ball from Peter Whittingham and, for the second time in the game, the visiting defence dozed off, allowing the striker to prod home a winner.
Both sides made two changes from their last game, the most notable of which was Leeds handing left-back Ben Parker only a second start in 18 months following a horror run of injuries.
Cardiff, missing their injured England striker Jay Bothroyd, started well with three corners inside the first three minutes before Snodgrass skidded an effort wide.
It was the home side who struck first, though, with Bellamy taking advantage of some slack Leeds defending to net his fifth goal of the season.
The visiting defence failed to pick up Bellamy as he collected a short corner from Chopra and, after exchanging passes with Whittingham, he tucked home under Kasper Schmeichel.
Former Cardiff striker Ross McCormack drove a free-kick against Bellamy in the wall as Leeds looked for a way back in to the game, while at the other end Schmeichel did well to keep out efforts from Chris Burke and Bellamy.
Lee Naylor, a scorer in the October game, then lashed over when it looked easier to score as Cardiff impressed with a barrage of slick attacks.
A Bellamy free-kick from the corner of the box was well blocked by Snodgrass and Leeds somehow survived Cardiff’s onslaught and a Billy Paynter header from a corner could have seen them go in level at the interval.
Cardiff continued to create chances after the restart with Burke heading over after Bellamy had bedazzled the Leeds defence again, with Grayson then losing patience with the misfiring McCormack and Max Gradel and replacing them with Lloyd Sam and Sanchez Watt.
The change reaped instant dividends as well as Leeds drew level.
Watt rolled a pass to Sam who skipped inside two challenges and slammed a shot against Tom Heaton but, from the loose ball, Snodgrass picked up possession and curled an unstoppable effort beyond Heaton for his fourth goal of the season.
Sam was withdrawn with a thigh injury just six minutes after his introduction and Parker warmed Heaton’s hands with a low drive as Cardiff became the side under the cosh.
That situation soon changed, though, as Whittingham lumped a long ball forward which Chopra ran on to before prodding beyond Schmeichel who had rushed off his line to narrow the angle.
Bradley Johnson forced Heaton to tip his 30-yard drive around the post but Leeds could not fashion an equaliser.