How much is a point or mile worth? Well, the answer varies with the programs one chooses to participate in. Mileage is a type of currency - some reward points are for sure worth more than others; while some are like the Rupiah of the wondrous world of reward programs (looking at you - Delta...).
There are 2 main categories of points I am going to discuss: credit card points and airline miles. These valuations are based on what I would pay to "buy" points if given the opportunity and the overall value I could get from redeeming them usually.
Today is about credit cards!
Credit card points are usually valued more than points of an individual program due to the flexibility of transfers to different airlines.
No. 1: AMEX Membership Rewards Points (MR) - 2.3 cents/mile
The best way to spend these points is to transfer it to an airline mileage program. This high evaluation is due to the large number of transfer partners AMEX offers - and the relative ease to acquire those valuable points through travel and everyday purchases (offering up to 5X points per dollar spent on airfare purchase!). There are often transfer bonuses as well!
No. 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) - 2.1 cents/mile
Again, the program is very flexible with lots of transfer options - but not as many as AMEX. It offers up to 5X reward points for airfare purchase too. There are some valuable options, such as British Airways Executive Club (great value for intra-asia award on Cathay Pacific - refer to previous post!) and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer (good for premium products on Singapore Airlines' own flights). Chase transfer to airlines can take some time though, so make sure to transfer beforehand so that those fleeing award spaces do not disappear!
No. 3 - Citi ThankYou Points (TYP) - 1.8 cents/mile
I have to say Citi ThankYou Points offers a lot of great options - BUT, the accrual of the points are not nearly as easy. It offers only up to 3X for daily purchases on limited categories - which is why I only ranked it 1.8 cents/point. If you happen to have a lot of these, transfers to Etihad (for American Airlines redemption), Singapore Airlines, or Asia Miles (for Cathay Pacific awards) are great!