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Miles and Points Valuations 2021
Use our point valuations to squeeze the most value from your loyalty program rewards.
Between changing airfares and changing redemption and earning rates by the bank, point valuations for loyalty programs are in constant flux. To help you get a sense of the overall value of the miles and points offered across loyalty programs, Finder has calculated the average values of these loyalty program points.
To reach our figures, we looked at the equivalent dollar value a redemption option would cost in a given loyalty program. We calculated the average value across all redemption options in a loyalty program to reach the values you see listed. These figures should be used as a general guide, as you the value of your points or miles can easily be worth more or less depending on how and when you redeem them.
Finder’s miles valuation for airline loyalty programs
Here are the average value of airline miles in cents based on our calculations. You can read more about our favorite picks at our airline loyalty program guide.
|Loyalty program||Average redemption value in cents per mile|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||1.8|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||1.6|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1.5|
Finder’s points valuation for hotel loyalty programs
Hotel loyalty programs tend to feature lower point values than credit card or airline programs, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth pursuing. We’ve also listed some of the best hotel loyalty programs to help you pick one that best suits your preferences.
|Hotel loyalty program||Point valuation in cents per point|
|IHG Rewards Club||0.6|
|Starwood Preferred Guest (Now Marriott Bonvoy)||0.9|
|World of Hyatt||1.8|
Finder’s points valuation for credit card loyalty programs
Credit card loyalty program points are typically worth 1 cent each when redeemed as statement credit, but more when redeemed through a loyalty program’s travel portal or transferred to a travel partner.
|Credit card loyalty program||Points valuation in cents per point|
|American Express Membership Rewards||2.0|
|Bank of America||1.0|
|Capital One Rewards||1.5|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.0|
|Citi ThankYou Rewards||1.5|
How to calculate the value of a mile or point
Calculating the redemption value of your miles is relatively simple once you know how to do the math. In most cases, you’ll need to divide the cost of the product in cash by the number of miles or points it would take for redemption.
For example, if the cost of a one-way flight in cash is $500 and the cost in miles is 45,000:
500 / 45000 = 0.011
The cost in cash divided by the cost in miles comes out to about 1.1 cent per point.
This same calculation holds true for merchandise. For example, if a wireless speaker normally costs $400 but you can redeem 60,000 points to purchase it, then:
400 / 60000 = 0.006
Each point would come out to a value of 0.6 cents per point — not the best use of your hard earned points.
More on how we calculated point values
To calculate our point values, we averaged the redemption value for all redemption options in a given loyalty program. Not all loyalty programs have multiple redemption options. For example, Discover points are worth 1.0 cent per point because the few redemption options available all give a value of 1.0 cent per point.
Others, like airline programs, wildly vary between the lowest and highest redemption values. While we currently list most airline miles around an average of one to two cents apiece, it’s possible to find even higher value with a little research — or lower if you’re not careful.
What is the best way to spend reward points?
Many loyalty programs offer a wide variety of redemption options for your hard-earned points. Unfortunately, not all options are worth the same value when it comes to your points. For example, when you use your points to shop at a retailer, the value of each point can drop as low as 0.5 cents each. Here are some of the typical redemption values for reward points and where you can expect to make the most bang for your buck.
|Redemption||Typical value per point or mile|
|Point or mile transfers||Up to 2 cents|
|Travel||0.7 to 1.5 cents|
|Gift cards||0.7 to 1 cents|
|Cash back/statement credit||0.5 to 1 cents|
|Shopping with rewards||0.5 to 0.8 cents|
You asked, we listened: Top 5 commonly asked questions about rewards programs
What are the best reward programs?
There are no “best” reward programs necessarily. Each can prove valuable provided you can make use of its benefits and reward potential.
What credit score do I need to get a rewards card?
You’ll find the greatest concentration of rewards cards in the “Good to Excellent” credit bracket of 670 credit score or higher. With that said, you can still find some reward cards that allow a lower score, though they may not prove as lucrative as a rewards card that requires a good or excellent score.
What happens to my points if my flight is canceled?
If you cancel or reschedule a flight, you’ll typically have your points refunded. However, you may have to pay a fee for the cancellation or rescheduling.
How many miles does it take to get a free flight?
The number of miles you need for a flight depends on the value of the airline mile and the price of the flight. See above for how to calculate the miles needed.
Can I redeem points for cash back?
It depends. Many credit card loyalty programs let you redeem miles or points as cash back. Airline and hotel programs don’t typically have this option.
Let these point valuations serve as a guideline as you make the most of your loyalty program rewards. Remember these point values are averages — with a little research, you can get even more from your miles.
Compare rewards credit cards to start earning toward your favorite loyalty rewards program.
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