What are points and miles worth? September 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 in the process of adjusting valuations at the moment.
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 working hard to prepare 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||September 2020 (Cents)||August 2021 (Cents)||September 2021 (Cents)||Note|
|Accor Le Club||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|Aeroplan Loyalty Program||1.5||1.5||1.5||
Added as a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner.
|Alaska Mileage Plan||1.8||1.8||1.8|
|American Express Membership Rewards||2.0||2.0||2.0||
Launched a round of transfer bonuses to Avios, Aeromexico, Aeroplan, Flying Blue, LifeMiles and others.
|Amtrak Guest Rewards||2.5||2.5||2.5|
|ANA Mileage Club||1.4||1.4||1.4|
15% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards
30% transfer bonus from Chase Ultimate Rewards, 40% from American Express Membership Rewards.
|Bank of America Premium Rewards||1.0||1.0||1.0|
|Barclaycard Arrival Miles||1.0||1.0||1.0|
|Best Western Rewards||0.6||0.7||0.7|
|Brex Exclusive Rewards||1.7||1.7||1.7|
|Capital One Rewards||1.4||1.7||1.7|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|Citi ThankYou Points||1.7||1.7||1.7|
|Diners Club Rewards||2.1||2.1||2.1|
|EVA Infinity MileageLands||-||-||-|
25% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards.
25% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards
30% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards,
|IHG Rewards Club||0.5||0.5||0.5||
Makes three more Six Senses Resorts bookable with points.
|JetBlue TrueBlue Rewards Program||1.3||1.3||1.3|
|Korean Air SkyPass||1.7||1.7||1.7|
30% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards. Launched bonus points promotion for paid stays.
|Miles & More||1.4||1.4||1.4|
|Qantas Frequent FLyer||-||-||-|
|Qatar Airways Qmiles||0.8||0.8||0.8|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||1.5||1.5||1.5||
Launched promotion for double TQPs through November.
|Spirit Airlines Free Spirit||0.4||1.1||1.1|
|TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go||-||-||-|
|Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles||1.3||1.3||1.3|
|U.S. Bank FlexPerks||1.5||1.5||1.5|
30% transfer bonus from major hotel chains, including Marriott Bonvoy.
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1.6||1.5||1.5||
30% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards.
|Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|World of Hyatt Loyalty Program||1.7||1.7||1.7||
Launched targeted promotion for 1,000 American Airlines miles.
Key points and miles news
The last month started as a relatively quiet month in the points and miles world — but quickly changed.
First came Chase’s announcement of changes to it’s venerable Sapphire lineup. This included new bonus categories, a new hotel credit and a 10% cardmember anniversary bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (with no resulting increase in the annual fee). The Chase Sapphire Reserve also saw the addition of bonus categories — though not nearly as exciting as those on the Preferred.
Then came a slew of transfer bonuses announced by Chase and American Express. Chase kick-started the trend when it launched a 30% transfer bonus to Avios. This unlocks a ton of great redemptions, like cheap domestic award tickets and low-cost business class tickets to Europe.
Then, American Express went even further by adding multiple transfer bonuses at once. Here’s a look:
- Avios (Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia): 40%
- Aeromexico Club Premier: 25%
- Air Canada Aeroplan: 20%
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue: 25%
- Avianca LifeMiles: 15%
- Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles: 25%
- Qantas Frequent Flyer: 20%
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club: 30%
- Hilton Honors: 30%
- Marriott Bonvoy: 30%
The most interesting bonuses are to Avios, Aeromexico, Aeroplan and LifeMiles. You can use these to score ultra-cheap tickets in premium cabins. For example, you can now transfer just 39,000 Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book a one-way ticket from the U.S. to Europe in Delta One business class.
Sift through these transfer bonuses and see if it makes sense to transfer points for your future travel plans. That said, we rarely recommend transferring points before you have an immediate plan to use them — even with a transfer bonus. So, start planning future travels now if you have any trips in the pipeline.
Other than that, we saw Marriott launch a new promotion that offers 1,500 bonus points on all stays. Further, all-inclusive stays earn a higher 4,500 bonus points per stay. The promotion runs from Sept. 14 through Dec. 12, 2021. You can register for this promotion on Marriott’s website through Nov. 28, 2021.
Finally, Delta ran a handful of international award SkyMiles deals earlier in August. These have since expired, but it’s worth keeping on your radar. We may see more lucrative SkyMiles deals in the near future as we move into the fall season, when leisure travel demand is usually lower than in the summer months.
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 many 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 offer 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 — especially with the most recent additions. The card has a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees). 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 offers 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 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your card in the first three months of card membership.
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.
The Citi Premier card is an excellent choice for frequent travelers, road trippers and foodies alike. The card earns 3 Citi ThankYou points per dollar spent on dining, groceries, gas, air travel and hotels. You can transfer these points to top-notch transfer partners like Avianca LifeMiles, Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles and others.
The card is currently offering its best-ever welcome bonus of 80,000 ThankYou Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.
For more details, check out our full review of the Citi Premier card.
Airline credit cards
Airline credit cards let you earn airline miles and give you perks with their respective airlines, like free checked bags. If you’re a Delta loyalist, you might want to consider one of its cobranded cards to earn bonus SkyMiles and take advantage of added perks.
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card: Earn 70,000 bonus miles, and a $50 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card: Earn 90,000 bonus miles, 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/21.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card: Earn 80,000 bonus miles, 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), and a $200 statement credit after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/21.
Hotel credit cards
Several hotel credit card welcome bonuses provide a simple way to boost your point balances. Hilton is currently offering the following welcome offers — here’s a snapshot of what’s currently available:
- Hilton Honors American Express Card: Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend a total of $5,000 in purchases on the card in the first six months.
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $10,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months.
- 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 up to 180,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points. Earn 130,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors Business Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $10,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months.
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 and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
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 and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- 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.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- 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