What are Your Credit Card Points Worth?

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Last updated on April 2nd, 2024

“What are my credit card points worth?” is one of any credit cardholders’ most commonly asked questions. After all, what is the point of amassing a vast number of reward points if they are hardly worth anything? Before you cash out your rewards, check out our guide to the latest credit card points and miles valuations:

Table of Contents

What Are Credit Card Points?

Credit card points, miles, and cash back are rewards credit card issuers provide to encourage cardholders to use their credit cards for purchases. These rewards can be redeemed for various benefits such as travel, merchandise, gift cards, statement credits, or cash back.

Valuations May Vary

The value of credit card rewards can fluctuate for several reasons. The earning structure of the card plays a significant role, with some cards offering a flat rate of cash back on all purchases, while others provide bonus rewards for specific spending categories like dining, groceries, or travel. Additionally, the value of points, miles, or cash back can also vary depending on the available redemption options. For example, redeeming points for travel may offer a higher value compared to redeeming them for merchandise or gift cards.

When considering credit card rewards, it’s important to take into account factors such as annual fees, interest rates, and bonus offers. Some rewards cards come with annual fees, so cardholders should assess whether the rewards’ value justifies the card’s cost. Additionally, to truly benefit from rewards, it’s crucial to pay off credit card balances in full each month to avoid interest charges, as the interest can offset the value of the rewards earned. Lastly, many credit cards offer sign-up bonuses, significantly boosting initial rewards earnings.

What are Airline Miles Worth?

If you are new to credit card rewards points, the first thought that might pop into your head when thinking about the concept is airline miles. Airline miles are the most popular credit card reward type – and it is easy to see why. Who wouldn’t want to earn points that can help them escape to a tropical destination, alpine resort, or another exotic location?

Here are the current valuations of airline miles from select carriers. These value estimates are based on the average mile value for a roundtrip award flight between two major cities:

Program Value (cents/point)
Air Canada (Aeroplan) 1.5
American Airlines (AAdvantage) 1.5
Alaska Airlines (Mileage Plan) 1.4
Avianca (LifeMiles) 1.5
British Airways (Avios) 1.3
Delta Air Lines (SkyMiles) 1.2
Frontier (Frontier Miles) 1.2
Hawaiian Airlines (HawaiianMiles) 0.9
JetBlue (TrueBlue) 1.4
KLM/ Air France (Flying Blue) 1.2
Korean Air (SkyPass) 1.6
Lufthansa (Miles & More) 1.5
Southwest (Rapid Rewards) 1.5
Spirit Airlines (Free Spirit) 0.8
United Airlines (MileagePlus) 1.2
Virgin Atlantic (Flying Club) 1.5

How to Earn Frequent Flyer Miles

Earning airline miles is typically tied to booking flights with a specific carrier. Using a co-branded debit or credit card, however, can accelerate the miles earned on these flights through everyday purchases. These co-branded airline credit cards also offer additional means of earning miles – usually though bonus spend categories, like travel, gas, groceries, or dining. Distinct methods to earn airline miles include:

  • Flying with an airline alliance or codeshare partner carrier
  • Booking hotels with affiliated hotel chains and brands
  • Booking rental cars with affiliate car rental brands
  • Making purchases through the frequent flyer program’s merchandise catalog/portal

How to Redeem Frequent Flyer Miles

The easiest way to redeem frequent flyer miles is by booking award flights. These redemption flights usually feature different valuations, depending on a considerable number of factors, including:

  • Departing airport and destination airport
  • Time and date of an award flight
  • Fare type (economy, saver, business class, first-class)
  • Airline booking fees

Most airline loyalty programs allow for several other award options for members, including rental car hires, hotel stays, merchandise, or transfers to other loyalty programs. Points values can vary significantly depending upon the award option selected.

What are Hotel Loyalty Points Worth?

Here are the current valuations for loyalty points from select hotel chains and loyalty programs. BestCards bases these values on the average points required for a three-star hotel stay in an average U.S. city plus a four-star hotel stay in a major city.

How to Earn Hotel Points

Hotel points are like airline miles. Hotel credit cards offer a variety of benefits for cardholders that are similar to the perks included with co-branded airline credit cards. Like airline credit cards and general travel cards, hotel rewards cards provide extraordinary value for money for those loyal to one or more hotel chains.

Like airline credit cards, more than a dozen different hotel chains offer co-branded credit cards through banks like ChaseBarclays, and Commerce Bank

Hotel programs and credit cards are very straightforward. Members earn the most points for staying at hotels within the brand’s portfolio. Other ways to earn points work similarly to airline credit cards, with loyalty programs and co-branded credit cards offering additional points for purchases in popular categories like dining, gas stations, and grocery stores.

How to Redeem Hotel Loyalty Points

Rewards points earned through hotel loyalty programs apply for the following:

  • Award nights at hotel properties worldwide
  • Flights with select airline partners
  • Car rentals with partner agencies
  • Merchandise
  • Cash back or gift cards

What are Credit Card Points from Your Bank Worth?

Many credit card issuers and major banks offer membership rewards platforms with unique points systems. These issuer rewards points offer similar redemption options to frequent flyer and other travel or hotel loyalty programs. Still, they typically provide higher value than many loyalty programs from select brands.

Perhaps the most well-known bank credit card rewards programs are American Express’s Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. Other popular loyalty programs include Citi’s ThankYou Points, Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards, and Brex Rewards.

Issuer points, like hotel points and airline miles, typically have a baseline value of one cent per point, although there is some variation. Here are the current valuations of credit card points from select major banks and issuers:

Do All Credit Cards from a Bank Earn Points?

Not all credit cards from a bank earn rewards points. Many credit cards from banks and credit unions offer cash back rewards instead. Cash back is a form of credit card reward, but it does not apply to loyalty schemes in most instances (although the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is an example of an exception to this rule).

Should You Transfer Your Miles or Points?

When used correctly, loyalty points offer significant value but can leave money on the table when used poorly. When booking travel, savvy customers maximize their points value by transferring to other loyalty programs.

Transferring to a different rewards program has several benefits. Positive reasons to transfer miles or points to a partner program include:

  • Higher redemption value
  • Access to other airline, hotel, or cruise partners when booking travel
  • Better departure/arrival options when flying
  • Points may not expire

Most loyalty programs offer points transfers to other airlines or hotels. American Express and Chase are renowned for these transfers, with many occurring at a points value ratio of 1:1. Occasionally, banks or loyalty schemes will offer a points or miles bonus when switching rewards to another program – Delta SkyMiles, for instance, is one of these banks.

The biggest reason to avoid transferring points or miles is not having a concrete award in mind. Moving points or miles with no endgame can result in points being locked into a loyalty program with limited redemption options for the member. Because of this pitfall, make sure to have a plan for your miles or points before moving them elsewhere.

Related Article: What’s the Average APR?

Featured image by Andrew Gosine/Burst

Editorial Disclosure – The opinions expressed on BestCards.com's reviews, articles, and all other content on or relating to the website are solely those of the content’s author(s). These opinions do not reflect those of any card issuer or financial institution, and editorial content on our site has not been reviewed or approved by these entities unless noted otherwise. Further, BestCards.com lists credit card offers that are frequently updated with information believed to be accurate to the best of our team's knowledge. However, please review the information provided directly by the credit card issuer or related financial institution for full details.

About: Cory Santos
Cory Santos

Cory is the senior credit card editor at BestCards, specializing in everything credit card-related. He’s worked extensively with credit cards and other personal finance topics, including nearly five years at BestCards. Cory’s extensive knowledge is an essential part of the BestCards experience, helping readers to live their best financial lives with up-to-date insights and comprehensive coverage of all facets of the credit card space, including market trends, rewards guides, credit advice, and comprehensive credit card reviews.

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