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

Flexible Points Programs

Flexible Point ProgramJuly 2021 Value (cents/point)August 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
Bilt Rewards1.51.5$750 / $1,500
Brex Rewards1.51.5$750 / $1,500
Capital One1.41.4$700 / $1,400
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points2.02.0$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 ProgramJuly 2021 Value (cents/point)August 2021 Value (cents/point)Value of 50,000 / 100,000 Points
Air Canada Aeroplan Points1.51.5$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
Breeze Airways BreezePoints1.01.0$500 / $1,000
British Airways Executive Club Miles1.251.25$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 Points1.31.3$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 Points1.41.4$700 / $1,400

Hotel Loyalty Programs

Hotel Loyalty ProgramJuly 2021 Value (cents/point)August 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 Points0.250.25$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 and News

Citi ThankYou Rewards Adds American AAdvantage as a Temporary Transfer Partner

For the longest time, the American Airlines AAdvantage program has not partnered with a major transferable points currency. AA is also the only airline of the big 3 to make this decision, as Delta partners with American Express, and United partners with Chase. But last month, Citi and AA made huge news by announcing that you would be able to transfer your Citi ThankYou Points to American Airlines AAdvantage through November 13, 2021.

This is excellent news for those who use Citi ThankYou Points, as the American AAdvantage program has some excellent sweet spots in its award chart. The downside, of course, is that this transfer is currently just open for a limited time. Hopefully, we will see this new partnership become permanent, which would definitely boost the value of Citi ThankYou Points, but for now, we will just have to wait and see.

Delta Extends Elite Status Into 2023

Despite the recent uptick in travel, it has been a very tough year for the industry as a whole. So, too, has it been difficult for frequent flyers attempting to re-qualify for elite status. While many flyers had their status extended through the end of 2021, many were left wondering if it would be possible for them to re-qualify given the reduced travel demand, flight cancellations, and decline in route coverage.

But fortunately, Delta was the first to make waves by extending the elite statuses of all members, along with any upgrade certificates they have, until January 31, 2023. Though other airlines like American and United have yet to do the same, Delta may force their hands here and cause them to follow suit.

The Platinum Card® from American Express Increases Benefits and Annual Fee

The Amex Platinum card has just added over $900 in new benefits, including:

  • $179 Annual CLEAR Credit — CLEAR is a service that expedites airport security, much like TSA PreCheck
  • Up to $300 Equinox Credit — This credit will be distributed in monthly increments of up to $25 and can be used towards select monthly Equinox membership fees and Equinox+. Enrollment is required through your American Express account.
  • Up to $240 Digital Entertainment Credit — Doled out at a rate of up to $20 per month, this credit can be used when you pay for Peacock, The New York Times, Audible, and/or SiriusXM. Enrollment is required through your American Express account.
  • Up to $200 Prepaid Hotel Credit — This credit is valid for select bookings at Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection made via Amex Travel.

Originally $550, you can now expect to pay $695 annually for an Amex Platinum card — a $145 annual increase — though cardholders can now maximize $1,400+ in monthly and annual credits (see rates and fees).

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.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

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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