Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs)

Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs) are estimates of how much value you can reasonably expect to get from your points.  With almost all points programs, it’s possible to get very little value or, sometimes, huge value from your points.  RRVs are intended to be mid-point values that are reasonably easy to achieve with just a bit of work in finding good rather than poor value awards.

With hotel points, we took an easy approach: the RRVs are the median observed values found when users search for hotel awards.  Half of the available awards offered better value and half worse.  You can read more about hotel RRVs and how they are determined here.  Airline miles are more complicated since award values vary tremendously based on a huge number of factors.  So, we developed a methodology to simplify things.  You can learn about that here: Airline Miles are worth 1.4 cents each. A simplified approach to Reasonable Redemption Values.

With transferable points, the RRV is a simple formula: We increased the standard airline mile RRV by 30%.  The reason for this adjustment is that with transferable points currencies there is a much larger pool of high value awards one can pick from.  So, it is assumed that the median award value for informed consumers, in practice, will be higher for transferable points.

Transferable Points

Program Reasonable Redemption Value Source
Amex Membership Rewards 1.82 30% over standard airline mile value (based on the idea that you can transfer points to any of a number of programs in order to find the best award deals)
Chase Ultimate Rewards 1.82 30% over standard airline mile value (based on the idea that you can transfer points to any of a number of programs in order to find the best award deals)
Citi ThankYou Rewards 1.82 30% over standard airline mile value (based on the idea that you can transfer points to any of a number of programs in order to find the best award deals)

Airline Miles

Program Reasonable Redemption Value Source
Air Canada Aeroplan 1.4 What are airline miles worth?
Alaska MileagePlan 1.4 What are airline miles worth?
American AAdvantage 1.4 What are airline miles worth?
Avianca LifeMiles 1.4 What are airline miles worth?
British Airways Avios 1.17 What are oddball airline miles worth?
Cathay Pacific Asia Mies 1.17 What are oddball airline miles worth?
Delta SkyMiles 1.4 What are airline miles worth?
Frontier Bonus Miles 1.02 What are oddball airline miles worth?
Hawaiian Miles 0.81 What are oddball airline miles worth?
JetBlue 1.46 What are oddball airline miles worth?
Korean Airlines 1.4 What are airline miles worth?
LATAM Pass 0.67 What are oddball airline miles worth?
Miles & More (Lufthansa) 1.4 What are airline miles worth?
Southwest Rapid Rewards 1.5 The new true value of Southwest points, 2018 edition
United MileagePlus 1.4 What are airline miles worth?
Virgin America Elevate 2.1 What are oddball airline miles worth?
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1.4 What are airline miles worth?

Hotel Points

Program Reasonable Redemption Value Source
Best Western 0.58 Pointimize Median Observed Value as of 11/14/2017
Choice 0.81 Hotel Hustle Median Observed Value (as of 11/14/2017)
Club Carlson Gold Points 0.38 Pointimize Median Observed Value as of 11/14/2017
Expedia+ 0.71 3500 points = $25 hotel coupon = .71 cents per point
Hilton Honors 0.45 Pointimize Median Observed Value as of 11/14/2017
Hyatt Gold Passport 1.74 Pointimize Median Observed Value as of 11/14/2017
IHG Club 0.57 Pointimize Median Observed Value as of 11/14/2017
Marriott Rewards 0.72 Pointimize Median Observed Value as of 11/14/2017
Starwood Preferred Guest 0.72 SPG rewards points are identical to Marriott Rewards points as of 8/18/18
Wyndham 0.70 Pointimize Median Observed Value as of 11/14/2017

Other

Program Reasonable Redemption Value Source
Amtrak Guest Rewards 2.9 Fixed value best available redemption option
Arrival+ Points 1 Even though there is a 5% rebate when points are redeemed for travel, this estimate is based on the amount of travel that can be bought with existing points regardless of rebates.
CNB Rewards 1.25 6/5/17 note: I recently ran a number of sample itineraries to find the point value.  Almost all came out to very close to 1.25 cents per point despite what I had found previously.  See: How much are those 100,000 Crystal Visa Infinite points worth?
FlexPerks 1.5 FlexPerks moves to fixed 1.5 cents per point value as of 1/1/2018
Merrill+ Points 1.44 Assumes using 25,000 points for $360 flight
PenFed Premium Travel Reward 0.85 How much are PenFed points worth?
Most other bank points 1 Most bank point programs have points redeemable for 1 cent each for gift cards or travel.

Update History

4/5/2018: Changed Southwest RRV from 1.6 to 1.5 due to devaluation in Wanna Get Away fare awards.

11/14/2017: Updated hotel values based on more recent data. Changed source from Hotel Hustle to Pointimize for many values

3/28/2017: Added CNB Rewards, PenFed Premium Travel Rewards

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Mark
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Mark

Fairmont points should really be worth 1.0 because they can be redeemed for giftcards (Amazon and other retailers) for 1.0 in 2500 point increments.

Omer
Guest
Omer

There is something I do not understand – if flexible points can be transferred to airline loyalty programs at a ration of 1:1 and if most airlines points are worth 1.4 cents a point, then how come the flexible point is valued at 1.82 cents a point?

Mbh
Guest
Mbh

For what it’s worth, I think 30% is just about perfect. To say there should be no increase in valuation due to flexibility is nuts. If I offer you 50000 AA miles or the same # of chase points, the vast majority will choose the latter because it gives them lots of options. Even if you know you want to use them for a trip from A to B, the chase points will let you look at lots of options and choose the one with available seats (or better flight times) before you transfer the points.

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[…] Southwest points = $1,836 Based on our Reasonable Redemption Values, 1 Southwest point is worth about 1.6 cents towards Wanna Get Away fares, but Greg has since […]

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Greg,

Shouldn’t Bank Points (AMEX, CITI, CHASE) be worth at maximum the value of the most valuable transfer partner? I understand the ability to transfer to multiple partners some may value more than just transfer to one partner, but I fail to see how you can justify valuing a bank point at something more than the most valuable redemption.

My $0.02

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[…] current Reasonable Redemption Value for IHG points is .54 cents, so this isn’t really much of a deal. There’s no guarantee […]

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[…] current Reasonable Redemption Value for Choice points is .67 cents each, so the ability to buy points for around .45 cents each is […]

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[…] or mattress could end up with a nice rebate in terms of Membership Rewards points. According to our Reasonable Redemption Values, Membership Rewards points are worth 1.82 cents a piece, though we know that some people can get 2 […]

Michael Bodaken
Guest
Michael Bodaken

I have found that CNB air rewards, secured through the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite card are much less than the advertised airline rewards for the same flights and/or the reasonable cost of the flight. In general, from my home base of Washington DC, flying any real distance to another city, I will use, for example, 67000 or 81,000 points for a roundtrip business class ticket that would cost more than twice that much in dollars and most typically over 100,000 airline points (comparing United and/or American airlines typically). Note: this does not work for foreign flights. ONLY domestic.

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[…] and income. That said, if you meet the criteria, this could be a pretty good deal. According to our Reasonable Redemption Values, 50,000 TrueBlue points are worth approximately $730. There are apparently regular referral offers […]

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[…] annual fee).  Both automatically give you 40,000 points each year when you renew.  At the current Reasonable Redemption Value of .36 cents per point, that works out to $144 of travel value.  I keep the cards because I […]

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[…] cards in my family. It’s worth logging in to see if you are targeted. According to our Reasonable Redemption Values, Membership Rewards points should be worth about 1.82 cents each on average — meaning that 5X […]

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[…] offer requires hefty spend, but the signup bonus is very valuable. Our Reasonable Redemption Value of 1.82 cents per point pegs the value of the bonus at $2,730. However, you can easily get well […]

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[…] points are worth about 0.4 cents per point (under half a cent per point) according to our Reasonable Redemption Values. That makes 10,000 points worth about $40. While that’s not as good as the bonus for adding […]

TomT
Guest
TomT

I’ve read that the Go Far points from Wells Fargo can be redeemed for 1.5 cpp when using their portal to book airfare. However, when I tried it today, it seems that airfare and hotels are charging 1 cpp. I know I can redeem for 1 cpp directly into my Wells Fargo checking or savings account, so I do not see any reason to ever use their travel portal. Might I be doing something wrong?

Credit
Guest
Credit

You need the visa signature card to redeem it at higher value

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[…] to use more points than that as you’re only getting 1 cent per point in value (well below our Reasonable Redemption Value of 1.82 cents per point). Note that this promotion is not for paying with Discover or Citi points […]

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[…] enough deal. However, I’d prefer 11,500 Membership Rewards points in this spot. Based on our Reasonable Redemption Values, those are worth north of $200 — though you can certainly get more value by putting them […]

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Credit
Guest
Credit

Alaska and all the shitty US airlines at the same price.

No comprendo.

Jim Lovejoy
Guest
Jim Lovejoy

Shouldn’t Starwood be valued as if it were a Transferable Point program given all the airlines that it transfers to at 1 Starwood to 1.25 Airline Miles, assuming trasferring in multiples of 20,000? And shouldn’t that make Starwood worth 1.25 as much as UR and MR?

That would also increase the value of Marriot to 1/3 the vale of Starwood.

John Power
Guest
John Power

I’m a newbie and rather than complain about some perceived esoteric valuation difference, I want to thank you for doing ALL the heavy lifting for guys like me. I had a vague idea what these things were worth but I would never have done the in-depth analysis you have. And come on, folks, it’s FREE to us! I am very grateful to you for all the work you continue to do.
My wife and I do our part by always using Business Saver mileage seats to visit exotic lands – i can’t find a better, more valuable use for our miles.

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[…] FrequentMiler and TPG have monthly valuations that tell you what each point are worth. They update them as things changes, as transfer partners are added, as the rules of redemptions are changed etc.  The question is should we abide by these valuations? […]

Omer
Guest
Omer

If flexible point main strength is transferring them to airlines and if airlines miles (according to your own valuations above) are worth 1.4 to 1.6 then how come you evaluate the various flexible currencies at 1.82??! I wonder…

Nick Reyes
Editor

Our approach to valuing most airline miles at 1.4 cents is outlined here:

https://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2016/12/02/airline-miles-worth-1-4-cents-simplified-approach-reasonable-redemption-values/

Our approach to valuing oddball miles is here:

https://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/oddball-airline-miles-worth/

In the case of the former (the more “standard” 1.4c-value miles), the point in having a “Reasonable redemption value” is to standardize what you can reasonably expect. You certainly *can* get much more value out of them. The value in having a transferable currency is that you have the power to cherry-pick for a better-than-average redemption by choosing the partner with the best value. Therefore, it’s reasonable to expect that you can do better. Furthermore, if you only hold airline miles in Airline A, but Airline A and its partners do not fly to Airport Y (where you need to go), you’re out of luck. Having a transferable currency gives you the option to transfer to Airline B and take advantage of a different set of partners that do fly to Airport Y — so, again, the flexibility of the points adds value.

In the case of some points, you can also get great value with hotels — like Hyatt (from Ultimate Rewards) and SPG. In the case of SPG, you can often get well over 2 cents per point with SPG hotels, and you also have the ability to transfer to Marriott and get 3 Marriott rewards points for every 1 SPG point. Since Marriott points generally give you .72 cents per point in value, it makes sens to value 1 Starpoint at 3x that valuation.

Does that help give you some clarity?

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[…] include free breakfast and some of the Nordic Choice brands also include a free evening meal. Our Reasonable Redemption Value for Choice points is 0.81 cents per point, though it’s often easy to do better in […]

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[…] of those packaes are well below our Reasonable Redemption Value of 0.81 cents for Choice points (based on the Hotel Hustle median observed value in November […]

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[…] 1pm Eastern time today (Wednesday, April 11th, 2018). That’s actually a bit higher than our Reasonable Redemption Value for IHG points (0.57 cents per point), meaning that you should only get in on this if you have a […]

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[…] be earning less – just 2 Marriott Rewards points per dollar on unbonused spend. Since our Reasonable Redemption Value for Marriott Rewards points is only 0.72 cents per point, it won’t make sense to put […]

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[…] 1.5x Hyatt points isn’t a bad rate of return. According to our Reasonable Redemption Values, Hyatt points are worth about 1.74 cents each when used towards Hyatt stays. That makes the return […]

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[…] snoozer. The 2,000 points per stay (starting with stay #2) are worth about $14.40 according to our Reasonable Redemption Values – and since that only begins with your second stay, your average return per stay drops from […]

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[…] them out for $0.01 each, but are much more valuable if transferred to partners strategically. Our Reasonable Redemption Value for Ultimate Rewards points is 1.82 cents each, meaning that you can reasonably expect to redeem […]

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