25,000 Points in One Rewards Currency Doesn’t Always Equal 25,000 in Another – Here’s Why

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25,000 Points in One Rewards Currency Doesn’t Always Equal 25,000 in Another – Here’s Why

Million Mile Secrets25,000 Points in One Rewards Currency Doesn’t Always Equal 25,000 in Another – Here’s WhyMillion Mile Secrets Team

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If I offered you either 1,000 Mexican pesos or $100, which would you take?

Being a smart consumer, you’d look up the current exchange rate.   While 1,000 Mexican pesos sounds like a lot, it’s only worth ~$56!

In our hobby, not all types of rewards are created equal.  So knowing how many points or miles you can earn is just as important as knowing how much they’re worth.

Value Of Capital One Venture Miles
Comparing Credit Cards Can Be Like Comparing Apples to Oranges. And Your Decision Shouldn’t Be Based on the Amount of the Sign-Up Bonus Alone!

I’ll explain how to compare credit cards that earn different types of rewards.  So you can make sure you’re getting the best deal!

Comparing Different Types of Miles & Points

There are 2 important factors to consider when planning your miles & points strategy and deciding which cards to apply for:

  1.   How many miles or points you’ll earn, from sign-up bonuses and bonus categories
  2.   What those miles or points are actually WORTH

As an example, let’s compare the Capital One Venture and the Chase Sapphire Preferred cards.

Always Do the Math

The Capital One Venture card earns 2X Venture miles per $1 spent on every purchase.  Where the Chase Sapphire Preferred only earns 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on most purchases (excluding travel and dining).

2X is better than 1X, right?  Not so fast!

Capital One Venture miles are worth 1 cent each.  But the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you use with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card are worth (at a minimum) 1.25 cents each for travel booked through Chase’s travel portal.  Or even more when you transfer them to one of Chase’s travel partners!

Value Of Capital One Venture Miles
1 Chase Ultimate Rewards Point Is Worth More Than 1 Capital One Venture Mile. And the Difference Can Add up!

Yes, you’ll have to spend twice as much on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to earn the same number of miles you could earn with the Capital One Venture card, without taking into account which card offers the bigger sign-up bonus.  But would you rather have 25,000 Venture miles or 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

25,000 Venture miles are worth $250 in travel (1 cent each).  But 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth ~$313 in travel booked through Chase’s travel portal (25,000 X 1.25).

In both examples, you don’t have to worry about blackout dates or awards being available!

The Power of Flexible Rewards 

Or, even better, you could transfer 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt for a free night a luxury hotel, like the stunningly beautiful Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa.  And get a LOT more value for your rewards!

Value Of Capital One Venture Miles
You Can Get LOTS of Value From the Rewards You Earn by Using Your Points for Otherwise Expensive Hotel Stays. Especially at a Top-Tier Hotel Like the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa!

I found rooms here in December 2017, for 25,000 Hyatt points or $1,577 per night.  Meaning you’re getting a value of ~6 cents per Chase Ultimate Rewards point (~$1,577 / 25,000 points)!

So even though you’re earning rewards at a faster rate with the Capital One Venture card compared to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred can be much more valuable.

This isn’t to say that Capital One Venture miles aren’t a good deal.  It’s just important to understand what the rewards you’re earning are worth when deciding which card to use.

Compare Sign-Up Bonuses With Points Value in Mind

It’s also worth doing the math when you’re comparing sign-up bonuses!

The 25,000 Starwood points you’ll earn after completing minimum spending requirements on the AMEX Starwood card sounds like a lot less than the 100,000 Hilton points you can earn with the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express.  But depending on how you plan to use the points, the Starwood points could be worth more!

For example, you can transfer 20,000 Starwood points to an airline with a 1:1 transfer ratio (like American Airlines), and get 5,000 bonus miles.  So 20,000 Starwood points becomes 25,000 American Airlines miles.  And you’d have points to spare!

That’s enough for a round-trip coach ticket between the mainland US and the Caribbean, Mexico, or Central America in the off-season.  Or a round-trip coach ticket within the US!

Value Of Capital One Venture Miles
The Sign-Up Bonus From the AMEX Starwood Card Is Enough for a Round-Trip Coach Ticket to the Caribbean During Certain Parts of the Year

Tickets like these could easily cost ~$500+.  Meaning your Starwood points would be worth at least ~2.5 cents per point (~$500 / 20,000 points).

In comparison, you could use 100,000 Hilton points for 2 nights at a Hilton hotel like the Hilton Los Angeles / Universal City.  On this sample date, it costs ~$203 (including taxes and fees) or 50,000 Hilton points per night.  And you’d be getting a value of ~0.4 cents per point (~$203 / 50,000 points) for your Hilton points.

That’s MUCH less than half of the value you’d get using Starwood points in the other example!

Value Of Capital One Venture Miles
Depending on How You Use Your Points, the ENTIRE Sign-Up Bonus From the AMEX Hilton Honors Surpass Card Could Be Worth Less Than AMEX Starwood Card. Even Though the Sign-Up Bonus Is Much Bigger!

Plus, you have to use the Hilton points you earn for hotel stays, and you don’t have the flexibility you have with Starwood points.  

Using those values, the 25,000 Starwood point sign-up bonus from the AMEX Starwood card could be worth ~$625 (~2.5 cents per point X 25,000 points).  While the 100,000 Hilton point sign-up bonus from the AMEX Hilton Honors Surpass card would only be worth ~$400 (~0.4 cents per point X 100,000 points).

But keep in mind this is just one example.  There are plenty of ways to get Big Travel with Hilton points!  Million Mile Secrets team member Harlan used 200,000 Hilton points for 5 free nights at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and had an amazing time!

Keep These Factors in Mind, Too

Don’t forget about the various bonus categories different cards offer.  Because they’re an easy way to earn more points!

For example, both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture card earn 2X points on travel and dining.  But as I mentioned before, the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you’ll earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred can be worth a LOT more.

And consider each card’s annual fee, too!  Make sure the ongoing benefits are worth any yearly fees.

In my comparison of the AMEX Starwood card to the AMEX Hilton Honors Surpass card from above, you’ll also need to take into consideration the annual fee for the AMEX Starwood card is $95 (waived for the first year).  Whereas the AMEX Hilton Honors Surpass card has a $75 annual fee that isn’t waived the first year.

Bottom Line

When you’re planning your credit card strategy, it’s important to not only understand how many miles or points a card earns, but what those rewards are actually worth!  Because comparing different types of miles & points is like comparing apples to oranges.

For example, 20,000 Starwood points can be a LOT more valuable than 20,000 Capital One Venture miles – if you use them wisely. 😉

Carefully examine each card’s features, like the sign-up bonus, perks, and bonus categories, when deciding which card is right for you.  So you can take your dream trip sooner rather than later!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 36,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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I was just trying to explain this concept to a friend the other day and you guys have made it so clear. Thank you! I’m fairly new to points, so the examples were very helpful. This should be required reading for newbies! 🙂

Million Mile Secrets

Happy to hear you found it so helpful!

Doesn’t hilton point transfer 1-1 to Amex membership rewards?

Million Mile Secrets

You can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to Hilton at a 2:3 ratio. But there are usually other, better uses for your AMEX Membership Rewards points!

You can read more about it here: https://millionmilesecrets.com/2017/01/09/amex-transfer-partners/

Can I transfer Hilton to Amex like the 100,000 bonus and it will be will be 66,000 Amex points?

I find point values quite baffling. I was looking at booking something near the Oakland airport and saw no Hyatt resorts within a few miles, so I looked at IHG, since we have the Chase Portal and could transfer points to that system (we also have the IHG credit card). Anyway, long story short, a hotel that cost $150 with tax was 38,000 points. I would never spend 38,000 IHG points for a hotel room.

Ironically, a hotel room at the Hyatt near SJC was 8,000 points or $300. Those are the virtually the same points as IHG because both systems transfer from the portal 1:1. What a ripoff for the IHG points. I see no reason to ever transfer points to IHG. I keep the card because I do get enough points for the one free night; otherwise, it’s a waaste of points.

Million Mile Secrets

They are! Which is why it’s always so important to do the math to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Thanks for your comment!

You can transfer Hilton points to airlines is just not a 1:1 transfer like SPG.

This is a good article, but you could have gone a bit deeper. For example, Arrival Points are great for those travel reimbursements you could hardly get anywhere else. Avios are great here in the states for making those 7500 trips. I travel alot from JAX to ORD, and those tickets can be expensive, but AVIOs solves that. I will use the Chase Reserve to make a down payment on a cruise to get the insurance, and then put balance on the Arrival card and get my cruise at a much reduced cost. Earning those Arrival points do cost money.

Million Mile Secrets

Good points! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s a very complex topic, indeed!

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