What are points and miles worth? January 2021 monthly valuations

4d ago

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One of the questions we are asked most often here at TPG U.K. is “How much is a point or mile worth?” The answer varies from person to person, and depends on how well you can maximise a particular loyalty currency. Still, some rewards are clearly worth more than others — our goal is to give you a sense of how they stack up.

These valuations are based on a combination of what we would pay to buy points if given the opportunity and the overall value we could get from redeeming them, factoring in variables like award availability, fees and change/cancellation policies. We encourage you to share your thoughts where you think we are off base (and on point, no pun intended), and we’ll take feedback from TPG readers into consideration when we regularly update the valuations.

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Given the ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus, we are leaving valuations alone. Despite some encouraging signs for the travel industry from the summer, we’re still seeing a lot of uncertainty — and some analysts are saying 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.

PROGRAMME December 2020 VALUATIONS (PENCE) January 2021 VALUATIONS (PENCE)
Air Canada Aeroplan 1.3p 1.3p
American Airlines AAdvantage 1.2p 1.2p
American Express Membership Rewards 1.4p 1.4p
Alaska Mileage Plan 1.4p 1.4p
British Airways Avios 1.1p 1.1p
British Airways On Business Points 3.3p 3.3p
Delta SkyMiles 0.9p 0.9p
Emirates Skywards 0.9p 0.9p
Etihad Guest 1.1p 1.1p
Flying Blue (Air France/KLM) 1.0p 1.0p
Hilton Honors 0.4p 0.4p
HSBC Premier Rewards 0.6p 0.6p
IHG Rewards Club 0.4p 0.4p
Marriott Bonvoy 0.7p 0.7p
Lufthansa Miles & More 1.1p 1.1p
Radisson Rewards 0.3p 0.3p
Qantas Points 0.8p 0.8p
Qatar Qmiles 0.6p 0.6p
Singapore KrisFlyer 1.2p 1.2p
United MileagePlus 1.0p 1.0p
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1.3p 1.2p
World of Hyatt 1.5p 1.5p

Movers and Shakers

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 programmes. We’ve also seen elite status extensions from almost every major airline and hotel programme, ensuring that loyal members can retain their benefits in 2021.

December was a very slow news month on the points and miles front. Granted, this is generally the case during the holidays. Regardless, we saw a couple of interesting things come through the TPG newsroom.

We saw Alaska Airlines and Qatar Airways partner. This partnership will soon allow Alaska Airlines members to earn and redeem miles on Qatar Airways flights and vice-versa. This announcement was made alongside Qatar’s addition of a Doha (DOH) to Seattle (SEA) flight. It also comes months ahead of Alaska’s admission to the Oneworld alliance of which Qatar Airways is a member.

We also saw Avianca make big changes to the LifeMiles programme. Thankfully, these changes don’t affect U.K. flyers as nothing has changed on the redemption side. That said, the airline moved to revenue-based mileage and elite status earning on its own flights. It also introduced a new entry-level status tier.

January, however, has already been a hectic month for points and miles. We saw Virgin Atlantic devalue its Flying Club programme by removing low-cost Delta award tickets. The carrier used to offer a very reasonably priced region-based award chart on these flights. Earlier this month, prices skyrocketed when it switched to a distance-based award chart.

Thankfully, Virgin Atlantic backtracked on rolling out the new pricing on flights from the U.S. to Europe. You can still book these flights for 50,000 Virgin points one-way in business class, keeping the old award pricing for the time being.

With this in mind, we’ve lowered the value of Virgin points to 1.2p apiece from 1.3p. One of the most valuable Virgin Atlantic redemptions — Delta One from the U.S. to Asia — is now significantly more expensive than it was in the past. You’ll also now pay more for economy Delta-operated flights that cover more than 2,000 miles in distance — which includes all transcontinental flights from New York-JFK.

Thankfully, other sweet spots like low-cost ANA first and business class flights remain.

Finally, we saw a few programmes make significant announcements for 2021. Marriott will (again) be depositing elite nights in many members’ accounts and has launched discounts on award stays along with new promotions for stays from 16 February through 27 April 2021. Shortly thereafter, IHG Rewards announced a number of updates for the year — including reduced elite-qualification requirements, a new promotion and further extensions of free-night certificates.


This is The Points Guy UK’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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