Key Takeaways

  • The value of airline and hotel rewards can vary dramatically depending on the rewards program and booking details.
  • Credit card rewards programs typically offer more dependable value than airline and hotel rewards programs, plus more redemption flexibility. With a general travel credit card, you can use your rewards for travel or non-travel redemptions or transfer your rewards to a high-value travel partner to maximize rewards value.
  • To see how much value you can get out of your rewards on an individual flight or hotel stay, divide the cost of a booking in cash by its cost in points or miles. Then, compare that value to our estimated values to see if it’s worth using your rewards for travel or if you should consider cash or another booking instead.

Whether you’re new to travel rewards or have been scoring free trips for years, the world of points and miles can be confusing. Not only are there dozens of airline, hotel and credit card rewards programs to sort through, but each one comes with its own rewards currency, transfer partners and other redemption quirks.

Add to this that not all points and miles carry the same value. That means that 50,000 points from one program could end up being more valuable than 100,000 points from another program. With so many variables at play, how can you determine your points to miles value and how to best use the points you have?

That’s where we come in. We collected data on hundreds of flights and hotel bookings from over 50 of the most popular airline, hotel and credit card rewards programs to show you how far your points and miles can take you. These are Bankrate’s latest points and miles valuations.

What do these valuations mean?

The value of airline and hotel rewards vary dramatically between rewards programs and booking details, ranging in value from roughly 0.4 cents per point or mile to 3 cents per point or mile. This can make it tough to judge how far your rewards will take you when planning a trip.

These points and miles valuations should give you an idea of what each program’s rewards are worth on average, making it easier to decide what sort of rewards you want to earn and see whether you’re getting good value for your redemptions.

Meanwhile, many general travel credit cards earn rewards that can be redeemed at one value for travel with the issuer or transferred to an airline or hotel program and redeemed at another (potentially higher) value.

For example, with the right credit card, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents per point when redeemed for travel through the issuer’s booking portal. But transferring those same points to an airline or hotel partner could stretch your rewards value to 0.0 cents per point on average (as we estimate with the Southwest Rapid Rewards program) — or even over 0.0 cents on average (as we estimate with the World of Hyatt program).

These valuations can help you decide when it makes sense to redeem rewards through your card issuer and when it makes sense to transfer them to an airline or hotel loyalty program (based on the value you’ll get with that redemption).

How to calculate rewards values

To see how much value you can get out of your rewards on an individual flight or hotel stay, divide the cost of a booking in cash by its cost in points or miles.

For example, a flight that costs $139 or 21,500 points will offer about 0.6 cents per point in value ($139 / 21,500 points = ~$0.006). If the same flight costs $250, you’d get about 1.2 cents per point in value ($250 / 21,500 points = ~$0.012).

Once you’ve calculated your potential rewards value, compare it to the estimated average value listed here. If the value you get matches or exceeds our estimated average value, it’s smart to use your rewards to pay for travel. If the value you get falls short of our estimated average value, consider using cash instead or trying another booking.

Keep in mind that the value you can get out of your rewards will depend not only on the program but also the details of your booking. Some airline and hotel rewards carry a better point value than others on average, but your experience may vary based on when and where you travel, as well as whether you opt for a luxury or budget fare class or hotel tier.

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Bankrate insight
A credit card with a high rewards rate or sign-up bonus may seem impressive, but be sure to consider the value of the rewards you’ll earn. For example, you might earn 6X points on a room reservation using a hotel card and only 3X points with a general-purpose travel card, but the latter rate may offer more value since many hotel points are worth less than 1 cent each on average.

Note: These valuations are not provided by card issuers.

Airline rewards values

We calculated the average airline miles to dollars values of these 29 popular airline loyalty programs by comparing the cost of dozens of bookings in cash with their cost in rewards. We weighted economy airfare bookings more heavily to give you the best sense of how much value you can get from your rewards for a typical flight.

Rewards program Bankrate value* Estimated value of 50,000 points/miles
Aer Lingus (Avios) 1.8 cents $900
Aeromexico Club Premier 0.8 cents $400
Air Canada Aeroplan 1.6 cents $800
Air France (Flying Blue) 1.5 cents $750
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan 1.1 cents $550
American Airlines AAdvantage 1.0 cents $500
Avianca Airlines LifeMiles 0.9 cents $450
Avios (average) 1.1 cents $550
British Airways (Avios) 0.7 cents $350
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 2.9 cents $1,450
Delta SkyMiles 1.2 cents $600
Emirates Skywards 1.2 cents $600
Etihad Guest Miles 0.9 cents $450
Finnair Plus 1.2 cents $600
Flying Blue (average) 1.3 cents $650
Frontier Miles 1.3 cents $650
Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles 1.4 cents $700
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles 0.7 cents $350
Iberia Airlines (Avios) 0.9 cents $450
JetBlue TrueBlue 1.3 cents $650
KLM (Flying Blue) 1.1 cents $550
Malaysia Airlines Enrich 0.6 cents $300
Qatar Airways (Avios) 1.4 cents $700
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 1.6 cents $800
Southwest Rapid Rewards 1.5 cents $750
Spirit Airlines Free Spirit 1.0 cents $500
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles 1.0 cents $500
United Airlines MileagePlus 0.9 cents $450
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 2.6 cents $1,300

*Based on weighted average of median point/mile values across economy and first/business class fares.

More information on airline rewards

Hotel rewards values

We calculated the average rewards values of these seven popular hotel loyalty programs by comparing the cost of dozens of bookings in cash with their cost in rewards. We considered a mix of budget, mid-tier and luxury properties across several U.S. and international cities to find a median point value for each program.

Rewards program Bankrate value* Estimated value of 50,000 points/miles
Best Western Rewards 0.6 cents $300
Hilton Honors 0.6 cents $300
World of Hyatt 2.3 cents $1,150
IHG One Rewards 0.7 cents $350
Marriott Bonvoy 0.7 cents $350
Radisson Rewards Americas 0.4 cents $200
Wyndham Rewards 0.9 cents $450

*Based on median point values across budget, mid-tier and luxury hotel bookings.

More information on hotel rewards

Credit card program rewards values

To give you a sense of the best way to redeem your rewards, we’ve listed the “baseline credit card points value” of each credit card issuer’s points or miles (for travel bookings made through the issuer) as well as our estimate of how much value you can get by redeeming with some of the issuer’s best transfer partners (if available).

When researching travel, you can use your issuer’s portal to see how many points or miles you’ll get if you transfer your credit card rewards to an airline or hotel partner. Based on this transfer ratio, you might find that the value of your points is higher when you move them to one partner over another.

Rewards program Baseline value Bankrate value* Estimated value of 50,000 points/miles
American Express Membership Rewards 1 cent 2.0 cents $1,000
Bank of America travel rewards 1 cent 1.0 cents $500
Bilt Rewards 1.25 cents 2.1 cents $1,050
Capital One miles 1 cent 1.7 cents $850
Chase Ultimate Rewards (Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card) 1.25 cents 2.0 cents $1,000
Chase Ultimate Rewards (Chase Sapphire Reserve®) 1.5 cents 2.0 cents $1,000
Chase Ultimate Rewards (other Ultimate Rewards cards) 1 cent 1.0 cents $500
Citi ThankYou Points (Citi Premier® Card – No longer available) 1 cent 1.6 cents $800
Citi ThankYou Points (basic ThankYou points) 1 cent 1.0 cents $500
Discover miles 1 cent 1.0 cents $500
U.S. Bank FlexPerks 1.5 cents 1.5 cents $750
Wells Fargo Rewards 1 cent 1.0 cents $500

*Based on an average of the issuer’s five highest-value transfer partners (if available).

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Bankrate insight
If you’re having trouble finding the best rewards card for you, try Bankrate’s spender type tool, which can recommend cards that fit your credit level and spending habits. You can compare these cards side by side using our credit card comparison tool or try CardMatch™ to see if you can prequalify for a card or get an exclusive welcome offer.

More information on credit card rewards programs

Credit card rewards vs. airline and hotel rewards

Credit card issuer rewards programs — like Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards — typically offer more dependable value than points and miles tied to a specific airline or hotel program. These programs also stand out for their unmatched flexibility.

Instead of being stuck redeeming your rewards with a specific airline or hotel (and taking whatever value you can get), the best general travel rewards cards give you the flexibility to move your points/miles between programs to find the one that offers the best value. You can redeem rewards through the issuer’s travel portal or transfer to an airline or hotel program if that gets you more value for your rewards.

Plus, with many credit card rewards programs, you may not have to redeem for travel at all. Many issuer programs let you redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, merchandise and even purchases through Amazon.com or PayPal. That said, to maximize the value of your credit card rewards, you’ll most likely want to redeem for travel through the issuer or leverage the card’s top transfer partners.

Research methodology

To estimate the average value of airline and hotel rewards, we collected pricing data on hundreds of flights and hotel stays using an array of different routes, hotel locations and fare and hotel tier classes.

For each airline, we researched a mix of short, mid-length and transcontinental routes, domestic and international routes and routes from an airline’s hub to a small airport. We considered both economy and business or first-class fares for each route and compared costs in cash and points/miles based on how far ahead of departure the travel was booked.

For each hotel, we researched stays in major, midsize and international locations at budget, mid-tier and luxury properties, again comparing costs in cash and points based on how far ahead the stay was booked.

We then divided the monetary cost of each of these bookings (minus taxes and fees) by its cost in rewards to determine the cash value of a single point/mile for a given flight or hotel stay. For example, a flight that cost $2,000 or 100,000 points would yield a valuation of 2 cents per point.

Once we determined the value of a single point/mile for each booking, we found the median point value offered across all bookings. This ensured our overall program point valuation was not skewed by outlying high- or low-value redemptions.

In the case of hotel programs, this median value is our final point valuation. In the case of airline programs, we determined our final point/mile valuation using a weighted average of economy and business/first-class point values, favoring economy values. This is designed to reflect the value a program’s points offer on typical rewards bookings.

For credit card rewards programs, our final point/mile valuation is an average of each issuer’s five highest-value transfer partners (assuming these values are greater than the issuer’s baseline point redemption value). This assumes rewards-savvy travelers will mostly transfer points/miles from a credit card rewards program to a travel partner in order to increase the value of their rewards, and they’ll opt for a partner that offers high value relative to others.

All data was collected in September 2023.

More details

  • To estimate the average value of an airline rewards program’s points or miles, we:
    • Selected 10 routes for each airline, using a mix of the following based on the airline’s offerings:
      • 2 short routes (under 650 miles)
      • 2 mid-length routes (650–1,500 miles)
      • 2 transcontinental routes (over 1,500 miles)
      • 2 international routes
      • 2 flights from an airline hub to a small airport
    • Found costs in cash and points/miles for each flight for bookings made 30 days prior to departure and six months prior to departure
    • Found costs in cash and points/miles for each flight for economy and business/first class fares (based on availability)
    • Divided each flight’s cash cost by its cost in points/miles to determine the cash value of a single point/mile
    • Found the median per-cent point/mile value across all flights
    • Calculated a weighted average of the median economy fare point/mile value (80 percent weighting) and the median business/first class fare point/mile value (20 percent weighting) to determine a final program point/mile value
  • To estimate the average value of a hotel rewards program’s points, we:

    • Selected 12 locations for each hotel, including a mix of major, midsize and international cities as follows:
      • Major: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas
      • Midsize: Charlotte, Phoenix, Seattle, Tampa
      • International: London, Paris, Dubai, Bangkok
    • Found costs in cash and points for three tiers of hotel properties in each city:
      • Budget (rooms typically costing under $150 per night)
      • Mid-tier (rooms typically costing $150–$275 per night)
      • Luxury (rooms typically cost over $275 per night)
    • Found costs in cash and points for each hotel stay for bookings made 15 days prior to arrival, four months prior to arrival and 11 months prior to arrival
    • Divided each stay’s cash cost by its cost in points to determine the cash value of a single point
    • Found the median per-cent point/mile value across all stays to determine a final program point value
  • To estimate the average value of a credit card rewards program’s points or miles, we:

    • Listed each issuer’s hotel and airline transfer partners
    • Adjusted our airline/hotel point/mile valuations for each transfer partner based on transfer ratios (assuming ratio was not 1:1)
    • Calculated the average of each issuer’s five highest-value transfer partners (post-transfer) to determine a final program point/mile value