What are points and miles worth? TPG’s April 2022 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 true answer varies from point to point and person to person and depends on your travel goals and 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.
Historically, TPG has valued points and miles based on a combination of the price at which we would purchase the miles, award costs in the program (factoring in availability and fees) and our own expertise in the inner workings of the programs. However, we are in the process of evolving our valuations to become as data-driven as possible.
That data-driven process began in November with our four major transferable currencies — American Express Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Citi ThankYou Rewards points and Capital One miles. Now, we are using a mathematical model that takes into account a number of factors specific to transferable points, including:
- Unique transfer partners (not shared by other card issuers).
- The most valuable individual partners in the program.
- The base redemption value when you redeem points or miles directly for travel.
And for the first time this month, Bilt Rewards has been added to this list, as the program’s cobranded card is now publicly available for applicants.
Based on this rollout, we are now rounding the valuations for our credit card currencies to the nearest five-hundredths of a point in order to better capture the real-world value they offer cardholders. We fully expect these numbers to fluctuate over time as we refine our equations and roll out additional data-backed hotel and airline valuations in the coming months.
Likewise, we moved three airline currencies — American AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus miles — to a data-backed model last December. However, we have put these valuations on pause for the month of April while we work out an issue with our data provider. We’re excited to have data-backed valuations updated for May.
Note: These valuations are not provided by card issuers.
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|Program||April 2021 (Cents)||March 2022 (Cents)||April 2022 (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 Express Membership Rewards||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|Amtrak Guest Rewards||2.5||2.5||2.5|
|ANA Mileage Club||1.4||1.4||1.4|
Qatar Airways adopts Avios as loyalty currency, and British Airways lowers the cost of some Qatar awards.
|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||0.7||0.7|
|Brex Exclusive Rewards||1.7||1.7||1.7|
|Capital One Rewards||1.4||1.85||1.85|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|Citi ThankYou Points||1.7||1.7||1.8|
|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|
|Korean Air SkyPass||1.7||1.7||1.7|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|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|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|World of Hyatt Loyalty Program||1.7||1.7||1.7|
Points and miles valuations
* Calculated using TPG’s revamped data-backed valuations methodology, launched in December 2021.
Points and miles news
March brought some big changes to the points and miles world.
As expected, Marriott removed its award charts on March 29. Now, award nights at most Marriott hotels price between their current off-peak and peak pricing bands through the end of the year, but rates change nightly. Further, approximately 200 hotels now price outside of these bands. These properties are largely aspirational, though some Category 1 and 2 hotels appear on this list.
So far, the changes are a mixed bag. Some TPGers have seen their existing bookings go down in price, while other aspirational properties have seen some dates with significantly higher prices. We’ve kept our Marriott valuation the same for April as we dive deeper into the changes, but we may recalculate our valuation for May.
Further, we also saw Hyatt announce huge category changes for some of its most-loved hotels on March 22. Many favorites, like The Confidante Miami Beach and Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, went up in price by one category. One TPG reporter even said these category changes make Hyatt free night certificates nearly useless to him. This is bad news for the program, and we are looking at the changes as we reconsider our valuation for May.
Hilton also followed suit in March, raising the cost of some aspirational properties to as high as 120,000 points per night — though this shift appears to be much more limited than others.
On the airline side, American officially launched Loyalty Points on March 1. Loyalty Points replaced elite qualifying segments, miles and dollars as the airline’s only elite status metric, with all base miles counting as Loyalty Points. This means you can earn by flying, spending on cobranded cards, using the shopping portal and various other methods.
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways Privilege Club adopted Avios as its loyalty currency last month. This currency is also employed by Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia. In response to this change, British Airways lowered the cost of Qatar awards to and from the U.S. to match Privilege Club’s pricing. Because of this, we’ve rolled Qatar’s valuation into the broader Avios program.
Since Citi ThankYou points transfer to Qatar Airways Privilege Club (and thus the rest of the Avios programs), we’ve recalculated our Citi ThankYou valuation. This brought Citi ThankYou points from 1.7 to 1.8 cents apiece, showing that the added flexibility is a big value add for Citi cardholders.
Moving on, we also saw Alaska Airlines add SriLankan Airlines as a redemption partner in mid-March. Redemption values are solid, making this an overall positive change for the program. This is good to see, as the airline has slowly devalued its program by adding dynamic pricing for American awards and even devaluing its awards on its own flights earlier in the year.
On the transferable points side, transfers from Capital One to Virgin Red are live. You can use Virgin Red points across many Virgin brands, including Virgin Atlantic. On Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Red points will act the same as Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles.
Finally, Bilt Rewards launched publicly this week. This rewards program lets you earn points when you pay rent and spend on the Bilt Mastercard. Bilt Rewards points transfer to many major airline and hotel currencies, like American AAdvantage, World of Hyatt and United MileagePlus. We value these points at 1.8 cents apiece, putting it in line with Citi ThankYou points.
(Editor’s note: TPG founder Brian Kelly is a Bilt advisor and investor.)
Data-backed valuations update
As noted in the introduction, we moved to data-backed valuations for three major airline programs — American AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus — last year. However, we’ve run into an issue with our data provider that’s caused us to put data-backed valuations on hold this month. What you see now are valuations calculated for March 2022, and we will continue to publish up-to-date valuations for these three airlines next month.
Travel credit card offers
During the pandemic, we’ve seen several credit card issuers struggle with assessing creditworthiness in a world with so many new variables. We’ve also seen various bonuses and new perks launch for existing cardholders aimed at keeping them engaged. As we move into a travel recovery, we’ve seen some incredible new welcome bonuses on many popular cards.
However, some of those bonuses over 100,000 points have started to retreat in recent weeks. That tells us it’s time to act if the one you want is still available.
Some good options include:
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Toward the end of 2021, Capital One launched its first-ever premium rewards card, and it is one of the most exciting new travel credit cards on the market, thanks to great earning rates and included perks.
The card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening, worth $1,388 according to our valuations, thanks to Capital One’s excellent airline and hotel transfer partners.
For more details, check out our full review of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
Official application: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
The Platinum Card® from American Express
With the current welcome offer on the Amex Platinum, you’ll earn 100,000 points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership.
Of course, the card is jam-packed with benefits like airport lounge access, hotel elite status and more. These benefits can make your travel experience smoother and more luxurious than ever before — especially with the most recent additions. The card has a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees). Enrollment is required for select benefits.
For more details, check out our full review of the Amex Platinum Card.
Official application: The Platinum Card from American Express
American Express® Gold Card
One of the most popular cards for TPG staffers during the pandemic, the Amex Gold offers 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases on your new card within the first six months of card membership. This welcome offer 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 (offer is subject to change at any time).
The card is great for many everyday purchases. You’ll earn 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar) and 4 points per dollar on dining at restaurants. The card has a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees).
For more details, check out our full review of the Amex Gold Card.
Official application: American Express Gold Card
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
The Business Platinum Card offers 120,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your card in the first three months of card membership. Per our valuations, this welcome offer is worth at least $2,400, but you can get even more value when redeeming for high-end airfare.
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.
Official application: The Business Platinum Card from American Express
Citi Premier® Card
The Citi Premier Card is an excellent choice for frequent travelers, road trippers and foodies alike. The card earns 3 Citi ThankYou points per dollar spent at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, and on air travel and hotels. You can transfer these points to top-notch transfer partners like Avianca LifeMiles, Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles and others.
The card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
For more details, check out our full review of the Citi Premier Card.
Official application: Citi Premier Card
Airline credit cards
Airline credit cards let you earn airline miles and give you perks with their respective airlines, like free checked bags. If you’re a Delta loyalist, you might want to consider one of its cobranded cards to earn bonus SkyMiles and take advantage of added perks.
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership.
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card: Earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card: Earn 110,000 bonus miles after spending $6,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership.
Hotel credit cards
Several hotel credit card welcome bonuses provide a simple way to boost your point balances. You can use these points to save money on hotel stays around the world, no matter where your travels take you.
The portfolio of IHG Rewards credit cards underwent major upgrades last month, and there are currently some solid offers available:
- IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card: Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
- IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card: Earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card: Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
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 to stay in the loop on the biggest travel news of the day.
Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh and Benji Stawski.
Featured image by The Points Guy.
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