Travel Points & Miles Valuations – What Are They Worth? [September 2019]

Travel Points and Miles Valuations

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What are points and miles actually worth? Unfortunately, there are no official answers. In other words, the 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.

There are many factors that 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’ August 2019 Points and Miles Valuations

Flexible Points Programs

Flexible Point ProgramAugust’s Value (cents/point)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
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points1.91.95$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 ProgramAugust’s Value (cents/point)Value (cents/point)Value of 50,000 / 100,000 points
Air Canada Aeroplan Miles1.551.55$750 / $1,500
Air France Flying Blue Miles1.11.1$550 / $1,100
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles2.02.0$1,000 / $2,000
American Airlines AAdvantage Miles1.41.4$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 Miles1.61.65$825 / $1,650
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles1.51.5$750 / $1,500

Hotel Loyalty Programs

Hotel Loyalty ProgramAugust’s Value (cents/point)Value (cents/point)Value of 50,000 / 100,000 points
Choice Hotels Choice Privileges Points0.60.6$300 / $600
Radisson Hotels Radisson Rewards Points0.300.30$150 / $300
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 Points0.750.70$350 / $700
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:

Transferrable Points: American Express Membership Rewards Points

American Express Membership Rewards continues to be the king of transferrable 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 transferrable 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

While we didn’t devalue American Express Membership Rewards this month, a negative change did go into effect.

As of September 1st, American Express cardholders must wait at least 90-days after adding an authorized user before they can transfer Membership Rewards points to the new authorized user’s airline or hotel loyalty accounts. This change can make things difficult for those wanting to top-up a family member’s mileage balance on a whim.

However, we did devalue Marriott Bonvoy points by 0.05 cents per point, with each point now being worth 0.70 cents per point. This is because Marriott announced that peak and off-peak pricing for award nights will officially go into effect on September 14th. While this will make some award nights cheaper, we’re expecting free nights to get more expensive around holidays, large conferences, and school breaks. You can view peak, off-peak, and standard award prices in our guide to the Marriott Bonvoy program.

On the other hand, we increased the Chase Ultimate Rewards valuation from 1.9 cents per point to 1.95 cents per point. This is because Chase added Emirates Skywards as a transfer partner in late-August. Even though the loyalty program assesses high taxes and fees when booking award tickets, the points can be redeemed for upgrades, premium award seats, and even flights on JetBlue.

Finally, United Airlines MileagePlus miles also increased by 0.5 cents per point in value  this month. This comes after United Airlines announced that MileagePlus miles no longer expire, making it easy to retain your points balance if you don’t hold a United Airlines credit card or fly on the airline. MileagePlus miles previously expired after 18 months of inactivity.

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 is 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.

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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6 comments

  1. Nirendu Kumar ghosh · February 22, 2019 · Reply

    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

  2. Natalie · July 6, 2019 · Reply

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

  3. Jim Lovejoy · July 6, 2019 · Reply

    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.

    • 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!

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