Travel Points & Miles Valuations – How Much Are They Actually Worth? [May 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’ May 2021 Points and Miles Valuations

Flexible Points Programs

Flexible Point ProgramApril 2021 Value (cents/point)May 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 One1.351.4$700 / $1,400
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points1.952.0$1,000 / $2,000
Citi ThankYou Rewards Points1.61.6$800 / $1,600
Diners Club Rewards Points2.02.0$1,000 / $2,000

Airline Loyalty Programs

Airline Loyalty ProgramApril 2021 Value (cents/point)May 2021 Value (cents/point)Value of 50,000 / 100,000 Points
Air Canada Aeroplan Points1.551.5$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 Miles1.31.25$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 Points1.41.3$650 / $1,300
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 Virgin Points1.51.4$700 / $1,400

Hotel Loyalty Programs

Hotel Loyalty ProgramApril 2021 Value (cents/point)May 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 Points0.30.25$125 / $250
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 Oneworld partners include American and JAL, and the airline’s non-alliance partners include Emirates, Korean Air, Singapore 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 & News

Capital One Miles Adds New Transfer Partners & Improves Rates

Capital One shook up the points and miles world last month by adding 4 new transfer partners to its Capital One Miles program, including British Airways Executive Club, Choice Privileges, TAP Air Portugal Miles & Go, and Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles.

Better yet, Capital One also improved the transfer rates from 2:1.5 to 1:1 on 9 partners, including Aeromexico Club Premier, Avianca LifeMiles, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Choice Privileges, Etihad Guest, Finnair Plus, Qantas Frequent Flyer, TAP Air Portugal Miles & Go, and Wyndham Rewards.

These changes provide a nice boost to both the flexibility and overall value of Capital One Miles, and because of that, we have boosted our valuation of Capital One Miles to 1.4 cents per mile.

IHG Rewards Moves to Fully Dynamic Pricing

Last month, IHG Rewards further cemented moving its award program towards dynamic pricing where the number of points required for an award night will depend on the cash rates of the hotel, along with other factors like seasonality and occupancy rates.

At this time, most properties seem to be priced anywhere from 0.4 to 0.7 cents per point towards an award stay. Given that, we won’t be lowering our valuation of IHG Rewards points at this time but will continue to monitor how IHG Rewards prices award nights going forward. Unfortunately, with these changes, it will now be increasingly more difficult to get outsized value from your IHG Rewards points.

Southwest Devalues Rapid Rewards Points

Unfortunately, Southwest decided to make a no-notice devaluation of the Rapid Rewards program last month, resulting in all redemptions requiring 6% more points. This is Southwest’s first devaluation in 3 years, which is more than we can say for many other airlines but is still disappointing for Southwest flyers nonetheless.

Due to this, we are lowering our valuation of Southwest points to 1.3 cents per point. It is worth mentioning that there are many routes that are still pricing around 1.4 cents per point, so while 1.3 cents is our new floor, it is still possible to get additional value.

Radisson Rewards Guts Its Award Chart

Keeping with the theme of devaluations, we’ve saved the best (or should we say the worst) for last.

Previously, Radisson announced that it is splitting its current loyalty program into 2 separate programs — Radisson and Radisson Americas. The existing Radisson Rewards program will apply towards stays in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific, while the Radisson Americas program will apply to stays in North America, South America, and the Caribbean.

Well, we have received word of how the new Radisson Americas program will function, and it isn’t pretty. Starting in June 2021, Radisson is making some harsh changes to its award chart that includes pricing increases of up to 66%.

For reference, here is what the current award chart looks like:

Old Radisson Award Chart
Image Credit: Radisson

And as of June 2021, here is what the new award chart will look like:

New Radisson Award Chart
Image Credit: Radisson

As you can see, the award chart is shrinking from 7 categories down to 5, resulting in the following changes:

Old Category/Points NeededNew Category/Points NeededIncrease
Category 1 — 9,000Category 1 — 15,00066%
Category 2 — 15,0000%
Category 3 — 28,000Cateogry 2 — 30,0007%
Category 4 — 38,000Category 3 — 45,00018%
Cateogry 5 — 44,000Category 4 — 60,00036%
Category 6 — 50,00020%
Category 7 — 70,000Category 5 — 75,0007%

That said, not all hotels are increasing in price; you can view the full list of price changes on this page of the Radisson website.

In light of all of these changes, we are lowering our valuation of Radisson Rewards points to 0.25 cents per point.

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

Jarrod first became fascinated with the world of points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. On his first major award trip, he spent 3 months traveling through Europe, financed nearly entirely with points; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. Now, he is on a mission to help others realize their travel goals and upgrade their travel experiences. Jarrod has been writing about credit cards and travel loyalty programs for 4 years, and his work has been featured by Travel and Leisure, Matador Network, Yahoo Finance, and U.S. News.

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