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Airline miles and hotel points can be extremely valuable for travelers. If you collect frequent flyer miles or hotel rewards, it’s important to know the value of each company’s rewards. Airline and hotel rewards have different values, and knowing those values will help you to choose the best credit cards for your needs. Knowing your rewards' value can also help you figure out the best time to redeem them, transfer them or if you should pay cash now and save your points and miles for another time.

The value of rewards can change from time to time, and below we dive into our valuations for some of the most popular points and miles programs around.

What Are Points and Miles Worth?

Program Current Value (cents) Action Notes

American AAdvantage

1.3

Hold

Must cancel and rebook award ticket, a major disadvantage if you want to add or drop a segment from an existing award

American Express Membership Rewards

1.9

Hold

One of the most valuable transferable currencies, with over 12 airline and hotel partners

Capital One Miles

1.8

Hold

Miles are worth 1 cent when booking through the Capital One portal, but more valuable with hotel & airline partners

Chase Ultimate Rewards

2.3

Hold

Points may be worth 1.25-1.5 cents, but transferring to partners like Hyatt and Singapore can be more valuable 

Citi ThankYou Points

1.8

Hold

Partners include Avianca, Singapore, Turkish,  Virgin Atlantic & Wyndham Rewards; JetBlue is only permanent domestic transfer partner

Delta Skymiles

1.1

Sell

Unpopular changes to SkyMiles Medallion Elite program & lounge access; SkyMiles cardholders get a 15% discount in miles needed for award. Business & first-class prices are high; partner awards are raised frequently; award tickets count toward elite status.

Hilton Honors

0.5

Hold

Higher credit card earnings help make up for lower value; 5th night free on award bookings can add 20% more value; no resort fees on award stays

IHG One Rewards

0.5

Hold

New credit card revisions make it easier to earn points & elite status program is being improved; high dynamic pricing of awards; resort fees imposed on award stays

Marriott Bonvoy

0.4

Hold

Dynamic pricing announced last year; resort fees on award stays; many properties worldwide; updated suite upgrade policies

Southwest Rapid Rewards

1.4

Hold

Points will be devalued in 2024; award tickets can be canceled any time for full refund & no fees; fees raised on oversized bags & other charges

United MileagePlus

1.4

Hold

Award prices have increased steadily & cost more near departure; no fuel surcharges; many Star Alliance partners serve most of the world

World of Hyatt

1.8

Buy

Frequently adds new hotels; reasonable prices for award stays; seasonal award chart charges more points at peak times; no resort fees on award stays. 

What's New This Month

Airline Programs

For airlines, January was a time of little change. Carriers like United and Alaska were recovering from the grounding of the Boeing 737-MAX9 aircraft, which grounded similar planes for weeks.

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Hotels

With hotels, the major brands introduced their Q1 promotions. Hyatt is offering 500 bonus points for staying at one of their newer properties. Hilton, IHG and Marriott are all offering a few promotions, but nothing dramatic.

Recommended Travel Credit Cards

Credit Card Intro Bonus Annual Fee Rewards Rate Learn More

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,380 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

$95 1x- 5xPoints More Info

The card offers 5x points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services), as well as 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This card earns 2x points on all other travel spending and 1x point per dollar everywhere else. Chase broadly defines travel to include not just airfare, hotels and rental cars, but expenses like parking, tolls and public transit too.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Companion Pass®Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Limited-time offer: earn Companion Pass® good through 2/28/25 plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Dollar Equivalent:

$99 1x - 3xPoints More Info

Earn 3 points for every $1 on Southwest Airlines® purchases, 2 points for every $1 on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, 2 points per $1 on local transit and commuting (including rideshare), 2 points per $1 on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming, and 1 point for every $1 on all other purchases.

United Gateway℠ Card

30,000United MileagePlus Miles More Info

Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Dollar Equivalent: $420 (30,000 United MileagePlus Miles * 0.014 base)

$0 1x - 2xPoints More Info

Earn 2X United miles per dollar on United purchases, local transit and commuting and at gas stations. You’ll earn 1X mile per dollar on all other purchases.

Citi Premier® Card

60,000Citi ThankYou Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,080 (60,000 Citi ThankYou Points * 0.018 base)

$95 1X-10XPoints More Info

10X total ThankYou® Points per $1 spend on hotel, car rentals and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024. 3X -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Other Hotels 3X -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets 1X -- Earn 1 Point on All Other Purchases

Credit Card Rewards Programs

January was a slow month in travel rewards. In the world of credit cards, there were several transfer bonuses that expired in January. For the first time in a long time, however, there are no transfer bonuses in any program as of this writing. None of the major transferable programs added or removed a travel partner, or made any significant changes. So the valuations for Amex, Chase, Citi and Capital One remained unchanged, and their status remains at “Hold.”

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Reading the Points Valuation Chart

The value of each point or mile is based on an average or typical redemption value, and I’ve evaluated the top airline, hotel and credit card rewards programs. These valuations take into account any taxes or fees you might pay.

For example, a hotel may initially quote you a price of $200 a night, or 10,000 points, making it appear as if you’re getting 2.0 cents in value per point redeemed. But if paying in cash requires another $100 in taxes and resort fees which aren’t imposed on award bookings, you’re actually receiving 3.0 cents in value per point redeemed. Point valuations are also shown for the previous month, so you can learn if there's been a recent change.

But the current value of a point or mile doesn’t tell the whole story. Because people choose to participate in a program, and possibly apply for a credit card based on the future of a program, I’ve also included my evaluation of its prospects. And like a stock recommendation, I’ve used the simple labels of Buy, Sell and Hold:

  • A Buy recommendation: This program has been trending upward and is becoming increasingly more valuable compared to its competitors.
  • A Hold recommendation: There’s been few significant changes to it recently.
  • A Sell recommendation: I've seen devaluation and other negative changes to their terms and conditions.

Finally, I’ve included notes on each program that shine some light on the factors that lead me to arrive at each value.

Complexity of Determining Rewards Points Value

When you exchange currencies, you can look up the value of each, down to the smallest fraction of a penny. But when it comes to airline miles and hotel points, there’s rarely a fixed value. Instead, the value of your points and miles will reflect the ever-changing value of whatever you can redeem them for.

Sometimes, these programs can offer fantastic deals, such as luxury hotel stays or business class flight that offers you several cents in value per point or mile redeemed. But other options could require redeeming several points or miles for every penny you receive in value.

Methodology: What Are Points and Miles Worth?

One way to come up with values is to shop for flights and hotels, and simply divide the number of points or miles by the cost. This sounds objective, but it would really just be based on which awards were chosen.

So while I look at the value of multiple redemptions, it's also necessary to incorporate my judgment and experience. I’ve been collecting credit card rewards and airline miles since I was a teenager in the 1980s (yes, I’m that old), and I’ve been studying the field and writing about it professionally since 2008. Over this time, I estimate I’ve earned and spent over 10 million points and miles. I’ve also booked hundreds of award flights and hotel stays on behalf of myself, my family and friends.

Quick Tip

The values listed in our table represent a combination of my latest research into points and miles, as well as my judgment based on my personal experience.

Southwest Companion Pass Value

The Companion Pass® from Southwest is one of the best deals you can find when it comes to travel perks, assuming you don't have to spend a fortune to acquire it. From time to time, Southwest offers this perk as part of the sign-up bonus for new card members. To put a dollar value on it is tricky, because it really comes down to how much you use it and where you fly.

To make it simple, we looked at the average price of domestic roundtrip flights in the US (~$300 in September 2023, according to Consumer Price Index data) and made the assumption that people will use it at least two times. That puts the value of the Southwest Companion Pass at $600. However, it can easily be worth thousands if you fly with a partner frequently while you have it.

Travel Credit Card Offers

A popular way rewards travel aficionados earn large sums of points and miles in a short amount of time is through credit card sign-up bonuses. Essentially, card issuers offer new customers a welcome bonus as an incentive for opening an account. If you're interested in earning rewards that you can put toward travel, here are some options you may want to look into.

Recommended Travel Credit Cards

Credit Card Intro Bonus Annual Fee Rewards Rate Learn More

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,380 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

$95 1x- 5xPoints More Info

The card offers 5x points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services), as well as 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This card earns 2x points on all other travel spending and 1x point per dollar everywhere else. Chase broadly defines travel to include not just airfare, hotels and rental cars, but expenses like parking, tolls and public transit too.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Companion Pass®Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Limited-time offer: earn Companion Pass® good through 2/28/25 plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Dollar Equivalent:

$99 1x - 3xPoints More Info

Earn 3 points for every $1 on Southwest Airlines® purchases, 2 points for every $1 on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, 2 points per $1 on local transit and commuting (including rideshare), 2 points per $1 on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming, and 1 point for every $1 on all other purchases.

United Gateway℠ Card

30,000United MileagePlus Miles More Info

Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Dollar Equivalent: $420 (30,000 United MileagePlus Miles * 0.014 base)

$0 1x - 2xPoints More Info

Earn 2X United miles per dollar on United purchases, local transit and commuting and at gas stations. You’ll earn 1X mile per dollar on all other purchases.

Citi Premier® Card

60,000Citi ThankYou Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,080 (60,000 Citi ThankYou Points * 0.018 base)

$95 1X-10XPoints More Info

10X total ThankYou® Points per $1 spend on hotel, car rentals and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024. 3X -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Other Hotels 3X -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets 1X -- Earn 1 Point on All Other Purchases

Airline Cards

Co-branded airline credit cards offer large sign-up bonuses to new cardholders, in addition to perks like upgraded boardings, free checked bags, discounts on in-flight purchases and more.

Credit Card Intro Bonus Annual Fee Rewards Rate Learn More

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Companion Pass®Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Limited-time offer: earn Companion Pass® good through 2/28/25 plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Dollar Equivalent:

$69 1x - 2xPoints More Info

Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Companion Pass®Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Limited-time offer: earn Companion Pass® good through 2/28/25 plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Dollar Equivalent:

$99 1x - 3xPoints More Info

Earn 3 points for every $1 on Southwest Airlines® purchases, 2 points for every $1 on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, 2 points per $1 on local transit and commuting (including rideshare), 2 points per $1 on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming, and 1 point for every $1 on all other purchases.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Companion Pass®Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Limited-time offer: earn Companion Pass® good through 2/28/25 plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Dollar Equivalent:

$149 1x - 3xPoints More Info

Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

United Quest℠ Card

70,000United MileagePlus Miles More Info

Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 500 Premier qualifying points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Dollar Equivalent: $980 (70,000 United MileagePlus Miles * 0.014 base)

$250 1x - 3xPoints More Info

Earn 3X miles per dollar spent on United purchases, 2X miles spent on dining, select streaming services and all other travel. Additionally, you’ll earn 1X mile per dollar spent on all other purchases

United℠ Explorer Card

60,000United MileagePlus Miles More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Dollar Equivalent: $840 (60,000 United MileagePlus Miles * 0.014 base)

$95 More info

$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95

1x - 2xPoints More Info

2X miles per dollar on United purchases, hotel accommodations when purchased directly from the hotel and dining at restaurants, including select delivery services. 1x on everything else.

United Gateway℠ Card

30,000United MileagePlus Miles More Info

Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Dollar Equivalent: $420 (30,000 United MileagePlus Miles * 0.014 base)

$0 1x - 2xPoints More Info

Earn 2X United miles per dollar on United purchases, local transit and commuting and at gas stations. You’ll earn 1X mile per dollar on all other purchases.

United Club℠ Infinite Card

80,000United MileagePlus Miles More Info

Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,120 (80,000 United MileagePlus Miles * 0.014 base)

$525 1x - 4xPoints More Info

The card earns 4X miles per dollar spent on United purchases, 2X miles per dollar spent on all other travel and dining purchases and 1X mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Hotel Cards

In addition to generous welcome bonuses to new cardholders, hotel credit cards offer continuing value to members in the form of late check outs, access to status programs and perks like outsized points earning on purchases made directly with the brand.

Credit Card Intro Bonus Annual Fee Rewards Rate Learn More

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

165,000IHG One Rewards Points More Info

Earn 165,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $825 (165,000 IHG One Rewards Points * 0.005 base)

$99 3x - 26xPoints More Info

Earn up to 26 total points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG Hotels & Resorts. Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, at gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card

100,000IHG One Rewards Points More Info

Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $500 (100,000 IHG One Rewards Points * 0.005 base)

$0 2x - 17xPoints More Info

Earn up to 17 points total per $1 spent when you stay at IHG Hotels & Resorts. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on purchases on monthly bills, at gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

60,000World of Hyatt Points More Info

Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent Dollar Equivalent: $1,080 (60,000 World of Hyatt Points * 0.018 base)

$95 1x - 9xPoints More Info

Earn up to 9 points total for Hyatt stays. Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships

Bottom Line

While it can be a complicated endeavor, understanding how much your rewards points and miles are worth will help you maximize the value you get from your travel redemptions. Plus, if you're interested in applying for a new travel credit card, knowing the value of the rewards program's points or miles will help you decide on the most valuable option.

JS

Jason Steele

Jason Steele is a journalist who specializes in covering credit cards, award travel and other areas of personal finance. As one of the nation’s leading experts in the credit card industry, Jason’s work has been featured at mainstream outlets such as Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money and Business Insider.