What are points and miles worth? TPG’s May 2022 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 true answer varies from point to point and person to person and depends on your travel goals and 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.
Historically, TPG has valued points and miles based on a combination of the price at which we would purchase the miles, award costs in the program (factoring in availability and fees) and our own expertise in the inner workings of the programs. However, we are in the process of evolving our valuations to become as data-driven as possible.
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That data-driven process began in November with our four major transferable currencies — American Express Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Citi ThankYou Rewards points and Capital One miles. Now, we are using a mathematical model that takes into account a number of factors specific to transferable points, including:
- Unique transfer partners (not shared by other card issuers).
- The most valuable individual partners in the program.
- The base redemption value when you redeem points or miles directly for travel.
Based on this rollout, we are now rounding the valuations for our credit card currencies to the nearest five-hundredths of a point in order to better capture the real-world value they offer cardholders. We fully expect these numbers to fluctuate over time as we refine our equations and roll out additional data-backed hotel and airline valuations in the coming months.
Likewise, we moved three airline currencies — American AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus miles — to a data-backed model last December. However, we have put these valuations on pause while we work out an issue with our data provider. We’re excited to have data-backed valuations updated this summer.
Note: These valuations are not provided by card issuers.
Points and miles valuations
|Program||May 2021 (Cents)||April 2022 (Cents)||May 2022 (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||1.4||1.4||1.4|
|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||0.6|
|Brex Exclusive Rewards||1.7||1.7||1.7|
|Capital One Rewards||1.7||1.85||1.85|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|Citi ThankYou Points||1.7||1.8||1.8||
Launched 25% transfer bonus to Air France-KLM Flying Blue.
|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|
|Korean Air SkyPass||1.7||1.7||1.7|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|Spirit Airlines Free Spirit||1.1||1.1||1.1|
|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|
|World of Hyatt Loyalty Program||1.7||1.7||1.7|
* Calculated using TPG’s revamped data-backed valuations methodology, launched in December 2021.
Points and miles news
Compared to March, April was a relatively quiet month in the world of points and miles.
Marriott removed its award charts on March 29. In April, we ran the numbers to see just how much value you can get from Marriott Bonvoy with dynamic pricing. Our data shows that you can expect to get 0.84 cents per point in value when redeeming points with dynamic pricing, which is actually higher than our old valuation of 0.8 cents apiece. That said, you will still find that some stays are more expensive and that pricing is less predictable across the board.
Last month, we also saw the program start to allow members to top up free night award certificates with up to 15,000 points. This means that the annual free night certificate included with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card — worth up to 50,000 points — can be topped up to 65,000 points, letting you redeem for higher-end and more expensive hotels.
IHG gave us more details about its new IHG One Rewards loyalty program. While redemptions stay the same, elite status is being shuffled with new benefits and elite status tiers. Perhaps the most interesting part of the new program is the introduction of milestone rewards which provide additional benefits when you stay a certain number of nights at IHG properties. Many of these features will launch in June.
We also saw American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou launch a handful of transfer bonuses. Here’s a look:
American Express Membership Rewards
- Avianca LifeMiles: 15% transfer bonus ending May 31.
- British Airways Executive Club: 40% transfer bonus ending May 15.
- Marriott Bonvoy: 25% transfer bonus ending May 31.
Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue: 25% transfer bonus ending May 15.
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club: 30% transfer bonus ending June 15.
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue: 25% transfer bonus ending May 20.
In more minor news, we saw Bilt Rewards launch Asia Miles transfers. Bilt members can now transfer points to the program at a 1:1 transfer ratio. All transfers should process instantly. Additionally, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members can now redeem miles on intra-Alaska flights on Ravn Alaska.
Editor’s note: TPG founder Brian Kelly is a Bilt advisor and investor.
Data-backed valuations update
As noted in the introduction, we moved to data-backed valuations for three major airline programs — American AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus — last year. However, we’ve run into an issue with our data provider that’s caused us to put data-backed valuations on hold this month. What you see now are valuations calculated for March 2022, and we will continue to publish up-to-date valuations for these three airlines next month.
Travel credit card offers
During the pandemic, we’ve seen several credit card issuers struggle with assessing creditworthiness in a world with so many new variables. We’ve also seen various bonuses and new perks launch for existing cardholders aimed at keeping them engaged. As we move into a travel recovery, we’ve seen some incredible new welcome bonuses on many popular cards.
However, some of those bonuses over 100,000 points have started to retreat in recent weeks. That tells us it’s time to act if the one you want is still available.
Some good options include:
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Toward the end of 2021, Capital One launched its first-ever premium rewards card, and it is one of the most exciting new travel credit cards on the market, thanks to great earning rates and included perks.
The card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening, worth $1,388 according to our valuations, thanks to Capital One’s excellent airline and hotel transfer partners.
For more details, check out our full review of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
Official application: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
The Platinum Card® from American Express
With the current welcome offer on the Amex Platinum, you’ll earn 100,000 points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership.
Of course, the card is jam-packed with benefits like airport lounge access, hotel elite status and more. These benefits can make your 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.
Official application: The Platinum Card from American Express
American Express® Gold Card
One of the most popular cards with 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 welcome offer 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 (offer is subject to change at any time).
The card is great for many everyday purchases. You’ll earn 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar) and 4 points per dollar 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.
Official application: American Express Gold Card
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
The Business Platinum Card offers 120,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your card in the first three months of card membership. Per our valuations, this welcome offer is worth at least $2,400, but you can get even more value when redeeming for high-end airfare.
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.
Official application: The Business Platinum Card from American Express
Citi Premier® 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 at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, and on 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 a welcome bonus of 60,000 ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
For more details, check out our full review of the Citi Premier Card.
Official application: 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 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months.
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card: Earn 60,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card: Earn 60,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership.
Hotel credit cards
Several hotel credit card welcome bonuses provide a simple way to boost your point balances. You can use these points to save money on hotel stays around the world, no matter where your travels take you.
The portfolio of IHG Rewards credit cards underwent major upgrades last month, and there are currently some solid offers available:
- IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card: Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
- IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card: Earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card: Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three 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 to stay in the loop on the biggest travel news of the day.
Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh and Benji Stawski.
Featured image by The Points Guy.
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TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, 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 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
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