Travel Points and Miles Valuations – How Much Are They Actually Worth? [March 2021]

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Credit cards, airlines, and hotels don’t give out their own point and mile valuations, so, unfortunately, there are no official answers on what points and miles are actually worth. 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’ March 2021 Points and Miles Valuations

Flexible Points Programs

Flexible Point ProgramFebruary 2021 Value (cents/point)March 2021 Value (cents/point)Value of 50,000 / 100,000 Points
Amex Membership Rewards Points2.22.2$1,100 / $2,200
Bank of America Preferred Rewards1.01.0$500 / $1,000
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 Points1.952.0$1,000 / $2,000
Citi ThankYou Points1.61.6$800 / $1,600
Diners Club Rewards Points2.02.0$1,000 / $2,000

Airline Loyalty Programs

Airline Loyalty ProgramFebruary 2021 Value (cents/point)March 2021 Value (cents/point)Value of 50,000 / 100,000 Points
Air Canada Aeroplan Miles1.551.5$750 / $1,500
Air France/KLM Flying Blue Miles1.41.4$700 / $1,400
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles1.81.8$900 / $1,800
American Airlines AAdvantage Miles1.51.5$750 / $1,500
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 Miles1.31.3$650 / $1,300
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
Spirit Airlines Free Spirit Points1.11.1$550 / $1,100
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Miles1.31.3$650 / $1,300
United Airlines MileagePlus Miles1.61.6$800 / $1,600
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles1.51.4$700 / $1,400

Hotel Loyalty Programs

Hotel Loyalty ProgramFebruary 2021 Value (cents/point)March 2021 Value (cents/point)Value of 50,000 / 100,000 Points
Choice Hotels Choice Privileges Points0.60.6$300 / $600
Hilton Hotels Hilton Honors Points0.50.5$250 / $500
Hyatt Hotels World of Hyatt Points1.51.5$750 / $1,500
IHG Hotels & Resorts IHG Rewards Points0.50.5$250 / $500
Marriott Hotels Marriott Bonvoy Points0.70.7$350 / $700
Radisson Hotels Radisson Rewards Points0.30.3$150 / $300
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Wyndham Rewards Points0.90.9$450 / $900

Upgraded Points’ 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, 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

Delta Devalues Partner Awards

For the second time in 6 months, Delta has devalued partner awards again. Partner business class awards will now cost 120,000 miles one-way, up from the 95,000 cost they were devalued to in October 2020. Partners award between the U.S. and North Asia/India are being increased from 102,500 to 120,000 one-way, and partner award from the U.S. to Southeast Asia are being increased from 147,500 miles to 165,000 miles one-way.

This is another big blow to the usefulness of Delta SkyMiles when trying to fly in premium cabins with partner airlines. However, it hasn’t altered our value of Delta SkyMiles from 1 cent per point as this is the minimum value that you’ll always be able to receive when using Delta SkyMiles to pay for your flight.

Airline and Hotel Elite Status Extensions

If you have elite status with an airline or hotel, there’s no rush to try and redeem your points or miles before that status expires, as almost every major airline and hotel program has extended the elite status expiration of all members through 2021, and many have also lowered the qualification requirements for 2021. See our guides to how COVID-19 has impacted airline elite status extensions and hotel elite status extensions.

Virgin Atlantic Loses Delta Sweet Spots

Virgin Atlantic has devalued many sweet spots for booking Delta Airlines flights, specifically long-haul Delta One flights to Asia and Africa, which will now cost 60% to 100% more depending on your destination. While this is certainly a blow to the program, note that it does not apply to nonstop Delta flights between the U.S. and Europe. So customers can still book Delta One business class flights from the U.S. to Europe for 50,000 points one-way.

Spirit Airlines Revamps Loyalty Program

Spirit decided to shake up its Free Spirit loyalty program recently, and the changes were largely positive. This is a refreshing sight to see in a world where many airlines are cutting back benefits. Here are the highlights for the new program:

  • Mileage earnings are now revenue-based instead of distance-based
  • The old award chart has been discontinued, and now award flights will be priced in relation to the cash cost of the flight
  • The $9 Fare Club is now the Spirit Saver$ Club, where members will receive discounted fares, up to 50% off bag fees, discounts on seat assignments, and discounts on additional perks
  • New and improved Silver and Gold elite status tiers

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.

Are points and miles the same thing?

The terms points and miles are used interchangeably and effectively come down to whatever a given program calls their loyalty currency. Some travel loyalty programs refer to their currency as miles, and others refer to them as points, but they ultimately have the same function.

How many points do you need for a free flight?

That will depend entirely on the type of points you have, and where you are hoping to fly. Each airline loyalty program has its own method for pricing redemptions, some use an award chart where the number of miles needed for a certain flight route is predetermined. Others use revenue-based redemptions where the number of points needed for a free flight will depend on how expensive the cash price of the ticket is.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Born and raised just outside of Cincinnati, Jarrod became fascinated with using points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. Thanks to points and miles, Jarrod was able to spend 3 months traveling Europe financed nearly entirely with points and miles; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. To date, Jarrod has traveled to 16 countries and 22 US states.

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