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Points of View: Can I cash out my points, and is it worth it?

Aug. 29, 2022
7 min read
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We spend a lot of time encouraging TPG readers to redeem their points and miles for maximum value. On the other hand, we also talk about the best credit cards for cash back or using those to offset payments when you can't use points and miles.

This begs an obvious question from the gap in the middle: Can you cash out your points and miles? If so, is it worth it?

Let's take a look at options for cashing out your points and miles, plus what value you can expect to receive via this redemption method. We'll compare that to the value you'll get from other redemptions to help you decide whether cashing out is worth it.

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Options for cashing out points and miles

Before we can figure out if it's a good deal, we need to know what options there are for cashing out points and miles. Here are the most common possibilities:

  • Cash via bank deposit or check in the mail: This may be what comes to mind first when thinking of cashing out your points. Not all points programs offer this option.
  • Statement credits: Each bank has a different policy on this, where points may be worth more or less depending on the types of purchases you're covering with your points.
  • Pay with points: Many programs allow you to use points as cash at Amazon, with PayPal or at other merchants to cover or offset part of a purchase.
  • Pay Yourself Back from Chase: Depending on which Chase credit card you have, you can cash out your points at a rate of 1 to 1.5 cents each. Applicable categories depend on which card you have but possibilities include Airbnb stays, restaurants or a range of business expenses. These current categories run through Sep. 30, 2022, and points can only be redeemed in this way against purchases you've already made.
  • Elevated cash-out rate from Amex: Those who have The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Charles Schwab can redeem Membership Rewards points at a value of 1.1 cents apiece as a deposit into their checking accounts.

The information for The Platinum Card from American Express for Charles Schwab has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

BAY ISMOYO/AFP/GETTY

Is it worth it to cash out my points?

Some banks offer far fewer redemption options than others. For instance, you can redeem Bank of America Premium Rewards at a value of 1 cent each, but you don't have a wide range of choices in how to use these points. Similar limits on redemption options apply to U.S. Bank FlexPerks redemptions.

For programs with numerous redemption options that function like cash, here are the values you can expect to obtain:

American Express Membership RewardsCapital One MilesChase Ultimate RewardsCiti ThankYou Rewards
Statement credit against charges0.6 cents each.0.5 cents each.1 cent each.0.8 cents each.
Statement credit against travel purchasesN/A1 cent each.N/AN/A
Pay with points at checkoutUp to 0.7 cents each.0.8 cents each.0.8 cents each.0.8 cents each.
Shop with points0.5 cents each.0.8 cents each.0.5 cents each.0.5 cents each.
Redeeming for gift cards1 cent each.1.1 cents each.Up to 1.1 cents each.Up to 1.1 cents each.
Cashing out to Schwab account1.1 cents each.N/AN/AN/A
Check in the mailN/A0.5 cents each.N/A1 cent each.
Pay Yourself BackN/AN/AUp to 1.5 cents each.N/A
General statement creditN/AN/AN/AUp to 1 cent each.
Direct deposit into a bank accountN/AN/AN/AUp to 1 cent each.
TPG valuation*2 cents each.1.85 cents each.2 cents each.1.8 cents each.

* Points value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer.

It's important to note that redemption values with Citi can vary, depending on which credit card(s) you have. Additionally, if you have the Citi Rewards+® Card, remember that it offers a 10% rebate against points redeemed. Pairing this with the Citi Premier® Card or the Citi Prestige® Card (which is no longer available to new applicants) could lead to a value of 1.1 cents when cashing out points.

The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

While options exist for cashing out your points, asking "is it worth it?" requires us to look at what values you can obtain. Compare this to TPG's average valuations of these points and you'll see that they all fall short — sometimes by a large margin — of the redemption value you can obtain when using your points for travel.

Related: How to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for maximum value

Bottom line

Options exist for cashing out your points. If you need cash in an emergency, knowing that you're able to turn your credit card rewards points into cash can be helpful. However, it's generally not a good idea.

You may fetch as little as a quarter of TPG's average values for these points, depending on which methods you use to cash in your points. Finally, none of the redemption options listed in this guide reach or exceed our points valuations, meaning that if you're not in a financial crunch, there are much better uses for your points than cashing them out.

Editor’s note: “Points of View” is a new series evaluating decisions on which credit card to use. If you’re facing a dilemma about which card is best for an upcoming payment, email us at tips@thepointsguy.com.

Also in this series:

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

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases