Travel Points and Miles Valuations – What Are They Worth? [January 2020]

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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.

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’ January 2020 Points and Miles Valuations

Flexible Points Programs

Flexible Point ProgramDecember 2019 Value (cents/point)January 2020 Value (cents/point)Value of 50,000 / 100,000 points
Amex Membership Rewards Points2.32.2$1,100 / $2,200
Barclaycard Arrival Miles1.01.0$500 / $1,000
Brex Rewards1.51.5$750 / $1,500
Capital One1.251.25$625 / $1,250
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 ProgramDecember 2019 Value (cents/point)January 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 Miles1.91.9$950 / $1,900
American Airlines AAdvantage Miles1.301.45$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 ProgramDecember 2019 Value (cents/point)January 2020 Value (cents/point)Value of 50,000 / 100,000 points
Choice Hotels Choice Privileges Points0.60.6$300 / $600
Radisson Hotels Radisson Rewards Points0.30.3$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 Points0.70.7$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

There wasn’t a lot of points and miles news to cover in December, largely because it was a holiday month. However, there were 2 interesting movers – 1 transferrable point currency and 1 airline mile currency.

American Express Ends 30% Virgin Atlantic Transfer Bonus

American Express ran a 30% transfer bonus from Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club in December. This promotion ended on December 28, 2019, so we’ve dropped our Amex Membership Rewards valuation back to 2.2 cents per point from 2.3 cents per point.

Amex Membership Rewards points have remained the most valuable transferrable points currency per our valuations. Consider using your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to book ANA first class or Delta One for cheap if you took advantage of the transfer bonus.

American Airlines Runs Awesome Web Special Awards

American Airlines introduced discounted Web Special awards earlier in the year. These are similar to Delta’s famous SkyMiles Flash Sales that make flights on specific routes cheaper. Previously we’ve seen discounted short-haul award tickets and 20,000-mile tickets between Los Angeles (LAX) and Australia.

However, this month we saw the most exciting Web Special award come to light.

American Airlines offered tickets from select U.S. cities to Tokyo (HND/NRT) in business class for just 42,500 American AAdvantage miles one-way. This award would usually cost 70,000 AAdvantage miles one-way.

We’ve raised our American Airlines AAdvantage valuation to 1.45 cents per point from 1.30 cents per point despite most dates already being sold out. We’re hopeful that similar Web Special awards will pop up in the future.

Flying Blue January Promo Awards Pending

We’re still awaiting the announcement of Flying Blue’s January Promo Awards. In December, we saw cheap business class tickets from Chicago (ORD) and Toronto (YYZ) to Europe, and we’re hopeful that January’s awards are just as fruitful.

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.


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.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

8 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

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