At 1.8 center per point, Chase Points are some of the most valuable around, largely due to their flexibility. In addition, you can always turn them directly into cash.
When you have a cash-back credit card, it’s easy to figure out exactly how much your rewards or points are worth. (Rule of thumb: It’s generally 1 cent per point.) But flexible points like Chase Ultimate Rewards are much harder to pin down.
The main reason Ultimate Rewards are so valuable is that you can use them in so many different ways—for cash back, for booking travel directly, for transferring to airline frequent-flyer programs, etc. One advantage of having lots of different transfer partners is that it gives you a chance to optimize across them. You can either save up for a big, super valuation redemption or cash out in fixed, smaller bits and pieces. If there isn’t a good way to use them for a flight, you might find a great deal with a hotel partner.
But that also makes it especially complicated to figure out just how valuable your points are. It’s clear that Ultimate Rewards are generally worth more than cash back, especially when you transfer them to airlines and hotels and use them for free travel. But how much more?
Here are the two methods we use together to come up with the valuations used in the GigaPoints algorithm:
- Determining average valuations for different ways to use Chase Ultimate Reward points
- Using other sites as a benchmark.
GigaPoints current valuation: Chase Ultimate Rewards Points are worth 1.8 cents each.
Valuing Chase Ultimate Reward Redemption Options
The first thing we do is examine each of Chase’s transfer partners. How much is an Ultimate Reward point worth when it gets moved to another program? In some cases, URs will have a fixed value, but in other cases their value can vary widely. For example, when you use points at Southwest, they work very much like cash and are roughly worth 1.5 cents each. But with United, sometimes, 60,000 points gets you a ticket that would cost $250. Other times that same 60,000 points could get you a one-way business class ticket that might cost $5,000.
|GigaPoints Valuation (in cents)
|Are Points Value Fixed or Variable?
|Aer Lingus AerClub
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue
|British Airways Avios
|Iberia Airlines Iberia Plus
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
|United Airlines MileagePlus
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
|IHG Rewards Club
|World of Hyatt
Next, we can look at different options for using Ultimate Rewards directly. Chase is especially good at offering additional ways to redeem at reasonably high value. For example, you can always convert your points to cash back, making your points card just as good as any cash back card.
|Valuation (in cents)
|Amazon & Apple
|1.0 – 1.5 (1.25 if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred, 1.5 if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve)
Benchmarking Against Other Sites
You can also look at other third-party sites as a guide for valuing Ultimate Rewards points. Different sites will have varying methodologies, but it can be helpful to compare:
|Valuation (in cents)
|The Points Guy
|One Mile at a Time
|View From the Wing
The Bottom Line
Chase remains one of the highest value points programs around. The flexibility to transfer to multiple partners along with the ability to turn them into cash back at any time makes Ultimate Rewards the best currency out there.
Accor Live Limitless (ALL) isn’t well-known in the U.S., but it’s an excellent hotel loyalty program if you spend a lot of time in Europe or stay at the upscale Fairmont brand. It has simple redemption options that offer good—sometimes great—value. The only reason we don’t rate it more highly is that there are no U.S. credit cards that earn Accor points.
What Is Accor Live Limitless?
Accor Live Limitless (formerly Le Club AccorHotels) is the loyalty program for Accor Hotels, the sixth largest global hotel chain and the biggest in Europe. The company operates more than 4,800 hotels in 110 countries. Among its 34 brands are luxury hotels like Raffles, Softel, and Fairmont, midscale options like Mercure and Novotel, and budget-friendly Ibis Hotels.
You earn Accor Live Limitless—or ALL—points primarily by staying at Accor hotels. You’ll only earn points on stays booked directly with Accor, with a brick-and-mortar travel agency, or through a corporate booking portal; reservations through online travel agencies like Hotels.com or Expedia don’t qualify.
Accor rewards customers based on the amount of money they spend with the company—in Euros, with the current exchange rate being applied for stays in other countries. The number of points you’ll earn for a hotel stay depends on the brand and your status level. Most hotels award a base rate of 25 points per €10 spent—about 2.3 points per dollar. However, certain budget hotels (Ibis, Ibis Styles, and Mama Shelter) have much lower base rate—1.14 points per dollar—and some earn even fewer points.
Elite members get a boost on points as well as other perks. You can qualify for the first three levels based on the number of nights or the amount of money you spend at qualifying hotels. Top-tier Diamond status is based solely on qualifying spend.
- Silver. The lowest elite level requires 10 nights or €800 in qualifying spend (about $880). Silver members earn a base rate of 31 points per €10 spent instead of 25, and qualify for late checkout (when available) and a welcome drink.
- Gold. Stay 30 nights or spend €2,800 (just under $3,100) to increase your base earning to 37 points per €10 and qualify for room upgrades, turndown service, and a welcome gift. You also get the choice of late checkout or early check-in.
- Platinum. If you stay 60 nights or spend €5,600 (just under $6,200), you’ll be earning 44 points per €10 spent and will get both late checkout and early check-in, access to executive lounges at eligible hotels, and free breakfast at hotels in the Asia-Pacific region. You’ll also receive two suite night awards – each valid for a one-night suite upgrade – and will earn another suite night award for every €800 spent, up to 12 suite night awards per year.
- Diamond. The top published tier of ALL requires €10,400 in spend (nearly $11,500)—you can’t get this status based on the number of nights you stay. While the number of points you earn won’t change, you’ll get free breakfast on weekends at properties worldwide, four €25 spa & dining vouchers, and the ability to give Gold status to a member of your choice.
ALL also has a handful of partners that can make it easier to earn rewards. You can rack up points by shopping at stores like Apple, Macy’s, and Target through the Accor shopping portal, renting cars with Avis, Europcar, or Hertz, taking surveys, and more. You can link your account with Flying Blue (the loyalty program of Air France and KLM) and earn 2 points per euro spent on eligible flights, in addition to the ALL miles you’d normally earn. You can also transfer miles from nine different airline programs, including Flying Blue, Qatar Airlines, Finnair, and LATAM.
While ALL doesn’t currently have any credit cards outside of Asia and the Middle East, you can transfer points earned with certain Capital One credit cards to Accor points at a rate of 2:1 (2 Capital One miles = 1 ALL Rewards point).
How to Use ALL Rewards Points
In most cases, you’ll get the best value for your Accor points by using them for hotel stays—more than 2 cents per point. However, Accor also has a wide range of airline partners, which present some interesting opportunities depending on how you plan to use your miles. Other redemption options get you 1 to 1.4 cents per point in value, which is strong compared with most hotel loyalty programs.
- Accor hotel stays. ALL rewards are worth a fixed rate of 2 cents per point.
- Transfer to airlines. Move points to 31 different airline partners.
- Experiences. Trade points for experiences that are only available through Accor.
- Merchandise. Redeem points for merchandise at about 1 cent per point
- Luxury home bookings through onefinestay. Redeem points at a rate of about 1.4 cents per point.
- Restaurants. 1,000 points equals €10 (about $11) off your bill at select restaurants.
- Transfer to European train rewards. You can transfer points to Club Eurostar or Germany’s BahnBonus.
- Rent with Europcar. 2000 points will get you €20 (about $22) off your car rental.
Stays at Accor Hotels
The ALL program makes hotel redemptions simple: You can pay for any hotel room at qualifying properties with points, at a flat value of 2 cents per point. That means you won’t find any amazing surprise deals, but you’ll always be guaranteed to get a fixed value for your points.
The amount paid with points is deducted from your hotel bill, so you don’t have to have enough points to pay for your entire stay, and redemptions start at 2,000 points for a €40 credit (about $44). You can arrange the discount in advance by booking through the Accor Live Limitless, or simply tell the front desk when you check in that you want to use your points to reduce the cost of your stay.
Transfers to airline partners
You can transfer points from ALL to 32 different airline partners. Most airlines transfer at a 2:1 ratio (2,000 ALL points gets you 1,000 airline miless). Four partners noted below offer a 1:1 transfer ratio, which is rare for hotel programs.
- Aegean Miles + Bonus
- Aeroflot Bonus
- AeroMexico Club Premier
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air China Phoenix Miles
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue
- Alitalia MilleMiglia
- Avianca Lifemiles
- Azul TodoAzul
- British Airways Executive Club
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Delta SkyMiles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- Finnair Plus (1:1)
- GOL Smiles
- Hainan Fortune Wings Club
- Iberia Plus (1:1)
- Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
- Korean Air SkyPass
- LATAM Pass
- Oman Air Sindbad
- Qantas Frequent Flyer (1:1)
- Qatar Airways Qmiles
- Royal Air Maroc Safar Flyer
- Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
- TAP Portugal Miles & Go
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
- Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
- United Airlines MileagePlus
- Virgin Australia Velocity (1:1)
You can redeem points for events, meals, and other happenings through Accor’s Limitless Experiences portal. As of this writing, experiences are only available in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, but if you’re traveling to one of those countries, there are some interesting deals to be had. For example, 8,000 points will get you two box seats to a Harry Styles concert, including dinner and drinks; as of this writing, the cheapest tickets available were €77 each, getting you 1.9 cents per point before factoring in the value of the food and beverages.
Through the Limitless Experiences website, you can also use points to pay for a wide variety of merchandise including espresso machines, designer sunglasses, and headphones. Most items cost about 1 cent per point, and you can combine points and cash if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost.
Be aware, however, that not all deals are created equal – Sofitel bedding, for example, is massively overpriced for points redemption. For example, a standard size down-and-feather pillow that would cost $82 from the Sofitel Boutique website costs a whopping 21,920 points, or 0.3 cents per point. Since the pricing is a litte opaque, do a separate search for whatever you’re considering booking, and then divide the retail price by the points price to make sure you’re getting a decent deal.
Onefinestay Gift Cards
In addition to hotels, Accor has a portfolio of luxury homes under the brand onefinestay. While you can’t use ALL points for onefinestay reservations directly, you can redeem your points for onefinestay gift cards at a rate of about 1.4 cents per point—7,200 points will get you a €100 gift card, with €250, €500, and €1000 gift cards available at the same rate.
If you happen to be traveling in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, or Slovakia, you can redeem your points at select hotel restaurants for about 1 cent per point (1,000 points takes €10 (about $11) off your bill).
You can transfer your ALL points to Germany’s Die Bahn BahnBonus program at 2:1 ratio (2,000 ALL points gets you 1,000 BahnBonus points), or transfer 4,000 points to 350 Club Eurostar points to use on trains between London and Amsterdam, Brussels, or Paris.
You can use your ALL rewards points for a discount on Europcar car rentals, at a value of roughly cent per point. 2,000 points gets you €20 ($22) off your booking.
The Bottom Line
ALL has a pretty generous earning structure and its redemption options couldn’t be more straightforward. It’s not difficult to get impressive value from the ALL rewards program if you find yourself staying at Accor hotels frequently.
The biggest strength of the American Airlines AAdvantage program is in its flight network: it’s the world’s largest airline, and has more than a dozen partners that members can use points to book with. Otherwise, it’s a fairly average program, with highly limited availability and few options to get good value for your points.
What Is AAdvantage?
AAdvantage is the loyalty program for American Airlines, the world’s largest carrier by fleet size and number of passengers.
American has one of the oldest and biggest frequent-flyer programs, which has five member tiers. Elite status members—who qualify by traveling a certain number of miles or segments, or spending a certain amount of money—receive perks like seat upgrades, free checked bags, and complimentary flight changes, that increase as they move up the ladder from Basic to Executive Platinum.
AAdvantage also has the Million Miler program: When you reach 1 million miles (based on the distance of your AA flights or the base miles of a partner flight) you earn special benefits, including gold status. At 2 million miles, you get platinum status for the life of the program.
Which Cards Earn AAdvantage Points
- AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard
- Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
- Citi/AAdvantage Gold Select World Elite Mastercard
- Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
- Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard
- Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard
How to Earn American AAdvantage Miles
American lets members earn points by flying, spending on co-branded credit cards, and through hundreds of other partners, including hotel, rental car, and cruise companies.
Flights: The number of miles you get for an American flight depends on the cost of the ticket and your elite status.
Here are the earning rates for each tier:
- AAdvantage Basic: 5 miles per $1 spent
- Gold: 7 miles per $1 spent
- Platinum: 8 miles per $1 spent
- Platinum Pro: 9 miles per $1 spent
- Executive Platinum: 11 miles per $1 spent
You can also earn miles with every carrier in the Oneworld network and any of AA’s nine partner airlines, including Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and Cape Air. Just remember that you will be earning AA miles instead of points on that carrier. The number of miles you earn varies by airline and the type of ticket you book.
AAdvantage Credit Card: American’s Citi and Barclays credit cards earn AAdvantage miles for every dollar spent. Some cards offer additional perks, like 2X points on dining, groceries and gas; free checked bags, statement credits for inflight purchases, or free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
Banking: Earn AAdvantage miles lieu of interest—1 mile per $1 saved—by opening a savings account with online-only Bask Bank.
Switch to Sprint: Change mobile carriers and rack up 25,000 miles in the first year of service.
Rental Cars: AAdvantage has partnerships with several rental companies, including Avis, Budget, Payless, Alamo, National, Dollar, Hertz, and Thrifty. Avis and Budget are where you’ll likely get the most bang for your buck, offering a minimum of 500 AAdvantage miles for each rental.
Vacations and Cruises: Book a vacation package through American Airlines Vacations to earn 1,000 AAdvantage miles, and up to 30,000 additional miles when booking featured hotels. When booking a cruise through the American Airlines Cruise Portal, you’ll earn up to 6 miles per dollar, up to 60,000 AAdvantage miles.
Hotels: You may be able to convert some of your hotel partner points into AAdvantage miles. For example, 5,000 World of Hyatt points are worth 2,000 AAdvantage miles and 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points are worth 10,000 AAdvantage miles. Every 60,000 Marriott points transferred will even get you 5,000 AAdvantage bonus miles.
Shopping: Click through to online retailers through the AAdvantage eShopping mall to earn points for every dollar spent. There are more than 950 stores in the network, and you can sometimes get bonus miles, free shipping, and coupon codes.
Dining: The AAdvantage Dining program is free and offers members 1-to 5 AAdvantage points for every dollar spent at a participating restaurant with a linked credit or debit card.
How to Use AAdvantage Points
AAdvantage miles can be used for flights, upgrades, vacations, hotel stays, car rentals, or retail gift cards. As with most frequent flyer programs, you’ll generally get the most value for your miles by using them for flights and upgrades. AAdvantage’s redemption portal makes it pretty easy to browse the different options and use miles.
Here are all the ways you can use AAdvantage points:
- Flights. Book on American or more than a dozen partner airlines.
- Upgrades. Move up in the world—or at least, in the cabin.
- Vacations. 1 point = 1 cent
- Hotel rooms and rental cars. 1 point = 0.6 cents
- Admirals Club Membership.
- Newspaper subscriptions. A good use of miles, but one that won’t use up many.
- Transfer to friends and family. It’s free.
- Donate to charity.
The most straightforward use of AAdvantage miles is for free flights on American and its partner airlines. You can generally expect to get a decent 1.5 cents per mile in value—though because American uses dynamic pricing, the cost of a ticket in points can vary widely.
American also has three pricing buckets for award tickets:
- MileSAAver Awards can be a great deal, with one-way flights starting at just 7,500 miles, plus taxes and fees. But they can be hard to find unless you’re flexible with your travel dates.
- AAnytime Awards let you use miles for a seat on American Airlines and partner flights without date restrictions. Prices are higher, starting at 20,000 miles each way (plus taxes and fees).
- Web Offer Awards are available only on aa.com and can require less miles than MileSAAver or AAnytime Awards. Mileage levels vary by date and flight, and you’ll see any available options when you go to book your flight. Changes are not allowed on these tickets and cancellations may incur fees.
You’ll generally find better value for your miles with international than domestic tickets, and for business- and first-class tickets than economy seats. Book as far in advance as you can for the most availability and best prices.
American has two online tools that can be handy when you’re booking flights with points. This tool shows you the flights that cost the fewest miles, and the Award Map lets you see where you can go with your current stash of miles.
You can use your AAdvantage miles to upgrade your seat (or a companion’s seat) up one class on select American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia flights, with prices starting at 5,000 miles. One exception: Basic Economy fares, which can’t be upgraded.
You can upgrade when booking or call the airline afterwards to request the upgrade; if one isn’t available, American will put you on a waiting list.
Through the American Airlines Vacations portal, you can use points, cash, or a combination of the two to buy bundles of flights, hotel rooms and car rentals. But this is usually a poor use of your miles—many packages we looked at were more expensive than direct reservations. AAdvantage points have a flat value of 1 cent per mile, which is just OK. And the portal doesn’t show the points price on your package until checkout, which means you have to do unnecessary—if basic—math to know what your package will cost.
Hotel Rooms and Rentals Cars
AAdvantage miles can be redeemed for car rentals and hotel stays at 150,000+ properties in over 500 destinations across the globe, though American’s travel portal. You can even use a combination of cash and as few as 1,000 miles to pay. But this is a worse use of miles than vacation packages—each AAdvantage point is only worth 0.6 cents toward your booking
Admirals Club Membership
You pay for access to more than two dozen American Airlines’ airport lounges around the world and even more partner lounges in cash or in AAdvantage points. You’ll get a flat value of 1 cent per point. Annual membership starts at $550 or 55,000 points for Executive Platinum members and goes up to $1,250 or 125,000 for a household with entry-level AAdvantage membership.
Though American only offers a few options—and they vary depending on where you live—using points for newspaper subscriptions can be an excellent deal. A 24-week subscription to the Financial Times retails for about $282 or 3,240 miles—nearly 9 cents a point.
Transfer to Friends and Family
You can transfer up to 200,000 points to other AAdvantage members each calendar year. There is no fee for transferring miles.
AAdvantage partners with several organizations that support social causes, community health, and heroes. Unlike with other frequent flyer programs, you can’t choose an individual charity, but give to one of three AAdvantage programs that support different kinds of nonprofits. There is a minimum donation of 1,000 points, and there are no associated tax breaks.
The Bottom Line
If you’re flexible with your dates and destinations, you can get good value from the AAdvantage program. But other members may have a hard time making it worthwhile.