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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 + 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; now offers exclusive entertainment awards; Wyndham has been a valuable hotel transfer partner but announced a major devaluation

Chase Ultimate Rewards

2.3

Hold

Points may be worth 1.25-1.5 cents, but transferring to partners like Singapore can be more valuable; Hyatt has been a valuable transfer partner but announced a major devaluation

Citi ThankYou Points

1.8

Hold

Partners include Avianca, Singapore, Turkish, Virgin Atlantic; Wyndham Rewards announced a major devaluation; 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

0.6

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

0.6

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

0.5

Hold

Dynamic pricing announced last year; resort fees on award stays; many properties worldwide

Southwest Rapid Rewards

1.4

Hold

Points 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

Hold

Seasonal award chart charges more points at peak times; no resort fees on award stays; Hyatt raised the cost of awards at dozens of properties + lowered a few

What's New This Season?

Credit Cards

While American Express hasn’t added or removed any airline or hotel transfer partners in some time, it’s stepped up its transfer bonuses, with recent offers for Virgin Atlantic (30%), Aeromexico (20%) and Hilton (40%). This is a good trend that’s expected to continue during the summer. Chase has also offered transfer bonuses, including a 30% bonus for Virgin Atlantic and a 40% bonus for Marriott Bonvoy through June 15 2024.

Citi offered an impressive 50% bonus for Turkish Airlines, but with this one, the miles are only credited after the promotion ends, so a little bit of speculation is necessary. You should also take into account that Turkish has massively devalued their awards to Europe, adding additional charges for each flight taken, rather than pricing it by the destination. Even its spectacular 7,500 awards within the U.S. on United increased to 10,000, although that’s still a bargain considering Hawaii and Alaska are included.  

Airlines

The airline industry is being affected by difficulties receiving new aircrafts from Boeing, as well as demands of higher pay from flight crews, and there seems to be little desire to make major changes to frequent flier programs at this time. Airlines are also more dependent than ever on leisure travel, compared to the status quo before the COVID pandemic. So while routes and schedules are being shaken up at major U.S. carriers, the frequent flier programs have remained the same, and frequent discounts are being offered to spur demand.

Hotels

Many of the market conditions affecting airlines are having the same impact on the hotel industry. This, combined with increased restrictions on short-term rentals has bolstered the prices of hotels. For award travelers, this means that the same number of points will often produce greater value from your miles, so hotel valuations have increased slightly across the board. 

Hyatt implemented its partnership with Mr. and Mrs. Smith property booking platform, However, it doesn’t use its standard award chart and offers awards at fully dynamic rates. As most award travel enthusiasts know by now, any time an award chart is removed and dynamic pricing is implemented, the results are always disappointing. For World of Hyatt members who want to redeem their points for stays at Mr. and Mrs. Smith properties, you can expect to receive very little value, about 1.0 to 1.5 cents per point, well below the 1.8 that Hyatt points are currently valued at. Couple this with further price increases at many properties, and the World of Hyatt program is getting very close to having its Hold rating changed to a Sell rating. But it’s not there yet. 

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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. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠. Dollar Equivalent: $1,380 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

$95 1x- 5xPoints More Info

Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

85,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,190 (85,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

$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.

Citi Custom Cash® Card

$200Cash Bonus More Info

Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $1500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

$0 1% - 5%Cashback More Info

Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Special Travel Offer: Earn an additional 4% cash back on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked on Citi Travel℠ portal through 6/30/2025.

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

70,000Citi ThankYou® Points More Info

Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com. Dollar Equivalent: $1,260 (70,000 Citi ThankYou® Points * 0.018 base)

$95 1X-10XPoints More Info

10x on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked through CitiTravel.com 3x -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases 3x -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent on Restaurants 3x -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent on Supermarkets 3x -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent on Gas and EV Charging Stations 1x -- Earn 1 Point per $1 spent 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

85,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,190 (85,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

$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® Priority Credit Card

85,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,190 (85,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

$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

Limited-time offer: 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

3 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases. 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, select streaming services & all other travel. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, each year, receive up to a $125 United® purchase credit and up to 10,000 miles in award flight credits (terms apply) and earn up to 6,000 Premier qualifying points.

United℠ Explorer Card

60,000United MileagePlus Miles More Info

Limited-time offer: 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

Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays and United® purchases. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

United Club℠ Infinite Card

90,000United MileagePlus Miles More Info

Limited-time offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,260 (90,000 United MileagePlus Miles * 0.014 base)

$525 1x - 4xPoints More Info

Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel and dining and 1 mile per $1 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

140,000IHG One Rewards Points More Info

Earn 140,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $840 (140,000 IHG One Rewards Points * 0.006 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

80,000IHG One Rewards Points More Info

Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $480 (80,000 IHG One Rewards Points * 0.006 base)

$0 2x - 17xPoints More Info

Earn up to 17 total points 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.