Travel Points and Miles Valuations — How Much Are They Actually Worth? [June 2020]

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Update: Due to the spread of COVID-19’s effect on the travel industry, our monthly point valuations are being placed on hold, as the decrease in travel makes it that much more difficult to determine a current value. 

What are points and miles actually worth? 

Unfortunately, there are no official answers. In other words, airlines and hotels don’t give out their own point and mile valuations. Therefore, it’s up to you to make your own conclusions on that value. However, we’re here to help.

Many factors come into play when determining this metric. Below are questions you should ask yourself when evaluating the value of points and what we’ve taken into account to create our point and mile valuations:

  • How valuable are these points?
  • How flexible are these points and how many transfer partners are there?
  • What are your redemption options?
  • How much would you buy points and miles for?
  • What’s the average redemption value from 3 different bookings?
  • How abundant is award availability?

Upgraded Points’ June 2020 Points and Miles Valuations

Flexible Points Programs

Flexible Point ProgramMay 2020 Value (cents/point)June 2020 Value (cents/point)Value of 50,000 / 100,000 points
Amex Membership Rewards Points2.22.2$1,100 / $2,200
Barclaycard Arrival Miles1.01.0$500 / $1,000
Brex Rewards1.51.5$750 / $1,500
Capital One1.351.35$675 / $1,350
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points1.951.95$975 / $1,950
Citi ThankYou Points1.61.6$800 / $1,600
Diners Club Rewards Points2.02.0$1,000 / $2,000

Airline Loyalty Programs

Airline Loyalty ProgramMay 2020 Value (cents/point)June 2020 Value (cents/point)Value of 50,000 / 100,000 points
Air Canada Aeroplan Miles1.551.55$750 / $1,500
Air France/KLM Flying Blue Miles1.41.4$700 / $1,400
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles2.02.0$1,000 / $2,000
American Airlines AAdvantage Miles1.451.45$700 / $1,400
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club Miles1.41.4$700 / $1,400
Asiana Airlines Asiana Club Miles1.61.6$800 / $1,600
Avianca Airlines LifeMiles1.41.4$700 / $1,400
British Airways Executive Club Miles1.31.3$650 / $1,300
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1.31.3$650 / $1,300
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles1.01.0$500 / $1,000
Emirates Skywards Miles1.11.1$550 / $1,100
Etihad Airways Etihad Guest Miles1.41.4$700 / $1,400
Frontier Airlines FRONTIER Miles1.11.1$550 / $1,100
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles0.90.9$450 / $900
JetBlue TrueBlue Miles1.251.25$625 / $1,250
Korean Air SKYPASS Miles1.61.6$800 / $1,600
Lufthansa Miles & More Miles1.31.3$650 / $1,300
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles1.351.35$675 / $1,350
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points1.41.4$700 / $1,400
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Miles1.31.3$650 / $1,300
United Airlines MileagePlus Miles1.601.60$800 / $1,600
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles1.51.5$750 / $1,500

Hotel Loyalty Programs

Hotel Loyalty ProgramMay 2020 Value (cents/point)June 2020 Value (cents/point)Value of 50,000 / 100,000 points
Choice Hotels Choice Privileges Points0.60.6$300 / $600
Hilton Hotels Hilton Honors Points0.40.4$200 / $400
Hyatt Hotels World of Hyatt Points1.61.6$800 / $1,600
IHG Hotels & Resorts IHG Rewards Club Points0.50.5$250 / $500
Marriott Hotels Marriott Bonvoy Points0.650.65$325 / $650
Radisson Hotels Radisson Rewards Points0.30.3$150 / $300
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Wyndham Rewards Points0.90.9$450 / $900

UP’s Highest Valued Points

Not all miles and points are created equal, so naturally, each category has its own winner with the highest valued points. Here’s why we ranked the highest valued points as such:

Transferable Points: American Express Membership Rewards Points

American Express Membership Rewards continues to be the king of transferable points. Amex partners with all alliances (SkyTeam, Star Alliance, and Oneworld), along with many non-alliance partners, so it’s easier to find award space compared to other transferable points. Some of Amex’s transfer partners include Qantas, Air Canada Aeroplan, and Emirates.

Airline Miles: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles

Alaska Airlines has the best of both worlds: a variety of partners and solid redemption rates. Some of Alaska’s partners include American Airlines, Emirates, Japan Airlines, and more. Redemption rates are lower than other partners across the board — for example, a one-way business class flight on Japan Airlines from the U.S to Tokyo costs just 55,000 Mileage Plan miles.

Hotel Points: World of Hyatt Points

World of Hyatt has the most reasonable redemption rates of all the major hotel chains. Further, we’ve found that there are virtually no blackout dates and that all hotels are on a standard award chart, so you’ll always pay the same price for a room at any hotel. This allows you to explore fantastic Hyatt redemption opportunities ensuring maximum value.

Movers

Naturally, May was a slow month due to the spread of COVID-19. But, fortunately, plenty of award space is starting to open up for the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. While no one knows when we will be able to travel again, looking forward to future travels is something we are all excited about.

The coronavirus and Award Availability

This section isn’t dedicated to any specific airline or credit card award program, but it’s something you should keep on your points and miles radar.

You’re probably aware of the fact that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been affecting global markets and — of course — travel. According to CNBC, airlines have cut “hundreds of thousands” of flights and major airline stocks have dwindled — but there is an upside to this.

alaska airlines Award Space March 2020
Award space is wide-open for flights in 2020. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

We have seen an increase in business and first class award space over the past few weeks. Many premier airlines like Singapore Airlines, Emirates, and others have excellent last-minute award inventory — something usually not seen on long-haul awards.

Likewise, we’ve seen supercheap paid tickets over the past couple of weeks. Business class flights from Europe to the U.S. have been consistently pricing at under $1,500 on select routes. This is likely to continue through the COVID-19 scare, too.

Remember though: we can’t tell you if you should take these flights. Flying during the COVID-19 outbreak obviously comes with some risk, so do your own research, understand the risks, and determine if flying now is right for you.

Hot Tip: We’ve assembled a coronavirus guide for travelers, regularly updated, with everything you need to know about the virus, affected countries, symptoms, treatment, and what to do if your travel plans have been affected. 

Final Thoughts

While the value of points and miles can vary, you want to ensure that you’re getting a great value when redeeming those hard-earned points. When it comes to flexible points, Amex Membership Rewards points are valued at the highest cent per point. Given the number of Amex airline and hotel partners, these points are extremely flexible. Amex Membership Rewards also offers good transfer rates with a ton of redemption options. All of these elements ensure that you get the most of your points.


Frequently asked questions

What are points and miles worth?

Unfortunately, there is no single set value for most points and miles programs. So the valuation is entirely subjective and depends on what the points are worth to you, and how you plan to redeem them.

Why do our valuations change month to month?

Loyalty programs, and the points or miles associated with them, are constantly changing. Programs often add or lose transfer partners, changing the number of miles required for a given route, or sometimes even ditch their award chart altogether.

When these things happen, certain programs miles or points can increase or decrease in usefulness based on the changes that were made.

Andrew Kunesh

About Andrew Kunesh

Andrew was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and now splits his time between Chicago and New York City. He’s a lifelong traveler and took his first solo trip to San Francisco at the age of 16. Fast forward a few years, and Andrew now travels just over 100,000 miles a year, with over 25 countries, 10 business class products, and 2 airline statuses (United and Alaska) under his belt.

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12 comments

  1. Nirendu Kumar ghosh February 22, 2019

    dear sir,
    I have lost my Emirates skywards number. i want to regain to get more points for benifits.
    please help me.
    Thanks.
    Nirendu kumar Ghosh

    Reply

  2. How much are Japan Airlines points worth? I would love to fly them in First Class.

    Reply

  3. Jim Lovejoy July 6, 2019

    I really appreciate the work you’ve put into this. It shows the quality of your work that you got everything right except that you’ve undervalued Bonvoy points. Since 60k Bonvoy points can be exchanged for 25k airline miles on all the MR airline transfers plus about 25 others, then 60 Bonvoy points should be worth at least 25 MR points, especially as Bonvoy points transfer to high-value miles like Alaskan or Korean. The MR hotel transfers shouldn’t change the valuation as 1 Bonvoy point for Marriott is worth more than either 25/60 Choice points or 1.5*25/60 Hilton points to me.
    The only reason for valuing Bonvoy points at less than 2.1*25/60=0.875¢ is the fact that Bonvoy points sometimes take an unreasonably long time to transfer, and if that’s why you are devaluing Bonvoy points, I can’t disagree.

    Reply

    • Hi Jim,

      Thank you for the feedback, we appreciate the kind words. The amount of time a point transfer can take is definitely a reason why Bonvoy points are valued less than Membership Reward points. Additionally, as you mentioned you have to transfer 60k Marriott points at a time in order to achieve a similar value that you get with Membership Reward points, this also causes Bonvoy to lose some value in our opinion as there are no such requirements with Membership Reward points.

      As you know, placing an evaluation on your points is very subjective and vary greatly depending on a large number of factors. So no method is perfect, and we encourage each of our readers to do their research and form their own opinions when deciding on to best value their points and miles.

      Thanks for reading!

      Reply

  4. Maryann C. Otto October 21, 2019

    Just need flight rewards and not a credit card.

    Reply

    • Don’t we all? It would be great if millions of points and miles just rained from the sky into our accounts.

      One of the best ways to earn rewards is with a credit card. If you’re responsible, opening credit cards can result in massive rewards, an increase in credit score, and tons of cost savings. Thanks for reading.

      Reply

  5. bryan campbell June 22, 2020

    How do you use your miles for a rental car without a credit card?

    Reply

  6. Your Hilton Honors article says .5 cpp but you have it listed here as .4. Just a note.

    Reply

    • Hi Kafka,

      Thank you for pointing that out! I’ve updated out Hilton Honors loyalty page with the accurate figure.

      Thanks for reading!

      Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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