What are points and miles worth? November 2019 monthly valuations
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
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.
For the latest travel news, deals, and points and miles tips please subscribe to The Points Guy daily email newsletter.
To give you some context, I’ve included my valuations from one year ago and from last month. October was a relatively quiet month on the points and miles front, though it did bring the announcement of new United elite status requirements for 2020. We continue to see the creeping trend of dynamic award pricing along with a handful of transfer bonuses from some of the transferable point currencies. Read on for more details, and check the last column of the chart below for more loyalty program news and other related posts.
|Program||November 2018 (Cents)||October 2019 (Cents)||November 2019 (Cents)||Note|
|Accor Le Club||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|Aeroplan Loyalty Program||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|Alaska Mileage Plan||1.8||1.8||1.8|
|American Express Membership Rewards||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|Amtrak Guest Rewards||2.5||2.5||2.5|
|ANA Mileage Club||1.6||1.4||1.4|
New bonus on purchased miles.
|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|
|Brex Exclusive Rewards||-||1.7||1.7|
|Capital One Rewards||1.4||1.4||1.4|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.0||2.0||2.0||
New, targeted offer for Ink Business Preferred.
New buy points promotion.
|Citi ThankYou Points||1.7||1.7||1.7||
Adds Aeromexico as transfer partner.
|Diners Club Rewards||2.1||2.1||2.1|
Announces 2020's quarterly bonus categories.
|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|
|Miles & More||1.4||1.4||1.4|
|Qatar Airways Qmiles||0.8||0.8||0.8|
New discounted awards with Spontaneous Escapes.
|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|
|U.S. Bank FlexPerks||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|World of Hyatt Loyalty Program||1.7||1.7||1.7|
Movers and Shakers
While not as notable as the previous month, October did see a number of new bonus offers launch — including transfer bonuses from Amex Membership Rewards and Capital One along with an array of promotions for buying points and miles from programs like Avianca LifeMiles, IHG Rewards and United MileagePlus. We saw a couple of new offers on popular credit cards as well, including a TPG-exclusive welcome bonus on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. The hotel front also saw some new promotions launch from Hilton, IHG and Marriott, though most were relatively unexciting.
Airlines gave us a mixed-bag of updates over the month — like Alaska adding award redemptions on Singapore Airlines only to turn around and devalue these awards just a week later. Speaking of devaluations, Flying Blue made it harder to redeem miles for first-class, though it was already exceedingly tough to snag a La Premiere award ticket, while American continued its march toward dynamic pricing, even pricing one-way awards differently than round-trips. On the plus side, however, American did add the ability to redeem miles for premium economy with partners, while Citi ThankYou Rewards added a new (albeit underwhelming) transfer partner in Aeromexico.
However, the biggest news in October 2019 came from a carrier that normally isn’t the subject of changes.
Southwest Rapid Rewards
October Value: 1.5 cents
November Value: 1.5 cents
Valuation: Southwest made waves last month with an announcement of two notable changes to its Rapid Rewards program. First, it raised the point requirements to earn the Companion Pass (one of the most coveted perks in the award travel world) from 110,000 to 125,000. While this represents an increase of just 13.6%, it nevertheless came immediately after a limited-time offer on a Southwest credit card expired — leading one TPG editor to conclude that the changes were more nefarious than at first glance.
The second portion of the announcement was much more positive, as your Rapid Rewards points now no longer expire. This comes on the heels of a similar change from United and means that four of the most popular carriers in the U.S. — the others are Delta and JetBlue — now have loyalty program currencies that don’t expire.
However, I don’t view either of these items as materially impacting our valuation of Southwest points. While the Companion Pass is now harder to earn, the points still have the same value when redeemed for flights on which you plan to take your designated companion. And even though it’s nice to no longer have to worry about earning Rapid Rewards points every 24 months to prevent them from expiring, I don’t believe that this inherently increases the value of this currency. As a result, my valuation is staying put — though I’ll be interested to see if having more points in circulation (due to the new lack of expiration) will result in an award chart adjustment in the near future.
Associated Credit Cards: the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card and others, along with any cards that earn transferable Ultimate Rewards points (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card).
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.
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel