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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 September. The past month brought us a few small tweaks from loyalty programs, including an improved airline transfer ratio from Citi, more updates to Marriott Rewards, and new airline routes from Southwest, Lufthansa and others. Read on for more details, and check the last column of the chart below for more loyalty program news and other related posts.
|Program||October 2017 (Cents)||September 2018 (Cents)||October 2018 (Cents)||Note|
|Accor Le Club||-||2.0||2.0||
Join the Accor Le Club program.
|American Express Membership Rewards||1.9||1.9||1.9|
|Amtrak Guest Rewards||2.5||2.5||2.5||
Earn double points through November 17.
ANA's A380 takes to the skies for the first time.
|Bank of America Premium Rewards||1.0||1.0||1.0||
BoA launches new rewards tracking tool.
|Barclaycard Arrival Miles||1.0||1.0||1.0||
Arrival Plus card now waives annual fee for first year.
|Best Western Rewards||-||0.7||0.7||
Join the Best Western Rewards program.
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.2||2.0||2.0|
New Clarion Pointe brand coming this year.
|Citi ThankYou Points||1.5||1.7||1.7||
Citi increases JetBlue transfer ratio.
|Diners Club Rewards||2.1||2.1||2.1|
Join the Etihad Guest program.
Frontier eliminates change fees 90+ days from departure.
Earn up to 150,000 points with elevated welcome bonuses.
Earn double points at Las Vegas MGM properties.
New list of discounted PointBreaks awards.
|Miles & More||1.4||1.4||1.4|
|Qatar Airways Qmiles||1.1||0.8||0.8||
Join the Qatar Airways Qmiles Program.
Join the Radisson Rewards program.
Singapore receives first ultra long-range A350.
|Spirit Airlines Free Spirit||0.4||0.4||0.4|
|Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles||1.3||1.3||1.3||
"High Privacy" business seats coming to A350 and Dreamliner.
Delta flights now incurring carrier-imposed surcharges.
|Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards||-||1.5||1.5|
Join the Wyndham Rewards program.
Movers and Shakers
This month American Airlines made a negative adjustment to its award reinstatement policy: moving forward, you’ll need to cancel prior to your scheduled departure. On the positive side, American added online booking capability for awards on Malaysia Airlines and Fiji Airways. Hopefully that trend continues. One trend I hope doesn’t continue is the surcharges Virgin Atlantic has been adding recently to awards on Delta flights. If those prove to be more than just a temporary glitch, my valuation of Flying Club miles will surely drop.
After combining with Starwood Preferred Guest, the new Marriott Rewards program is still facing issues. Meanwhile, the new Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal (now powered by Expedia) has shown some mixed returns. The biggest news in September was the improvement Citi made to its JetBlue transfer ratio.
Citi ThankYou Rewards
September Value: 1.7 cents
October Value: 1.7 cents
Valuation: Since Citi added JetBlue as a transfer partner in 2016, the standard transfer ratio has been 5:4, so 1,000 ThankYou points got you 800 TrueBlue points. In September, Citi improved that ratio to an even 1:1. JetBlue’s award pricing is revenue-based, so transfers to JetBlue have limited upside even at the higher ratio, which means this change isn’t enough to affect my valuation. Still, it’s a clear win for ThankYou Rewards members.
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.
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.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- 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.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees