What are points and miles worth? July 2020 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.
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To give you some context, I’ve included my valuations from one year ago and from last month. However, as we’ve done the last few months, we are once again leaving all individual valuations alone given the ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Despite some encouraging signs for the travel industry, we’re still seeing a lot of uncertainty. 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, as business rebounds more fully, we’ll be back to consider just how it has affected the world of points and miles.
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||July 2019 (Cents)||June 2020 (Cents)||July 2020 (Cents)||Note|
|Accor Le Club||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||-||-||-|
|Aeroplan Loyalty Program||1.5||1.5||1.5||
Launched new offer for buying miles (expired July 12).
|Alaska Mileage Plan||1.8||1.8||1.8||
Launches buy miles promotion with best-ever bonus (expired June 28).
|American Express Membership Rewards||2.0||2.0||2.0||
Begins waiving transfer fees for domestic partner programs.
|Amtrak Guest Rewards||2.5||2.5||2.5|
|ANA Mileage Club||1.4||1.4||1.4|
Launched new bonus on buying miles (expired June 26).
|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||0.6||0.6|
|Brex Exclusive Rewards||-||1.7||1.7|
|Capital One Rewards||1.4||1.4||1.4||
Announces new (temporary) bonuses with Uber Eats for Savor and Venture cards.
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.0||2.0||2.0||
Announces new (temporary) perks and bonus categories for Sapphire cards.
|Citi ThankYou Points||1.7||1.7||1.7||
Earn $30 off Amazon order with 1 ThankYou points.
|Diners Club Rewards||2.1||2.1||2.1|
|IHG Rewards Club||0.5||0.5||0.5|
|JetBlue TrueBlue Rewards Program||1.3||1.3||1.3||
Introduces new Cash + Points redemption option.
|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|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||1.5||1.5||1.5||
Launches bonus on buying points.
|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|
Launches targeted bonus on buying miles.
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1.5||1.6||1.6|
|Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|World of Hyatt Loyalty Program||1.7||1.7||1.7|
Key points and miles news
As noted above, the biggest news of the past couple of months has been the coronavirus outbreak. Some airlines have completely suspended operations during the pandemic, while others have filed for bankruptcy — which may or may not affect their respective frequent flyer programs. We’ve also seen elite status extensions from almost every major airline and hotel program, ensuring that loyal members can retain their benefits in 2021.
This ongoing uncertainty hasn’t stopped programs from implementing changes, however — both on the positive and negative side of the coin. For starters, we’ve seen a handful of new promotions launch from both hotels and airlines, clearly trying to draw new business from travelers. This month included the following:
- Receive a 15-25% rebate on Hyatt award stays, and enjoy free parking on award nights (previously limited to Globalist members)
- Earn bonus points or miles with American, Southwest and United (targeted)
Not to be left out, the credit card issuers announced some exciting new offers as well. Chase — on the heels of the May/June bonuses — announced new (temporary) bonus categories for holders of the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. You’ll now earn up to 10x Ultimate Rewards points on streaming services and up to 5x on gas purchases and Instacart orders through September 30, 2020, in addition to previously-announced perks that are ongoing.
Chase also announced new bonuses for its suite of Marriott cobranded credit cards, allowing holders of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card to earn 10x points on gas and restaurant purchases from July 15 through Sept. 15, 2020 (up to a combined total of $3,500 in purchases).
Capital One then joined the party last week, announcing that holders of select cards will earn bonuses on Uber Eats purchases through Jan. 31, 2021:
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (5x miles)
- Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card (5x miles)
- Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card (5% cash back)
- Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card (5% cash back)
The information for the Capital One VentureOne, Capital One Savor Cash Rewards, and Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards 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.
With no cap on these earnings, this can be a great way to boost your return on food delivery for the rest of the year and into early 2021.
Elite status also came to the forefront the last month, with some exciting announcements from hotel loyalty programs. Marriott started by announcing bonus elite-night credits for members who qualified for status last year — which started posting in early July. Wyndham Rewards then announced adjusted elite qualification criteria for 2020, and then Hilton announced that all elite nights earned this year will roll over into 2021. Given the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic, it’s likely that we’ll continue to see tweaks and adjustments as things move forward.
Finally, just yesterday we learned of a surprising new airline partnership: between American and JetBlue. Details are scant on how this impacts the carriers’ respective loyalty programs, but we’ll certainly be watching that one closely in the months to come.
Of course, these updates and changes in light of the coronavirus outbreak won’t be the last by any stretch, so 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 a number of popular currencies, so stay tuned for that.
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. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to older valuations below.
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