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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.
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.
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|
|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|
|Aeroplan||1.9||1.6||1.6||35,000 Bonus Miles to London|
|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|
|JetBlue||1-1.3||1-1.7||1-1.7||Lowered minimum award cost to 3,500 points.|
|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 Atlantic||1.4||1.5||1.5||New Virgin Atlantic Routes|
|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|
|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 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 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 Premier Card, Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Preferred Card.
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees