What Are Points & Miles Worth? October Monthly Valuations

Oct 21, 2014

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You can view all posts in the Monthly Valuation Series here.

One of the questions I’m asked most often is “how much is a point or mile worth?” That question varies from person to person and depends on how well you can maximize a particular currency for your needs. Still, some points are worth more than others.

How much are all those points and miles really worth?
How much are all those points and miles really worth?

To give readers – both old and new – some context, I’ve included my valuation of points from 2013 and from September, as well as explanations for any changes in value (like devaluations or new fees).  There was only one change to point values in the last month, but I noted program related news in the What Changed/News column, and thanks to the revitalization of the Diners Club card, this month I added Diners Club Rewards to the list.

The Calculations
I’ll be honest, there isn’t a mathematical formula at work here. At some point I’d like to create a system that could calculate a precise value based on award availability, fees, award levels, and ease of accrual, but for now these valuations are based on a combination of how much I would pay to buy points if given the opportunity, and the overall value I could get from redeeming them.

I encourage you to share your thoughts where you think I’m off base (and on point, no pun intended), and I’ll take TPG reader feedback into consideration when I update the list next month. This list doesn’t include every currency under the sun, and I’ll work to add more moving forward, so let me know which you’d like to see featured.

PROGRAM 2013 (cents) Sept 2014   (cents) Oct 2014 (cents) What Changed/ News?
American Express Membership Rewards 1.9 1.8 1.9 Transfer Bonuses to Hilton and Starwood and Virgin AtlanticAlso targeted 3x points on dining through 2015.
Barclaycard Arrival Miles 0.5-1.1 0.5-1.1 0.5-1.1
Capital One 1 1 1
Chase Ultimate Rewards 2.2 2.1 2.1
Citi ThankYou 1.3 1.6 1.6
Diners Club Rewards 2.1 Diners Club credit cards now open for application, access to Diners Club Rewards program.
FlexPerks 1.33-2 1.33-2 1.33-2
Aeroplan 1.9 1.6 1.6 35,000 Bonus Miles to London
Alaska 1.8 2 2
American 1.9 1.7 1.7 New Cadillac partnership with gate transfers for elites and test drive promotion.
Avianca 1.7 1.7
British Airways 1.6 1.7 1.7
Delta 1.5 1.2 1.2 Delta limits partner transfers to SkyMiles, removes upgrades on basic economy fares, and raises MQD requirements for 2015.
Flying Blue 1.3 1.3 1.3 New promo awards
Frontier 1.3 1.2 1.2
JetBlue 1-1.3 1-1.7 1-1.7 Lowered minimum award cost to 3,500 points.
Singapore Airlines 1.5 1.5 1.5
Southwest 1.8 1.4 1.4 Southwest launches new look and Costa Rica service
United 2 1.5 1.5
US Airways 1.8 1.9 1.9
Virgin America 1.5-2.3 1.5-2.3 1.5-2.3
Virgin Atlantic 1.4 1.5 1.5 New Virgin Atlantic Routes
Club Carlson 0.7 0.6 0.6 Buy points promo 30% bonus.
Hilton 0.7 0.5 0.5 Double points promo to start in November. Earn Delta MQMs during stays.
Hyatt 2 1.8 1.8
IHG 0.7 0.7 0.7  IHG Into the Nights promo.
Marriott 0.7 0.7 0.7 Turkish Airlines added as new Rewards partner. Atlantis now bookable with Marriott Rewards.
Ritz-Carlton  –  0.7 0.7
Starwood 2.4 2.3 2.3 40% off Starwood redemptions at Caesars Hotels.

Movers and Shakers
There wasn’t too much moving and shaking this month. The only change was an increase in the value of Amex Membership Rewards thanks to several point transfer bonuses. There was also some lateral movement as several programs announced small changes that weren’t enough to alter point and mile values.

Amex Membership Rewards got a small boost this month for point transfer bonuses.

American Express Membership Rewards

September Value: 1.8 cents October Value: 1.9 cents Why it changed: Amex Membership Rewards has several ongoing point transfer promotions, including bonuses for transfers to Hilton, Starwood, and Virgin Atlantic. Unfortunately, two of these offers are targeted, but while none of those bonuses is immensely valuable on its own, the increased frequency is a good sign. Amex is also offering a targeted bonus for 3x Membership Rewards points on dining through the end of the year. Finally, Amex announced that the Premier Rewards Gold card will no longer offer a 15,000 point bonus for spending $30,000 in a calendar year.
Associated Credit Cards: Platinum Card, Premier Rewards Gold Card, Everyday Preferred Card, and others.

Diners Club MasterCard
Diners Club Rewards offers

Diners Club Rewards

September Value: Not listed October Value: 2.1 cents Valuation: Diners Club Rewards offers 22 transfer partners, including my new airline crush, Alaska Airlines, and the distance-based Avios program from British Airways.  Among those transfer partners are 7 hotels (including Starwood and Hyatt), three unique airline partners (SAS, South African, and Icelandair), and Amtrak. I value Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles at 2 cents apiece, so Diners Club Rewards are worth a bit more than that for their added flexibility.
Associated Credit Cards: Diners Club Premier card and Diners Club Elite card.

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.

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