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

### 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**

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.

Thanks! Updated.

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?

I don’t have a great answer for this. The basic idea is that transferable points give you many more ways to get award flights, so it is reasonable to assume that one could find opportunities for higher value awards. I basically just inflated these by 30%. I’m hoping to find a better way to estimate transferable points, but that’s what I’ve got for now!

Makes little sense to value flexible currencies like that. The usual problem (which I think is far and away the most common) I encounter is lack of finding reasonable redemptions due to lack of seat availability. It’s rare as hen’s teeth to consistently find outsized value.

Also, I think it’s more appropriate to use average values from Hotel Hustle, not median values.

Transferable points should help because you can then search for award space on all alliances rather than just within one.

Why do you think mean values are more appropriate? When using the mean, large outliers will pull the values up.

Makes no sense to me to inflate transferable points by 30%. In fact, I will go as far as to say the value of transferable points equals the value of the partner where points will be transferred into and the value of the flexible points cannot exceed the value of its highest transfer partner. Makes no sense to value UR points at 1.82 cpp when 1.70cpp (Hyatt) is based on your calculations the highest possible redemption value. Someone who collects UR points for the sole purpose of booking Southwest flight will always get 1.6cpp value whether they hold points in the form or UR points or Southwest Points. Saying the points are worth 1.82cpp makes no sense at all because it cannot be redeemed at that value.

That assumes that all of the transfer partners have fixed redemption values (like Southwest). Most are highly variable. Transferable points give you the ability to pick the program that gives you the best value for a given situation. I agree that 30% is an arbitrary amount, but I disagree with the assertion that transferable points are no more valuable than a single program that they can transfer to.

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.

Thanks! I would still prefer a more logic based approach. 30% is arbitrary and doesn’t account for differential value of, for example, Ultimate Rewards over Citi ThankYou. But I haven’t thought of a good option for capturing that.

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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

I would agree with you if point values are fixed, but Keep in mind that the RRVs for the various transfer partners are just estimates. Reality is that actual redemption values range from much lower to much higher. With hotels, for example, the RRV is the median observed value via the Hotel Hustle web site. That means that half of those who used Hotel Hustle found hotels with better redemption values.

When you have transferable points, you have a much wider selection of better redemption opportunities and my belief is that a rational person will take advantage of that to consistently get better values.

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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.

Can you give me a specific example that I can look at? I just tried a bunch of flight examples domestic and international, coach and business, and I found that CNB point values were almost always around 1.25 cents per point. That’s better than I had seen previously but not as high as it sounds like you’ve seen.

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I’ve updated CNB points. The new RRV is 1.25 (up from 1.18 previously). Thanks to Michael Bodaken I ran a number of scenarios and found 1.25 cents per point in almost all cases.

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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?

I don’t have any experience with that program so I couldn’t say

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

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

No comprendo.

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.

That’s a good point. Given that the two calculation options come up with similar numbers vs. 2.28 and 2.16, I opted for the more conservative value: 2.16. It is reasonable to get 2.28 cents per point value or better when transferring to airline miles; and it is reasonable to get 2.16 cents per point value or better when transferring to Marriott.

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.

Thank you!

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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…

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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