How Much Are Frequent Flier Miles Worth? Calculating your Own Valuations

Figuring out the value of your frequent flier miles is crucial for determining whether an award is a good deal, whether you should book a specific trip with cash or miles, which credit card bonus to sign up for, and which airlines to book an award on if you have several options. Perhaps because it can seem daunting to precisely calculate the value of a mile, I had seen no systematic attempts to do so mathematically when I first started writing this blog.

Free First Class Next Month: Mile Value Calculator

Hey there, you're reading an outdated post! The updated series from April 2015 can be found here.

This is the twenty-ninth post in a monthlong series. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete.

Not Anatomy of an Award: Just Book with Cash

This is a blog about frequent flier miles. Almost everything I write is designed to help you accumulate miles and points efficiently then redeem them for free travel--up front if possible.

But sometimes using points for a ticket is a huge mistake. Sometimes, just book with cash. JBWC. I'll give two examples, and I'll tell you how to figure out whether you should book with cash or miles on a particular trip.

LAX to Honolulu

The first example comes from yesterday.

How Much Are Mileage Plus Miles Worth? The Value of United Miles Part 3

This post is part of a four-part series. In Part 1, we looked at the mechanics of the United Mileage Plus program. In Part 2, we looked at the chart and rules to find valuable awards. In Part 3, we’ll value specific Mileage Plus awards. In Part 4, I’ll put a number on one Mileage Plus mile.

Now that we've looked at the rules of the Mileage Plus program, and we've looked at the chart to find some valuable awards, we're going to value specific awards.

How Much Are Rapid Rewards Points Worth? The Value of Southwest Airlines Points

Update April 1, 2014: This post was written before Southwest's massive devaluation. Now you need 70 points per dollar for Wanna Get Away? fares instead of 60. Now Rapid Rewards are worth about 1.45 cents each.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points are worth 1.69 cents per point. Unlike my calculation of the value of an Avios, the valuation of a Rapid Rewards point does not change based on where you live or your flying preferences because Rapid Rewards is a fixed-value award program.

How Much Are Avios Worth? The Value of British Airways Avios Part 3

In Part 1, we looked at the mechanics of the Avios program and how it compared to the AAdvantage program (another oneworld program.) In Part 2, we built on the rules of the Avios program to discover what awards they imply are the best values. In Part 3, we’ll value specific Avios awards. In Part 4, I'll put a number on an Avios.