What are points and miles worth? May 2021 monthly valuations

2d ago

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.


For the latest travel news, deals, and points and miles tips, subscribe to The Points Guy’s daily email newsletter.


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 May 2020 (Cents) April 2021 (Cents) May 2021 (Cents) Note
Accor Le Club 2.0 2.0 2.0
Aeroplan Loyalty Program 1.5 1.5 1.5
Alaska Mileage Plan 1.8 1.8 1.8
American AAdvantage 1.4 1.4 1.4
American Express Membership Rewards 2.0 2.0 2.0

15% bonus on transfers to Avianca LifeMiles through May 31.

Amtrak Guest Rewards 2.5 2.5 2.5
ANA Mileage Club 1.4 1.4 1.4
Asia Miles 1.3 1.3 1.3
Avianca LifeMiles 1.7 1.7 1.7
Avios 1.5 1.5 1.5
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 1.7 1.7

Added new 1:1 transfer tier, four new transfer partners.

Chase Ultimate Rewards 2.0 2.0 2.0
Choice Privileges 0.6 0.6 0.6
Citi ThankYou Points 1.7 1.7 1.7
Delta SkyMiles 1.2 1.1 1.1
Diners Club Rewards 2.1 2.1 2.1
Discover Rewards 1.0 1.0 1.0
Emirates Skywards 1.2 1.2 1.2
Etihad Guest 1.4 1.4 1.4
Flying Blue 1.2 1.2 1.2
Frontier Miles 1.1 1.1 1.1
HawaiianMiles 0.9 0.9 0.9
Hilton Honors 0.6 0.6 0.6

Some awards rising in price by 25%.

IHG Rewards Club 0.5 0.5 0.5

Launched new bonus points promotion.

JetBlue TrueBlue Rewards Program 1.3 1.3 1.3

Expanded partnership with Qatar Airways.

Korean Air SkyPass 1.7 1.7 1.7
Marriott Bonvoy 0.8 0.8 0.8

Launched new partnership with Uber.

Miles & More 1.4 1.4 1.4
Qatar Airways Qmiles 0.8 0.8 0.8
Radisson Rewards 0.4 0.4 0.4

Announced plans to split its loyalty program in two, devalue award chart.

Singapore Krisflyer 1.3 1.3 1.3

Introduced new promo award tier, ability to earn Gold status by transferring points.

Southwest Rapid Rewards 1.5 1.5 1.5

Devalued point value by roughly 6%.

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
United MileagePlus 1.3 1.3 1.3

Launched new cobranded credit card.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1.6 1.5 1.5
Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards 1.5 1.5 1.5
World of Hyatt Loyalty Program 1.7 1.7 1.7
Wyndham Rewards 1.1 1.1 1.1

Related: Beyond coronavirus — what the future of travel will look like for all of us

Key points and miles news

Let’s start with the big news. In mid-April, the bank added four new transfer partners and created a new 1:1 transfer tier. Previously, all Capital One points transferred at a 2:1.5 or 2:1 ratio. Some partners have remained at these levels, but key partners have been moved to the 1:1 tier. In response, we upped Capital One’s valuation from 1.4 cents per point to 1.7 cents per point at the end of April.

Capital One’s new transfer partners include:

The new 1:1 transfer tier includes:

Adding Avianca LifeMiles and Etihad Guest as 1:1 transfer partners is huge news. This makes it easy to leverage your Capital One miles to book luxury travel. Think Lufthansa first class for 87,000 miles (through LifeMiles) and American Flagship first for as low as 32,500 miles each way (through Etihad). Plus, Turkish Miles & Smiles has incredible deals on Star Alliance business class flights, while British Airways can be used for a good rate on short-haul Oneworld flights.

Check out our full report on Capital One’s changes for more info. If you don’t already have a Capital One card, now might be the time to get one before travel resumes.

Not all of April’s news was good, though. We saw Southwest reduce the value of Rapid Rewards points by approximately 6%. This isn’t a huge difference but makes it less attractive to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest. The fact that Southwest gave no notice is more concerning — especially given the airline recently let customers convert travel vouchers to points.

Related: 6 ways to get $1,700+ in value from the 100k Capital One Venture bonus

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:

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

(Photo by The Points Guy)

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the easiest-to-use travel rewards cards. It offers 2x miles per dollar spent on all purchases, so there’s no worrying about bonus categories. You’ll earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening. You can still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

For more details, check out our full review of the Capital One Venture card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

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.

American Express® Gold Card

(Photo by The Points Guy)

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 on 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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

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® from American Express

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

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.

Related: A guide to airline credit card companion tickets

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. Hilton is currently offering increased welcome offers on two of its cards — here’s a snapshot of what’s currently available:

  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Earn up to 180,000 Hilton Honors bonus points. You’ll earn 130,000 points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 points after spending a total of $10,000 in purchases on the card in the first six months.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Card: Earn up to 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points. You’ll earn 80,000 points after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 points after spending a total of $5,000 in purchases on the card in the first six months.

Other hotel credit cards to consider include:

All of these new offers put you in a great position to earn a ton of bonus points or miles as you get ready to travel again, 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.

Related: Beginner’s Guide to Award Searches on ExpertFlyer

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.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors card, click here.

Featured 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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • 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.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.