I Need Your Help With Next Month’s Points and Miles Valuations

Mar 30, 2017

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It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly three years since we published our first monthly points and miles valuations. A lot has changed in that time, but while some programs have jumped up and others have moved down, the series has given us an opportunity to evaluate how much each of the various currencies are worth. We use them to figure out when to book an award flight or hotel stay, but these figures also make it easy to calculate the value of a credit card sign-up bonus — as you know, 50,000 points IHG points are worth substantially less than 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, so it’s important to always do the math here.

Take, for example, today’s elevated offer for The Platinum Card® from American Express, which got me thinking… how much value could I realistically get from that 60,000-point bonus? Based on this month’s valuations, I’d say $1,140 — but with the Business Platinum Card® from American Express, I’m always getting 2 cents in value when redeeming for paid flights, and as the most savvy hobbyists know, you can do much better than that by transferring to airline partners. So my current 1.9-cent valuation doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s time to shake things up… but what should change, and by how much?

From a last-minute trip home in Lufthansa’s phenomenal first class, where I got 7 cents per point in value, to the ultimate in luxury onboard Singapore’s A380 Suites (9.7 cents in value), there’s no question that I’ve managed to make the most of my frequent flyer miles and transferrable credit card points. I’ve had so many outrageous redemptions in the past few months that it seems that I’ve been too conservative with some of my valuations — I’m strongly considering boosting some programs next month.

But before I pull the trigger on any changes, I wanted to check in with you — our readers. So, please chime in down below in the comments section by sharing some of your best redemptions, including the value you got per point. I know that might sound like a lot of work, but calculating your redemption value is actually quite simple.

Here’s a quick example using my Singapore Suites redemption from last year

(Cash price – taxes and fees) / number of points or miles redeemed

So, in the case of that Singapore flight, I redeemed 74,375 KrisFlyer miles and paid $23 in taxes for a ticket that would have cost $7,250. So my calculation is as follows:

($7,250 – $23) / 74,375 = $0.097

So, based on the simple formula above, I got 9.7 cents in value from this redemption. That’s fantastic!

These figures will never be perfect, because how much value you end up getting will depend on a million different factors. So, below are March’s valuations — let us know which you think should move up or down, and if there’s any programs you think we should add.

Program March 2021 (Cents) February 2017 (Cents) March 2017 (Cents) Note
Accor Le Club 2.0 - -
Aeromexico Club Premier - - -
Aeroplan Loyalty Program 1.5 1.5 1.5

Check out Air Canada's brand new livery.

Alaska Mileage Plan 1.8 1.9 1.9

Ship wine free from California to Seattle.

American AAdvantage 1.4 1.5 1.5

Basic economy fares are now available, but premium economy is delayed. Check out reduced mileage awards through May. Earn bonus Business Extra points.

American Express Membership Rewards 2.0 1.9 1.9

Major changes to Amex Platinum: added benefits and increased annual fee. 10% back at restaurants with Amex Blue Cash cards.

Amtrak Guest Rewards 2.5 2.5 2.5
ANA Mileage Club 1.4 1.6 1.6
Asia Miles 1.3 - 1.4

Cathay Pacific introduces first US credit card. Very minor cuts made to amenities in first class.

Avianca LifeMiles 1.7 1.7 1.7
Avios 1.5 1.5 1.5

35% bonus for transferring hotel points to Avios (through March 8). Updated award chart for Iberia.

Bank of America Premium Rewards 1.0 - -
Barclaycard Arrival Miles 1.0 1.0 1.0
Best Western Rewards 0.6 - -
Brex Exclusive Rewards 1.7 - -
Capital One Rewards 1.4 1.0 1.0

Venture Rewards card gets a makeover.

Chase Ultimate Rewards 2.0 2.1 2.1

Only weeks left for 100,000-point bonus. Chase Freedom cards offering 10% cash back on hotels and rental cars in March.

Choice Privileges 0.6 0.6 0.6
Citi ThankYou Points 1.7 1.6 1.6

50% bonus for transfers to JetBlue.

Delta SkyMiles 1.1 1.2 1.2

Earn 3 SkyMiles per dollar with Airbnb. New Choice Benefits for Diamond Medallion members. Complimentary main cabin meals on transcon flights.

Diners Club Rewards 2.1 2.1 2.1
Discover Rewards 1.0 - -
Emirates Skywards 1.2 1.2 1.2

New A380 business class bar. Emirates may add narrow-body aircraft and charge for  premium amenities.

Etihad Guest 1.4 1.4 1.4
Flying Blue 1.2 1.3 1.3

Earn bonus Amex points for Air France flights. Award calendar extended to 360 days. New Paris-Maldives service coming in November.

Frontier Miles 1.1 1.1 1.1
HawaiianMiles 0.9 1.2 1.2

Review of A330 First Class from New York to Honolulu.

Hilton Honors 0.6 0.5 0.6

New award rates for Honors program. Points & Money award option now live. Earn 500 points for stays booked through app. Get elite benefits until 2019 with extended status match offer.

IHG Rewards Club 0.5 0.7 0.7

Credit card breach confirmed at 12 properties.

JetBlue TrueBlue Rewards Program 1.3 1.2 1.2

5,000 points for new TrueBlue members. Cuba flights are being scaled back. New 'Blueprint' livery unveiled.

Korean Air SkyPass 1.7 1.7 1.7

787-9 Dreamliner uses the same seats in First and Business.

Korean Skypass - - -
Marriott Bonvoy 0.8 0.9 0.9

Nearly 1,100 properties changing award categories. Mobile app is getting an upgrade.

Miles & More 1.4 1.4 1.4

Lufthansa A350 service coming to Boston. Swiss Air to charge for Business Class seat assignments.

Qatar Airways Qmiles 0.8 - -
Radisson Rewards 0.4 0.4 0.4
Ritz-Carlton Rewards - 0.9 0.9
Singapore Krisflyer 1.3 1.5 1.5

Singapore increasing award rates, eliminating 15% discount and some fuel surcharges. 500 miles for new KrisFlyer members. Some fees will now be bundled into paid fares.

Southwest Rapid Rewards 1.5 1.5 1.5
Spirit Airlines Free Spirit 1.1 - -
Starwood Starpoints - 2.7 2.7

In March 2017 Amex was offering 35K points with the Starwood cards, though this offer is no longer available. Up to 30% bonus for buying points. 325 properties changing categories.

Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles 1.3 - -
U.S. Bank FlexPerks 1.5 1.5 1.5
United MileagePlus 1.3 1.5 1.5

Up to 80% bonus for buying United miles. Basic economy fares available on some routes. More domestic 777-300ER service coming. Earn 50,000 miles with MileagePlus Explorer cards.

Virgin America Elevate - 2.4 2.4
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1.5 1.3 1.3
Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards 1.5 - -
WestJet Rewards - - -
World of Hyatt Loyalty Program 1.7 1.8 1.8

Get Explorist status by spending on Hyatt credit card. What to expect from World of Hyatt.

Wyndham Rewards 1.1 1.2 1.2

Depending on how you’ve chosen to redeem your points and miles, there’s a very good chance that you’ve managed to squeeze out even more value than me. Keep in mind that my valuations represent the minimum value you should expect to get from each point or mile — some customers will redeem for much more, and others will burn their points for much less, but you’re generally getting a good deal when you redeem at or above the valuation.

In other words, just because I got 9.7 cents in value on that Singapore flight doesn’t mean I’m boosting KrisFlyer miles (which were recently devalued) and all the transferrable points to 9.7 cents — I’ll surely land on a much more reasonable figure, but please share your redemptions below, and I’ll consider your redemption when I work out the numbers for next month.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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