What are points and miles worth? November 2020 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. Note: These valuations are not provided by card issuers.
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. 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 from the summer, we’re still seeing a lot of uncertainty — and some analysts are saying travel won’t fully rebound until 2024. 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, we’re currently hard at work on preparing a new methodology for these valuations that’ll kick in when travel ramps back up. Scroll to the bottom for more information.
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||November 2019 (Cents)||October 2020 (Cents)||November 2020 (Cents)||Note|
|Accor Le Club||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|Aeroplan Loyalty Program||1.5||1.5||1.5||
New loyalty program to launch Nov. 8.
|Alaska Mileage Plan||1.8||1.8||1.8|
|American Express Membership Rewards||2.0||2.0||2.0||
Removes El Al as a transfer partner.
|Amtrak Guest Rewards||2.5||2.5||2.5||
Further extended the validity of points and coupons.
|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||0.7||0.6||0.6|
|Brex Exclusive Rewards||1.7||1.7||1.7|
|Capital One Rewards||1.4||1.4||1.4|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|Citi ThankYou Points||1.7||1.7||1.7|
Increased the cost of many international partner awards.
|Diners Club Rewards||2.1||2.1||2.1|
Announced the resumption of flights between Honolulu (HNL) and Boston (BOS), New York-JFK.
Further extended elite status benefits.
|IHG Rewards Club||0.5||0.5||0.5||
Launched elevated credit card welcome bonuses.
|JetBlue TrueBlue Rewards Program||1.3||1.3||1.3|
|Korean Air SkyPass||1.7||1.7||1.7|
Extended bonus points promotion on paid stays.
|Miles & More||1.4||1.4||1.4|
|Qatar Airways Qmiles||0.8||0.8||0.8|
Announced a new hotel brand, Radisson Individuals.
Announced the resumption of the world's longest flight, now between Singapore (SIN) and New York-JFK.
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|Spirit Airlines Free Spirit||0.4||0.4||0.4||
Announced a new loyalty program, to launch Jan. 21, 2021.
|Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles||1.3||1.3||1.3|
|U.S. Bank FlexPerks||1.5||1.5||1.5|
Raised partner award prices (again).
|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||
Added new promotions for members and legacy cardholders.
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.
That said, October was a slow month for miles and points news, but there were a couple of big announcements to take note of. The first is that Air Canada’s new Aeroplan program will launch on Nov. 8. This program gets rid of fuel surcharges and adds great new features like stopovers on one-way tickets and points pooling for families.
Additionally, Spirit Airlines announced that a revamped Free Spirit loyalty program will launch Jan. 21, 2021. Some of the most notable features include two elite status tiers, a move to revenue-based mileage earning and extended mileage validity. All of these changes will make Free Spirit a competitive loyalty program in the low-cost airline space.
Further, some of the world’s longest flights will resume later this year. Hawaiian Airlines will resume the U.S.’s longest domestic routes — Honolulu (HNL) to Boston (BOS) and New York-JFK — in December. Likewise, Singapore Airlines will resume the world’s longest flight from Singapore (SIN) to New York-JFK in November.
New credit card offers
During the pandemic, we saw a number of credit card issuers struggling with assessing creditworthiness, but we also saw a variety of bonuses and new perks launch for existing cardholders, aimed at keeping them engaged. Now, as we move into the fall, we’re seeing some incredible new welcome bonuses on some popular cards — including the following:
One of the best travel rewards cards out there, the Sapphire Preferred is giving new cardmembers the opportunity to earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. This is worth a whopping $1,200 based on our valuations of Ultimate Rewards points.
For more details, check out our full review of the Sapphire Preferred.
Capital One also got in on the action, as it launched a new limited-time bonus on its Venture Card. New cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening — or can still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. Based on our valuations (not provided by the issuer), that full bonus is worth $1,400 when you transfer to partners. If you redeem your miles for travel purchases at a fixed rate, you’re still getting $1,000 in value.
For more details, check out our full review of the Venture card.
One of the most popular cards for TPG staffers during the pandemic also launched a new welcome offer, as the Amex Gold is awarding 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months from account opening. This bonus 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 (subject to change at any time).
The card is also great for many everyday purchases. You’ll earn 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x) and 4x points at restaurants worldwide. The card has a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees).
For more details, check out our full review of the Amex Gold card.
Hotel credit cards
Finally, we saw a handful of new welcome offers launch on select hotel credit cards, giving you a simple way to boost your point balances for when travel begins to return. Here’s a snapshot at what’s currently available:
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: Earn 140,000 IHG points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors points after you use your card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership — plus a TPG-exclusive offer of a one-time, $100 statement credit after using your new card to purchase an ExpertFlyer Premium annual subscription ($99.99 plus applicable taxes, followed by automatic renewal) within your first year. ExpertFlyer is owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures.
While not a strictly points-and-miles card, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is offering a limited-time welcome bonus of $300 back (as a statement credit) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first six months of account opening. Offer ends 12/10/2020.
All of these new offers put you in a great position to earn a ton of bonus points or miles (or cash back) in the final months of 2020, and there may be more to come. 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.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.
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.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
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, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.