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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 July. The past month was another quiet one for this list: Aeroplan announced plans to add transfer partners (though not until 2020), and Hyatt introduced new experiential redemption options. We also found out when the new Marriott program and award chart will go into effect, and I added a new hotel program to the list. Read on for more details, and check the last column of the chart below for plenty more loyalty program news and other related posts.

Program August 2017 (Cents) July 2018 (Cents) August 2018 (Cents) Note
Accor Le Club - - 2.0

Accor to acquire 85% stake in 21c Museum Hotels.

Aeroplan 1.5 1.5 1.5

Earn a 30% bonus for transferring hotel points. Aeroplan may add transfer partners in 2020. Air Canada wants to buy the program back.

Alaska 1.9 1.8 1.8

Seattle lounges leaving Priority Pass.

American AAdvantage 1.4 1.4 1.4

Earn 5,000 miles with new promo. New mileage rates for LATAM flights. Citi introduces no-fee AAdvantage card. Basic economy will include carry-ons.

American Express Membership Rewards 1.9 1.9 1.9

30% bonus for Virgin Atlantic transfers; 25% bonus for JetBlue. Register for $100 Saks credit on The Platinum Card® from American Express. Use email to track welcome bonuses.

Amtrak Guest Rewards 2.5 2.5 2.5

Great Dome Car returning this fall.

ANA 1.6 1.6 1.6

Hundreds of flights canceled due to 787 engine problems.

Asia Miles 1.4 1.3 1.3

Cathay Pacific adding service to Seattle in 2019.

Avianca 1.7 1.7 1.7
Avios 1.5 1.5 1.5

10% discount extended for Chase Visa cardholders. Transfer bonus points from Iberia promo to British Airways.

Bank of America Premium Rewards - 1.0 1.0
Barclaycard Arrival Miles 1.0 1.0 1.0

Earn 60,000 bonus miles with Arrival Plus card. First year annual fee waived for Premier Card.

Best Western Rewards - 0.7 0.7
Capital One 1.0 1.0 1.0
Chase Ultimate Rewards 2.2 2.1 2.1

Chase loses $330M to super card users in Q2.

Choice Privileges 0.6 0.6 0.6

Get a 30% discount for buying at least 40,000 points through August 10.

Citi ThankYou Points 1.5 1.7 1.7

Get a 30% bonus for transfers to Flying Blue. Win up to a million points with sweepstakes. Price Rewind devaluation partially delayed.

Delta SkyMiles 1.2 1.2 1.2

Guide to earning MQDs on partner flights. Beware of phishing scam posing as Delta. Regional jets getting a major upgrade.

Diners Club Rewards 2.1 2.1 2.1
Discover - 1.0 1.0
Emirates 1.2 1.2 1.2

Revamped JFK lounge opens. Check out the $150M 777 retrofit.

Etihad 1.4 1.4 1.4

New fee on economy awards. Etihad seeks Star Alliance codeshare.

FlexPerks 1.5 1.5 1.5
Flying Blue 1.3 1.2 1.2

New list of Promo Rewards released for this fall. Check out the new Air France lounge at CDG.

Frontier 1.1 1.1 1.1
Hawaiian 1.2 1.2 1.2

Increased sign-up and spending bonuses on co-branded cards.

Hilton 0.6 0.6 0.6

Double points promo extended through September 9. Get 40% off points purchases through August 15.

Hyatt 1.8 1.8 1.8

New award experiences platform launches. Earn and redeem points with Small Luxury Hotels. Hyatt cardholders get 10% back on awards. Earn double elite credits at Andaz.

IHG 0.7 0.6 0.6

New list of discounted PointBreaks hotels now available. Buy points with a 100% bonus.

JetBlue 1.3 1.3 1.3

Mint service expands to Caribbean and Central America. New A220 aircraft will fly transcon routes.

Korean Air 1.7 1.7 1.7
Marriott 0.9 0.9 0.9

Launch date confirmed for new program and award chart. Chase and Amex limit bonuses on Marriott and SPG cards.

Miles & More 1.4 1.4 1.4
Qatar Airways Qmiles 1.1 0.8 0.8
Radisson Rewards 0.4 0.4 0.4
Ritz-Carlton 0.9 0.9 0.9

Co-branded Ritz card no longer accepting applications.

Singapore Krisflyer 1.5 1.4 1.4
Southwest 1.5 1.5 1.5

Earn 65,000 bonus points with new Priority card. No more peanuts on Southwest flights

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

Chase and Amex limit bonuses on Marriott and SPG cards. SPG/Delta Crossover Rewards program ends.

Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles - 1.3 1.3
United 1.5 1.4 1.4

Polaris lounge openings delayed again. United buys more 787 aircraft.

Virgin America 2.4 - -
Virgin Atlantic 1.5 1.5 1.5
Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards - 1.5 1.5

Revamped Wells Fargo Propel card now available.

Wyndham 1.2 1.2 1.2

Earn a free night after two stays.

Movers and Shakers

This month Hyatt introduced a new award experiences platform called FIND; redemption rates are below average, but closer than what we’ve seen from similar award options elsewhere. Etihad introduced a new fee for economy awards, while American Airlines added carry-on bags back to basic economy fares. We also saw increased credit card bonus offers from Barclaycard and Hawaiian Airlines, and a new premium card from Southwest Airlines.

While there weren’t any changes to my valuations this month, I added the Accor Hotels Le Club program to the list. Meanwhile, Aeroplan and Air Canada made a series of announcements with implications about the future of their partnership and the value of Aeroplan miles, and the new Marriott Rewards program is finally set to launch in mid-August.

Image
The Le Club program is basic, but you’ll get a solid return on awards. Photo courtesy of the Ibis Mazatlan.

Accor Le Club

July Value: Not listed
August Value: 2.0 cents
Valuation: Accor’s loyalty program Le Club is pretty straightforward. You can redeem points toward hotel stays at a fixed rate: 2,000 points gets you a discount of 40 euros (or the equivalent in local currency). That works out to about 2.3 cents per point based on the current dollar/euro exchange rate. Most properties let you redeem for incidentals as well as room rates, and in addition to booking awards online, you can generally redeem at your hotel’s front desk during your stay. There are other redemption options (like transfers to airline partners), but they offer a much lower redemption value.

The program’s greatest downside is its expiration policy. Points expire after 365 days, and only hotel stays count as qualifying activity to extend the life of your points — anecdotal evidence suggests that partner activity also qualifies, but the official rules are unambiguous that points will be lost absent a stay at a participating hotel. Given the dearth of North American properties, Accor’s expiration policy feels more onerous to me than Hilton’s or IHG’s, as both those programs offer a lot more ways to reset the 12-month expiration clock.

I tend to list fixed-value rewards (like Barclaycard Arrival miles or U.S. Bank FlexPerks) at their redemption value, but Accor’s expiration policy seems like enough of a drawback to change course here. I think a valuation of 2 cents per point seems appropriate.

Associated Credit Cards: None.

Air
Aeroplan’s future with Air Canada is up in the air.

Aeroplan

July Value: 1.5 cents
August Value: 1.5 cents
Valuation: After Air Canada decided to launch its own loyalty program in 2020, the future of the unaffiliated Aeroplan program was uncertain. In July, however, Aeroplan announced plans for a complete overhaul, including the addition of 20 airline and hotel transfer partners, confirmation of award redemption levels, and charter flights for members. In yet another twist, Air Canada has now put in a bid to purchase Aeroplan from its parent company Aimia.

It’s hard to tell how all this will shake out, but the upshot for frequent flyers is that the long-term usefulness of Aeroplan miles is questionable. I’m not changing my valuation, since none of these updates are likely to take effect soon. But if you’re sitting on a large balance, I recommend you look for opportunities to redeem them sooner rather than later.

Associated Credit Cards: Aeroplan is a transfer partner of Amex and Starwood Preferred Guest, so you can earn miles with cards that earn Membership Rewards points (like The Platinum Card® from American Express) or Starpoints/Marriott Rewards (like the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card).

Marriott
Marriott’s new award chart launches on August 18. Photo courtesy of the JW Marriott Scottsdale.

Marriott Rewards

July Value: 0.9 cents
August Value: 0.9 cents
Valuation: More than two years after the Marriott/Starwood merger was announced, the new unified award program will finally launch on August 18. While I’m not thrilled with every facet of the new program (r.i.p. Hotel + Air packages), I think Marriott did a decent job preserving the value of both Marriott Rewards and SPG … for now. I’m still concerned about what award redemption rates will look like in 2019 when peak pricing is introduced, but barring any other surprise changes, I’m sticking with the current valuation until then.

Associated Credit Cards: the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, and other co-branded Marriott and SPG cards.

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.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

This cash back card has a focus on dining and entertainment where you can earn unlimited 4% cash back in those spending categories. You can also earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
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  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Balance Transfer Fee
$0
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

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.