What are points and miles worth? July 2021 monthly valuations
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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.
These valuations are based on a combination of what I would pay to buy points if given the opportunity and the overall value I could get from redeeming them, factoring in variables like award availability, fees and change/cancellation policies. 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 each month.
Note: These valuations are not provided by card issuers.
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I’ve included my valuations from one year ago and from last month to give you some context. Given the ongoing pandemic, we are not adjusting valuations at the moment, barring major devaluations and new program launches.
Despite some encouraging signs for the travel industry from the summer, we still see a lot of uncertainty — and some analysts say travel won’t fully rebound until 2024. As a result, it’s still too soon to analyze the long-term impact the outbreak will have on the value of the various currencies below.
That said, we’re currently hard at work on preparing a new methodology for these valuations that’ll kick in when travel ramps back up. Scroll to the bottom for more information.
Read on for more details, and check the last column of the chart below for some of the most important loyalty program news from the last month.
|Program||July 2020 (Cents)||June 2021 (Cents)||July 2021 (Cents)||Note|
|Accor Le Club||-||2.0||2.0|
|Aeroplan Loyalty Program||-||1.5||1.5|
|Alaska Mileage Plan||-||1.8||1.8||
Extended 50% elite-qualifying mile bonus through September.
|American Express Membership Rewards||-||2.0||2.0||
Revamped The Platinum Card® from American Express with new benefits and a higher annual fee.
|Amtrak Guest Rewards||-||2.5||2.5|
|ANA Mileage Club||-||1.4||1.4|
|Bank of America Premium Rewards||-||1.0||1.0|
|Barclaycard Arrival Miles||-||1.0||1.0|
|Best Western Rewards||-||0.6||0.6|
|Brex Exclusive Rewards||-||1.7||1.7|
|Capital One Rewards||-||1.7||1.7|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||-||2.0||2.0||
Announced 50% transfer bonus to Marriott Bonvoy, huge new Chase Sapphire Preferred Card welcome bonuses.
|Citi ThankYou Points||-||1.7||1.7|
Announced new cobrand credit card welcome offers.
|Diners Club Rewards||-||2.1||2.1|
Removed first-class Flex awards, making first class awards more expensive.
Added — then dropped — a new COVID surcharge.
|IHG Rewards Club||-||0.5||0.5|
|JetBlue TrueBlue Rewards Program||-||1.3||1.3|
|Korean Air SkyPass||-||1.7||1.7|
|Miles & More||-||1.4||1.4|
|Qatar Airways Qmiles||-||0.8||0.8|
Transitioned members in the Americas to its new Radisson Rewards Americas program.
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||-||1.5||1.5||
Announced huge Independence Day fare sale.
|Spirit Airlines Free Spirit||-||1.1||1.1|
|Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles||-||1.3||1.3|
|U.S. Bank FlexPerks||-||1.5||1.5|
United members cannot book all Lufthansa award seats.
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||-||1.5||1.5|
|Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards||-||1.5||1.5|
|World of Hyatt Loyalty Program||-||1.7||1.7|
Launched Registry Collection Hotels, a new luxury brand.
Key points and miles news
Some of this month’s major news centered around elite status prequalification.
American announced a new promotion where existing elite members can renew status for 2022 by earning $2,000 elite-qualifying dollars (EQD) between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021 or spending $15,000 or more on an AAdvantage co-branded credit card between July 15 and Nov. 15. Likewise, Alaska will continue to award 50% bonus elite qualifying miles on all flights through September.
We also saw American Express make huge changes to The Platinum Card® from American Express. The card now includes new credits, like an annual prepaid hotel credit, monthly digital entertainment statement credits, a Clear membership statement credit and a monthly Equinox statement credits. Unfortunately, it also raised the annual fee from $550 (see rates and fees) to $695 (see rates and fees).
Now for the bad news. Emirates devalued first-class awards when it removed first-class Flex awards. This makes round-trip first-class bookings more expensive, which is particularly disappointing now that partner programs cannot book Emirates first.
New travel credit card offers
During the pandemic, we saw several credit card issuers struggle with assessing creditworthiness. We also saw various bonuses and new perks launch for existing cardholders aimed at keeping them engaged. Now, as we move into a travel recovery, we’re seeing some incredible new welcome bonuses on some popular cards — including the following:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is often seen as the quintessential travel rewards card. With its current welcome offer, you’ll earn an impressive 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. These points are worth $2,000 toward travel (based on TPG’s most recent point valuations), so you’re looking at $2,000 in value from just the welcome offer.
For more details, check out our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
You’ll earn a 100,000-point welcome bonus after you spend $6,000 in the first six months of card membership. Plus, you’ll also earn 10x on eligible purchases made at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small® in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined spending during the first six months of card membership. That’s equivalent to a 20% return (based on TPG valuations) at restaurants, which is hard to beat.
Of course, the card is jam-packed with benefits like airport lounge access, hotel elite status and more. These benefits can make your post-pandemic travel experience smoother and more luxurious than ever before. The card has a $695 annual fee. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
For more details, check out our full review of the Amex Platinum card.
One of the most popular cards for TPG staffers during the pandemic, the Amex Gold is offering 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases on your new card within the first six months of card membership. This bonus is worth $1,200 based on our valuations, but be sure to check the CardMatch Tool to see if you’re targeted for an even higher offer (subject to change at any time).
The card is also great for many everyday purchases. You’ll earn 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1x) and 4x points on dining at restaurants. The card has a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees).
For more details, check out our full review of the Amex Gold card.
The Business Platinum card also offers an enhanced bonus: 125,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your card in the first three months of account opening.
The card also provides a slew of additional perks similar to (but slightly different from) the personal version — you can compare the two cards in this guide to see which one would be a better fit for your wallet.
For more details, check out our full review of the Amex Business Platinum card.
Airline credit cards
Airline credit cards let you earn airline miles and give you perks with their respective airlines, like free checked bags. In June, American Express launched new welcome bonuses for its Delta cobranded credit cards. Some of these bonuses include up to 95,000 bonus Delta SkyMiles. Here’s a look at the new offers:
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: Earn 70,000 miles after $2,000 in spending in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. The offer ends July 28, 2021.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: Earn 90,000 miles after $3,000 in spending in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase in the first three months. The offer ends July 28,2021.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: Earn 80,000 miles, 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after $5,000 in spending in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase in the first three months. The offer ends July 28.
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase in the first three months. The offer ends July 28, 2021.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card: Earn 95,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase in the first three months. The offer ends July 28, 2021.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card: Earn 85,000 bonus miles, 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after spending $6,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase in the first three months. The offer ends July 28, 2021.
Hotel credit cards
Several hotel credit card welcome bonuses provide a simple way to boost your point balances. Hilton is currently offering increased welcome offers on two of its cards — here’s a snapshot of what’s currently available:
- Hilton Honors American Express Card: Earn 100,000 points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn up to $100 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 8/25/2021.
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Earn 130,000 Hilton bonus points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 8/25/2021.
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Earn 150,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the card within your first three months of card membership.
- The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: Earn 130,000 points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 8/25/2021.
The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Other hotel credit cards to consider include:
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn three Free Night Awards (each free night award has a redemption value of up to 50,000 bonus points, that’s a value of up to 150,000 total points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Plus, earn 10X total points on up to $2,500 in combined purchases at grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations within the first 6 months from account opening.
All of these new offers put you in a great position to earn a ton of bonus points or miles as you get ready to travel again, and there may be more to come. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign-up for our daily newsletter. You can also bookmark our coronavirus hub page for up-to-date information on the pandemic and its impact on the travel industry.
The future: New methodology
As the travel industry continues to rebound from the coronavirus outbreak, our team is already diving into the data in greater depth for all airline and hotel programs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see future adjustments to our value for several popular currencies, so stay tuned for that.
Featured illustration by The Points Guy
This is The Points Guy’s permanent page for the most up-to-date valuations, so you can bookmark it and check back each month for updates.
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Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees