Home Points & Miles What Are Points Worth? Who Can You Trust? Does It Even Matter?

What Are Points Worth? Who Can You Trust? Does It Even Matter?

by joeheg

When it comes to saying what points are worth, I’m reminded of the phrase about opinions. Everyone has their own way of putting a dollar (or cent) value on a point currency. Asking if the valuation is based on a self-serving desire to make a sign-up bonus look more valuable, and therefore encouraging more people to sign up with your referral link, is a fair question for most websites.

I did an incognito search with DuckDuckGo (a search engine that doesn’t store information and therefore doesn’t skew search results to what it thinks you want to see) and found many popular websites giving their point valuations.

If you don’t trust any of these sites that promote credit card sign-ups in their search results, I feel your pain. I went through years of searching websites to find out if a Membership Reward was worth more than an Ultimate Reward point.

For other resources, several of our fellow BoardingArea websites publish regular updates to point valuations.

Constantly keeping up with each program is a ton of work and I appreciate the sites that try to take all of the changes into account on a monthly basis.

We’re not going to do that at YMMV. Mostly because I don’t have the time, but also because I feel everyone has a different view of what a point is worth.

For example, most sites value an IHG One Rewards point at 0.5 cents. While I’ll redeem points at that value, since that’s what I can purchase them for during a sale, I was able to get 1 CPP value for our stay at a Kimpton in Key West. If we were staying for 4 days, the value would have been even higher due to the fourth-night free benefit from the IHG Preferred co-brand credit card. Does that mean IHG points are worth 1 cent each, as I could easily make that argument? Not really, unless you’re able to find a way to use the points as I did, staying at an expensive hotel room for a reasonable amount of points.

The same goes for transferable points. How can you put a valuation on something that can be used in many different ways? For example, you can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards with the Pay Yourself Back program, which is how I told my dad to cash out his points for 1.5 cents each. On the other hand, I transferred 75,000 Chase points to World of Hyatt and used them to book a club room with an ocean view at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, getting a value of 3 CPP.

Does that mean that Ultimate Rewards are worth 1.5 cents each or 3 cents each? That depends if you’re asking me or my father.

I’m finding the debate about what a Bilt Rewards point is worth fascinating. Since the Bilt program is only a year old and regularly adds to how you’re able to use points, valuations are all over the place.

Bilt Rewards has a collection of valuable transfer partners including American AAdvantage, United MileagePlus, Aeroplan and World of Hyatt, so a point could be worth whatever you value in any of those programs.

I’d say that a value of 3 CPP is reasonable because I can transfer points to Hyatt. However, Bilt Rewards also has a travel portal where you can redeem points for 1.25 CPP to pay for flights, rental cars and even Disney hotels and tickets. Many people will choose to use points this way. In addition, Bilt has just added the ability to use points to purchase items from Amazon.com. While this is never a great value, the’re offering a bonus to link accounts and use points to pay for all (or part) of a purchase. And I’m sure that some people who never go on vacation (who are these people) might use points to pay for things on Amazon.

I can say the same for Capital One. I received 100,000 points as a sign-up bonus for the Venture X, which I transferred to Singapore Airlines to book a business class seat which would have cost almost $4,000. Could I say those points are worth 4 CPP, and the sign-up bonus was $4,000? Maybe? Would I be honest considering if others could get the same value as I did? Maybe not.

When looking at any point currency, no matter if it’s tied to a single program or transferable to several programs, you need to consider how you will use those points. You could always listen to websites telling you points are worth X or Y but if you’re never going to use them that way, what are they really worth?

Thank you for listening to my TED talk 🙂

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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