2018 Point Valuations – Travel Credit Cards

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EDITOR’S NOTE: All the data and credit card calculations mentioned in this article are expired

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® offer mentioned in this article is expired and is no longer available through our site

The value of the credit card or travel program reward points or miles you earn depend entirely on how you use your card and how you redeem your points.

We acknowledge, however, that for some rewards programs, a value of more than one cent per point or mile is typical and easy to achieve.

EDITOR’S NOTE: All the data and credit card calculations mentioned in this article are expired

We assign the following values to the points and miles earned via these popular travel credit cards:

Credit CardValue of one point or mile
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®1 cent
British Airways Visa Signature® Card1.4 cents
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card1 cent
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card1 cent
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card1.4 cents
Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®1.4 cents
JetBlue Card1.4 cents
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card1.4 cents

A value of 1.4 cents per point or mile is a conservative estimate, based on the methodology explained below, for the value a typical consumer can get from airfare redemptions.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points are valued at a minimum of 1.25 cents since they can be redeemed for travel at that rate through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, and we value them at 1.4 cents each since they can be transferred to certain airline programs.

Methodology

To study the value of airline miles, we looked at sample ticket prices on three different routes 6 months in the future. This produced a total of 18 datapoints for each loyalty program. By dividing the dollar cost of each ticket by the cost in miles, we then calculated both the average and median value for each airline’s mileage program. Here are the results.

Southwest Airlines (Routes: NYC-LAX, WAS-SEA, CHI-DAL)

  • Average point value: 1.66 cents
  • Median point value: 1.66 cents
  • Maximum point value: 1.76 cents

JetBlue (Routes: NYC-LAX, WAS-SEA, CHI-HOU)

  • Average point value: 1.49 cents
  • Median point value: 1.48 cents
  • Maximum point value: 1.54 cents

American (Routes: NYC-LAX, WAS-SEA, CHI-DAL)

  • Average point value: 1.21 cents
  • Median point value: 1.19 cents
  • Maximum point value: 2.33 cents

Delta (Routes: NYC-LAX, WAS-SEA, CHI-DAL)

  • Average point value: 1.52 cents
  • Median point value: 1.49 cents
  • Maximum point value: 2.45 cents

Hawaiian (Routes: LAX-HNL, SEA-HNL, HNL-LIH)

  • Average point value: 1.29 cents
  • Median point value: 1.19 cents
  • Maximum point value: 1.79 cents

As you can see, the revenue-based programs (JetBlue and Southwest) feature fairly steady valuations, as you’d expect, while American, Delta, and Hawaiian show much more variation. Of course, you can use that to your advantage, redeeming miles only when you’re able to get above-average value for them, and paying with cash the rest of the time.

British Airways is a special case because British Airways Avios points are most valuable when redeemed for flights on their oneworld airline partners. That’s because British Airways charges significant fees for additional taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges on award flights to and from their main hub at London Heathrow. However, if you can find award space on partners like American Airlines, you can get a lot of value from their distance-based award chart.

If you are curious to learn more about how rewards programs experts value points and miles, you can check out FreequentFlyerBook.com (Credit Sesame’s resident rewards expert’s blog).


Independent Review Disclosure: All the information about the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, British Airways Visa Signature® Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, JetBlue Card, and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditSesame.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuers of these cards. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, British Airways Visa Signature® Card, Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, JetBlue Card, and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card are not available through CreditSesame.com.

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Published February 14, 2018
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