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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 February. The past month saw planned program overhauls announced by Spirit Airlines and Accor Hotels, nine new airlines added to TSA PreCheck and additional information about the upcoming co-branded Apple credit card. Read on for more details, and check the last column of the chart below for more loyalty program news and other related posts.
|Program||February 2018 (Cents)||February 2019 (Cents)||March 2019 (Cents)||Note|
|Accor Le Club||-||2.0||2.0||
Rebranded program and status tiers coming.
|Aeroplan Loyalty Program||1.5||1.5||1.5||
Amex transfer partnership continues.
|Alaska Mileage Plan||1.9||1.8||1.8|
|American Express Membership Rewards||1.9||2.0||2.0|
|Amtrak Guest Rewards||2.5||2.5||2.5|
|ANA Mileage Club||1.6||1.4||1.4||
ANA introduces premium economy awards.
British Airways promises no Brexit disruptions.
|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||
AARP offers shortcut to elite status.
|Capital One Credit Card Rewards||1.0||1.4||1.4||
New tool offers free business credit report.
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.1||2.0||2.0|
Earn a free night with two qualifying stays.
|Citi ThankYou Points||1.7||1.7||1.7|
|Diners Club Rewards||2.1||2.1||2.1|
More limits on chauffeur service.
Join the HawaiianMiles program.
|IHG Rewards Club||0.6||0.5||0.5|
|JetBlue TrueBlue Rewards Program||1.3||1.3||1.3|
|Korean Air SkyPass||1.7||1.7||1.7|
|Miles & More||1.4||1.4||1.4||
Lufthansa and passenger square off in court.
|Qatar Airways Qmiles||1.1||0.8||0.8||
Join the Qatar Airways Qmiles Program.
2019 category changes go into effect.
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|Spirit Airlines Free Spirit||0.4||0.4||0.4||
New loyalty program coming in 2019.
|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||1.5||1.5||
Israel service coming in September.
|Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards||-||1.5||1.5|
|World of Hyatt Loyalty Program||1.8||1.7||1.7|
New award tiers coming in April.
Movers and Shakers
Several airline programs shook things up in February. Etihad is rumored to be on the verge of joining Star Alliance, which would spell the end of its partnership with American Airlines. After introducing new SkyMiles upgrade options in 2018, Delta officially eliminated the old Mileage Upgrade Awards on Delta-operated flights in the Americas. Finally, United brought several partner awards back online after an unexplained absence of several weeks.
Hotel programs made moves as well: Hilton revealed that standard awards at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi will cost 120,000 points per night, effectively creating a new top award tier. Meanwhile, Wyndham provided the biggest news, announcing plans to shift award pricing for roughly one-third of its properties:
February Value: 1.2 cents
March Value: 1.2 cents
Valuation: Since Wyndham Rewards recreated itself in 2015, the program’s calling card has been charging a single price for all award nights. The same 15,000 points could get you a room at an interstate Travelodge or an upscale beachside resort, which meant you could get a lot of value by redeeming at higher-end properties. That’s all changing in April, as Wyndham recently announced plans to introduce two new award tiers.
Roughly 3,000 properties will drop from 15,000 to 7,500 points per night, while around 200 properties will double to 30,000 points per night. Wyndham’s Go Fast rates are also changing, with rates dropping from 3,000 to 1,500 points plus cash per night in the lower tier, and jumping to 6,000 points plus cash in the upper tier. What we don’t know yet is which properties will be slotted into each tier, as Wyndham doesn’t plan to announce the distribution until the new prices go into effect.
As a result, it’s hard to know what to make of this news. My gut reaction is that the new pricing scheme will be a devaluation: Wyndham doesn’t have a lot of prestigious properties, so doubling the award rate at 200 of them makes it much harder to get a good return. However, I expect the lower tier will also provide some newfound value. Until more details are available, I’m leaving my valuation intact.
Associated Credit Cards: the Wyndham Rewards Visa Card
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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