What are points and miles worth? June 2020 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.
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To give you some context, I’ve included my valuations from one year ago and from last month. However, it’s worth noting that we are once again leaving all individual valuations alone given the ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Over the last few months, this has had a monumental impact on the overall travel industry, including airline and hotel loyalty programs. While we are seeing some signs of recovery, It’s too soon to analyze the long-term impact the outbreak will have on the value of the various currencies below.
That said, as business rebounds, we’ll be back to consider just how it has affected the world of points and miles.
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||June 2019 (Cents)||May 2020 (Cents)||June 2020 (Cents)||Note|
|Accor Le Club||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|Aeroplan Loyalty Program||1.5||1.5||1.5||
Earn 10x Aeroplan miles on Uber Eats purchases
|Alaska Mileage Plan||1.8||1.8||1.8|
|American Express Membership Rewards||2.0||2.0||2.0||
Offers annual-fee credits to select cardholders.
|Amtrak Guest Rewards||2.5||2.5||2.5||
Buy points with a 50% bonus.
|ANA Mileage Club||1.4||1.4||1.4||
Eliminates most fuel surcharges on ANA-operated flights.
British Airways extends elite status.
|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||0.6||0.6|
|Brex Exclusive Rewards||-||1.7||1.7|
|Capital One Rewards||1.4||1.4||1.4||
Extends redemption option for food delivery and streaming services.
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.0||2.0||2.0|
New promotion offers 8,000 points for every two stays.
|Citi ThankYou Points||1.7||1.7||1.7|
Restarts automatic elite upgrades.
|Diners Club Rewards||2.1||2.1||2.1|
|IHG Rewards Club||0.5||0.5||0.5|
|JetBlue TrueBlue Rewards Program||1.3||1.3||1.3||
Buy points with a 60% bonus.
|Korean Air SkyPass||1.7||1.7||1.7|
Buy points with a best-ever 60% bonus.
|Miles & More||1.4||1.4||1.4|
|Qatar Airways Qmiles||0.8||0.8||0.8|
Buy points for as little as 0.35 cents each.
|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|
|U.S. Bank FlexPerks||1.5||1.5||1.5|
Launches targeted, buy-miles promotion.
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1.5||1.6||1.6|
|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.
This ongoing uncertainty hasn’t stopped programs from implementing changes, however — both on the positive and negative side of the coin. For starters, we’ve seen a handful of new earning opportunities, mainly geared toward incentivizing travelers to spend money now to earn miles (or perks) that can be used later. This month included the following:
- Earn EQMs and bonus miles for spending on the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
- Earn 10x Aeroplan miles for purchases with Uber Eats
Two other notable, positive changes this past month involved one of the most despised aspects of award tickets: fuel surcharges. Often disguised as “carrier-imposed surcharges” and bearing little to no connection to the price of jet fuel, these added costs can ruin an otherwise stellar redemption. Emirates reduced these significantly in late May, and then ANA followed suit in early June. This is a very positive development, and we only hope these changes will stick (and even expand to other programs).
We also saw another program shift toward dynamic pricing earlier this month, as IHG expanded this approach across most of its portfolio. Incredibly enough, this isn’t initially bad — many properties began pricing below standard rates, including a bunch that are now within range of the award-night certificates granted by IHG credit cards like the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. That said, dynamic pricing has never resulted in long-term, out-sized value for members, so it’s highly likely this will morph in the future.
Speaking of the future, American Airlines made waves by announcing a new head of loyalty. However, with a background in revenue management, this could herald future changes with the AAdvantage program — the one remaining holdout of the big three U.S. carriers that still publishes an award chart.
Of course, these updates and changes in light of the coronavirus outbreak won’t be the last by any stretch, so 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 a number of 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. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to older valuations below.
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