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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.
To give you some context, I’ve included my valuations from one year ago and from July. The past month was a quiet one for most loyalty programs, but we saw the launch of several airline and hotel partnerships, new application restrictions and rewards being clawed back by credit card issuers, and the opening of myriad Priority Pass and other airline lounges. Read on for more details, and check the last column of the chart below for more loyalty program news and other related posts.
|Program||August 2018 (Cents)||July 2019 (Cents)||August 2019 (Cents)||Note|
|Accor Le Club||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|Aeroplan Loyalty Program||1.5||1.5||1.5||
New rules coming for award routing and cancellation.
|Alaska Mileage Plan||1.8||1.8||1.8|
|American Express Membership Rewards||1.9||2.0||2.0|
|Amtrak Guest Rewards||2.5||2.5||2.5||
Non-stop Acela service launching between New York and DC.
|ANA Mileage Club||1.6||1.4||1.4||
New suites introduced in first and business class.
Get a 31% discount on Asia awards through August 14.
|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||
Brex announces six transfer partners.
|Capital One Credit Card Rewards||1.0||1.4||1.4|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.1||2.0||2.0|
New 'nightcap' amenity at Cambria hotels.
|Citi ThankYou Points||1.7||1.7||1.7|
|Diners Club Rewards||2.1||2.1||2.1|
Save up to $1,000 on flights with Amex offer.
New seasonal service to Miami from BOS, DTW, BDL and SJU.
|IHG Rewards Club||0.6||0.5||0.5|
|JetBlue TrueBlue Rewards Program||1.3||1.3||1.3||
JetBlue testing flight delay benefits for Mosaic members.
|Korean Air SkyPass||1.7||1.7||1.7|
|Miles & More||1.4||1.4||1.4||
Lufthansa expands A380 service to US.
|Qatar Airways Qmiles||0.8||0.8||0.8||
Business class downgraded on ATL route.
|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||
First look inside new 787 Dreamliner.
|U.S. Bank FlexPerks||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|World of Hyatt Loyalty Program||1.8||1.7||1.7||
Bonus points for World of Hyatt cardholders at SLH properties.
(Targeted) 1,000 bonus points for next stay.
Movers and Shakers
Several airline and hotel partnerships made progress in July. American Airlines and Qantas got the green light to begin their joint venture, promising increased service between the U.S. and both Australia and New Zealand. American also made one of its Oneworld partners more accessible, as awards on Japan Airlines are now bookable online. Meanwhile, Marriott and Emirates relaunched the Your World Rewards partnership, offering increased earnings and benefits to Bonvoy and Skywards elite members.
In other loyalty news, Singapore Airlines officially rolled out its new award waitlist policy. Lounge enthusiasts got a variety of new offerings, including several Priority Pass additions, improvements to the Air France IAD lounge and British Airways SFO lounge, and a first look at Alaska’s flagship location in Seattle. On the negative side, credit card rewards took a hit, as Citi extended its sign-up bonus restrictions by adding a 48-month exclusion to co-branded AAdvantage cards, and American Express began clawing back rewards earned from self-referrals. Finally, Brex Exclusive Rewards announced the addition of six transfer partners, leading to the currency being added to the above chart.
July’s most impactful points and miles came from Aeroplan, which announced changes to its routing rules, award cancellation policies and more.
July Value: 1.5 cents
August Value: 1.5 cents
Valuation: As Air Canada prepares to overhaul its loyalty program, a mixed bag of changes to the current Aeroplan program were recently announced. On the positive side, Aeroplan’s cancellation and refund policies have been improved. Award tickets can now be canceled and refunded within 24 hours of purchase, putting the program in line with the 24-hour hold and cancellation policies of US carriers. Awards can also now be canceled and redeposited as late as two hours before departure — much better than the previous cutoff of 21 days.
The bad news is that Aeroplan is modifying its routing rules by offering fewer opportunities to book stopovers and open jaws. That makes it more difficult to visit multiple destinations on a single itinerary, which lowers the potential value of awards. Aeroplan is also removing its round-the-world awards, but those were already overpriced and limited to five stops, so I don’t see them as a big loss.
These changes strike me as slightly negative overall. However, Aeroplan won’t alter its routing rules or suspend round-the-world awards until September, and has indicated that both moves are temporary. As a result, my valuation hasn’t changed, as you can still redeem Aeroplan miles for some great awards.
Associated Credit Cards: Air Canada offers cobranded credit cards for Canadians as well as one for US cardholders. Aeroplan is also an Amex and Capital One transfer partner, so you can earn transferable points with cards that earn Membership Rewards points or Venture Rewards miles.
Which programs would you like to see added to the list?
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.
Know before you go.
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