How Much is 40,000 Miles Worth?

Each airline's miles are worth a different amount. Aim for at least $480 of value.
Carissa Rawson
By Carissa Rawson 
Edited by Meghan Coyle

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You’ve probably heard of frequent flyer programs. Initially created as a way to ensure customer loyalty, these programs have since allowed travelers to fly around the world for very little money. You can earn airline miles in a variety of ways, including credit card welcome offers, flights and spending on co-branded credit cards.

However, not all airline miles are created equally. Let’s take a look at the value of each airline’s award miles and how much 40,000 miles is worth.

An overview of airline miles to dollars

Based on NerdWallet’s most recent analysis, here’s how 40,000 miles shakes out in dollar values across major U.S. airlines. You should expect 40,000 miles to be worth about $515.


Estimated value of 40,000 miles

Alaska Airlines


American Airlines


Delta Air Lines


Frontier Airlines


Hawaiian Airlines


JetBlue Airways


Southwest Airlines


Spirit Airlines


United Airlines


Here, we’ll look closer at each airline, highlighting sweet spots where you could get even more value per point or mile than on average.

🤓Nerdy Tip

You can use NerdWallet’s calculator to determine whether you should book a flight with miles.

Feel free to jump ahead to your airline of choice:

Alaska Airlines: $560

Although it isn’t one of the big three U.S. airlines, Alaska Airlines operates a wide route network with more than 120 total destinations. Due to its membership in Oneworld and a strong group of individual partnerships, you’ll find your miles redeemable with plenty of airlines, including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Icelandair.

The cost to redeem your Alaska miles will depend on your carrier; you’ll find different rates depending on whether you’re flying Alaska or one of its partners. Overall, we value Alaska Mileage Plan miles at 1.4 cents each, which means 40,000 miles will be equal to $560 worth of travel.

When flying with Alaska Airlines, you’ll pay a range of pricing depending on demand, distance and fare class.

For example, on a low-demand day, you can fly nonstop from Seattle to Orlando, Florida, for 12,500 miles.

You can also find the same flights in reverse, paying just 12,500 miles to get home from Orlando. At these rates, you’ll be able to take three one-way flights across the country for 37,500 miles — and you’ll end up with 2,500 miles left over.

However, you may find better results when flying with some of Alaska’s partners. Consider this flight from Honolulu to Fiji, which will cost you 27,500 miles.

Nearly seven hours is a long time to spend on a plane, but it’s an excellent deal when you consider that the cash price for this flight is $715.

🤓Nerdy Tip

You can often find better value redeeming your miles for premium cabins rather than economy.

American Airlines: $680

American Airlines is also a member of Oneworld and has nearly 6,700 daily flights. American ties the cost of its flights to a semi-fixed award chart based on demand. We value American Airlines AAdvantage miles slightly higher than Alaska, at a rate of 1.7 cents each. This means that 40,000 miles with American will be equal to roughly $680 worth of travel.

Let’s take a look at a Los Angeles to Denver flight, this time booked through American.

Spending just 7,000 miles for a 2½-hour flight is pretty good. At this rate, you’d be able to fly to Denver five times for just 35,000 miles.

Delta Air Lines: $480

Delta Air Lines is a member of SkyTeam and thus has access to flights with airlines such as Air France, AeroMexico, China Eastern and more. We value Delta SkyMiles at a rate of 1.2 cents each, which means when you convert 40,000 Delta miles to dollars you get about $480.

Delta ties its award rates pretty closely to the cash price of its tickets as well as demand. For a flight from Los Angeles to Seattle, a basic economy ticket will cost $59 in cash or 3,500 SkyMiles.

At this rate, you’ll be able to take five round trips from Los Angeles to Seattle for 35,000 SkyMiles, while the equivalent cash price would be $590.

Frontier Airlines: $440

Famous for its low-cost fares, Frontier Airlines operates flights to over 80 cities. You’ll be able to redeem your miles based on demand and a region-based award chart, with redemptions starting as low as 10,000 miles each way. We value Frontier miles at a rate of 1.1 cents each, which means 40,000 miles will be worth about $440.

One-way domestic U.S. flights — no matter where you go — will either cost you 10,000 miles, 20,000 miles or 22,500 miles, depending on how many seats are left:

Although you’ll have a connection on your San Diego to Orlando route, you’re still paying just 10,000 miles. This means your 40,000 miles can stretch out to two round-trip tickets anywhere in the country.

Keep in mind that Frontier tacks on award fees based on when you’re booking your flight:

  • 180+ days before travel: Free.

  • 21-179 days before travel: $15. 

  • Seven to 20 days before travel: $50. 

  • Fewer than six days before travel: $75.

Hawaiian Airlines: $480

Although Hawaiian Airlines isn’t a member of any airline alliance, it does have a few partnerships, including those with JetBlue and Japan Airlines. When redeeming your HawaiianMiles, you’ll use a region-based award chart with varying price levels based on demand. Inter-island flights, for example, can run as low as 7,500 miles but as much as 17,650.

We value HawaiianMiles at a flat 1.2 cents each, so 40,000 miles will be equal to $480 in flights.

Flights to Hawaii from the West Coast start at 20,000 miles each way, as you can see on this trip from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

That means you could book a round-trip flight between the West Coast and Hawaii using your full 40,000 miles.

JetBlue Airways: $600

JetBlue Airways is a well-known airline with services throughout North America, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Europe. The airline ties its award flights directly to the cost of a cash ticket, which means you aren’t likely to find any “sweet spots” when redeeming your miles. Still, you can get a pretty decent value from them; we consider TrueBlue points to be worth 1.5 cents each, so 40,000 points will be valued at $600.

The only real trick for finding good redemptions with JetBlue is by finding inexpensive cash flights and using your points to pay. Let’s consider a flight from New York-JFK to Miami. It’s $124 in cash or 9,800 points

In this case, you’ll be able to fly round-trip from New York-JFK to Miami twice with just 800 points left over.

Southwest Airlines: $600

Renowned for allowing two free checked bags and never charging change fees, Southwest Airlines has been steadily growing its market for years. Like JetBlue, Southwest ties the amount of Rapid Rewards points you’ll need for an award flight to its cash cost. NerdWallet found Southwest points to be valued at 1.5 cents each, making 40,000 points worth roughly $600 in flights.

To find the best redemption rates for your points, you’ll want to check out inexpensive fares. Southwest has a Low Fare Calendar that will display an entire month’s worth of flights at once.

In this example from Dallas to Atlanta, you’ll find the cheapest rates for just 5,720 points. By taking advantage of the Low Fare Calendar, you’d be able to take this flight six times, with a remainder of 5,680 points when you’ve finished.

Spirit Airlines: $320

Another low-cost carrier, Spirit Airlines revamped its rewards program in early 2021 to offer new benefits, such as points pooling with family members and points that don’t expire. We value Spirit points at 0.8 cent each; 40,000 miles will be worth about $320 in value.

As with Southwest and JetBlue, Spirit operates on a fare-based redemption system, which means the cost of your award ticket will depend on cash rates. Here’s a good example with a one-way flight from Denver to Las Vegas.

Fares for this flight are either $20 or $19 depending on whether you’re a member of the Saver$ Club. However, those same flights can be had for just 2,500 points.

Redemptions for Spirit start at a base of 2,500 points one-way. At this rate, you’ll be able to take eight round-trip flights and use every one of your 40,000 points.

Like Frontier, however, Spirit may charge you a redemption fee based on when you're booking your flight:

  • Fewer than 28 days to departure: $50.

  • At least 28 days before departure: Free.

United Airlines: $480

United Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, which contains more than two dozen members, including Air Canada, Avianca, Lufthansa and All Nippon Airways. Like many airlines, United charges dynamic pricing for its award flights. We value United MileagePlus miles at 1.2 centseach, so your 40,000 miles will be worth roughly $480.

United operates a large network of flights, and combined with its robust alliances, redeeming United miles is easy. Although these aren’t the most valuable miles, you can still find yourself some pretty decent award flights, including this nonstop option from Los Angeles to London-Heathrow for 32,300 miles.

Other good options for United miles include short-haul flights, where awards can drop as low as 5,400 miles.

By choosing the flexible dates option while searching for an award flight, you can see the best rates for your miles in a calendar view. But assuming you travel on those 5,400 mile flights, you can get three round-trip flights with your 40,000 miles. This will leave you with 7,600 miles to spare.

If you’re looking to use 40,000 miles …

Not all airline miles are created equal. The best way to figure out what options are right for you will depend on where you live and the type of travel you prefer. Regardless, 40,000 miles is a good chunk of miles and can get you far — no matter where you’re going or which airline you’re flying.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024, including those best for:

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