What are points and miles worth? November 2019 monthly valuations

Nov 6, 2019

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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.

Related: How (and Why) to Calculate Award Redemption Values

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. 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

Adds awards on Singapore Airlines, then devalues and removes intra-Asian stopovers. New bonus on purchased miles. Cuts earning rates on Qantas.

American AAdvantage 1.4 1.4 1.4

Improves mileage earning on Qantas. Continues shift to dynamic award pricing, including new one-way pricing. Adds premium economy awards on partners.

American Express Membership Rewards 2.0 2.0 2.0

New transfer bonuses to Flying Blue/JetBlue and Qantas. Existing Rakuten members can now earn Amex points. New round of 100k CardMatch offers.

Amtrak Guest Rewards 2.5 2.5 2.5
ANA Mileage Club 1.6 1.4 1.4
Asia Miles 1.3 1.3 1.3
Avianca LifeMiles 1.7 1.7 1.7

New bonus on purchased miles.

Avios 1.5 1.5 1.5
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

New welcome bonus on Spark Miles (for a limited time). Transfer bonus to Flying Blue.

Chase Ultimate Rewards 2.0 2.0 2.0

New, targeted offer for Ink Business Preferred.

Choice Privileges 0.6 0.6 0.6

New buy points promotion.

Citi ThankYou Points 1.7 1.7 1.7

Adds Aeromexico as transfer partner.

Delta SkyMiles 1.2 1.2 1.2
Diners Club Rewards 2.1 2.1 2.1
Discover Rewards 1.0 1.0 1.0

Announces 2020's quarterly bonus categories.

Emirates Skywards 1.2 1.2 1.2
Etihad Guest 1.4 1.4 1.4

Earn a 20% bonus on hotel point transfers. New buy miles promotion.

Flying Blue 1.2 1.2 1.2

New restrictions on first-class awards. Earn a 75% bonus on purchased miles. New Promo Rewards for early 2020.

Frontier Miles 1.1 1.1 1.1
HawaiianMiles 1.2 0.9 0.9
Hilton Honors 0.6 0.6 0.6

New, targeted promotion at select resorts. TPG-exclusive offer on Hilton Surpass card.

IHG Rewards Club 0.6 0.5 0.5

Earn instant Spire Elite status. Use points to pay for room charges at some hotels. New promotion, buy points offer and PointBreaks list.

JetBlue TrueBlue Rewards Program 1.3 1.3 1.3
Korean Air SkyPass 1.7 1.7 1.7
Marriott Bonvoy 0.9 0.8 0.8

New promotion offers 2,000 points. Adds new all-inclusive properties.

Miles & More 1.4 1.4 1.4
Qatar Airways Qmiles 0.8 0.8 0.8
Radisson Rewards 0.4 0.4 0.4
Singapore Krisflyer 1.4 1.3 1.3

New discounted awards with Spontaneous Escapes.

Southwest Rapid Rewards 1.5 1.5 1.5

Changes to Companion Pass requirements and point expiration. New buy points promotion.

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
United MileagePlus 1.4 1.3 1.3

New elite-status qualification requirements for 2020. Launches bonuses on hotel transfers and purchased miles.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1.5 1.5 1.5
Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards 1.5 1.5 1.5
WestJet Rewards - - -
World of Hyatt Loyalty Program 1.7 1.7 1.7

New promotions for Exhale and transfers to American. Targeted promotion for double elite-night credits. Expanded integration of Destination Hotels.

Wyndham Rewards 1.2 1.1 1.1

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.

(Photo by Robert Alexander / Getty Images)
Southwest’s October announcement had both positives and negatives but doesn’t affect my overall valuation. (Photo by Robert Alexander / Getty Images)

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.

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