Now that Quarter 2 of 2022 has arrived, it’s once again time to revisit our Points Valuations, which we update on a quarterly basis.
Over the last three months, we’ve seen a few major movements of varying directions across loyalty programs, with quite a few implications on the landscape as a whole.
Before we delve into the valuations, I should remind you that the focus of these valuations lies in the target redemption value of each points currency, rather than the acquisition cost that you might incur (which can vary significantly depending on how you prefer to earn points).
British Airways Avios: Huge Boost from New Qatar Airways Sweet Spots
In late March 2022, Qatar Airways linked up with British Airways and adopted Avios as its own points currency, allowing Avios to be freely transferred 1:1 between the two programs.
Simultaneously, British Airways Avios aligned their pricing of Qatar Airways flights to match Qatar Airways’s pricing for their own flights.
The end result of this is that the value in redeeming Avios for Qatar Airways premium cabins (and the flagship Qsuites product in particular) is now dramatically elevated.
Sample redemptions include 70,000 Avios from North America to Doha, 80,000 Avios to India, 85,000 Avios to the Maldives, 90,000 Avios to Africa, or 95,000 Avios to continue to South East Asia in Qatar Airways A380 First Class.
Needless to say, this development boosts the value of Avios significantly compared to before, when the points program had gotten rather stagnant due to a lack of truly compelling sweet points.
In recognition of this near-perfect alignment of an easily collectible points currency and a highly attractive aspirational redemption, I’m happy to bump up our Avios valuation by two whole units: from 1.7 cents/point (CAD) to 1.9 cents/point (CAD).
- Previous valuation: 1.7 cents/point (CAD); 1.4 cents/point (USD)
- Updated valuation: 1.9 cents/point (CAD); 1.5 cents/point (USD) ▲
CIBC Aventura: 1.25cpp Through June 15
The CIBC Aventura program is putting on a special promotion through June 15, 2022, allowing cardholders to use points to redeem against any travel purchase at double the usual rate: 1.25 cents/point instead of 0.625 cents/point.
This promotion came to prominence back when CIBC was offering 45,000 Aventura points with no minimum spend and the first-year fee waived on their CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite and Gold cards, resulting in a net $563 earnings per card that you applied for.
For Quarter 2 of 2022, then, the value of CIBC Aventura points is indeed temporarily elevated to 1.25cpp (cents per point), and we expect this to return to our regular valuation of 1.2cpp (which factors in the baseline redemption of 1cpp against travel purchases, plus the potential upside of the CIBC Aventura fixed-value redemption chart) next quarter when the promotion ends.
- Previous valuation: 1.2 cents/point (CAD)
- Updated valuation: 1.25 cents/point (CAD) ▲
HSBC Rewards: Bumped Up by Avios
HSBC Rewards points can be converted into British Airways Avios at a ratio of 25,000 points = 10,000 Avios. With the value of Avios significantly increasing this quarter, there are second-order effects on a few transferable currencies that lead to it.
Our previous valuation of HSBC Rewards points was 0.7cpp, factoring in the baseline redemption value against any travel purchase of 0.5cpp, along with the flexibility provided by a trio of transfer partners in Avios, Asia Miles, and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
At 0.7cpp, 25,000 HSBC Rewards points would be worth $175. But since we’d now value the equivalent 10,000 Avios at $190, that necessarily means that the implicit valuation of HSBC Rewards points must go higher.
Thus, we now value HSBC Rewards points at 0.8 cents/point (CAD), at which 25,000 points would be valued at an internally consistent $200.
- Previous valuation: 0.7 cents/point (CAD)
- Updated valuation: 0.8 cents/point (CAD) ▲
Marriott Bonvoy: Has Dynamic Pricing Affected Target Value?
Marriott Bonvoy‘s dynamic pricing model kicked in as of March 29, 2022. Taking a look at the aftermath, we observe that high-end resorts are now priced dynamically higher as a result (as predicted), while there has been a mixed share of results in the middle and low ends of the spectrum.
As we learned in late 2021, only around 3% of Marriott properties have actually changed in pricing as of this round of changes in March 2022. The true impact of dynamic pricing won’t be felt until 2023, which is when the remaining 97% of properties will have free rein to fluctuate their pricing as they’d like.
Therefore, given that the middle and low ends of Marriott’s portfolio continue to be priced in line with before, I’m inclined to keep our valuation of Bonvoy points flat at 0.9 cents/point (CAD) for now.
In the middle or low end of the spectrum, 0.9cpp continues to be the benchmark I’d aim for, while the high end of the spectrum will still naturally exceed 0.9cpp even though the value proposition isn’t strong as before.
Of course, this would change in the future if we discover that Marriott has quietly inflated points pricing across the board, as we suspect may (but not necessarily will) be the case come 2023.
A similar logic applies to our valuations of other hotel loyalty programs: both Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt had implemented changes this quarter that primarily affect the top end of their hotel portfolio, rather than broad-based devaluations across the majority of properties.
In terms of target redemption values, 0.6 cents/point (CAD) and 1.9 cents/point (CAD) continue to be reasonable benchmarks to aim for when redeeming Hilton and Hyatt points, respectively.
RBC Avion: Also Bumped Up by Avios
Similar to the HSBC Rewards adjustment above, we should also revisit our valuation of RBC Avion points given the significant boost to Avios this quarter.
We’ve previously valued RBC Avion points at 1.9cpp, which is equal to the new Avios valuation. But there’s inherent value in the flexibility of Avion points compared to Avios, since Avion points can be converted into Avios but also redeemed in a myriad of other ways.
We’ll therefore adjust our RBC Avion valuation upwards to 2 cents/point (CAD), reflecting the increased value of the Avion ecosystem as a whole now that one of its key constituents has gotten itself a brand-new aspirational sweet spot.
- Previous valuation: 1.9 cents/point (CAD)
- Updated valuation: 2.0 cents/point (CAD) ▲
Points Valuations, Quarter 2 2022
Here’s a summary of our Points Valuations for Quarter 2 of 2022. You can refer to the Points Valuations page for a full list with additional notes.
American Express (Canada)
American Express (US)
Best Western Rewards
British Airways Avios
1.9 cents/Avios ▲
1.5 cents/Avios ▲
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Chase Ultimate Rewards
1.25 cents/point ▲
0.8 cents/point ▲
2.0 cents/point ▲
World of Hyatt
The first quarter of 2022 has seen witnessed a few major developments in the loyalty landscape.
The Avios program has offered up the most joyful good news, while Marriott Bonvoy and its fellow hotel loyalty programs have devalued the highest ends of their portfolios, while leaving the rest of their properties alone – for now.
Remember, treat these numbers as merely a suggestion for reasonable target redemption values when deciding whether to redeem points or pay cash for your next trip.
Ultimately, the value derived from every redemption will be subjective to the individual traveller, and our valuations are designed to illustrate an average benchmark across the community to help inform your decision as you consider your next points redemption.