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Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

What Are Credit Card Points? What Are They Worth?

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Credit cards may offer points, miles or cash back — all worth varying amounts. Figure out which type of rewards card is best for you based on your preferences and spending habits.

If you’re not familiar with the credit card points, miles and cash back game, you may be wondering how much your credit card points are worth and how to get the best value with them. The answer is: It depends on the card and its underlying rewards program.

Unlike cash back rewards, which have a set value, the value of credit card points and miles can vary drastically, depending on how you redeem them. Points and miles programs each come with unique options for redeeming rewards, with some options offering better value than others. You’ll need to explore the options for your card’s rewards program and decide how you’re most likely to use your rewards, to determine what your card’s points or miles are worth to you.

In this guide, we’ll dive more into the value of different types of rewards programs and offer our recommendations for the best points programs.

Credit card points are the rewards users earn with certain credit cards. Although they’re often referred to simply as “points,” there are multiple types of card “currencies”:

  • Points
  • Miles
  • Cash back

It’s important to note that 1 point or mile from one card isn’t necessarily worth the same as 1 point or mile from another card. This means comparing credit cards and their rewards can be challenging. In this guide, we’ll compare the value of points from major credit card issuers and work through how to calculate a credit card’s rewards rate.

Don’t know much about rewards? Learn more about Cash back, points and miles

You’ll find that the “good” redemption options with most rewards programs tend to get you around 1 cent per point in value. However, you can do even better than this — or worse — depending on how you redeem points:

  • For example, using points to book travel may result in greater value than redeeming your points for cash back.
  • However, some reward programs’ points are worth significantly more when transferred to the program’s travel partners.
  • On the other hand, points with most rewards programs are worth significantly less than 1 cent when you redeem them for merchandise (such as a laptop PC or refrigerator).

Two rewards programs that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs include Chase Ultimate Rewards® and American Express Membership Rewards programs. These types of points are considered to be worth more because their value can be maximized when transferred to partnering airline or hotel programs.

When you’re not a cardholder, finding exact redemption details can be difficult. One option is to call the card issuer and ask for a few examples of how you’d be able to redeem points. The information can also sometimes be found on the issuer’s website.

To calculate the value of a single point, divide the dollar value of a reward by the points needed to unlock it. For example, if it takes 80,000 points to pay for a $800 airline ticket, the calculation is: $800 / 80,000 = 1 cent

On average, cardholders can expect to receive about 1 cent per point, though this can vary substantially from card to card.

Points earnedRedemption methodRedemption total valuePoint value
10,000Cash back$1001 cent
10,000Travel$2001 to 2 cents
10,000Gift card$1001 cent
80,000Laptop PC$6000.75 cent

Credit card points programs compared

To simplify the process of comparing rewards programs, we analyzed the value of credit card points across the major U.S. credit card issuers. For redeeming through the card’s rewards portal, Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are worth the most, offering up to 1.5 cents per point depending on the card. Note that all these issuers allow you to transfer points to outside loyalty programs, where you can potentially get a better value for your points.

Credit card pointsEstimated value per point
Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 1 to 1.5 cents for travel redemptions through the Chase TravelSM portal
  • 1 cent for cash back
American Express Membership Rewards
  • 0.75 cents to 1 cent for flights, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages or cruises through the Membership Rewards portal
  • 0.6 cents for cashback statement credit
Citi ThankYou® Rewards
  • 1 cent for travel redemptions through the Citi Travel℠ portal
  • 0.8 cents for Amazon.com purchases
  • 0.5 to 1 cent for cashback statement credit
Capital One Miles
  • 1 cent for travel statement credits
  • 0.5 cent for cash back

What are airline miles worth?

Airline miles, which you can earn from transferring general travel points or using co-branded airline credit cards, tend to be more valuable than the average rewards program currency. We’ve found that the average airline mile is worth 1.3 cents.

Below are our valuations per point for several major airlines:

AirlineAverage value per mile
American Airlines$0.018
Delta Air Lines$0.011
JetBlue$0.012
Southwest Airlines$0.014
United Airlines$0.013

What are hotel points worth?

As with airline miles, you can earn hotel points by transferring points from credit card rewards programs or using a co-branded hotel credit card. Unlike airline miles, hotel points tend to be worth less than the average rewards program point. Some hotel programs, like Hilton and IHG, require an enormous number of points for redemption. Hilton and IHG points are only worth around 0.05 cents per point on average. On the high end, you’ll find that Hyatt gives you around 1.7 cents per point.

Here are some of the points values of a few top hotel loyalty programs:

HotelAverage value per point
World of Hyatt$0.017
Choice Privileges$0.011
Marriott Bonvoy$0.009
Hilton Honors$0.005
IHG$0.005

Browse our top picks for the best hotel credit cards.

There are several factors that make one reward program superior to another. For example, the best rewards programs offer flexible redemption options and let you maximize your rewards by transferring them to partner programs.

Here are our picks for the best credit card reward programs:

Chase Ultimate Rewards®

The Chase Ultimate Rewards® program offers a number of credit cards, both personal and business, that allow for flexible rewards redemption. With this program, you can:

  • Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel, gift cards, merchandise and more
  • Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to 10-plus partnering hotel and loyalty programs, including Marriott Rewards, IHG® Rewards Club, United MileagePlus and JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Redeem points for travel through the Chase TravelSM portal
  • Get up to a 50% bonus on your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal with some cards
  • Redeem points for cash back at a value of 1 cent each (Citi and Amex don’t provide as much value for cash back)

Credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Earning rateAnnual fee
Chase Freedom Flex℠5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter. Plus, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.$0
Chase Freedom Unlimited®Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases.$0
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardEnjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.$95
Chase Sapphire Reserve®Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.$550
Ink Business Cash® Credit CardEarn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year. Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.$0
Ink Business Preferred® Credit CardEarn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.$95
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit CardEarn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business.$0

Check our list of the best Chase credit cards.

American Express Membership Rewards Points

The American Express Membership Rewards program allows cardholders to earn valuable rewards by offering versatile redemption options:

  • You can redeem your Membership Rewards points for travel, gift cards, statement credits and more
  • Travel is worth 1 cent per point at most when you redeem through the Amex travel portal (for most cards)
  • Transfer Amex points to 20-plus travel partners to get the most value (partners include British Airways, Air Canada, and several others)

Cards that earn Amex Membership Rewards

Earning rateAnnual fee
The Platinum Card® from American Express5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Terms apply. $695
American Express® Gold CardEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Terms apply. $250
American Express® Green CardEarn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the US. Also earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on travel including airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, campgrounds, and vacation rentals. Additionally, earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways.$150
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express3x points at U.S. supermarkets; 2x points at U.S. gas stations; 1x points on other purchases.$95
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases. Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on each eligible purchase at US construction material, hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers, and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.$695
American Express® Business Gold CardGet 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year (then 1X thereafter). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com using your Business Gold Card. Earn up to $20 in statement credits monthly after you use the Business Gold Card for eligible U.S. purchases at FedEx, Grubhub, and Office Supply Stores. This can be an annual savings of up to $240. Enrollment required.$375
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American ExpressEarn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.No annual fee

The information related to American Express® Green Card and The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply.
*To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
*To see rates & fees for American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
*To see rates & fees for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
*To see rates & fees for American Express® Business Gold Card, please click here.
*To see rates & fees for The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, please click here.
Check out our list of the best American Express credit cards.

Citi ThankYou® Rewards

Similarly to Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards, the Citi ThankYou Rewards program also offers a number of ways to maximize your rewards points:

  • You can redeem Citi ThankYou points for for travel, gift cards, statement credits and more
  • Travel is worth 1 cent per point at most when you redeem through the Citi Travel℠ portal
  • Transfer Citi ThankYou points to over 10 travel partners to get the most value on your rewards (unfortunately, Citi’s travel partners do not include any major airlines for the moment)
  • Redeem your rewards for gift cards at the high rate of 1 cent per point
  • Earn points through banking as well as spending on your credit card, which offers more flexibility to users who don’t spend frequently on their card

Credit cards that earn Citi ThankYou® Rewards

Earning rateAnnual fee
Citi Rewards+® CardEarn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.$0
Citi Strata Premier Card10x on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked through CitiTravel.com 3x -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases 3x -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent on Restaurants 3x -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent on Supermarkets 3x -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent on Gas and EV Charging Stations 1x -- Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on All Other Purchases.$95

Check out our list of the best Citi credit cards.

A credit card rewards rate is a metric used to determine how rewarding a credit card is for certain purchases. It is most often expressed as a percentage return on every dollar spent.

Rewards rate calculation equation: The rewards rate is equal to the rewards point value times the point-earning rate. Example: Say a credit card earns 2 points per $1 and each of those points is worth 1 cent. The calculation is:

2 x $0.01 = 2% rewards rate

The math gets more complicated if the card offers bonus categories. You’ll need to figure out the amount you’re likely to spend in each of the card’s categories, then combine those amounts to figure out how many points (or how much cash back) you’ll earn on average with the card.

Example: Say a card offers 3 points on dining and 1 point on everything else and its points are worth $0.015 when redeemed for travel. You’re a foodie, so 20% of your credit card spend goes to dining out — you think this card might be a better option than a card that offers 2 points on every purchase. Here’s how you would calculate your average point earnings to decide:

3 x 0.2 = 0.6
1 x 0.8 = 0.8
0.6 + 0.8 = 1.4 points earned per $1 on average
1.4 x $0.015 = 2.1% rewards rate

The card would give you around a 2.1% rewards rate, which barely beats the card that offers 2 points on every purchase. You might be better off going with the flat-rate card, for simplicity’s sake.

A net rewards rate is a slightly more complicated metric that also factors a card’s annual fee into the result. Though it is more difficult to calculate, the net rewards rate is the most accurate representation of the value a credit card holds for those who continually use it.

Net rewards rate calculation equation: To calculate the net rewards rate, use the following calculation: (See our example below.)

Amount spent x Points earned per $1 x Points value – Annual fee = Net rewards rate

Amount spentPoints earnedPoints valueAnnual feeNet rewards rate
$10,00020,000$200$501.5%
$10,00020,000$250$02.5%
$10,00010,000$200$251.75%

Typically credit cards will offer you rewards in either points or cash back.

If you’re looking for simple, high value rewards, cashback credit cards can be a great option. Cashback rewards have a couple advantages:

  • The value is more straightforward. If you get 1% cash back on all purchases made with your card, you know you are getting 1 cent for each dollar that you spend
  • Cash back is easy to redeem. Usually cash back can be redeemed as a statement credit or deposited directly into your checking account.

Points, on the other hand, can be a bit more challenging to quantify, but come with their own advantages:

  • You can redeem points in a variety of ways. You have many more ways you can use your rewards, including travel, gift cards and merchandise (though the latter two often have a terrible value).
  • You can maximize their value. By strategically redeeming your points, you can get a better return than 1 cent per point.
  • You can often transfer points into airline and hotel loyalty programs. Many credit card programs allow you to transfer points to outside loyalty programs. This can be a great benefit if you’re already collecting rewards in a loyalty program account, and often returns the best value on your points.

Bottom line: If you don’t travel often or aren’t willing to put in the work to use or maximize your credit card rewards points for travel, you’ll likely be better off choosing a credit card that earns cashback rewards. If you’d rather have more flexible redemption options and maximize the value of your points by using them for travel, credit cards that earn traditional rewards points will be the better option for you.

Credit card rewards points can certainly be worth it when properly utilized. Using credit card points and miles can help you save big on travel expenses, earning you things like free flights, seat upgrades, free hotel nights and upgrades and more. Even if you only travel a few times per year, credit card points can help cover the costs so you won’t end up paying out of pocket. If you’d prefer to earn cash back rewards, you’ll get a percentage back of every dollar you spend, which can end up saving you significant sums of money in the long term.

The best part about credit card rewards is that with the right card, you earn them simply by spending money on the things you would have bought anyway, thus rewarding you for your everyday purchases. For consumers who frequently use a credit card, rewards points are certainly worth it.

*To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
*To see rates & fees for American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
*To see rates & fees for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
*To see rates & fees for American Express® Business Gold Card, please click here.
*To see rates & fees for The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, please click here.
The information related to Chase Freedom Flex℠, Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card and Citi Rewards+® Card  has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

Credit card points work by making purchases on your card in order to earn and redeem points. Different cards offer different earning rates, allowing you to earn more points in different spending categories. You can redeem your points for items like cash back, travel, gift cards and more.

Rewards rates will vary depending on the particular credit card you’re using, but generally rewards are worth around 1 cent per point. If you earn 1,000 points, that would be worth around $10.

If you are a frequent traveler or could benefit from earning cash back rewards, it can definitely be worth it to get a credit card that earns points. Credit card points can save you money on flight and hotel purchases, offer you upgrades and more.

Though there are lots of great points programs out there, we believe Chase Ultimate Rewards® is one of the best. It has a number of flexible redemption options and allows you to maximize your rewards value by transferring points to any of its many travel partners. Some of the cards that earn Ultimate Rewards include the Chase Freedom Flex℠, the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

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