What are points and miles worth? April 2021 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.
Note: These valuations are not provided by card issuers.
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I’ve included my valuations from one year ago and from last month to give you some context. Given the ongoing pandemic, we are not adjusting valuations at the moment, barring major devaluations and new program launches.
Despite some encouraging signs for the travel industry from the summer, we still see a lot of uncertainty — and some analysts say 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||April 2020 (Cents)||March 2021 (Cents)||April 2021 (Cents)||Note|
|Accor Le Club||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|Aeroplan Loyalty Program||1.5||1.5||1.5||
Extended elite status through 2022.
|Alaska Mileage Plan||1.8||1.8||1.8|
|American Express Membership Rewards||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|Amtrak Guest Rewards||2.5||2.5||2.5|
|ANA Mileage Club||1.4||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||0.6||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||
Extended Pay Yourself Back feature through September.
|Citi ThankYou Points||1.7||1.7||1.7|
Offering bonus MQM, MQS and MQD on all tickets, including award tickets.
|Diners Club Rewards||2.1||2.1||2.1|
|IHG Rewards Club||0.5||0.5||0.5||
Dynamic award pricing now more volatile.
|JetBlue TrueBlue Rewards Program||1.3||1.3||1.3||
Announced new Mint seats.
|Korean Air SkyPass||1.7||1.7||1.7|
Running a double points and elite nights promotion through April 27, 2021.
|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||
Announced huge summer route expansion.
|Spirit Airlines Free Spirit||0.4||1.1||1.1|
|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||1.6||1.5||1.5||
Started offering one-way awards on ANA.
|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.
March’s big news was Alaska Airlines officially joining the Oneworld alliance. Members can earn miles on Oneworld partners immediately, while redemptions will start this summer. Likewise, Alaska elites gained Oneworld elite status benefits on Mar. 31, 2021. Top-tier MVP Gold 75K members are now eligible for upgrades on domestic American Airlines flights.
We also saw Citi start a 25% transfer bonus to Air France/KLM Flying Blue. This means that 10,000 Citi points are equal to 12,500 Flying Blue points through April 27, 2021. This may be worth considering if you’ve already found a Flying Blue award ticket you’d like to book. Some good options are business class flights from the U.S. to Europe and some Delta award tickets.
Another big announcement came in early April when Virgin Atlantic started allowing one-way awards on ANA. This means you can now book a one-way business class ticket from the U.S. to Japan, starting at 45,000 miles one-way. Remember, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
Delta also announced a promotion that awards bonus Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM), Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQS) and Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQD) on all flights through the end of the year. This includes award flights, which could make earning Delta elite status far easier for some travelers. This is extremely important during a pandemic where many current Delta elites aren’t traveling as much.
We also saw IHG make its new dynamic award pricing more volatile. This makes some awards more expensive and others cheaper, based on our initial tests. Because it’s still possible to get at least 0.5 cents in value per point, we’re not devaluing IHG Rewards points for now. But it’s worth keeping in mind if you’re sitting on a stash of IHG points.
New Travel credit card offers
During the pandemic, we saw several credit card issuers struggle with assessing creditworthiness. However, we also saw various bonuses and new perks launch for existing cardholders, aimed at keeping them engaged. Now, as we move into the new year, we’re seeing some incredible new welcome bonuses on some popular cards — including the following:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is often seen as the quintessential travel rewards card. With its current welcome offer, you’ll earn an impressive 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Plus, this offer also includes up to $50 in statement credit towards grocery store purchases within your first year from account opening. These points are worth $1,600 toward travel (based on TPG’s most recent point valuations), so you’re looking at $1,650 in value from just the welcome offer.
For more details, check out our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
One of the most popular cards for TPG staffers during the pandemic, the Amex Gold is offering 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months of account opening. This bonus is worth $1,200 based on our valuations, but be sure to check the CardMatch Tool to see if you’re targeted for an even higher offer (subject to change at any time).
The card is also great for many everyday purchases. You’ll earn 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1x) and 4x points at restaurants worldwide. The card has a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees).
For more details, check out our full review of the Amex Gold card.
Even better, you’ll earn a huge 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined eligible purchases, during your first six months of card membership. That’s equivalent to a 20% return on gas in the U.S. and groceries at U.S. supermarkets, which is hard to beat.
Of course, the card is jam-packed with benefits like airport lounge access, hotel elite status and more. These benefits can make your post-pandemic travel experience smoother and more luxurious than ever before. The card has a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).
For more details, check out our full review of the Amex Platinum card.
The Business Platinum card also offers an enhanced bonus: 125,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your card in the first three months of account opening.
The card also provides a slew of additional perks similar to (but slightly different from) the personal version — you can compare the two cards in this guide to see which one would be a better fit for your wallet.
For more details, check out our full review of the Amex Business Platinum card.
Airline credit cards
Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia — the three Avios airlines — have nice welcome offers on their respective cobrand credit cards. The Aer Lingus and Iberia cards offer up to 100,000 bonus Avios after meeting the spend requirement, while the British Airways card offers 50,000 Avios and a Travel Together Ticket.
Here’s a closer look at all three offers:
- Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card: Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Earn an additional 50,000 Bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year of account opening.
- British Airways Visa Signature Card: Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn a Travel Together Ticket after spending $20,000 total on purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Iberia Visa Signature Card: Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Earn an additional 50,000 Bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year of account opening.
Further, Delta Air Lines improved its welcome bonuses for most personal and cobranded American Express cards. Here’s a look at the current personal card offers:
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: Earn 70,000 miles after $2,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: Earn 90,000 miles after $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: Earn 80,000 bonus miles, plus 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
On the flip side, here are the current limited-time welcome offers for Delta’s cobranded business credit cards (Offers end 4/28/21):
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of account opening.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card: Earn 90,000 bonus miles and a $100 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of account opening.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card: Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and a $200 statement credit after spending $5,000 in purchases in your first three months of account opening.
Hotel credit cards
Several hotel credit card sign-up bonuses provide a simple way to boost your point balances when travel returns in full force. Here’s a snapshot of what’s currently available:
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: Earn 125,000 bonus points plus a Reward Night after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors points after using your card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.
The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
All of these new offers put you in a great position to earn a ton of bonus points or miles as you get ready for a (hopeful) return to travel in 2021, and there may be more to come. 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 several 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.
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WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.