Monday, April 20, 2009

My Other Asset

I've never discussed my other hidden asset since I never thought I had much of 'em. (No, not that kind of asset, silly.)

I have quite of bit of airline miles, hotel points, and American Express Membership Rewards points accumulated. I’ve heard the rule of thumb that each mile/point is worth approximately 1 cent. So if you have 100 miles or 100 points, it’s worth about a buck. But is that true?

I haven’t previously taken stock of how many miles and points I have, but I figured it’ll be fun trying to figure out what they’re approximately worth. As I’ve mentioned previously, I want to travel to Hong Kong-Macau-Tokyo with my sister for my big 4-O. I’ve valuated my points and mileage based upon my dream itinerary. With fluctuating currencies/fares/rates, this is admittedly a very unscientific calculation. But as the sage Cookie Monster sang, it’s good enough for me:

  • Marriott Rewards Points: 44,107 points
Since my sister lives 1200+ miles away, we need to rendevouz and stay at a hotel near LAX before and after the trip. The Residence Inn in El Segundo costs $134/night or 15,000 reward points (or, 1 reward point = $.009). Based upon this calculation, my current Marriott Rewards Points balance is worth $394. (Yeay! Our pre-trip and post-trip hotel stay will be taken care of!)
  • Hilton HHonors Points: 77,589 points
1 night stay at the Conrad Hilton in Hong Kong costs approximately $3100HKD/night, or $400USD/night, or 40,000 HHonors points (or, 1 HHonors point = $.01). Based upon this calculation, my HHonors account is currently worth $776.
  • American Airlines Aadvantage Miles: 130,058 miles
Since American Airlines’ itinerary sucks, I’ve decided to check its partner airlines, JAL’s prices. An economy-class, open-jawed itinerary from LAX-HKG-NRT costs $1,106, or 70k miles/person (or, 1 AA mile = $0.015). If I were to fly business class, the fare would cost $8,202, or 110k miles/person (or, 1 AA mile = $0.07). (Even if I had to buy additional miles to fly both my sister and myself on business class, it’s worth 1 AA mile = $0.06) Based upon these figures, my Aadvantage miles are currently worth between $1,950 - $9,104!! (Holy cr&p!! We are sooo flying business class!)
  • American Express Membership Rewards Points: 41,151 points
I am most likely going to convert my Membership Reward Points to HHonors points so that I can stay at the Hong Kong Conrad Hotel for free. For every 1,000 Membership Rewards Points, I get 1,300 HHonors Points. Since I can only convert in increments of 1,300 HHonors points, let’s say I convert 33,000 of my Membership Rewards points to get the 42,900 HHonors points I need. Using the calculation above, my 33,000 Membership Rewards points is worth $330. With respect to my remaining 8,151 points, American Express’s shopAmex store allows me to buy products with an exchange rate of 1 Membership Rewards points = $0.005, or $40. Total value of balance: $370.
  • United Mileage Plus: 4,835 miles
Ha. I used to have many more miles, but I used them up to buy tickets to fly my sister and myself to JFK for our trip to Paris last year. Now I only have 4,835. It’s not enough to buy me an economy ticket anywhere. Total value of balance: $0.


So there you have it: My frequent flyer miles and hotel points are worth about $3,490. On the high-end, it’s worth $10,644. I am paying a yearly fee for the privilege of accruing AA miles (via my Citibank Mastercard) and American Express Membership Rewards points. But based upon what I've calculated above, looks like it's well worth it. I’m feeling richer already! :-D


Miss M said...

Wow that is impressive. I've never seen such an accounting done. How did you accumulate so many miles/points, is this over many years or does it include work travel? I just have cash type rewards card, I'll have to look into travel rewards cards now.

Thanks for the birthday wishes, unfortunately it's just another monday and I'm off to work. Pet expo was fun as always be we noticed less giveaways, higher prices. Economy maybe? If the city allowed 1 more I would have adopted this darling pug boy, adorable and sweet. Mr. M and I were both smitten.

ndchic said...

I would call your AA card to see if they will waive the annual fee when it is due.

I have a United card and I tried to cancel it the last time they charged me the annual fee. I told them that the only reason I was cancelling it was because of he fee and they waived it for me. It's worth a shot.

Sharon Rose said...

Thats fantastic news, getting these points when you use the cards anyway!! That will be a fabulous trip my dear, I bet you can't wait!!

Ms. MoneyChat said...

good deal. i lost a ton of marriott points. i used to travel with a previous job ALL of the time that when i left that job, i had 0 interest in traveling. now i'm a little mad that i let all of those points go.

Anonymous said...

Cool! I will be heading to Kyoto and Beijing next week. Too bad I am bad at acculumating points.

jpkittie said...

how fun!!! that will be a great trip!

Shtinkykat said...

@ Miss M: I've accumulated these points and miles for years and from business trips. Now that I've limited my credit card use to what I can pay off each month and my company has cut down on business trips, I won't be accruing as many points and miles as I have in the past... Oh well! Ohhh... I heart pugs!

@ ndchic: Really? I'll give it a try. Hopefully they won't call my bluff!

@ $haronRo$e: Thanks! The trip is several years from now, so for now, it's just a pipe dream. :-P

@ Ms. MoneyChat: Ohhhh.. ouch! Isn't hindsight a b!tch?

@ gijanefinances: LUCKY YOU! I'm jealous. Enjoy your trip!

@ jpkittie: Thanks! Keeping my fingers crossed.