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I’m in the middle of putting together a series of posts on the best ways to use Amex Membership Rewards Points to fly to different parts of the world – ie. which transfer partner you should pick depending on where (and how) you want to fly. As part of the research for that, I somehow ended up on a HeadforPoints article from last year about the potential value of transferring Amex MR Points to Radisson Rewards, the loyalty programme for hotel brands like Radisson Blu, Park Plaza, etc
Rob/Raffles makes a characteristically strong case that Radisson Rewards might be the best value Amex hotel transfer partner, but the argument does ultimately rely on a line that jarred a bit with me:
” I don’t value an Avios point – or any airline currency (my emphasis) – at more than 1p.”
On the Avios point I completely agree with him, but there are quite a few different types of miles that I do value at significantly more than 1p each. This matters in the context of working out where best to transfer Amex MR Points, because you can transfer them to pretty much any airline programme, either directly (at good rates), or via Marriott Rewards (at less good rates).
As I imagine most InsideFlyer readers know, Rob is essentially the founding father of the British points/miles/travel hacking scene – and someone I’ve personally learned a huge amount from over the years. It goes without saying that his opinion is worth taking extremely seriously. Even if it was really just a throwaway line rather than a considered opinion, it still got me thinking.
So, here are just a few examples of the many varieties of miles that I believe are worth more than 1p each – let me know what you think about the valuations in the comments!
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
I’ve been singing the praises of Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer programme for years. The devaluation last week has taken a little of the shine off some of the award chart sweets spots covered in articles like this one and this one, but it’s still a very solid programme with some fantastic highlights. The fact that there are no nasty surcharges when you redeem for flights on Singapore Airlines itself (there are on many partners) is also great.
I conservatively value KrisFlyer Miles at at least ~1.2p each.
Alaska Mileage Plan
Regular readers are probably thoroughly sick of me (and Craig) banging on about the virtues of Alaska Mileage Plan. The thing is, it really is a brilliant programme.
If you don’t believe me, have a quick look at our top 5 Alaska redemptions here – I’m talking 15 hours in Business Class for 25,000 miles, Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong in Business Class for less than half what BA Executive Club would charge if you used Avios, etc.
I value Alaska Miles at about 1.7p each.
United Mileage Plus
United Mileage Plus has a pretty average looking award chart at first glance. If you know how to make the most of the so called ‘Excursionist Perk’ (full guide here) though, it’s one of the best around.
I value United Miles at about 1.3p each.
What you might notice about the examples above is that although I believe the relatively high valuations are fair, the programmes are particularly good for a number of specific redemptions, rather than all-rounders. If you wanted to use your points for short haul Economy within Europe, for example, none of the options listed are going to beat humble Avios.
I don’t think that lowers the ‘average’ value of the various miles beneath what I’ve set them at though. There is no type of airline mile which is good for every sort of redemption – the trick is to have the right miles for the trips you want to take, and that’s actually why Amex Membership Rewards Points are so valuable.
Even if you don’t value any particular variety of airline mile at over 1p each, you should still value Amex MR Points at a higher rate – because you can transfer them, as and when you need, to whichever programme provides the best value for the flight you want to book.
It can be difficult and time-consuming to work out what the best transfer option for a given route is though, which is why you’ll hopefully find the guide I’m putting together useful and interesting.
Do you value any variety of miles at over 1p each, or am I off the mark here?