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Current valuations of miles/points

Current valuations of miles/points

Old Jun 14, 19, 8:13 am
  #1  
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Current valuations of miles/points

Hi all. Since I usually stay in non-branded hotels, I am unable to comment on the value of hotel points, but I'm starting this thread because I'm interested in setting a baseline for what various miles/points are worth in 2019.

Following are my thoughts:
1. AS is worth close to 2 cpm because their CX and JL awards are simply amazing
2. I value AA at 1.6 cpm, though I'm afraid they are following DL's race to the bottom
3. UA is 1.4 cpm in my book, for now, and they might not sink much below this after dynamic pricing kicks in
4. I value DL at 1.2 cpm; while it's true that 500k one way awards from DTW to LHR are insane, I can still score JAX-BOS for 8k miles
5. BA points are now worth 1.4 cpm to me; while they devalued 14 days ago, I love the fact that I can still book SHA-HKG for 9k when I'm on the way to the airport
6. I don't care for Asian FFPs because of the hard expiration dates
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Old Jun 14, 19, 8:38 am
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I'm a small-time DL user, and the main way I get value from them is by booking extremely cheap flights with awards. It's basically the inverse of what I do with accounts where I have lots of activity and hold the miles for long-haul J/F.

Last week, I redeemed 27,500 miles for 5 BOS-MCI seats. The flights would have been about $105 each in basic economy or $125 each in regular-Y. Four of the five travelers don't have *any* Skymiles so I didn't feel like I was missing out on much in terms of RDM/EQM. Even for me, 27,500 miles represents a couple full years of earning, so holding to try to get to an international J level (even one-way) simply isn't worth it. So ballpark 2 cents per mile for a thoroughly unsexy award.

My recent BA was 4 one-way seats in May, ORD-DUB for 14,500 Avios each plus a small (under $20) YQ. It was part of a weird multi-segment itin across Europe, so hard to compute a precise cash value. (Pricing it as a one-way led to some high-fare silliness.) But I'll still give BA credit here for 2 cents per mile - calling the one-way flights $290 doesn't seem unreasonable.

AA has been a struggle for me recently. Expensive US/CA transborder flights are about the only place I can find decent value there. Europe is tough because so much of the availability is BA metal with heaps of junk fees. Last AA award I did was to send a couple family members in coach to Europe via a circuitous routing to get the only AA-operated transatlantic I could find. 30k per seat...flights maybe worth $450 if I'm generous? (Again, another route where you can't get one-way cash prices that aren't silly.)

AS I use exclusively for premium flights to Asia. They aren't seats I'd personally pay cash for, so there's no point in trying to compute a value. I just like flying CX and am glad AS has a partnership with them at very reasonable redemption levels for all of F, J, and premium economy.

UA. I have about 30k sitting in my account but haven't redeemed in 3-4 years. I've generally liked UA because you can see most of the Star Alliance natively from your UA account (and then book it right there). Don't need Awardnexus or Expertflyer as much (at least not for simple itins) and usually don't need a phone call. But I haven't paid attention to valuations there lately.

Hotels have all been devaluing in the past couple years and then exacerbating the inflation problem by showering us with points. My last HH stay earned something stupid like 67 points per dollar. But they're driving fast down to 0.5 cpp if not lower. I'm holding a booking at Conrad Koh Samui that looks better on paper (1 cpp) but it's not a stay I'd have actually booked with cash.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 2:59 pm
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what's a cpm. i think i got one of those from a proctologist.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 5:55 pm
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Originally Posted by slawecki View Post
what's a cpm. i think i got one of those from a proctologist.
While I realize that you are joking, for the sake of our newer members, cpm = cost per mile.

@pinniped expressed a key point more eloquently than me:

-use DL, AA, BA, and UA for short flights in Y
-save your AS points for premium awards on CX

Switching topics slightly, I am somewhat interested in getting into the hotel points game, but here are my issues:
1. Marriott's acquisition of SPG was a game changer
2. In HK, I stay at my best friend's place; in Macau, I stay in our client's hotels; in Beijing, I like the Gulou area; in Nanning, while the Marriott is pretty nice, it takes close an hour to get from there to my office...as such, I deal with 7 Days Inn
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Old Jun 14, 19, 6:57 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
While I realize that you are joking, for the sake of our newer members, cpm = cost per mile.

@pinniped expressed a key point more eloquently than me:

-use DL, AA, BA, and UA for short flights in Y
-save your AS points for premium awards on CX

Switching topics slightly, I am somewhat interested in getting into the hotel points game, but here are my issues:
1. Marriott's acquisition of SPG was a game changer
2. In HK, I stay at my best friend's place; in Macau, I stay in our client's hotels; in Beijing, I like the Gulou area; in Nanning, while the Marriott is pretty nice, it takes close an hour to get from there to my office...as such, I deal with 7 Days Inn
I'm pretty sure that, at least as used in Post #1 , "cpm" means "cents per mile," not cost per mile.

The value of miles can vary widely, depending on how you use them. If you hold a qualifying AA credit card and can make use of the reduced-mileage-award destinations, you can go cross country in Economy for 8,750 AA miles, one way. If you traveling to or from a smaller airport that usually has high fares, this can be a great deal.

And, if you can live with the non-refundable, non-changeable nature of IB Plus awards on AA, you can do very well on short-distance trips requiring a connection: a roundtrip in Coach involving up to 1,000 flown miles costs just 12,000 IB Plus Avios. (Unfortunately, there's a software problem at the moment that prevents redemption of IB Plus Avios on AA; presumably, that will be fixed eventually.)
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Old Jun 15, 19, 3:01 am
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
I'm pretty sure that, at least as used in Post #1 , "cpm" means "cents per mile," not cost per mile.

The value of miles can vary widely, depending on how you use them. If you hold a qualifying AA credit card and can make use of the reduced-mileage-award destinations, you can go cross country in Economy for 8,750 AA miles, one way. If you traveling to or from a smaller airport that usually has high fares, this can be a great deal.

And, if you can live with the non-refundable, non-changeable nature of IB Plus awards on AA, you can do very well on short-distance trips requiring a connection: a roundtrip in Coach involving up to 1,000 flown miles costs just 12,000 IB Plus Avios. (Unfortunately, there's a software problem at the moment that prevents redemption of IB Plus Avios on AA; presumably, that will be fixed eventually.)
1. Yes, cpm = "cents per mile"
2. US domestic awards are strong suits for legacy airlines
-don't bother with F unless Y is sold out; the food still sucks, and the seats aren't much better
-use your bullets for destinations that are generally expensive cash wise (e.g. DCA, JAC, PSP, SNA)
3. It's kind of difficult for me to rack up AS miles these days. It was much easier when I was based in PDX
-but, the chance to fly CX F certainly justifies a credit card sign-up or two
-while some of you have minimal interest in HK, since we all love airplanes, CX F is well worth it (especially compared to 10x SEA-LAX trips)
4. @all please tell me more about hotel points; I told you in my OP that I don't stay in branded hotels, but I certainly could
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Old Jun 15, 19, 3:24 pm
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I usually find TPG's valuations not far off from my own. - What Are Points & Miles Worth? June 2019 Monthly Valuations

And yes, cents per mile.
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Old Jun 15, 19, 4:58 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Hi all. Since I usually stay in non-branded hotels, I am unable to comment on the value of hotel points, but I'm starting this thread because I'm interested in setting a baseline for what various miles/points are worth in 2019.

Following are my thoughts:
1. AS is worth close to 2 cpm because their CX and JL awards are simply amazing
2. I value AA at 1.6 cpm, though I'm afraid they are following DL's race to the bottom
3. UA is 1.4 cpm in my book, for now, and they might not sink much below this after dynamic pricing kicks in
4. I value DL at 1.2 cpm; while it's true that 500k one way awards from DTW to LHR are insane, I can still score JAX-BOS for 8k miles
5. BA points are now worth 1.4 cpm to me; while they devalued 14 days ago, I love the fact that I can still book SHA-HKG for 9k when I'm on the way to the airport
6. I don't care for Asian FFPs because of the hard expiration dates
Originally Posted by moondog View Post
-but, the chance to fly CX F certainly justifies a credit card sign-up or two
First of all, I'd like to know how it works as far as living abroad (you live in China correct?) but opening up US credit card. Do you have to have an address (PO box?) in US? Or do you just have to maintain a bank account in US? Or neither?

As for valuation, as someone else said upthread, your valuation is really up to your situation and your travel pattern. I value UA miles at 1.6cpm. Until a year ago, it was 1.7cpm. I basically break it down by different routes I use my miles on, assign cpm and %weight to each route, then come up with weighted average valuation for the program. %weight indicates what % of my miles go towards that route.

cpm weight
TPAC on NH/AC: 1.6 80%
Jpn-domestic on NH 2.0 20%
US-domestic on UA 1.1 0%
UNTIL A YEAR AGO: 1.7cpm overall.

cpm weight
TPAC on NH/AC: 1.6 55%
Jpn-domestic on NH 2.0 20%
US-domestic on UA 1.1 25%
NOW: 1.6cpm overall.

Why did it change? Well it's because it appears to me that NH decided it would no longer offer more than 2~3 economy seats on TPAC flights for UA saver award. Since we're a family of 4 and it's become very difficult to use UA miles to go from SEA to TYO, this change led me to redistribute my weight% for UA mile use. But if you're solo or party of 2, then it wouldn't matter as much and so you could keep your valuation the same. And you may have different travel pattern and destinations, so your calculation may be different than mine.

As far as hotels go, again this is a complex thing that ultimately depends on your travel pattern and priorities. You can see me have an internal debate on Hilton vs Hyatt vs Marriott in this post. For me, Hilton point is valued at 0.7cpp. With their ever-present double points promo and cc+Diamond, you're basically getting 44 pts per USD or 12,300pts for a stay that costs $280 total. This means you only need to have 4 paid nights at a hotel in that price range to get a free night at equivalent category (let's say 50k pts/night) hotel. Hilton just works for us, the most recent devaluation notwithstanding. They exist everywhere that I want to be, savings for family of 4 from free breakfast is significant, EL is important to us, the credit card is pretty decent, and it's the only major hotel program where I can easily buy my way into a meaningful elite tier (Impossible with Hyatt, challenging with Marriott). You have to decide if you want to be tied to a certain one or two chains, what the value of free breakfast is, what your valuation would be, etc, etc.
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Old Jun 15, 19, 5:36 pm
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
First of all, I'd like to know how it works as far as living abroad (you live in China correct?) but opening up US credit card. Do you have to have an address (PO box?) in US? Or do you just have to maintain a bank account in US? Or neither?
I live in Shanghai, but I have a US address and bank account. During recent years, I've been able to spend all of Q4 in Florida.

DL is my primary FFP these days because:
1. I fly MU several times per month, and Eastern Miles sucks unless you can hit top tier (this provides space available upgrades on domestic flights, and 4 SWUs per year)
2. For my China-USA travels, I really like DL's PVG-ATL flight, even in Y
-when loads are light (usually the case), I select a window seat towards the back, and end up with an empty middle seat
-their food is honestly pretty good
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Old Jun 16, 19, 4:46 am
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I tend to value miles and points conservatively for two reasons:

1. I don't value premium class flights or "aspirational" awards as highly as many do.

2. If I value the points too highly, I miss opportunities to use them, then get hit by devaluations. So I told to work on the "bird in the hand" principle.

My current values are:

AS: 13 USD/1,000 (higher than others due to stopovers on awards)

AA & UA: 11 USD/1,000

DL: 9 USD/1,000

BA: 10 GBP/1,000 (higher valuation because I am more adept at using them than other miles)

Flying Blue: 9 EUR/1,000

Hilton & IHG: 5 USD/1,000 (and falling)

Wyndham: 6 USD/1,000

Choice: 6 USD/1,000
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