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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.
To give you some context, I’ve included my valuations from one year ago and from January. The past month saw one airline devalue its premium awards, a complete rebranding of a major hotel program, an expansion of Uber Rewards to 25 new cities and an avalanche of new credit card bonus offers. Read on for more details, and check the last column of the chart below for more loyalty program news and other related posts.
|Program||February 2018 (Cents)||January 2019 (Cents)||February 2019 (Cents)||Note|
|Accor Le Club||-||2.0||2.0||
Join the Accor Le Club program.
|Aeroplan Loyalty Program||1.5||1.5||1.5||
Air Canada finalizes Aeroplan purchase.
|Alaska Mileage Plan||1.9||1.8||1.8|
|American Express Membership Rewards||1.9||2.0||2.0|
|Amtrak Guest Rewards||2.5||2.5||2.5||
Check out plans for new Penn Station lounge.
|ANA Mileage Club||1.6||1.4||1.4||
A380 service to Honolulu open for booking.
Cathay Pacific adds HKG yoga and meditation space.
New website launches.
|Bank of America Premium Rewards||1.0||1.0||1.0|
|Barclaycard Arrival Miles||1.0||1.0||1.0|
|Best Western Rewards||0.7||0.7||0.7||
Join the Best Western Rewards program.
|Capital One Credit Card Rewards||1.0||1.4||1.4||
New partnership with reservation service Resy.
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.1||2.0||2.0|
Join the Choice Privileges program.
|Citi ThankYou Points||1.7||1.7||1.7|
|Diners Club Rewards||2.1||2.1||2.1|
Wi-Fi benefit ending on Discover it Miles card.
Etihad boosts investment in Jet Airways.
Air France unveils new A330 business class.
Kids fly free with Discount Den membership on select dates.
Wall Street pushes for basic economy service.
|IHG Rewards Club||0.6||0.5||0.5|
|JetBlue TrueBlue Rewards Program||1.3||1.3||1.3|
|Korean Air SkyPass||1.7||1.7||1.7||
Steep penalties added for no-shows and cancellations.
|Miles & More||1.4||1.4||1.4|
|Qatar Airways Qmiles||1.1||0.8||0.8|
Hotel category changes scheduled for March 1.
Award rates increase for flights on Singapore metal.
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|Spirit Airlines Free Spirit||0.4||0.4||0.4|
|Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles||1.3||1.3||1.3||
First look at new business class seats.
|U.S. Bank FlexPerks||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1.5||1.5||1.5||
Virgin Atlantic acquires Flybe.
|Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards||-||1.5||1.5|
|World of Hyatt Loyalty Program||1.8||1.7||1.7|
Join the Wyndham Rewards program.
Movers and Shakers
American Airlines made a variety of changes to the AAdvantage program last month, including mostly negative adjustments to existing award pricing and the launch of a new premium economy award chart. American has continued to add partners to online award booking and expand its economy web specials, but also continues to throw up obstacles to booking desirable award itineraries. It’s a program in flux, and while my valuation hasn’t changed, it’s trending downwards.
January also brought us devaluations from two Star Alliance carriers. Lufthansa announced a sweeping increase in award prices, with the cost of many flights going up by 5-10% and none going down. This is a clear and thorough devaluation, and the only saving grace is that Lufthansa has given Miles & More members a few months to prepare — my valuation will drop when the changes take effect in May. Singapore Airlines also increased award rates, but didn’t extend KrisFlyer members the same courtesy of advance notice:
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
January Value: 1.4 cents
February Value: 1.3 cents
Valuation: At the beginning of the year, Singapore Airlines announced plans to raise the cost of many premium awards on its own metal just three weeks in advance. Those new rates are now in effect, so you’ll have to cough up around 10% more miles to book many of the airline’s most desirable awards. This is a terrible look given that many of these rates were already increased by a similar margin less than two years ago, even though those previous changes were accompanied by a drop in surcharges.
To make things worse, there may still be another shoe left to drop. Singapore hasn’t announced any corresponding adjustments to its Star Alliance and other partner awards; that could mean those charts will be left untouched, or that more negative changes are still looming. Ultimately, the existing changes are enough to warrant a drop in my valuation (despite the positive tweaks Singapore made to its upgrade and waitlist policies). If KrisFlyer members get more bad news regarding partner awards, it may drop even further.
Associated Credit Cards: you can transfer points to Singapore Airlines at a 1:1 ratio from Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, a 2:1 ratio from Capital One Venture Rewards, and a 3:1 ratio from Marriott Bonvoy, so any card that belongs to one of those programs offers a path to earning KrisFlyer miles.
Which programs would you like to see added to the list?
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. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to older valuations below.
Know before you go.
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