Edited by: Jessica Merritt
& Juan Ruiz
Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written and evaluated by experts who know these products inside out. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. See our advertising policy here where we list advertisers that we work with, and how we make money. You can also review our credit card rating methodology.
We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.
There are many types of points, and they can all have different values. It can be confusing, especially if you’re just getting into the points and miles hobby.
We’re often asked, “Is it better to earn airline miles or hotel points?” — so that’s the question we’ll help answer.
In this post, we’ll talk about the benefits of earning hotel points, the benefits of earning airline miles, hotel vs. airline credit cards, and whether or not you should be focusing on one versus the other.
We focus on 3 main types of points — airline miles, hotel points, and transferrable points.
You can earn any combination of hotel points, airline miles, and transferrable points as they all can work together.Hot Tip:
If you’re new to this, check out our beginner’s guide to points and miles to help you get started.
There’s more than one way to look at the value of airline miles vs. hotel points. It can all come down to the numbers for the analytical folks in the crowd.
Our valuations, based on several factors, are a good reference point to help you determine if you’re getting poor, good, or great value from your points and miles. Keep in mind these are averages — you can get far more or far less value depending on how you use your points and miles.
Let’s take a look at our point and mile values for just some of the major hotel and airline programs (as of August 2023):
|Airline Loyalty Program||Average Value (Cents per Point or Mile)|
|Air Canada Aeroplan Points||1.5|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue Miles||1.3|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles||1.8|
|American Airlines AAdvantage Miles||1.4|
|British Airways Executive Club Avios||1.25|
|Delta Air Lines SkyMiles||1.2|
|Frontier Airlines FRONTIER Miles||1.1|
|JetBlue TrueBlue Points||1.3|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points||1.3|
|Spirit Airlines Free Spirit Points||1.1|
|United Airlines MileagePlus Miles||1.2|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Virgin Points||1.4|
|Hotel Loyalty Program||Average Value (Cents per Point)|
|Choice Hotels Choice Privileges Points||0.6|
|Hilton Hotels Hilton Honors Points||0.5|
|Hyatt Hotels World of Hyatt Points||1.5|
|IHG Hotels & Resorts IHG One Rewards Points||0.5|
|Marriott Hotels Marriott Bonvoy Points||0.7|
|Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Wyndham Rewards Points||0.9|
Based on these examples, airline miles are worth 1.32 cents each, and hotel points are worth 0.78 cents each on average.
While you may look at those numbers and decide that airline miles are worth more than hotel points, that’s not always the case.
For example, World of Hyatt points are worth ~1.5 cents each, but you can often get over 2 cents per point in value. Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines SkyMiles are worth ~1.2 cents each, but plenty of redemptions result in a value of less than 1 cent per SkyMile.
If you value hotel stays more than flights, then hotel points may be worth more to you, regardless of what the numbers say. Considering you’ll usually spend much more time in your hotel on vacation than on the flights to get there and back, placing more value on hotel points can make sense.
Having hotel points at your disposal can allow you to book more nights in hotels than you would if you were paying with cash, or they can make it possible to book a nicer room in a more expensive hotel.
Take, for example, a luxury stay at IHG’s Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa in Grand Cayman. A room at this resort can easily cost over $1,000 per night, which would be out of reach for many travelers. However, you could book a night there for just 70,000 IHG One Rewards points, resulting in huge value from your hotel points.
As another example of maximizing value, you can book the Park Hyatt Sydney, with iconic views of the Sydney Opera House, for 40,000 World of Hyatt points per night (standard). Alternatively, you could take the family on an epic Disney vacation and stay at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando for just 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night (standard).
Hotel points can open up a world of travel experiences without shelling out huge sums of cash.
Airline miles are wonderful since they can save you money on one of travel’s most significant expenses — flights. You may value airline miles more than hotel points if you aren’t particular about staying in luxury accommodations or if flying in premium cabins is important to you.
One of the best things about earning airline miles is the ability to use them to book luxurious business or first class flights that have a high cash price tag. The excitement of a lie-flat bed or even a shower on an airplane is worth it for plenty of travelers who focus on earning airline miles over hotel points.
Having plenty of airline miles can make the often uncomfortable part of travel — long flights in cramped seats — a thing of the past.
When comparing hotel credit cards vs. airline credit cards, you’ll need to look at multiple factors to determine the best option for you. Each of these types of cards can offer a suite of benefits that offer value above and beyond earning points and miles.
While the pure cents-per-point valuation of airline miles tends to be higher than hotel points, the higher earning potential on many hotel credit cards can sometimes negate that difference.
For example, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card earns 6 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. restaurants. The United℠ Explorer Card has a similar annual fee and earns only 2 points per dollar spent at dining and 1 point per dollar spent at supermarkets and gas stations.
An excellent high-earning Hilton credit card that comes with perks like Hilton Honors Gold status and Priority Pass lounge access.
If you’re someone who loves traveling and loves staying in Hilton hotels, adding a co-branded Hilton hotel card to your wallet is almost a no-brainer. From automatic Hilton elite status, to airport lounge access, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card can be a great fit for Hilton loyalists looking to up their travel game.
With priority boarding privileges, no foreign transaction fees and more, MileagePlus members will definitely enjoy their partnered card.
You travel United all the time, but you have heard that there could be ways to make your travel experiences even better, including priority boarding, free bags, and more miles.
You should consider the United℠ Explorer Card, because this card does all that and more!
If you spent $1,000 at a U.S. supermarket with each of these cards, you’d earn 6,000 Hilton Honors points, worth ~$30, and 1,000 United MileagePlus miles, worth ~$12.Hot Tip:
When comparing hotel vs. airline credit cards, it’s essential to remember that some cards earn transferrable points. In the example above, if you put that same $1,000 supermarket spend on an American Express® Gold Card, you’d earn 4,000 Membership Rewards points, worth ~$88.
So while United miles are worth more than Hilton Honors points individually, your return on spending is more than double when earning Hilton Honors points vs. United MileagePlus miles in this example.
Here’s a quick look at some of the best hotel credit cards:
|Hotel Card||Main Card Benefits|
The World of Hyatt Credit Card
IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Don’t count out airline credit cards, though, as they can still be valuable to your travel wallet. Many airline credit cards have benefits that will enhance your travel day, including free checked baggage, priority boarding, and lounge access.
Plus, some airline credit cards help you earn elite status faster, making you eligible for perks like priority check-in and free upgrades.
Here’s a quick look at some of the best airline credit cards:
|Airline Card||Main Card Benefits|
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
United Club℠ Infinite Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
We love earning airline miles and hotel points here at Upgraded Points, but there’s another type of point we love earning even more — transferrable points.
Transferrable points allow you to earn 1 type of point that can be transferred to multiple hotel and airline partners when you are ready to redeem, thus providing more flexibility than earning hotel or airline points alone.
The major transferrable points programs are:
These 4 programs offer excellent credit card options with massive welcome bonuses to earn many points quickly.
To see the value of transferrable points, consider this scenario: You are deciding between earning Marriott Bonvoy points for hotel stays or United MileagePlus miles for flights. Instead of choosing, you could focus on earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to both United MileagePlus and Marriott Bonvoy (plus additional hotel and airline transfer partners), allowing you to collect 1 type of point without choosing between airline or hotel points. Then you can transfer those points to whichever hotel or airline partner you choose almost instantly.
The value of hotel points vs. airline miles is highly subjective and ultimately comes down to a personal choice. While the cents per point valuation of airline miles tends to be higher than the valuations of hotel points, that doesn’t necessarily mean airline miles are always more valuable than hotel points.
To decide for yourself, consider how you like to travel and what part of your trip you value more.
If you can’t decide between airline miles and hotel points, the good news is that you don’t have to. While you can earn both, you can also focus on transferrable points, which offer more flexibility than earning airline or hotel points alone.
The information regarding the Choice Privileges® Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding The World of Hyatt Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.
For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.
The best way to use your credit card points is ultimately a subjective decision. However, you’ll often get the most value by transferring your points to airlines for business or first class flights.
It’s rarely worth it to convert your hotel points to miles. Unless you need to top off your mileage account for a specific redemption and you don’t have another way to get those miles quickly, you’ll give up significant value by converting your hotel points to miles.
There are many advantages to having an airline credit card. The most obvious is that you’ll earn valuable airline miles with every purchase. Additionally, airline credit cards often come with perks that will elevate your travel day like free checked baggage and priority boarding. Finally, airline credit cards can often help you fast-track to earning elite status.
All of the major hotel chains (Choice, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and Wyndham) offer their own co-branded credit cards. Here’s a look at a few options.
Yes, many programs allow you to redeem airline miles for hotel stays. However, these tend not to be great deals. To maximize the value you get from your airline miles, focus on using them for flights.
Was this page helpful?
Travel is changing fast... Stay on top of all the points strategies, exclusive offers & pivotal news - and lock in huge savings along the way.
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.
UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.