Value of One Point or Mile and Average Rebate for Airlines, Hotels, Rail, and Rental Cars | 2017 | Real World Machine

Value of One Point or Mile and Average Rebate for Airlines, Hotels, Rail, and Rental Cars | 2017

Welcome to Real World Machine’s 2017 valuation of points and miles.

Valuations include both the value of one point in a given rewards program and the rebate percentage, in points, for spending with over 20 airline, hotel, rail, and rental car rewards and frequent flyer programs.




Value of One Point or Mile and Average Rebate

There are quite a few assumptions and calculations that go into determining these values, and it is important to remember that valuation can often be more of a subjective art than an objective science.

If you are unsure what a particular column in the table below represents, click on the column’s header for the definition.

Related: Calculator: How much are your points or miles worth?

If the name of the travel provider is hyperlinked, the link will take you to a benefits overview and valuation of the elite status levels for the provider’s rewards program.



Provider Type Rewards Program Overall Average USD Value of One Point or Mile Average USD Value of One Point or Mile Disregarding Network Size, Variety, and Availability Average Rebate % in Points for Non-Elite Top Published Elite Status Average Rebate % in Points for Top Elite Co-Branded Credit Card (selected) Co-Branded Credit Card Additional Rebate % on Direct Spend General Rewards Comments
Alaska Airline MileagePlan 1.4 ¢ 1.4 ¢ 4.6% MVP Gold 75K 10.4% Alaska Airlines Visa Signature 4.2% Based on estimated non-elite spending per mile traveled; improved value for West Coast travelers
American Airline AAdvantage 1.5 ¢ 1.0 ¢ 7.5% Executive Platinum 16.5% Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select 3.0%  
Delta Airline SkyMiles 1.2 ¢ 0.7 ¢ 6.0% Diamond Medallion 13.2% AMEX Gold Delta SkyMiles 2.4%  
JetBlue Airline TrueBlue 1.2 ¢ 1.5 ¢ 7.2% Mosaic 10.8% JetBlue Plus 7.2% Additional bonus, above and beyond spend, for flight add-ons
Southwest Airline Rapid Rewards 1.5 ¢ 1.7 ¢ 9.0% A-List Preferred 18.0% Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier 3.0%  
United Airline MileagePlus 1.2 ¢ 0.7 ¢ 6.0% Premier 1K 13.2% United MileagePlus Explorer 2.4%  
Virgin America Airline Elevate 1.8 ¢ 1.3 ¢ 9.0% Gold 21.6% Virgin America Premium Visa Signature 5.4% 1:1.3 Elevate-to-Alaska Mileage Plan points; merging with Alaska
Avis Car Rental Avis Preferred 3.1 ¢ 3.3 ¢ 3.1% Preferred Plus 25+ rentals 4.7%      
Enterprise Car Rental Enterprise Plus 0.5 ¢ 0.4 ¢ 0.5% Platinum 0.6%      
Hertz Car Rental Gold Plus Rewards 5.9 ¢ 5.9 ¢ 5.9% President’s Circle 7.4%     Elite bonus for reaching thresholds
National Car Rental Car Rental Emerald Club     4.8% Executive Elite 6.7%     Based on paid 3-day rentals at $42/day; 1 credit per rental; redemption cost decreases with elite status
Accor Hotel Le Club 2.0 ¢ 2.1 ¢ 4.8% Platinum 8.4%     Converted to USD; base currency for program is EUR; fixed redemption rate
Best Western Hotel Best Western Rewards 0.6 ¢ 0.6 ¢ 6.0% Diamond Select 9.0% Best Western Rewards Premium MasterCard 6.0%  
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Club Carlson 0.3 ¢ 0.5 ¢ 6.0% Concierge 10.5% Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature 3.0% Point promotions can increase rebate
Choice Hotel Choice Privileges 0.4 ¢ 0.6 ¢ 4.0% Diamond 6.0% Choice Privileges VISA 6.0% Point promotions can increase rebate; international award room availability severely limited
Hilton Hotel Honors 0.6 ¢ 0.5 ¢ 9.0% Diamond 12.0% AMEX Honors Surpass 7.2% Extended point promotions can increase rebate significantly
Hyatt Hotel Hyatt Gold Passport / World of Hyatt 1.8 ¢ 1.9 ¢ 9.0% Diamond / Globalist 11.7% Hyatt Credit Card 5.4% Point promotions can increase rebate
InterContinental (IHG) Hotel Rewards Club 0.8 ¢ 0.7 ¢ 8.0% Spire Elite 16.0% IHG Rewards Club Select 4.0% Point promotions can increase rebate
Marriott Hotel Marriott Rewards 0.8 ¢ 0.7 ¢ 8.0% Platinum Elite 12.0% Marriott Rewards Premier 4.0% 3:1 Marriot-to-Starwood point conversion rate
Starwood Hotel Starwood Preferred Guest 2.4 ¢ 2.2 ¢ 4.8% Platinum Preferred 75+ / 100+ nights 9.6% AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest 4.8% 1:3 Starwood-to-Marriott point conversion rate; merging with Marriott
Wyndham Hotel Wyndham Rewards 0.9 ¢ 1.0 ¢ 9.0% Diamond 9.0% Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature (fee) 4.5% Elite bonus for reaching thresholds
Amtrak Rail Guest Rewards 2.6 ¢ 2.8 ¢ 5.2% Select Executive 10.4% Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard 7.8% Increased earn bonus for business and first class travel




Definitions

Provider
This is the name of the travel services provider. If the name of the travel provider is hyperlinked, the link will take you to an overview and valuation of the elite status levels for the provider’s rewards program.

Type
This specifies whether the provider is an airline, hotel, rail, or car rental provider.

Rewards Program
This is the name of the provider’s rewards (frequent flyer) program.

Overall Average USD Value of One Point or Mile
This is overall average value of one point or mile, in USD, as calculated by Real World Machine, after adjusting for the size of the program’s network, the variety of redemption options available, and the availability of redemption options. This value can differ from the Average USD Value of One Point or Mile Disregarding Network Size, Variety, and Availability for a program by up to ± $0.005 (half a cent).

This figure is likely to be the more accurate one for most travelers when compared to Average USD Value of One Point or Mile Disregarding Network Size, Variety, and Availability.

Average USD Value of One Point or Mile Disregarding Network Size, Variety, and Availability
This is average value of one point or mile, in USD, as calculated by Real World Machine without taking into account the following: (1) the size of the program’s network (i.e., destinations), (2) the variety of redemption options available, notably “upper upscale” and luxury options for hotels and first and business class options for airlines, and (3) the availability of redemption options (e.g., blackout periods, sold-out dates, limited award inventory, etc.).

This figure is likely to be more accurate for you if you are happy with your current travel opportunities with the respective provider. For example, Southwest has no premium class of service and a very limited number of international destinations. If you just want to use your rewards to fly domestically to large and mid-size cities in the United States and are happy as a clam in economy, the average value of a Southwest Rapid Rewards point to you is probably not going to be affected much by the lack of a first class option and international destinations. Hence, the Average USD Value of One Point or Mile Disregarding Network Size, Variety, and Availability is more accurate for you than it is for someone who cares about first class and international travel, where the more accurate figure is likely to be the Overall Average USD Value of One Point or Mile.

Average Rebate % in Points for Non-Elite
Think of this metric as your “return on investment” or rebate (in points) for eligible spending with a provider as non-elite member in a given rewards program.

This figure is calculated by taking the Overall Average USD Value of One Point or Mile and dividing it by the amount (USD) you have to spend as a non-elite member to acquire one point or mile in a given program. For example, if one point is worth $0.015 and you have to spend $0.50 to acquire one point (as a non-elite member), your rebate percentage would be ($0.015 / $0.50) which equals 3.0%.

Top Published Elite Status
This reflects the name of the top published elite status level in a given rewards program.

Average Rebate % in Points for Elite
You can think of this metric as your “return on investment” or rebate (in points) for eligible spending with a provider as a member with the top (published) elite status in a given rewards program. Top elites tend to earn more points per dollar spent than non-elite members do in most rewards programs.

This figure is calculated by taking the Overall Average USD Value of One Point or Mile and dividing it by the amount (USD) you have to spend as a top elite member to acquire one point or mile in a given program. For example, if one point is worth $0.015 and you have to spend $0.25 to acquire one point (as a top elite member), your rebate percentage would be ($0.015 / $0.25) which equals 6.0%.

Co-Branded Credit Card (selected)
This is the name of the co-branded credit card issued for the rewards program. If a rewards program has multiple credit card options, the selected co-branded credit card will be the “premier” card, provided that the annual fee is $150 or less. For details about each credit card, check out information from the card issuer.

Co-Branded Credit Card Additional Rebate % on Direct Spend
Think of this metric as your “return on investment” or rebate (in points) for eligible spending directly with the relevant travel services provider on the eligible co-branded credit card (e.g., using the AMEX Hilton Honors Surpass card to pay for a hotel room at a Hilton Garden Inn). The rebate is exclusive of the points you receive from the rewards program itself (instead of the credit card issuer).

This figure is calculated by taking the Overall Average USD Value of One Point or Mile and dividing it by the amount (USD) you have to spend on the co-branded credit card to acquire one point or mile in a given program. For example, if one point is worth $0.015 and you have to spend $0.20 on the credit card to acquire one point (i.e., you get five points for every dollar spent directly with the relevant travel services provider), your rebate percentage would be ($0.015 / $0.20) which equals 7.5%.

Return to table.





Assumptions

Point values assume that you will redeem points for travel services provided by the respective provider. For instance, you could redeem your airline miles for kitchen appliances, but your points are more valuable when used to book flights with the respective airline.

Within the category of direct travel services redemption, the point values also assume that you redeem points towards awards that are neither atrociously expensive (points-wise) nor an excellent bargain (again, points-wise). Think of the redemptions as falling in the middle 50% of all award redemptions for a given rewards program, in terms of the efficiently redeeming your points.

Rebate percentages assume that you are maximizing your accumulation of points with the travel services provider’s own rewards program and not having points credits to other rewards program. For instance, the Hilton Honors program awards 10 based points per dollar spent on most qualifying stay plus either (a) an additional 5 bonus points per dollar spent, or (b) airline or car rental points. In situations like the aforementioned one, the rebate percentage assumes you elected to earn 15 total Honors points (10 base + 5 bonus) per dollar spent.

Airline valuations were based on the following routes, provided the airline offered service between the origin and destination city, including flights with layovers. Layovers had to be four hours or less. Cities with two or more major airports, i.e., a city without one primary airport, are generally avoided.

Domestic Flight Routes (roundtrip) departing in early April 2017

  • ABQ – IND
  • ATL – DEN
  • AUS – PIT
  • BNA – PHX
  • BOS – SEA
  • CLT – LAS
  • HNL – STL
  • MSP – MCO
  • PHL – SAN
  • RDU – SLC
  • International Flight Routes (roundtrip) departing in early April 2017

  • ATL – PVG
  • AUS – NRT
  • BOS – FRA
  • DEN – DUB
  • MCO – YVR
  • MSP – GIG
  • PHL – MEX
  • RDU – BOG
  • SEA – BCN
  • SLC – SJO
  • STL – ICN
  • Hotel valuations were based on a one-night stay at an upper upscale and/or luxury hotel at the following destinations, provided there was a hotel affiliated with the rewards program in the destination city. If no upper upscale or luxury hotel were available, but the hotel group did have less upscale hotels available in the area, the valuation is based on the hotel group’s most upscale hotel in the destination city. When possible, the selected hotels were as close as possible to the city center.

    Domestic Hotel Destinations in early April 2017

  • Austin, TX
  • Boston, MA
  • Denver, CO
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Nashville, TN
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • San Diego, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • International Hotel Destinations in early April 2017

  • Barcelona, ESP
  • Dublin, IRL
  • Frankfurt, DEU
  • Mexico City, MEX
  • Rio de Janeiro, BRA
  • San José, CRI
  • Seoul, ROK
  • Shanghai, PRC
  • Tokyo, JPN
  • Vancouver, CAN
  • Return to table.



    Summary
    Value of One Point or Mile and Average Rebate for Airlines, Hotels, Rail, and Car Rentals: January 2017
    Article
    Value of One Point or Mile and Average Rebate for Airlines, Hotels, Rail, and Car Rentals: January 2017
    Description
    Valuations include both the value of one point in a given rewards program and the rebate percentage, in points, for spending with over 20 airline, hotel, rail, and car rental rewards and frequent flyer programs.
    Author
    Publisher
    Real World Machine LLC
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