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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.

To give you some context, I’ve included my valuations from one year ago and from February. I didn’t make any changes to the list this month, but several loyalty programs announced important updates, and others that were announced previously are scheduled to take effect in the coming weeks. As always, you’ll find plenty of other loyalty program news in the last column.

The Calculations

There isn’t a mathematical formula at work here. At some point I’d like to create a system that could calculate a precise value based on award availability, fees, award levels and ease of accrual, but for now these valuations are based on a combination of how much I would pay to buy points if given the opportunity, and the overall value I could get from redeeming them.

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 next month. This list doesn’t include every loyalty currency under the sun, and I’ll work to add more moving forward, so let me know which ones you’d like to see featured.

Program March 2017 (Cents) February 2018 (Cents) March 2018 (Cents) Note
Aeroplan 1.5 1.5 1.5

Air Canada introduces basic economy fares.

Alaska 1.9 1.9 1.9

Get up to a 40% bonus for buying miles. Alaska blocks some partner awards within Asia. Alaska takes the top spot in our Best and Worst Airlines in the US report.

American AAdvantage 1.5 1.4 1.4

Earn 1,000 miles on your next Hyatt stay. Transatlantic basic economy coming in spring. DFW Admirals Club to reopen in April.

American Express Membership Rewards 1.9 1.9 1.9

CardMatch offers 100,000-point Platinum Card bonus. Amex is sending out targeted upgrades. EveryDay card offers 0% APR. OPEN Savings program is ending.

Amtrak Guest Rewards 2.5 2.5 2.5

Earn double points with Double Days promotion.

ANA 1.6 1.6 1.6

Review of ANA 787-8 regional business class.

Asia Miles 1.4 1.4 1.4

Review of Cathay Pacific first class lounge in Hong Kong. Book British Airways flights with Asia Miles.

Avianca 1.7 1.7 1.7

Buy LifeMiles for 1.39 cents with subscription program.

Bank of America Premium Rewards - 1.0 1.0
Barclaycard Arrival Miles 1.0 1.0 1.0
Best Western Rewards - 0.7 0.7
British Airways Avios 1.5 1.5 1.5

Get a 35% bonus when you transfer hotel points to Avios.

Capital One 1.0 1.0 1.0
Chase Ultimate Rewards 2.1 2.1 2.1

Chase glitch reveals customer info. Amazon Prime card will earn 5% back at Whole Foods.

Choice Privileges 0.6 0.6 0.6
Citi ThankYou Points 1.6 1.7 1.7

50,000-point bonus returns on ThankYou Premier Card. Citi overcharged interest on 1.75 million accounts.

Club Carlson 0.4 0.4 0.4

Program rebranding as Radisson Rewards.

Delta SkyMiles 1.2 1.2 1.2

Earn up to 70,00 miles with co-branded Amex cards. New Sky Club coming to Austin. Delta adds restrictions on smart luggage. Save by booking Delta flights with partners.

Diners Club Rewards 2.1 2.1 2.1
Emirates 1.2 1.2 1.2

New A380 order is now official. Improved business class comes to US. Emirates resumes A380 service to Houston.

Etihad 1.4 1.4 1.4

Chauffeur service cut from premium award tickets.

FlexPerks 1.5 1.5 1.5

New option to redeem for travel purchases outside of FlexPerks portal.

Flying Blue 1.3 1.3 1.3
Frontier 1.1 1.1 1.1

Frontier announces 35 new routes and 4 new cities.

Hawaiian 1.2 1.2 1.2
Hilton 0.6 0.6 0.6

Save $200 on Hilton stays in Hawaii. Review of Hilton Amex Aspire card.

Hyatt 1.8 1.8 1.8

Earn bonus points on paid and award stays through May.

IHG 0.7 0.6 0.6

How to maximize free nights from the IHG Rewards card.

JetBlue 1.2 1.3 1.3

What is Mosaic status worth in 2018?

Korean Air 1.7 1.7 1.7

Has Korean Air tightened award availability?

Marriott 0.9 0.9 0.9

Award category changes announced for 2018. Earn status with AAA membership.

Miles & More 1.4 1.4 1.4

Lufthansa's new livery misses the mark. New Swiss first class lounge in Zurich.

Qatar Airways Qmiles - 1.1 1.1

Qatar gets the world's first A350-1000. QSuite coming to Chicago in April.

Ritz-Carlton 0.9 0.9 0.9

Review of the Ritz-Carlton Bali.

Singapore Krisflyer 1.5 1.4 1.4

Review of Singapore's new A380 first class suite. Osaka announced as first 787-10 route.

Southwest 1.5 1.5 1.5

Southwest raises upgraded boarding fees and alcohol prices.

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

Earn 35,000 points with business card.  Targeted bonus for Amex cardholders. Category changes announced for 2018. Earn status with AAA membership.

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

Earn 40,000 miles with MileagePlus Explorer card. No more drink carts in Polaris. United details first 737 MAX 9 routes.

Virgin America 2.4 - -
Virgin Atlantic 1.3 1.5 1.5

How to unlock value with Flying Club.

Wyndham 1.2 1.2 1.2

Movers and Shakers

This month brought several small but negative changes from airline programs. Alaska Airlines announced it would block select partner awards within Asia — the new rules only apply within 72 hours of departure, but I don’t feel good about the precedent being set. Singapore Airlines implemented new award fees and tweaks to mileage earning rates that were announced back in December. Meanwhile, the Miles & More program switches to revenue-based earning on March 12, though at the time of writing we still don’t know if award redemption rates will be affected.

Marriott raised award rates at over 20% of properties worldwide.

Marriott Rewards

February Value: 0.9 cents
March Value: 0.9 cents
Valuation: Marriott recently announced its list of award category changes for 2018, and the news wasn’t good Marriott Rewards members. Over 1,000 properties are going up in price, while a much smaller number will go down — a clear net increase in the cost of awards program-wide. However, unlike IHG Rewards (which also announced category changes earlier this year), Marriott didn’t add a new top award tier. The program’s most valuable features (like the partnership with SPG and Hotel + Air awards) remain intact. I was on the fence about lowering Marriott’s valuation, but I decided to leave it alone for now given the program’s upside.

Associated Credit Cards: Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card, and cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and others.

Which programs would you like to see added to the list?

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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.

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