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In the world of miles and points, one of the prevailing ways that people decide if something is a “good deal” is by comparing the cents per point (CPP). You take the cash cost of the hotel stay or airline flight, and divide it by the number of miles and points it would take to book the same hotel or flight. Not all miles and points are worth the same amount, but this can be used as a barometer to see if you should redeem your miles and points or just pay cash and save your miles and points for a better redemption

So What’s A “Good Deal”?

As I mentioned before, it can be hard to know what makes up a good deal. It’s going to vary wildly, depending on a number of factors, like how many points you already have and how easy it is for you to get more points. If you don’t have very many miles, you might want to make sure that you save them for the “best” redemption. On the other hand, if you have a huge stash of miles and points and/or can earn points cheaply, then you might be willing to take a “lesser” redemption to save your cash.

Here are a few guidelines that I tend to use

  • Most hotel chains (Marriott, Hilton, IHG) – 0.5 to 0.8 cents per point
  • Most airline miles (American, Delta, Southwest, United, Alaska) – 1.0 to 1.5 cents per point
  • Some hotel chains (Hyatt, sometimes Wyndham) – 2.0 cents per point
  • Transferrable currencies (Chase, Amex, Citi ThankYou, Capital One Venture) – 2.0 cents per point (or more)

Obviously take those numbers with a humongous grain of salt.

Easily Getting 3 Cents Per American Airlines AAdvantage Mile

So with all that being said, I have been pretty consistently getting 2 to 3 cents of value from my American AAdvantage miles recently when booking domestic trips on them. I wrote about this before awhile ago, calling American AAdvantage the best loyalty program for domestic travel, and I still think that’s true.

Here’s a screenshot of PointsYeah where I was looking for flights from Atlanta to my home in Cincinnati.

a screenshot of a website

Doing the math – we can take $227.40 (the $233 cash price minus the $5.60 fee that you have to pay on an award ticket), and divide that by the 7500 miles that an award would cost, to get a value of 3.03 cents per point.

Of course this could change at any point – I know that American’s top leadership just got reshuffled, so maybe the new guy will decide this sucks and look to make AAdvantage miles worth less. But for now, I’m lovin it!

The Bottom Line

I have been regularly getting outstanding value for using my American Airlines AAdvantage miles for domestic travel. If you’re traveling domestically and willing to connect, then it’s hard to beat the value from AAdvantage. Certainly United, Delta and Southwest aren’t giving this kind of value with their miles. Sure, it’s not the glamorous redemption, but at the end of the day, the best value for your miles and points is the one that gets you where you want to go, when you want to get there, for the least money out of your pocket.

What about you? What do you use your American AAdvantage miles? Leave your experience in the comments below

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