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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 June. The past month brought us new partnerships between both airline and hotel programs, several new credit cards and sign-up bonus offers, and the introduction of a ‘basic’ business class fare from Emirates. Read on for more details, and check the last column of the chart below for more loyalty program news and other related posts.
|Program||July 2018 (Cents)||June 2019 (Cents)||July 2019 (Cents)||Note|
|Accor Le Club||-||2.0||2.0||
New points earning partnership with Flying Blue.
|Aeroplan Loyalty Program||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|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||
Get 2-for-1 on Saturday travel in the Northeast corridor.
|ANA Mileage Club||1.6||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||0.7||0.7|
|Capital One Credit Card Rewards||1.0||1.4||1.4|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.1||2.0||2.0|
|Citi ThankYou Points||1.7||1.7||1.7|
|Diners Club Rewards||2.1||2.1||2.1|
'Basic' business class fares now for sale.
Earn 60,000 miles with Hawaiian Airlines Mastercard,
Award rates increase at many properties.
|IHG Rewards Club||0.6||0.5||0.5||
New top award category added with Macao luxury resorts.
|JetBlue TrueBlue Rewards Program||1.3||1.3||1.3|
|Korean Air SkyPass||1.7||1.7||1.7||
Korean adding 30 Dreamliners to wide-body fleet.
|Miles & More||1.4||1.4||1.4|
|Qatar Airways Qmiles||0.8||0.8||0.8||
No Qsuite retrofit coming for A380s.
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|Spirit Airlines Free Spirit||0.4||0.4||0.4||
Self-service bag drop coming to Las Vegas.
|Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles||1.3||1.3||1.3||
New 787 business cabin revealed.
|U.S. Bank FlexPerks||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1.5||1.5||1.5||
Order placed for 14 A330-900 aircraft.
|Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|World of Hyatt Loyalty Program||1.8||1.7||1.7|
Movers and Shakers
Alaska Airlines bolstered its inter-airline relations in June by adding Aer Lingus as a redemption partner and forging an interline agreement with Air Italy. Accor Hotels and Flying Blue similarly strengthened their partnership, allowing members of either program to earn reciprocal rewards for flights and hotel stays. In other airline news, Qantas announced plans to overhaul its own Frequent Flyer program, including new award rates, lower fees and additional partners.
In other loyalty news, Citi revealed plans to cut benefits like trip delay protection, car rental insurance and Price Rewind from across its credit card portfolio. Those protections will disappear on September 22, 2019. As for positive developments, Southwest introduced a new business credit card with a strong sign-up bonus and compelling ongoing benefits, and both Amex and Citi began offering new transfer bonuses to select partners.
June’s biggest points and miles headlines came from Hilton Honors, which made some stealthy (and unfavorable) changes to award pricing.
June Value: 0.6 cents
July Value: 0.6 cents
Valuation: I raised my Hilton Honors valuation from 0.5 to 0.6 cents per point back in March of 2017, when Hilton revamped Points & Money awards and introduced its flexible pooling options. I was concerned then about the shift from a fixed award chart to dynamic pricing; after more than two years of Hilton raising award rates while making few improvements to the program, that concern seems justified.
Last month, Hilton imposed what it called a “slight shift” on its award rates. That shift affected approximately 17% of properties in the Hilton Honors portfolio (as documented by Loyalty Lobby), and unlike the periodic award category changes typical of most hotel programs, these latest price adjustments were increases across the board. No individual property raised its rates by more than 10,000 points per night, but that represents a 100% increase in some cases. Worse yet, no advance notice was given before these changes went into effect.
The TPG team is currently working on a data-driven re-assessment of Hilton Honors (and several other programs). I expect the data to support dropping the valuation back to 0.5 cents per point, but pending those results, I’m keeping the current valuation in place for the time being.
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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