What Are Points & Miles Worth? March Monthly Valuations
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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 valuations of points from 2013 and from February, as well as explanations for any fluctuations in value. The past month brought some significant changes (like the end of the US Airways Dividend Miles program) and lots of other program-related news, which you’ll find noted in the What Changed/News column.
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)||Feb 2015 (cents)||March 2015 (cents)||What Changed/ News?|
|American Express Membership Rewards||1.9||2.0||2.0||New targeted CardMatch offers for Amex cards. Business Platinum losing 20% points rebate.|
|Barclaycard Arrival Miles||0.5-1.1||0.5-1.1||0.5-1.1|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.2||2.1||2.1|
|Citi ThankYou||1.3||1.6||1.6||Costco inks deal with Citi.|
|Diners Club Rewards||–||2.1||2.1|
|Aeroplan||1.9||1.6||1.6||Premium Economy redemptions now available. Up to 10,000 bonus miles between Canada and Europe.|
|Alaska||1.8||2||2||Double Mileage Plan miles on select routes. Targeted MVP status after one round-trip.|
|American||1.9||1.7||1.7||New look for award charts. Bonus miles with National and Rocketmiles.|
|British Airways||1.6||1.7||1.7||Devaluation coming in April. BA Visa bonus categories changing in May.|
|Delta||1.5||1.2||1.2||More updates to 2015 SkyMiles program. Changes to Alaska partnership.|
|JetBlue||1-1.3||1-1.7||1-1.7||Double points on transcon flights. New Mint service to Caribbean.|
|Southwest||1.8||1.4||1.4||Devaluation coming April 17.|
|United||2||1.5||1.5||Discounted awards to South America. Targeted bonus of 25,000 miles. Enhancements planned for United Clubs.|
|US Airways||1.8||1.9||1.7||End of Dividend Miles program imminent.|
|Virgin America||1.5-2.3||1.5-2.3||1.5-2.3||No surcharges on Virgin Australia awards. Discount for last-minute flights.|
|Hilton||0.7||0.5||0.5||Bonus on purchased points. Double your HHonors promotion. New partnership with Ethiopian Airlines.|
|Hyatt||2||1.8||1.8||New Hyatt Palm Springs planned for 2016. 20% discount on award redemptions.|
|IHG||0.7||0.7||0.7||Bonus points with Set Your Sights promotion. 70,000 points sign-up bonus for IHG Rewards Card.|
|Marriott||0.7||0.7||0.7||Hotel category changes. Free night offer for new Rewards members. Bonus earnings with MegaMiles promotion. New points expiration policy.|
||New member bonus up to 7,500 points. Sheraton opening 20 new hotels in 2015.|
Movers and Shakers
Only one valuation changed this month; however, it was only a result of the US Airways Dividend Miles program finally being folded into American Airlines AAdvantage. Delta also continued along its roller coaster track, but I left the overall valuation alone. Read on for more details.
US Airways Dividend Miles
February Value: 1.9 cents. March Value: 1.7 cents. Why it changed: Quite simply, Dividend Miles won’t exist anymore in a week or so. All your miles will be converted to the AAdvantage program in the next few days. If you’re not sure what’s happening, check out this post on what you need to know about the AA/US merger.
Associated Credit Cards: Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
Delta Air Lines
February Value: 1.2 cents. March Value: 1.2 cents. Valuation: Delta is down, and then it’s up, and then down and up again. After award charts disappeared from the website last month, followed closely by saver availability less than three weeks out, Delta then turned around with some positive changes in March, including new one-way awards starting at 10,000 miles. At this point, even the positive changes make me nervous; I don’t know if it was Delta’s plan to roll out all these updates one by one, but the SkyMiles program is becoming more capricious than a two-year-old at a circus. SkyMiles are worth something, but certainly not as much miles with other major programs.
Associated Credit Cards: Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
Programs on Notice
There’s good reason to keep an eye on these programs in the coming month:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards — We still don’t know the details of Southwest’s upcoming devaluation, but since it’s planned for April 17th, we should know soon. Hopefully the changes will be minor.
- British Airways Avios — Back in January, British Airways announced the upcoming changes to the Avios program, which mostly pertain to premium awards. I’m still on the fence about whether I’ll update my valuation of Avios, so share your thoughts in the comments below.