What are points and miles worth? August 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 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||August 2019 (Cents)||July 2020 (Cents)||August 2020 (Cents)||Note|
|Accor Le Club||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||-||-||-|
|Aeroplan Loyalty Program||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|Alaska Mileage Plan||1.8||1.8||1.8||
Launches new buy-miles promotion.
|American Express Membership Rewards||2.0||2.0||2.0||
Expands the up to $200 Amex Travel credit for more Platinum cardholders.
|Amtrak Guest Rewards||2.5||2.5||2.5|
|ANA Mileage Club||1.4||1.4||1.4|
Launches sale on select award tickets.
|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||
Launches new transfer bonus to Avianca LifeMiles.
Launches new offer for bonus miles, MQMs on select Delta Amex cards.
|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||
Launches new 'Pennies for Points' round-up program
|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|
|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||1.6||1.6||
Announces that select award flights will count toward elite status as of Sept. 1.
|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.
That said, some loyalty programs and card issuers are ramping up efforts to court new business. Alaska and American launched new promotions on buying miles, while Chase added new spending bonuses on select cards — a nice complement to previously-announced offers. Marriott was even incentivizing new members, offering a free-night certificate (worth up to 25,000 points) after joining the Bonvoy program and completing two stays by Nov. 28, 2020.
We even saw some new, limited-time offers launch on select credit cards:
- Southwest: You can now earn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
- United: You can now earn 60,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months on the United Explorer Card, and you’ll take home 100,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months with the United Club Infinite Card.
Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club program also grabbed headlines in August, with its announcement that select award flights would begin counting toward elite status. This is a first in the world of airline loyalty programs, and it’ll be interesting to see if it spreads to other carriers in the weeks and months to come.
However, the biggest news of the last month came from our neighbor to the north here in the U.S.
New Aeroplan program
On Aug. 11, we finally got a chance to learn more about Air Canada’s new Aeroplan program. While it won’t officially launch until Nov. 8, 2020, we now have a much better view of what it looks like. You can start here to review TPG’s full coverage of the announcement, as we take a closer look at many aspects of the new program, including:
We also took a deep dive into the new award charts, comparing them to other popular Star Alliance programs.
However, since the program won’t start rolling out until early November, there’s no impact to our valuation of Aeroplan miles (soon to become points) for now. Rest assured that we’ll carefully crunch the numbers to see if the currency will shift in value once the new program takes effect.
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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