Points to dollars: How to calculate the value of rewards points

Not sure what your rewards points are worth? Here's how to work out the dollar value so you can get more bang for your buck.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

With any rewards program, the value of points often depends on what rewards you redeem. That also means the value you get from a rewards or frequent flyer credit card largely depends on whether or not you can use the points and other perks to justify the card's fees, rates and any other costs. So, let's take a look at how to work out this value, as well as what else to think about when you're looking at a rewards card.

Steps to calculate the value of rewards points

An important detail to note: there is no fixed, dollar value for points when you're redeeming them. This is because the number of points you need for a reward varies depending on what you redeem them for and the actual rewards program.

But you can get an idea of what your points are worth for any reward using the following steps:

  1. Estimate the retail value of your chosen reward

    For example, if you wanted to redeem your points for a flight, you could go to the airline's website and search for flights on your chosen travel dates. Or, if you wanted to use points for a coffee machine, you could search for a similar model sold at different retailers. With gift cards and other similar cashback rewards, the value is already established (e.g. a $100 gift card = $100 value).

  2. Divide the cost of the reward by the number of points needed

    This gives you the value of each point and is usually a fractional number. For example, if you wanted to redeem 36,000 points for a flight that retails for $533, the result of this calculation would be $0.0148 (or about 1.5 cents).

    This gives you the value of each point, but comparing cents (or fractions of cents) is sometimes confusing when you're looking at different reward options. If you find that's the case, a simple solution is to look at the value you get for every 1,000 points redeemed. You can do this by adding a third step:

  3. Multiply the value per point by 1,000

    This usually gives you an answer that's in dollars and can be easier to compare, because most of the time you'll be redeeming thousands of points for a reward anyway. So with the example reward flight in step 2, you would get $14.80 worth of value for every 1,000 points used.

How to write this as a calculation

Using the example of a reward flight above, here is how the basic calculation per point would look:

533/36000 = 0.0148 (or 1.48 cents per point)

Here is how the calculation looks per 1,000 points – keeping in mind that you do the calculation in brackets before anything outside the brackets.

[533/36000] x 1000 = 14.80

What is 1 Qantas Point worth?

How can I make the most of my points?

Treat your points like cash when you're redeeming them. If you are rewarded with vouchers or gift cards, shop for items that are on sale. With frequent flyer rewards, go for the flights that are more expensive and generally never marked down.

For example, a domestic flight from Melbourne to Sydney may be as low as $85, while one going to London could cost $1,630. If the domestic flight costs 7,000 points with the rewards program and the international one costs 62,500 points, the value of flying to London using your rewards is higher.

Using the value per 1,000 points calculation, the international flight would offer you $26.08 per 1,000 points, while the domestic flight would offer you $12.14.

Rewards credit cards comparison

Name Product Bonus points Rewards program Rewards points per $ spent Purchase rate Annual fee
Citi Rewards Card - Points & Gift Card Offer
90,000
Citi Rewards Program
1
21.49% p.a.
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Receive 90,000 bonus Citi reward Points (worth $400 in gift cards) and a $100 Coles eGift Card when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
110,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
19.99% p.a.
$295 annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 110,000 bonus Qantas Points (90,000 when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days and 20k after 12 months).
Citi Premier Card
130,000
Citi Rewards Program
1
21.49% p.a.
$150 annual fee for the first year ($300 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy 130,000 bonus points (worth $450 in eGift cards) when you spend $4,000 within the first 90 days. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount.
St.George Amplify Signature - Qantas
90,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.75
19.74% p.a.
$279
Get 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $6,000 using your new card within 90 days from approval and 2 Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
Qantas Premier Platinum
80,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
19.99% p.a.
$225 annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months, 80 bonus Status Credits on eligible spend and a reduced first-year annual fee.
Suncorp Clear Options Platinum Card - Exclusive Offer
25,000
Suncorp Bank Rewards Program
1.25
20.74% p.a.
$64 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a 0% balance transfer rate for 24 months and a reduced first-year annual fee. Plus, 25,000 bonus Suncorp Credit Card Rewards Points.
St.George Amplify Platinum - Qantas
60,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.5
19.74% p.a.
$99
Earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points, plus enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months with a 1% BT fee.
Citi Premier Qantas Card
75,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.5
21.49% p.a.
$175 annual fee for the first year ($350 p.a. thereafter)
Get 75,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the spend requirement, a first-year annual fee discount and complimentary travel perks.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
120,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
20.24% p.a.
$425
Collect 120,000 bonus Qantas Points and $200 back when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, complimentary lounge passes.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
40,000
Velocity Frequent Flyer
0.66
20.74% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Get up to 40,000 bonus Velocity Points on eligible spending and a $0 first-year annual fee. Also, a 0% balance transfer offer.
Coles Rewards Mastercard
40,000
Flybuys
2
19.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Get 40,000 bonus Flybuys Points or $200 off a Coles Supermarket shop, a $0 first-year annual fee and a 14-month balance transfer.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Card
130,000
Westpac Altitude Rewards
1
20.49% p.a.
$49 annual fee for the first year ($150 p.a. thereafter)
Get 130,000 bonus Altitude Points (worth $450 cashback) when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days, a 0% balance transfer offer and a $49 discounted annual fee.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
N/A
Velocity Frequent Flyer
0.66
20.74% p.a.
$64 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 28 months, a reduced 1st year annual fee & $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher yearly.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Qantas
60,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.5
20.49% p.a.
$149 annual fee for the first year ($200 p.a. thereafter)
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount and a 0% balance transfer offer.
NAB Rewards Business Signature Card
100,000
NAB Rewards
1.25
18.5% p.a.
$175
Get 100,000 bonus NAB Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on everyday business purchases in the first 60 days. ABN required.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Tip: Credit card points calculations

If you want to know how many points you'll earn from using your credit card, the easiest way to calculate it is to multiply the card's earn rate (points per dollar) by your average spending.

For example, spending $4,000 a month on a card that earns 1 point per $1 equals 4,000 points per month and 48,000 points per year (4,000 points per month x 12 months). All you need to do to work this out is check your credit card points rate, spending and open the calculator on your phone.

What else do I need to think about?

The value you get from reward points – sometimes known as the "points currency" – is influenced by many factors. Some of the other key details to think about include:

  • Additional reward costs. Some rewards attract additional fees and charges. For example, flights might have airline fees and taxes, while retail items like coffee machines could attract shipping costs. So before redeeming, check whether these expenses are charged separately or factored into the points needed for a reward.
  • Point transfers. If you want to transfer credit card reward points to a frequent flyer program, be aware that the transfer rate could affect the value you get from your points. For example, if 2 credit card points transferred to 1 frequent flyer point, you'd end up with half as many points after the transfer. But if that meant you got a higher-value reward flight, it could be worth it. You can compare point transfer rates for credit card reward programs in this guide.
  • Credit card costs. The annual fee, interest charges, international transaction fees and any other charges you often pay for your credit card can offset the value you get from reward points. Ideally, you should get a card that has fees which are lower than the value you think you will realistically get from rewards.

A reward or frequent flyer credit card is only really worth it if the benefits outweigh the card's annual fee, interest charges and other costs. As points are one of the biggest perks on these cards, working out the potential value you can get from them makes it easier to compare and find a card that fits with your goals.

Frequently asked questions

Back to top

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    MiteshNovember 13, 2012

    I have 500,000 altitude points – what is this in frequent flyer points and how do I check where I can fly to with those points

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JacobNovember 14, 2012Staff

      Hi Mitesh.
      49,920 Altitude points* = 312 Air New Zealand Airpoints
      50,000 Altitude points* = 25,000 Asia Miles
      50,000 Altitude points* = 25,000 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles
      50,000 Altitude points* = 25,000 Malaysia Airlines Enrich points
      50,000 Altitude points* = 25,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer Points
      50,000 Altitude points* = 25,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer Points

      Thanks for your question.

Go to site