How value flights header image

WhatBank – How WhatBank Values Points Used for Flights

With travel cards, spending earns you points that you may want to use toward flights. When it comes to assigning a value for these points there are two important things to keep in mind.

How Valuable are My Points?

The short answer is that it depends on where you are going. Let’s compare two separate flights, both using Aeroplan points.

The first is from Vancouver to Calgary.
Let’s say that Aeroplan values this flight at 15,000 pts or $450
So that’s 33.3 pts / dollar

The second is from Toronto to Japan.
Aeroplan values this flight at 200,000 pts or $2500.
This works out to 80 pts / dollar

The point is that different destinations may have very different point per dollar values. That’s why WhatBank asks for your travel destination region — to more accurately value the points that you’ve accumulated.

Base Fare vs. Base Fare + Other Stuff

Some points cover just the “base fare”, others cover the entire cost of the flight. This is important to keep in mind because sometimes these can be very different. Suppose you had an AMEX cards that collects Membership Reward points and you want to fly from Montreal to Paris, France.

AMEX fixed points travel program only covers the base fare and only up to a maximum amount.

Base Fare:                                          $290
Taxes, Fees & Carrier Surcharges: $800

In this example, Taxes, Fees & Carrier Surcharges are over 73% of the total cost of the flight. To properly value this flight, WhatBank automatically takes 1/12 of your out-of-pocket taxes and fees (as well as any base fare over the maximum limit) and subtracts them from your total card’s value each month.

The fact that the AMEX fixed point travel program only covers your base fare is a bit of a dark cloud. However, there is a silver lining with AMEX as well. AMEX allows you to transfer your Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan, which does cover taxes and fees. In fact, with AMEX cards, WhatBank automatically calculates this possibility and appends the following text to the card name if the card lands in the top five: (Use Aeroplan by transferring AMEX Membership Rewards to Aeroplan points 1:1)

It can be a bit confusing. Luckily, WhatBank takes all of this into account so you don’t have to.