Fair Trading Prices

“Fair trading prices” are the prices by which it is relatively easy or common to acquire points and miles.  More specifically, Fair Trading Prices are estimates of the amount of cash given up by using a points earning credit card rather than a no-fee 2% cash back card.  For more about this, please see: Fair trading prices for points and miles.  Still confused?  Please see Fair trading prices explained.

How much are points worth?

If you want to know how much value you can get from your points, Fair Trading Prices are not the answer.  Instead, please see Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs).

What are elite qualifying miles worth?

Shown below are fair trading prices for redeemable points and miles.  Fair trading prices for Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) are determined differently.  Currently, the fair trading price for airline EQMs = 3 cents per EQM.

FTP Tables Revision History

  • 5/20/2017: Added Sapphire Reserve and Altitude Reserve.  The former leads to very different values for Ultimate Rewards points and its transfer partners.  Also fixed errors in FTPs for Amtrak and British Airways.
  • 3/22/2016: Added price to top up Aeroplan miles
  • 10/12/2015: Several changes…
    1) SPG: Since the SPG card annual fee increased to $95, SPG cost per point increases from 2.16 to 2.26 (the annual fee is included in the calculation as of 3/19/2015).  This caused many FTP values to change upward including SPG transfer partners and hotels (since SPG is used as an index for hotel values along with Hilton)
    2) Added Amtrak
    3) Added several airline programs (LAN, Southwest, etc.)
  • 9/3/2015: Updated Ultimate Rewards FTP and associated FTPs (United) based on latest calculations from the credit card analysis spreadsheet.  Lowered FTP from 1.32 to 1.22.
  • 3/20/2015: Updated Delta FTP. Added cost to transfer Membership Rewards to Delta
  • 3/19/2015: Recalculated everything. Now include credit card annual fee and new category bonuses for some cards.  Added Choice Hotels.
  • 3/9/2014: Updated Ultimate Rewards value. Added Alaska Airlines, Lufthansa, Citi ThankYou, US Bank FlexPerks
  • 4/24/2012: Recalculated hotel values and split from main table

Flexible Use Points

Bank Points Cost to Buy Direct
(cents per point)
Fair Trading Price
(cents per point)
Credit Card*
Amex Membership Rewards (MR)  2.5 1.00  EveryDay Preferred
Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) N/A 1.14 Freedom + Sapphire Reserve
Citi ThankYou Rewards (TYP) N/A 1.25 ThankYou Premier
Diner’s Club (DC) N/A 1.58 Diner’s Club Elite
Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) 3.5 2.26 Amex Starwood
US Bank Altitude Reserve (AR) N/A 1.18 Altitude Reserve
US Bank FlexPerks (FP) N/A 1.32 FlexPerks Amex

* Fair Trading Prices are calculated by assuming that an “average” person puts all spend on this card instead of a no-fee 2% cash back card.  Category bonuses make the Fair Trading Price less than 2 cents each.  In most cases, I assume just one credit card is used for all spend.  The one example is with Ultimate Rewards where I allow two cards for the calculations.  Calculations and assumptions can be found in this Google Docs spreadsheet.

Airline Miles

Airline Miles Cost to Buy Direct (cents per point) Fair Trading Price (cents per point) Transfer From:
Air Canada Aeroplan 3.0 CAD 1.00 MR
Alaska 2.75 1.81* SPG
American 2.95 1.81* SPG
British Airways 2.3 1.14 UR
Delta 3.5 1.06 MR
JetBlue ? 1.31 MR
Korean ? 1.14 UR
LAN ? 1.21* SPG
Lufthansa Miles & More 3.2 1.81* SPG
Southwest ? 1.14 UR
United 3.76 1.14 UR
Virgin Atlantic ? 1.00 MR

* Assumes transfers from SPG are executed 20,000 points at a time in order to get 5,000 point transfer bonus.


Amtrak Guest Rewards Cost to Buy Direct (cents per point) Fair Trading Price (cents per point) Transfer From:
Amtrak 3.77 2.26 SPG


Hotel Values

Prices are cents per point Points earned per $ for stays SPG Index Hilton Index Fair Trade Price (Average SPG & Hilton Index) Buy Direct
SPG 2 2.26 N/A 2.26 3.5
Hilton 15 N/A 0.45 0.45 1
Best Western 10 0.45 0.67 0.56 1
Choice 10 0.45 0.67 0.56 1.1
Club Carlson 20 0.23 0.34 0.28 0.7
Hyatt 5 0.9 1.34 1.12 2.4
IHG 10 0.45 0.67 0.56 1.15
Marriott 10 0.45 0.67 0.56 1.25
Wyndham 10 0.45 0.67 0.56 N/A

SPG and Hilton values are computed from credit card earnings with the same methodology as bank and airline miles above.  The rest of the hotel values are computed relative to SPG and Hilton.  For example, if a hotel offers 5 times as many points for a stay as with SPG, then the fair trade price for that hotel using the SPG index is the SPG fair trading price divided by 5.  For each hotel chain, two Fair Trading prices are calculated: the SPG Index and the Hilton Index.  The chain’s Fair Trade Price, then, is the average of the two.  For more details about this approach, please see this post.


  • The “Buy Direct” column is the advertised price to buy points or miles directly from each specific program. The price does not include any specials that may be running.
  • The “Credit Card” column lists the best price you could get by trading points from one of the three listed flexible points programs. In each case I tried to find the transfer option that led to the lowest cost.
  • For details on how this table was first compiled, please see: Fair trading prices for points and miles
  • Tricks, hacks, and promotions that allow points to be purchased less expensively are not included in the estimates above.  If interested, please read “When should a hack determine the fair trading price of points and miles?
  • Fair Trading Prices will be updated regularly.  Please check back often.


You may re-publish the above table under the condition that credit is given to Frequent Miler along with the web address for this blog (https://frequentmiler.com).  Please also include a link back to this page so that readers can always see the latest updates.

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Greg The Frequent Miler

Updated FTPs to include Sapphire Reserve earning rate and new Altitude Reserve card. Also fixed a couple of errors (Amtrak and BA)


If I’m reading the Hotels Value chart correctly, Hilton should be N/A on the Hilton Index and SPG should be N/A on the SPG Index, no? Currently, they are switched.

Greg The Frequent Miler

I don’t think so. Consider, for example, that SPG obviously offers the same number of points per dollar as itself (SPG), then the formula for the SPG index is the SPG value divided by 1.

Matt of Canada

Just a heads-up. If you have 50% of the Aeroplan miles needed for an award, you can “top up” by buying the remainder for $0.03 CAD ($0.23 USD)/mile. So I would write 2.3 or 3.0 CAD as the “cost to buy direct.”

Greg The Frequent Miler

Thank you! Done.

Greg The Frequent Miler

Made a number of changes to FTP calculations:

1) SPG: Since the SPG card annual fee increased to $95, SPG cost per point increases from 2.16 to 2.26 (the annual fee is included in the calculation as of 3/19/2015). This caused many FTP values to change upward including SPG transfer partners and hotels (since SPG is used as an index for hotel values along with Hilton)

2) Added Amtrak

3) Added several airline programs (LAN, Southwest, etc.)

Greg The Frequent Miler

Note: Lowered Ultimate Rewards FTP (and United) to 1.22 cents per point from previous 1.32 cents per point. When I wrote a series of posts about best credit card combos, I had updated the credit card analysis spreadsheet which resulted in a new FTP for UR, but I had forgotten at the time to update it here.


You could just do it for the most common sign up offer. You’d cover the majority that way. If anyone got a better sign-up it would be only upside!

Greg The Frequent Miler

I’d have to think about that. The result would be something very different than fair trading prices. Not sure what it would really mean.


You should do the cost per point assuming a person just does the minimum spend to get the sign-up bonus as many who follow you do. Those same people may also just use 2% card for all other purchases. Another column for that would be interesting.

Greg The Frequent Miler

That would be tough since it is dependent upon signup bonuses that change regularly.

Brad R

Now that AMEX membership rewards points can be transferred to SPG at a 2:1 value, shouldn’t you raise the value of AMEX points to half of SPG points, the new value being not 1.0 cpp but 1.08 cpp. Small change, I know, but, you know, for accuracy’s sake… 🙂

Greg The Frequent Miler

Where did you get the idea that you can transfer MR to SPG at 2:1? I see 3:1, as usual. Regardless, this chart shows the cheapest way to get points so, if anything, a 2:1 transfer ratio would make me lower the FTP of SPG.


Nice chart. However, I travel a lot internationally and find the value of my SPG points worth less when using the card overseas as they charge a 2.7% foreign transaction fee for those purchases. Does your chart take into acct fees charged which reduce the initial value you earn?


Shane: No, the chart assumes no foreign transaction fees. I definitely wouldn’t recommend using the SPG card overseas.


Thanks for replying. I read that article too, and I understand how you come up with the numbers. I’m just struggling with the application of the theory 🙂

Case in point, I had a bunch of Hyatt stays queued up and decided to sign up for the Diamond Trial. Now I’m trying to figure out how much to invest, that is, whether I actually do mattress runs to complete the 12 nights required for Diamond and/or the 15 or 20 nights required to hit the various tiers of the fall promo.

You have a great article on this 😉 [1] and I follow your point exactly, but you base your final decision on the FTP of Hyatt points, i.e. 1 cent each. You also discourage, in that same article, using the expected redemption value as a metric, but rather some type of trading price or acquisition price. To me, this makes perfect sense if you can actually easily or commonly acquire GP points for that price, but I’m not sure that is the case here. Thus my original question.

It seems like basing the FTP for Hyatt GP points off of those for Hilton or SPG is only useful if there is some kind of way to transfer between those programs and Hyatt and also takes into account losses and transfer costs.

With a specific redemption in mind, it strikes me that my true value for Hyatt points is somewhere between the cost of a UR point and the per-point value of my redemption. In other words, significantly higher than your current FTP.

I apologize for rambling here but I’m simply trying to understand how useful the FTP is, at least in the case of Hyatt. Any guidance would be appreciated. Maybe there’s a follow-on post in here somewhere 🙂

[1] https://frequentmiler.com/2013/08/23/is-it-time-for-the-hyatt-diamond-trial-offer/


SBC: I’m sorry for taking so long to respond! I love the complexity and thought that went into your comment and so wanted to think through a response. I tend to use FTP (Fair Trading Price) as my metric to estimate the cash equivalent rebate value of points earned. That works reasonably well when not working towards a specific redemption. If you’re trying to get enough points for a specific redemption, though, its completely reasonable to base the value of points earned on your expected redemption value. Let’s say you are looking at a 22K per night Hyatt stay where room would normally be $660 per night. In that case, it looks like you would get 3 cents per night value. However, you won’t earn Hyatt points on an award stay, and you can’t use a confirmed suite upgrade on an award stay, so the award is worth less than $660 per night. maybe discount the value by 1/3? Then the value is $440 per night or 2 cents per point. Of course, I used easy numbers here, but hopefully you can apply similar logic to your situation? What do you think?


SBC: For most hotels I based the fair trading price on the points earned from hotel stays. I explain it here: https://frequentmiler.com/2012/04/25/fairer-hotel-trading-prices/


You define “fair trading prices” as the prices by which it is relatively easy or common to acquire a given point or mile.

In the case of Hyatt, the FTP of a GP point is just under 1 cent. How would I go about acquiring Hyatt points for 1 cent per, without resorting to tricks, hacks or promotions?


Ed: Good idea. The best option (that I know of) is to transfer from SPG, so Alaska would get the same fair trading price as AA: 1.56


Any chance we’ll see an FTV for Alaska any time soon?


Marriott earn at 10x /$ is only for Courtyard or above. Residence Inn etc are just 5x.