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4 min read 29.01.2022 757
Ibrahim Busari
Ibrahim Busari
Ibrahim is a fintech writer at AskWallet
How Much Are Travel Points and Miles Worth in 2022

How Much Are Travel Points and Miles Worth in 2022

This guide will give you information about travel points and miles, how to get the most out of them, where they can be redeemed, what they’re worth, and more. Whether you’re new to loyalty programs or just looking to learn more about them in preparation for your next trips, this guide has you covered!


 

What is a Loyalty Program?

A loyalty program is a service offered by businesses to their customers, who earn or purchase points or miles with every dollar spent. These points or miles can be redeemed for all kinds of perks, including free travel on airlines or trains. They are designed to get customers back into one store, but they can also be used at any business that partners with your loyalty program. 

Different companies offer more creative ways of using program points than just a simple flight. It can be booking hotel stays, car rentals, cruises, event tickets, and museum admissions around their partners’ locations. Make sure to consider all these factors when choosing which loyalty program best meets your needs—or even two at once!
 

Types Of Loyalty Programs 

When it comes to airline loyalty programs, there are three big players in the game. Regardless of what airline you are using it will be under one of these member loyalty programs. However, not all miles are created equal and different airlines might allow redeeming more or less for a single mile point. Keep reading as we will be breaking all of it down in this article: 

Star Alliance 

Star Alliance is a trade association that operates an airline alliance. Founded in 1997, its founding members were Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), Thai Airways International, and United Airlines. The alliance has since grown to include 27 member airlines: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA (All Nippon Airways), Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Avianca Holdings S.A., Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines (until 2013), Cathay Pacific Airways, Croatia Airlines, Cyprus Airways, Egyptair, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air of Taiwan (until 2014), Finnair, Garuda Indonesia Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian and Singapore Airlines.

Star alliance frequent flyers can make use of lounge facilities, even if they're not traveling on a member airline. The membership program allows its members to earn miles on flights with other alliance members, at an accelerated rate compared to travel on their own airlines. Passengers collect miles based on distance flown, rather than how far an airline flies; for example, someone who flies from Madrid to Singapore in economy class will collect miles for that flight as though it were a combination of a Lufthansa flight from Madrid to Frankfurt and then Singapore Airlines from Frankfurt to Singapore. 

In addition, most airlines in Star Alliance (except Turkish Airlines ) credit flights based on sector flown; for example, all sectors within North America are counted as one trip for mileage accrual purposes by all carriers.
 

SkyTeam 

This alliance was created in 2000 and has 18 member airlines; it aims to provide passengers with a seamless travel experience across partner airlines, as well as competitive pricing. Member airlines include Air France, Aeroflot Russian Airlines, Alitalia, China Eastern Airlines, and Korean Air. SkyTeam's frequent flier loyalty program is called Flying Blue. If your goal is to fly multiple flights on multiple airlines, then joining an airline alliance may be right for you.  When using one of these programs, you receive rewards based on how many miles you've flown (which are then credited toward future tickets) and how often you've flown. 

A notable feature of many airline alliances is that they have transfer partners outside of their consortium, so if your favorite carrier isn't part of an alliance (or if you just don't want to join one), there are plenty of options available that can help get miles into your frequent flier account quickly. Just remember that each different partnership will vary widely, so make sure to look closely at all potential transfer partners before deciding which one works best for you!

SkyTeam offers three-tier levels in its loyalty program: 

  • Member:  if you fly 10,000 miles or more in a calendar year on SkyTeam member airlines 
  • Gold: if you fly 25,000 miles or more in a calendar year on SkyTeam member airlines 
  • Platinum: if you fly 50,000 miles or more in a calendar year on SkyTeam member airlines. There are also some other benefits that go along with each tier level (such as waived change fees), but they vary by airline and country of origin.
     

Oneworld Alliance

One of a handful of global alliances in which airlines share frequent flier benefits, seat configurations, and other services. Oneworld includes 14 member airlines - Alaskan Airline, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Fiji air, Iberia Airlines, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas Airways, Sri Lankan airline, Royal Jordanian, and S7. Oneworld was founded in 1999 by American Airlines and British Airways; membership has grown to include about 20 percent of all passenger flights worldwide.

Each airline in the alliance has its own frequent flier program. Members accumulate miles on their preferred airline, then they can redeem these miles for flights on any of those airlines, just like with a general travel rewards credit card. 

The main drawback to Oneworld is that it’s a closed system, meaning that it’s easy to rack up points but hard to transfer them to other reward programs such as Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus. Another potential problem is that American Airlines and British Airways aren’t necessarily cheap carriers compared with some others in the alliance. However, many loyal customers value convenience over cost when flying frequently within North America and between North America and Europe.

How Much Is A Mile  Worth In 2022?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions nowadays. With the airline industry adjusting to COVID-19 restrictions. There has been much change to many airlines' miles and points loyalty programs.  Back to the original question, the worth of a mile depends on many different factors. From person to person and from one loyalty program to another.

When looking at a loyalty program how much a mile is worth, it's important to remember that some programs award miles based on how much you spend while others award miles based on how far you fly. If your primary goal is to get free flights, a points-based program may be better for you. On some airlines and travel sites, there are also ways to buy or barter miles or points directly from these carriers.

There are four types of reward points to consider, which include airline miles, hotel points, transferable points, and retailer bonus programs. The rewards vary by program type. In general, airline miles have more flexibility than hotel or credit card rewards programs due to their ability to be used on multiple airlines within a given network.

Let us take a look at the value of reward points with different programs: 

Methodology of Valuation 

In order to create the list above, we have looked at the true results of thousands of flights as well as hotel stays. We took the time to check out every cash award and perks that every airline and hotel and transferable miles that are available across numerous cards. 

We used the cost of a round trip flight from New York to London as a basis for all of the miles and rewards that will be received. After that, divide the cost of each ticker by the amount of the actual to and fro ticket cost to the final destination. Hence, we have recorded the cent per mile that will be received by each cardholder. 
 

How to Calculate Point Values

If a travel point or mile is worth 1 cent each, you need only multiply your points by $1 to determine their value. But what if you don’t know how many points it takes to get a flight? The most common valuation of travel points is one point equals one penny—which means you can use a simple equation to figure out how much that seat on American Airlines will cost: number of miles = (cost of the ticket) x (number of frequent flier miles needed). For example, let’s say an economy ticket from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles costs $600. 

That makes one mile equal $0.06—so 20,000 miles are required for your trip. All loyalty programs vary greatly when determining how they award points, so be sure to do your research. Some companies allow you to choose between free seats and discounts off airfare while others limit free flights or exclude certain destinations completely. 

5 Tips for Evaluating a Travel Rewards Program

If you’re looking to travel more but would rather use your hard-earned cash on vacation instead of airfare, there are a variety of travel rewards programs out there that can help. While these programs are great in theory, choosing the right one is often confusing and complicated. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 5 tips to help you evaluate a travel rewards program so you can make the most of it in the future.
 

1. Choosing the right points currency

Frequent flier miles and hotel points can be redeemed in different ways. Many credit card rewards programs give you specific points to redeem on airfare or hotels, while other cards offer cashback that you can redeem towards travel purchases. The former is much more flexible, as it allows you to use your rewards currency with any airline or hotel brand. Plus, there are fewer restrictions on redemptions, so it’s easier to get what you want.
 

2. Is There an Annual Fee?

All travel rewards programs charge an annual fee, and while some waive it if you spend enough money or fly enough miles, others don’t. If you’re not paying attention, these annual fees can quickly add up. Always make sure that any potential rewards program has no annual fee before signing up. You can find no-annual-fee cards through AskWallet’s service. If your preferred card doesn’t have one, try another that does.
 

3. Are there restrictions on how you can use your points?

Points are only valuable if you can use them on travel. If you have to redeem points on gift cards or other non-travel options, you’re not getting very good value. Before signing up for any program, check and see if there are any restrictions or limitations (also known as blackout dates) on where you can use your points. For example, some programs might prevent you from using your rewards to book certain airlines or hotels during peak travel seasons.

4. Is there a limit on how many miles/points I can earn?

If you’re aiming to fly to an exotic locale and want to rack up as many frequent flier miles as possible, look for a program that allows you to do so. Some programs cap how many points you can earn; others don’t.
 

5. Are there any restrictions on which airlines I can fly with my points?

Before applying for any rewards program, make sure you understand how many points you’ll need to redeem each ticket and which airlines your points can be redeemed on. If you’re not flexible when it comes to where you fly, then you may be limited in what travel rewards programs are available to you. If a program has limitations on airlines or destinations, it could also have limitations on which seats or flight times are available with each reward level.

How to maximize your rewards

Credit card rewards, loyalty programs, and miles have never been more popular. That’s because they give you a return on your spending that is often greater than what you would earn by putting that money into a savings account or investment fund. But just because your points might be worth hundreds of dollars to you doesn’t mean they are worth as much as they could be to someone else. 

So we’ve crunched some numbers to see how much your points and miles will be worth over time – if you were able to spend them today. We looked at how long it takes for each type of reward to pay for itself – so think of our findings as a measure of each dollar spent becoming two dollars earned by investing in travel rewards. The biggest takeaway? The sooner you redeem your rewards, the less value you get out of them (on average).

That’s because airlines and hotels offer massive bonuses when you use their frequent flyer mile program - but those bonuses expire fairly quickly. If you have an urgent flight booking coming up soon then grab those cheap domestic tickets while they last! After doing all these calculations, it may seem like a lot of work to maximize your rewards but with a little bit of effort, it's very doable. 

Over longer periods such as five years or more, most points-based loyalty programs net out close to even - where $1 invested gets about $1 back – but only after taking into account all redemptions and earning potential.

The choice of the payment card for each loyalty program may differ from country to country. To choose the best offer, it's best to look at the list of bank cards available in your country. Different organizations provide co-branded payment cards in collaboration with various banks, allowing you to earn miles not only by traveling often but also by making purchases on a regular basis.

Final Thoughts 

The value of travel points is a question that surfaces often. People want to know whether their points are worth anything, or if they’re just better off spending cash. For frequent travelers, there’s no question that points can be worth quite a bit. Those who use them to book business class flights frequently will see much more value than those who only occasionally fly at economy prices and use reward points to upgrade tickets or buy last-minute premium economy fares.

For more information on EMIs, debits cards, and all fintech-related topics, be sure to check out our other AskWallet blog posts.