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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?” The answer varies from person to person, and depends on how well you can maximize a particular loyalty currency. Still, some rewards are clearly worth more than others — my goal is to give you a sense of how they stack up.

To give you some context, I’ve included my valuations from one year ago and from September. We didn’t have any major loyalty program updates this past month, but I added a new banking rewards program to the list by reader request. As always, you’ll find plenty of news from the loyalty world in the last column.

The Calculations

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 feedback from TPG readers into consideration when I update the valuations next month. This list doesn’t include every loyalty currency under the sun, and I’ll work to add more moving forward, so let me know which ones you’d like to see featured.

Program October 2016 (Cents) September 2017 (Cents) October 2017 (Cents) Note
Aeroplan 1.5 1.5 1.5

Air Canada to begin transatlantic 737 flights.

Alaska 1.8 1.9 1.9
American AAdvantage 1.5 1.4 1.4

Buy miles for 1 cent apiece through Barclaycard program. New list of reduced mileage awards for winter. Airline pledges to improve award availability. Some aircraft to have even less seat pitch.

American Express Membership Rewards 1.9 1.9 1.9

Expansion coming to Dallas Centurion Lounge. Select cardholders get Lufthansa lounge access, while others lose Centurion Lounge access. New Cobalt card launches in Canada.

Amtrak Guest Rewards 2.5 2.5 2.5
ANA 1.6 1.6 1.6
Asia Miles - 1.4 1.4
Avianca 1.7 1.7 1.7
Bank of America Premium Rewards - - 1.0
Barclaycard Arrival Miles 1.0 1.0 1.0
Best Western Rewards - - -
British Airways Avios 1.5 1.5 1.5

747 service coming to Austin.

Capital One 1.0 1.0 1.0
Chase Ultimate Rewards 2.1 2.2 2.2

Register for Chase Freedom Q4 bonus categories. Chase Sapphire Reserve: renew or not?

Choice Privileges 0.6 0.6 0.6
Citi ThankYou Points 1.6 1.5 1.5

Get a 25% bonus for transfers to JetBlue. Cardholders get 4 free months of Amazon music.

Club Carlson 0.4 0.4 0.4

Review of the Radisson Blu Viking Hotel in Stockholm.

Delta SkyMiles 1.2 1.2 1.2

Earn up to 70,000 SkyMiles with sign-up bonus offers. New no-fee Blue Delta Amex card. Gogo-equipped aircraft to offer free messaging.

Diners Club Rewards 2.1 2.1 2.1
Emirates 1.2 1.2 1.2

Emirates was hit hard by the travel and electronics bans. "Budget Economy" cabin considered for A380 aircraft.

Etihad 1.4 1.4 1.4
FlexPerks 1.5 1.5 1.5
Flying Blue 1.3 1.3 1.3

Air France A380 blows engine.

Frontier 1.1 1.1 1.1
Hawaiian 1.2 1.2 1.2
Hilton 0.5 0.6 0.6

The award traveler's guide to Hilton Honors. You can now redeem points for Amazon purchases (but you shouldn't).

Hyatt 1.8 1.8 1.8

Interview with Hyatt's new head of global loyalty. Reviews of Hyatt Regency in Cartagena and Amsterdam.

IHG 0.7 0.7 0.7

Review of the InterContinental Bordeaux Le Grand.

JetBlue 1.2 1.3 1.3
Korean Air 1.7 1.7 1.7
Marriott 0.9 0.9 0.9
Miles & More 1.4 1.4 1.4

Lufthansa to launch domestic 747 service.

Qatar Airways Qmiles - 1.1 1.1

Updates to business and first class amenity kits. Qatar to offer QSuites between New York and Doha.

Ritz-Carlton 0.9 0.9 0.9
Singapore Krisflyer 1.5 1.5 1.5

New earning chart for United flights.

Southwest 1.5 1.5 1.5

First revenue flight of Southwest's 737 MAX 8.

Spirit Airlines Free Spirit - 0.4 0.4
Starwood Starpoints 2.7 2.7 2.7

Review of the Palacio Del Inka in Cusco, Peru.

Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles - 1.3 1.3

Turkish plans to order 40 Dreamliners from Boeing.

United 1.5 1.5 1.5

New no-fee United TravelBank card. Added service to Iceland, Portugal and more. Nonstop service Dreamliner service from Houston to Sydney.

Virgin America 2.0 2.4 2.4
Virgin Atlantic 1.5 1.5 1.5

Virgin becomes first European airline to offer Wi-Fi on all aircraft.

Wyndham 1.2 1.2 1.2

Movers and Shakers

September brought us a number of new airline routes, along with no-fee credit card options for both United and Delta flyers. American Express increased lounge access for Platinum and Centurion cardholders, and Priority Pass added a restaurant at Miami International to its network. Overall it was a quiet month in the loyalty world, and none of the latest news impacted my existing valuations.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: A man uses an ATM at a Bank of America branch on April 16, 2014 in New York City. As the nation
Preferred Rewards are stronger with a BoA bank account. Photo by Spencer Platt via Getty Images

Bank of America Premium Rewards

September Value: Not listed.
October Value: 1.0 cents.
Valuation: Much like Capital One Venture Rewards and Barclaycard Arrival miles, Bank of America Premium Rewards points have a (mostly) fixed redemption value of 1 cent apiece. That means they’re not ideal for booking premium awards like first-class flights or high-end hotels, but they are handy when airfare and other travel costs are low. They’re also useful for wiping out miscellaneous expenses that you can’t cover easily with other points or miles.

On the earning side, Bank of America offers bonuses to its banking customers through the Preferred Rewards program. Depending on your qualifying balances, you can earn as much as 75% more rewards; that won’t improve the rate you get for award redemptions, but it will give you a solid return on everyday spending with the new Premium Rewards card (and others).

Fixed-value rewards aren’t glamorous, but they’re an important part of a diversified points and miles portfolio. If you don’t already have these points (or others like them) on hand, I recommend earning some.

Associated Credit Cards: the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card, and the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card.

Which programs would you like to see added to the list?

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can 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.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are 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.

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.