What Is A Point or Mile Worth? My New Monthly Valuation Series

by on May 14, 2014 · 47 comments

in American Express, Barclays, Capital One, Chase, Frontier, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Mile and Point Value Series, Starwood, Ultimate Rewards

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You can view all posts in the Monthly Valuation Series here.

Update: The offers mentioned below for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards from American Express has expired. View the current offers here – personal, business.

One of the questions I’m asked the most is – how much is a point or mile worth? That question lies at the heart of what we do every day at The Points Guy, and one that I am constantly finding new answers to as I travel the world and put my points and miles to use.

How much are all those points and miles really worth?

How much are all those points and miles really worth?

The fact of the matter is, there is no quick or easy answer. The value of a point will depend on both the monetary value you get from it as well as the experiential value of its worth to you personally. By that, I mean, if you redeem your miles for a cheap ticket that you would not otherwise have been able to purchase in order to do something you want or need to, that can be worth much more to you than flying in Emirates first class for 90,000 Alaska miles and $57. It all depends.

That said, it’s my business to keep track of the points and miles world and to inform my readers of their ever-changing values by relaying up-to-the-minute news, formulating strategies to maximize points and trying to make sense of complicated loyalty programs. To that end, I have come up with a quick guide to my current valuations of the major points and miles programs and I plan to update this list every month taking into account any devaluations, program changes or special promotions that may make a currency more valuable in a particular month.

To give readers – both old and new – some context, I have included my valuation of points from a year ago and also their current valuations, as well as the reasons why there have been changes in their values (ahem, devaluations). I also added what credit cards are out there to help you rack them up fastest in case you decide you want to focus in on a currency you may not have considered before.

The Calculations
I will be honest, there isn’t a huge mathematical formula being used here to calculate a number based on award availability, fees, award levels and ease in accruing the miles. At some point I’d like to create such a system, but these “cent” valuations are simply the number in my head are a combination of the value where I’d gladly buy points if given the opportunity and overall value I could attain by making some of their solid redemptions on a consistent basis. I absolutely encourage you to share your thoughts where you think I’m off-base (and on point, no pun intended) and I will take TPG reader feedback into consideration when I update this list for next month. This list does not include every single currency and I’ll work over time to add more and more to the list, so let us know which you’d like to see featured.

I’ll start with a table that gives you the quick overview, and then for the details on each program, read on below.


PROGRAM 2013 Value 2014 Value What Changed?
American Express Membership Rewards 1.9 cents 1.7 cents Partner devaluations
Barclaycard Arrival Miles 0.5-1.1 cents 0.5-1.1 cents No changes
Capital One 1 cent 1 cent No changes
Chase Ultimate Rewards 2.2 cents 2 cents United and Hyatt devaluations
Citi ThankYou 1.3 cents 1.1 cents Citi devalued flight redemptions.
FlexPerks 1.33-2 cents 1.33-2 cents No change
Aeroplan 1.9 cents 1.6 cents Major award chart devaluation
Alaska 1.8 cents 2 cents Great new partners
American 1.9 cents 1.7 cents Lots of negative, unannounced changes
British Airways 1.6 cents 1.7 cents New partners like Qatar, Sri Lankan, TAM and US Airways
Delta 1.5 cents 1.2 cents Huge award chart devaluations and earning changes in 2015 plus unknown chart changes in the future
Frontier 1.3 cents 1.2 cents New fees
JetBlue 1-1.3 cents 1-1.3 cents No changes
Southwest 1.8 cents 1.4 cents Point devaluation
United 2 cents 1.6 cents Huge devaluation, especially for partner awards
US Airways 1.8 cents 1.9 cents New partners and only one minor chart devaluation
Virgin America 1.5-2.3 cents 1.5-2.3 cents No reach change
Virgin Atlantic 1.4 cents 1.5 cents New Delta partnership, still high taxes/surcharges
Club Carlson 0.7 cents 0.6 cents New top-tier category
Hilton 0.7 cents 0.5 cents Massive 2013 devaluation was pre May 2013, but premium rooms have become more of the norm
Hyatt 2 cents 1.8 cents Award devaluations but also cash & points and elite discounts
IHG 0.7 cents 0.7 cents No big changes
Marriott 0.7 cents 0.5 cents Big May 16 2013 devaluation
Starwood 2.3 cents 2.1 cents Cash & Points pricing increases


Amex Membership Rewards feat

American Express Membership Rewards
2013 Value: 1.9 cents
2014 Value: 1.7 cents
Why it changed: Membership Rewards points have long been one of the most useful workhorses in my points portfolio, but lately they have begun to look a bit more lackluster thanks to a few factors. First, compared to the bonanza transfer bonuses of 2011 and 2012 with up to 50% and even 67% bonuses on certain transfers including to Delta, the best we have seen lately are 30-40% bonuses to partners like British Airways. Not only that, but several transfer partner programs including Delta and Air Canada’s Aeroplan have undergone massive devaluations in the past year, which in turn devalued Membership Rewards points in my estimation.
Associated Credit Cards:
Premier Rewards Gold
Mercedes-Benz Platinum
EveryDay Preferred
Business Gold Rewards
Business Platinum

Barclaycard Arrival Miles
2013 Value: 0.5-1.1 cents
2014 Value: 0.5-1.1 cents
Why it changed: These are fixed-value points, and the Arrival miles program didn’t change, so there was no change in their value. The range really depends on which card you have and what you redeem your miles for, though. For instance, if you have the Arrival card with an $89 annual fee (waived the first year), you earn 2x miles per $1 on all purchases, whereas with the no annual fee card, you earn 2x miles per $1 just on travel and dining. On the redemption side, merchandise redemption values are as low as 0.5 cents per mile, but for travel redemptions, you get a return of 2.27% on spending thanks to both the 2x per $1 earning and the 10% mileage refund on travel redemptions. I’d advise using these miles only for travel redemptions and would peg the value at the high end of the range for most intents and purposes
Associated Credit Cards:
Arrival with No Annual Fee

Capital One Venture Rewards
2013 Value: 1 cent
2014 Value: 1 cent
Why it changed: No major changes here – each mile is worth a cent when redeemed for travel.
Associated Credit Cards:

Ultimate Rewards

Chase Ultimate Rewards
2013 Value: 2.2 cents
2014 Value: 2 cents
Why it changed: I still think Ultimate Rewards are among the most valuable points currencies out there, but major changes to two of the program’s 10 transfer partners have also meant changes to the value you can get from them. First, United instituted a major mileage devaluation earlier this year by revamping both its own and its partners awards to make the mileage requirements much higher in many cases. The other transfer partner I mentioned is Hyatt, which not only raised some award categories’ pricing, but also created a new top-tier category of hotels where award nights jumped from 22,000 points to 30,000 points. Hyatt still is a great program, but it did factor into my valuation.
Associated Credit Cards:
Sapphire Preferred
Ink Bold
Ink Plus
In combination with the above: Freedom, Sapphire

Citi ThankYou Points
2013 Value: 1.3 cents
2014 Value: 1.1 cents
Why it changed: Not only did Citi axe the value of ThankYou points for flight redemptions from 1.33 cents per point to 1.25 cents per point, but it also discontinued the ability to earn flight miles (more ThankYou points based on mileage flown) on flights paid for with the credit card, discontinued anniversary bonuses and discontinuing the ability to earn bonus points through the ThankYou shopping portal. There were category bonuses added to take the pain out a little bit, but still an overall devaluation in my opinion.
Associated Credit Cards:
Citi ThankYou Premier
Citi ThankYou Preferred
Citi Prestige

2013 Value: 1.33-2 cents
2014 Value: 1.33-2 cents
Why it changed: There wasn’t a change here, but the value of these points varies inherently since you have to redeem them for airline tickets within dollar value bands. So you can get up to a $400 ticket for 20,000 points, but if your ticket costs $401, you have to redeem 30,000 points, meaning you’ve got to do a lot of sleuthing to maximize their value.
Associated Credit Cards:
US Bank FlexPerks Visa Signature


Starwood Preferred Guest
2013 Value: 2.3 cents
2014 Value: 2.1 cents
Why it changed: SPG is probably my top points program at the moment and is holding steady, though there were some negative changes in the past year that shifted my valuation downward – namely increasing the prices on Cash & Points awards, and hotel category changes. That said, the program still holds tremendous value thanks to the ability to transfer points to 32 airline partners (Virgin Australia being the newest) and earn a 25% bonus on transfers of 20,000 points at a time.
Associated Credit Cards:
Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express
Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card from American Express


2013 Value: 1.9 cents
2014 Value: 1.6 cents
Why it changed: Aeroplan devalued many of its award redemptions this year, making some of them much more expensive. It also charges fuel surcharges and high taxes on many awards though not all (including Brussels Airlines, Singapore and South African Airways), but there are still some great value redemptions to be had, especially if you can snag a low-level business class ticket to Europe for 90,000 miles. There are also frequent flight bonus promos, Aeroplan introduced one-way awards for half the price (instead of 67%) as roundtrips, and the program is a transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards, which makes it easy to top up your account for an award. Aeroplan still offers generous routing on awards (around the world), so value can be had, but it is getting harder and more expensive.

Alaska has amazing airline partners.

Alaska has amazing airline partners.

Alaska Airlines
2013 Value: 1.8 cents
2014 Value: 2 cents
Why it changed: Alaska made some great changes to its Mileage Plan program over the past year including adding new partners like Emirates and also extending elite-qualifying mileage earning to flights on all its partners. It also introduced better award booking capability through its app.
Associated Credit Cards:
Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature

American Airlines Airbus 321

The “New” American has seen a lot of changes lately.

2013 Value: 1.9 cents
2014 Value: 1.7 cents
Why it changed: AA miles recently becomes less valuable due to their negative, unannounced changes the airline has recently made to its mileage program in advance of the merger with US Airways including hacking away at Choice Fares and discontinuing the ability to make stopovers in international gateway cities. That said, the airline still offers some lucrative bonus promos and has some good current credit card offers out there and a relatively generous award chart (which we might see change as the merger progresses).
Associated Credit Cards:
Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard
Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Mastercard
CitiBusiness Mastercard
Citi Gold AAdvantage World Mastercard

British Airways
2013 Value: 1.6 cents
2014 Value: 1.7 cents
Why it changed: The major changes to British Airways’ mileage program all occurred in 2012 when it became Avios and shifted to a distance-based award program. Though longer flights will now cost you more miles and BA is notorious for levying high fuel surcharges, there are some valuable features to the program including great short-hop redemptions, upgrade options and easy ways to rack up miles and other benefits like the Travel Together Companion Ticket with its co-branded Chase credit card. I moved up the valuation slightly due to the addition of carriers like Qatar and also US Airways (and there currently aren’t huge fees on US Airways awards, though their transatlantic award availability is not great).
Associated Credit Cards:
British Airways Visa Signature

Delta underwent massive changes - with more on the way.

Delta underwent massive changes – with more on the way.

Delta SkyMiles
2013 Value: 1.5 cents
2014 Value: 1.2 cents
Why it changed: Delta, Delta, Delta. My how times have changed. Though Delta SkyMiles have been known as SkyPesos for a while now, 2013 and 2014 so far have presented some very big, bad news for Delta flyers. Not only did the airline institute two (not one, but two!) devaluations, ceased letting flyers change awards within 72 hours of their flight and hacked away at Medallion upgrades, but it also announced that as of 2015, mileage earning would be based on revenue, and you can bet that there are going to be more changes coming down the pike.
Associated Credit Cards:
Gold Delta SkyMiles American Express – personal and business
Platinum Delta SkyMiles American Express – personal and business
Delta Reserve Card from American Express – personal and business

The animals on the tail of Frontier planes are a big hit with kids.

2013 Value: 1.3 cents
2014 Value: 1.2 cents
Why it changed: Another airline making negative changes – Frontier just started charging for advance seat assignments and for bringing overhead carry-on luggage on your trip. That was enough to downgrade it a tenth of a cent for me.
Associated Credit Cards:
Frontier Mastercard

2013 Value: 1-1.3 cents
2014 Value: 1-1.3 cents
Why it changed: No major changes to the program in the last year, though exciting airline changes like rolling out high-speed in-flight internet, and a new business class product.
Associated Credit Cards:
JetBlue Amex

Southwest Airlines

2013 Value: 1.8 cents
2014 Value: 1.4 cents
Why it changed: This was a pretty straightforward calculation. Before March 31, 2014, Wanna Get Away fares would cost you 60 Rapid Rewards points per dollar. After, they now cost 70 points per dollar. Despite the downshift you still get more value than that sometimes and Southwest still has some amazing features including the ability to change your flights without penalty, free checked bags, and most of all, that ultra-valuable Companion Pass.
Associated Credit Cards:
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa – personal and business
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Visa – personal and business

2013 Value: 2 cents
2014 Value: 1.6 cents
Why it changed: The major factor here? That massive award chart devaluation from February, which raised the rates of some redemptions on partners as much as nearly 90%, not to mention redemptions on United itself, some of which went up as much as 25,000 miles in each direction (like from North America to Japan).
Associated Credit Cards:
United Explorer
United Club Card

As part of the merger settlement - American must divest slots at DCA and LGA.

More changes will come as the merger gets underway, but for now the US Airways Dividend Miles program is intact.

US Airways
2013 Value: 1.8 cents
2014 Value: 1.9 cents
Why it changed: Despite some changes with the merger – including raising one award chart sweet spot of business class to North Asia from 90,000 miles to 110,000 miles, the Dividend Miles program remains relatively unscathed. So far. There are still some amazing values such as 110,000 miles in business class to South Africa and Australia, as well as very flexible routing rules, and great 100% buy and share miles promos that make it easy to rack up miles quickly.
Associated Credit Cards:
US Airways Premier World Mastercard

Virgin America
2013 Value: 1.5-2.3 cents
2014 Value: 1.5-2.3 cents
Why it changed: Though Elevate points are pretty much fixed-value points, their individual worth can vary depending on the specific airfare. However, it’s common to get just about 2 cents per point in value. There weren’t any major changes to the program this year, though there have been periodic transfer bonuses of 30-40% from American Express as well as some double status points promos and decent fare sales. Virgin has also added partners like Hawaiian and Emirates, which present some interesting redemption options, though beware of high fuel surcharges and taxes on certain partner awards.
Associated Credit Cards:
Virgin America Premium Visa Signature
Virgin America Visa Signature

Starting today, you can book Virgin flights using Delta miles and vice versa.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic formed a partnership over the summer.

Virgin Atlantic
2013 Value: 1.4 cents
2014 Value: 1.5 cents
Why it changed: No major changes here, either, though over last summer, Virgin Atlantic and Delta cemented their partnership and that meant being able to use Virgin miles for Delta flights to Europe and Australia, for example, though it’s usually a better idea to use Delta miles thanks to the enormous fuel surcharges Virgin Atlantic levies. Amex has been offering periodic 30% transfer bonuses recently as well. Though a downside is that they recently hacked the transfer ratio to Hilton from 1:2 to 1:1.5, which was a bummer.
Associated Credit Cards:
Virgin Atlantic Amex


Club Carlson
2013 Value: 0.7 cents
2014 Value: 0.6 cents
Why it changed: I didn’t make a huge adjustment here, but Club Carlson instituted some changes in March that included creating a new top-tier category 7 (with 9 hotels in it for now) that now cost 70,000 points per night. Not only that, but I find a lot of Club Carlson’s portfolio is budget or moderate in quality and it lacks the same breadth of high-end hotels the other major chains have. That said, you can still buy Carlson points cheaply at 0.7 cents each, and if you have the Club Carlson credit cards (which launched in December 2012), you can get award redemptions for as little as half price, so there’s still a lot of value here.
Associated Credit Cards:
Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature
Club Carlson Visa Signature
Club Carlson Premier Rewards Business Visa

HHonors feat

Hilton HHonors
2013 Value: 0.7 cents
2014 Value: 0.5 cents
Why it changed: Hilton’s major devaluation took place at the beginning of 2013, with some aspirational awards going up to 95,000 points per night (or much more via premium room awards), cutting AXON and elite awards and more.
Associated Credit Cards:
Hilton Visa
Hilton Amex
Hilton Surpass from Amex
Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve

hyatt feat 1

Hyatt Gold Passport
2013 Value: 2 cents
2014 Value: 1.8 cents
Why it changed: Hyatt announced a devaluation back in November that included upping award levels for categories 5-6 as well as creating a new top-tier category 7 hotel. On the plus side, they also created Points & Cash awards and started offering discounted room rates to elites of up to 20%.
Associated Credit Cards:
Hyatt Visa

IHG Rewards
2013 Value: 0.7 cents
2014 Value: 0.7 cents
Why it changed: There haven’t been huge changes to this program since 2012, except the rebranding from Priority Club to IHG Rewards last year, and there have been some positive changes including complimentary internet for all members. However, base earning isn’t great compared to other chains (including for elites) and elites don’t get benefits on award stays, so the value here is limited by those constraints.
Associated Credit Cards:
IHG Rewards Mastercard

1404050175Marriott Rewards
2013 Value: 0.7 cents
2014 Value: 0.5 cents
Why it changed: Marriott’s major devaluation was announced early in 2013 and went into effect May 16, 2013. Not only did it include the creation of a new Category 9 top tier, but over one third of Marriott’s properties were raised a category at the same time. The changes since then have been minor, but that was a body blow to the program.
Associated Credit Cards:
Marriott Rewards Visa
Marriott Rewards Premier Visa

Starwood Preferred Guest: See above in the transferable points section.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Sachin M.

    Do the value of points increase if you are in a hub? Delta has devalued their miles big time but seems to make sense in a hub. Just booked MSP-AMS in BE in Oct for 125,000 miles. I think the price of buying that ticket was around $8300. Just curious if there is a monetary value you would attach for American flyers in DFW, Delta in ATL, etc. Thanks!

  • Jig

    all these valuations are too high by 30-40% because they dont take 3 factors into account:
    1. the limited availability of award seats and the time and effort required to find them and adjust personal/family plans for such availability for the average person
    2. a focus on premium cabins and luxury hotels with pumped up retail pricing that the average reader would never pay, so would suggest adjusting down for reasonable premiums for such luxury over economy seats and priceline/airbnb rooms
    3. the time and effort required to keep up with the basics of programs like award charts, routing rules, etc

    Once you take these factors into account, I say US and UA and AA and AC and NH and BA are worth 1.1 cent, DL is worth 1 cent, AS is worth 1.3, Hilton IHG Club Carlson are worth 0.4, Hyatt is worth 1.1, SPG is worth 1.3. Amex MR and Chase UR are worth 1.35.

  • Daniel

    I think you should reconsider giving “ability to transfer” a monetary value, or at least explain what the value you choose to give is, and be consistent about doing so.

    For example, Chase UR points are 2 cents, but the best two transfer options are United (1.6 cents) and Hyatt (1.8 cents). Given your United and Hyatt valuations, you should value Chase at 1.7 cents, but also note that they are easy to use.

    On the other hand, with Aeroplan (1.6 cents) and British Airways (1.7 cents) as partners (in addition to the other partners), how can Amex MR points only be worth 1.7 cents by the logic you used for Chase UR points? This is especially true given the significant frequency of 20-50% bonus MR transfers; I would have thought you valued MR points at least at 2.1 to 2.4 cents.

    My guess is that you are allowing yourself to be overly influenced by the changes (positive or negative), rather than focusing on current value. Myself, I think the best solution is to make transferable points worth as much as the best transfer partner—this makes it much easier to compare to fixed-value points or cash back rewards.

  • SL

    Thanks Brain for this post.
    Looking at the “value of points” is always an ongoing struggle. Interesting
    timing as my wife and I are in a disagreement in regards to paying an additional $150 more to stay at a Hilton brand hotel for 4 nights (using CITI Hilton Visa) VS a non-Hilton brand. She wants to use $150 towards expenses etc where as I look at it as racking up tons of HH PTS for future rewards which may go down in value.
    Like you said no easy answer…

  • Daniel

    To be fair to TPG, he did say these were *his* valuations, and he does value premium cabins, doesn’t seem to care about flying whenever awards are available, and of course, it’s his job to keep up on the basics.

    But I agree with you. Starting a thread for other valuations:
    American/US Air/United (1.5 cents)
    BA/Alaska (1.7 cents)
    Amex MR (2 cents)
    Chase UR (1.7 cents)

    Note I give no *monetary* bonus for being transferable to multiple partners. I also value points primarily for economy reimbursement. Booking early, round-trip domestic flights cost ~$375 or 25,000 miles (but sometimes much more or less), which gives the 1.5 cent values. British Airways is great for short-haul domestic flights on American, hence its bonus. Chase is worth at least the BA transfer value, and Amex is worth the BA value plus ~30%, since at least once a year Amex has a bonus.

    That said, earning Chase UR points is easier and their credits card fees more affordable, so their profit is probably higher than Amex MR. But that makes the program more valuable, not the points on a 1:1 basis.

  • Joe

    I always enjoy these posts. As primarily a Marriott person, I think you are forgetting two things: the devaluation again this year with most “good” properties up a category, many for the 2nd or 3rd consecutive year. And, travel packages and 5th night free. I think Marriott is more like .8-1.2 cents.

  • Edgar Perez

    This is good but where is the “101″ on being able to calculates one’s own points value? I have started numerous spreadsheets and just cannot come up with a good way to get to “my own” valuation for each one. Another thing that always traps me is how should the value of a point change with the accessibility of a point? For example, Starwood gives you Green Choice option which could mean 1500 extra points vs staying at Hilton which does not have that option.

  • Bob

    By your low valuations, if your saying its 30-40% overvalued, I’d say that would be offset by what one earns on a post-tax level. For instance, to buy a $600 economy class ticket, one actually has to earn around $900 pre-tax. So therefore, for chase ultimate rewards points if would’ve been 1.6 cents per point without considering the tax factor is actually worth 2.4.

  • techie

    These valuations are very subjective. Some of them look ridiculous to me personally like a BA point with their exorbitant fuel surcharges having a higher value than United’s with no fuel surcharges and the best availability for many routes with Star Alliance partners.
    My personal valuation takes into account saver-level award availability, economy redemption only, whether an airline has a hub in my city, and flexibility of redemption (e.g. no one-way awards on US) and it’s quite different to TPG’s.

  • Sherman

    If you transfer all SPG points to Alaska, you get 1-1.25x Alaska, and that corresponds to 2-2.5 cent, even IF SPG only transfers to Alaska. Plus the flexibility of so many airline partners plus some good hotel redemption, I don’t quite agree that SPG is only 2.1cpp vs Alaska 2cpp

  • thepointsguy

    Good that I think about it SPG should be higher- 2.3ish range

  • Ed

    Last time I just my UR points I transferred them to BA to buy a RT ticket on LAN. The regular fare was $360, but I spend 9,000 avios instead at a value of 4 cents per avios (or UR points).

  • thepointsguy

    Great points.. will take this all into account for next month’s valuations

  • thepointsguy

    Right, but BA’s short haul/non fuel charge partners are incredible redemption.. so it all depends on maximizing each program for its strengths and avoiding the landmine/horrible redemptions like Peak/AAnytime awards

  • thepointsguy

    Good to note- I’ve been warming up more and more to Marriott so will take into consideration for next month.

  • thepointsguy

    Being in a hub does often make it easier because you don’t have to go through the additional hassle of adding on connecting flights and finding them at “low” levels.

  • Ed

    This discussion basically is about “Opportunity Cost”. By using points, you forgo paying for the trip and earning miles, Or forgo another action if you would have not used those points at all and did something else instead.
    The best case scenario is where the opportunity cost of using miles is lowest compared to all other alternatives.

  • Jig

    Although that’s true, it also applies to the cost of miles/points in terms of annual fees and cash back foregone in pursuit of those miles/points. So, I would consider the tax factor a wash in terms of the value from sources other unavoidable flying like credit card sign up bonuses and spending, which tends to be the majority of miles/points earned these days, certainly by me.

  • Jig

    Totally agree with you regarding TPG’s values being probably right for him, but then almost no-one else has his profession, right? So, those valuations don’t really apply for regular folk, at least anyone who values their time and effort and convenience above 0 per hour.

  • Jig

    I hear you, and often use Avios for similarly high cpm values. My point is simply that you may have had to search regularly for a period of time to find an available flight, you may have accepted a flight time different than what you would have chosen if paying cash, you probably spent a fair amount of time learning about and keeping up with UR, Avios, and other miles news and details.

    All of that has a time and effort value which needs to be taken off the cash value received even on a short haul economy redemption like yours which doesnt even have the silly premium pricing issues I mentioned. Your BA redemption probably still is very good and north of 2.5 cpm, but on average across all your miles/points usage, could you really say you got more than 1.1cpm or so when the time spent, convenience, and realistic pricing is taken into account? I think I know the good redemptions for the most part, and I dont think the values are much above what I suggested after the issues are properly costed in.

  • Daniel


    I think that a little learning up front pays off in the end. The key is knowing when not to spend the time looking for award travel—when to just go book on Orbitz or wherever (assuming you’re paying out of pocket or that your business insists on economy).

    You just need to have rules of thumb such as “I only use BA for short-haul domestic flights” and “I only use United for transatlantic flights with flexible schedule.” And if you don’t regularly take such flights, then of course, BA or United or whichever may not be very useful. (Which is why, in the end, Chase UR points are so valuable for more typical fliers: they can’t get worse than 1.25 cents, ever, since their pricing for flights is the same as the best discount sites (Warning: the same cannot be said for UR portal hotels, which are often much more expensive than elsewhere, i.e., factor of 2.)

  • Ed

    It’s fun to look for award flights! For my upcoming trip to South Africa, I check awards every day!

  • Daniel


    Agreed. Although I think that when traveling no one’s time is worth so much that they shouldn’t spend at least 1 hour comparing sites—and a few hours one weekend, in the beginning, teaching yourself about miles efficiency (seriously, sleep one less hour). So I think your values are reasonable, but only as minimums, since, in order for them to be met, about the only rule-of-thumb you need is “Don’t use miles to buy domestic, economy round-trips that are $275 on Orbitz.”

  • MilesMath

    I don’t understand how Hilton and Marriott points can be valued the same given the different award charts. I can get a high end Marriott at 30K-35K/night, but for Hilton I need 50K+ (more likely 70K+). I also don’t get Virgin Atlantic miles at 1.5 cents given the limited redemptions and high fuel surcharges. This only values VA slightly below UA and BA at 1.6c and 1.7c and the VA partner chart for DL isn’t that much better than Delta’s (which is valued at 1.2 cents).

  • dd

    With IHG, the 10% rebate after using the points plus a free night at any resort every year, you can get anywhere from 0.5-2 cpp. Also being a 1:1 transfer partner with UR helps and the 5k point break rooms are quite valuable. I understand the 0.7 valuation though. I know the perks might not be as good as some of the other hotel chains, but I have feel the IHG card and chain are undervalued. Also it’s easy to earn a butt load of points on one stay.

  • Acluer

    So I’m about halfway to Delta Silver, but could also reach the first tier of American Airlines by the end of the year. I have both Amex Plat and AA Exec, what’s my best course of action?

  • Diamond hilton girl

    Very depressing to see that my Hilton points aren’t worth the effort of me logging onto check their value….lol. what happened Hilton???

  • JustSaying

    It is ridiculous to say that a BA mile is worth 1.7 cents when you factor in the fuel surcharges. They are good for short Southwest type flights on Alaska other short hauls……….to think otherwise is naive…………and to think there is any value to a companion pass that can never be used begs the question even more………….no one from the West Coast should even think twice about this bait and switch operation………

  • TomA

    Your points are worth … whatever they are worth to you! I would *NEVER* use hilton points for other than higher-end, more expensive properties. Have patience, collect the points, and then “spend” them in London at the Hilton Park Lane where a 4 night AXON award is 260K points for a room that would cost $2,700, making my “point value” almost $0.01, which is a bargain!

  • Kacee

    There’s always an element of subjectivity to valuations, but these are well thought through. A couple of comments:
    1. Not only has UA devalued its award chard, but it has seriously reduced saver availability. The value of its miles continues to decline.
    2. I absolutely agree with your valuation of Marriott and Hilton as equivalents. While Marriott reward nights are somewhat lower priced, it’s harder to earn the points. Hilton’s promos are so much better.

  • shay peleg

    Yeah i also thought how could UR points be worth so much?

  • shay peleg

    I also find delta cpm to be quite good if you know how to use your head

  • Eric R

    It might be worth putting two values on the points. One value is for the average/standard flight or room, the second number is the high end value you could get for them if you use them for discount flights or rooms. For example, for most Hilton property rooms – I’d say about 80% – the value of an HHonors point is about .4 cents. However, for the CAT 2 Hilton properties, which are generally Hampton Inns, an HHonors point is worth about a full cent, or more. As such, .5 cents is probably a fair valuation overall, but obscures both what the standard room costs and what you potentially can get out of them.

  • disqust101

    Avios are excellent for short/medium domestic flights along with some international flights (Australia domestic). Are a must have program. And west coast to Hawaii for 25K r/t can’t be beat. Nor east coast to Caribbean.

  • Denver Ken

    FYI Virgin Atlantic is a Mastercard now. They switched from Amex.

  • Denver Ken

    What about Hawaiian Miles? I know they are only good from the West and Jetblue connection but I just booked tickets for spring break and got a great deal. 17500 miles each way since I am a card holder. I just have to link up from Denver to San Jose and Vegas to Denver on Southwest. I also booked my Mother in Law to join us from NY and it was 17500 miles each way non-stop from JFK. That is a deal!

  • augias

    You can transfer UR to Korean Air – their award chart is a great value, the best way to book skyteam first class travel, and the cheapest way to book skyteam flights.

  • augias

    since you pay high fuel surcharges on most AA award tickets to Europe (on british airways), and on BA and AC award tickets, they are defintiely worth less than UA and DL

  • Michael

    I’m a newbie in many of these areas, but I’m finding it difficult to find an avenue to redeem my AMEX points at approx. 1.7c/point. I have about 35 thousand points, but when I look to transfer to mileage it barely covers half a one-way flight. Am I approaching this in the wrong way?

  • bibbsrd

    Hello TPG, it is a great site. Never knew a site like this existed.I have 100K+ points on delta and 100K+ points on united. How do I maximize them? Please give some ideas.

  • Miles

    I’m curious about the valuation of Thank You points. If anything, they’ve gone UP for Prestige cardholders due to enhanced value when booking for AA/US. (The Prestige also still has the flight points.)

  • Sultan

    In my case:
    - I do have capitalOne QuickSilver and they upgraded my card to earn 2% cash back with no limits.
    - also I do have citi prestige along with premier and I combined their thankyou point accounts, so with the prestige redeeming value of 60% extra for American and US airways, my earnings using the premier card goes up to almost 5% for the 3x earning categories and almost 3.5% for the 2x earning categories.

    So I really value thankyou points much more than chase ultimate rewards, but please correct me if am wrong.

  • Sergey

    Airline miles could be a cheap currency to pay for airline tickets. If don’t have them, you can buy or exchange miles from other people on a forum like

  • allamerathlete

    I would like to see this post updated…..

  • thepointsguy

    Here is the most recent valuation post from September –

  • Greg

    I think Delta’s recent award devaluations clearly pin them under one penny per mile now. What would fly you to Europe first class with most airlines won’t get you 2 states over with Delta. I don’t know if I agree with American under 2 cents though, their award availability seems to always be expanding, even if their awards are slightly more expensive.

  • Zach

    I have both marriott and ihg points. I agree Marriott are worth close to nothing, hate their points system. However, with 60K ihg, im staying 6 nights at 4 and 5 star hotels, where on marriott it would only be worth about 2..3 nights. IHG should be higher

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