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What Are Points & Miles Worth? September Monthly Valuations

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

One of the questions I’m asked most often is “how much is a point or mile worth?” That question varies from person to person and depends on how well you can maximize a particular currency for your needs. Still, some points are worth more than others.

How much are all those points and miles really worth?
How much are all those points and miles really worth?

To give readers – both old and new – some context, I’ve included my valuation of points from 2013 and from August, as well as explanations for any changes in value (like devaluations or new fees).  There weren’t many definite changes in the last month, but I noted program related news in the What Changed/News column. By reader request, this month I also added Ritz-Carlton Rewards to the list. With regard to redemption, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Marriott Rewards are nearly identical, and I valued them accordingly.

The Calculations
I’ll be honest, there isn’t a mathematical formula at work here. At some point I’d like to create a system that could calculate a precise value based on award availability, fees, award levels, and ease of accrual, but for now these valuations are based on a combination of how much I would pay to buy points if given the opportunity, and the overall value I could get from redeeming them.

I encourage you to share your thoughts where you think I’m off base (and on point, no pun intended), and I’ll take TPG reader feedback into consideration when I update the list next month. This list doesn’t include every currency under the sun, and I’ll work to add more moving forward, so let me know which you’d like to see featured.

PROGRAM 2013 (cents) Aug 2014   (cents) Sept 2014 (cents) What Changed/ News?
American Express Membership Rewards 1.9 1.8 1.8 Some people got targeted Virgin America transfer bonuses (yawn). New LaGuardia Centurion Lounge opened.
Barclaycard Arrival Miles 0.5-1.1 0.5-1.1 0.5-1.1
Capital One 1 1 1
Chase Ultimate Rewards 2.2 2.1 2.1 Chase Freedom Ends 10% Annual Bonus
Citi ThankYou 1.3 1.5 1.6 Added Flying Blue as a new airline transfer partner
FlexPerks 1.33-2 1.33-2 1.33-2
Aeroplan 1.9 1.6 1.6 35,000 Bonus Miles to London
Alaska 1.8 2 2
American 1.9 1.7 1.7
Avianca 1.7 1.7
British Airways 1.6 1.7 1.7 BA launches 72 hour hold
Delta 1.5 1.2 1.2 Delta changes SDC policy yet again
Flying Blue 1.3 1.3 1.3 Added as Citi ThankYou Rewards transfer partner, Air France promo awards
Frontier 1.3 1.2 1.2
JetBlue 1-1.3 1-1.7 1-1.7 Lowered minimum award cost to 3,500 points.
Singapore Airlines 1.5 1.5 1.5
Southwest 1.8 1.4 1.4 Southwest launches New Look and Costa Rica service
United 2 1.5 1.5 35,000 Bonus Miles to London
US Airways 1.8 1.9 1.9 100% Bonus on Purchased Miles (Targeted) 
Virgin America 1.5-2.3 1.5-2.3 1.5-2.3
Virgin Atlantic 1.4 1.5 1.5 New Virgin Atlantic Routes
Club Carlson 0.7 0.6 0.6
Hilton 0.7 0.5 0.5 Earn Delta SkyMiles for Hilton stays in Hawaii.
Hyatt 2 1.8 1.8 Earn up to 50,000 points with fall promotion (targeted)
IHG 0.7 0.7 0.7  IHG Into the Nights promo, 100% Buy Miles bonus
Marriott 0.7 0.7 0.7
Ritz-Carlton  –  – 0.7 Up to 100,000 bonus points, double elite nights promos.
Starwood 2.4 2.3 2.3 Fall promo- More For You, double/triple points, SPG Pro launch for planners

Movers and Shakers
There wasn’t too much moving and shaking this month. The only change was an increase in the value of Citi ThankYou Rewards thanks to the addition of new airline transfer partner Flying Blue. There was also some lateral movement as several programs announced small changes that weren’t enough to alter point and mile values.

 

Citi logo

Citi ThankYou Points

August Value: 1.5 cents September Value: 1.6 cents Why it changed: Citi ThankYou Rewards added Flying Blue as a new transfer partner last month in addition to the 8 airline transfer partners they added in July for Citi ThankYou Premier and Citi ThankYou Prestige cardholders. All of the new partners transfer at 1:1. ThankYou Rewards also transfer to Hilton HHonors at a ratio of 1 to 1.5. Without one of those cards, points can be redeemed for travel and gift cards for 1 cent apiece, which represents the minimum value you should expect to get for ThankYou Rewards. Associated Credit Cards: Citi ThankYou PremierCiti PrestigeCiti ThankYou Preferred.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

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  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $500 travel statement credit
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  • Redeem for travel or cash back statement credits, gift cards and merchandise. Redemption values vary
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
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Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 16.24%, 20.24% or 23.24% Variable $89 - Waived first year 0% Excellent/Good