Multi-criteria analysis (MCA) has emerged from the field of operational research and management science as an appraisal tool able to handle complex multi-factorial decision problems that affect several stakeholders and where an equitable, inclusive and transparent decision process is sought. To assess the worth of different policy options, MCA aggregates the results on multiple evaluation criteria into indicators of the overall performance of options without enforcing the transformation of criteria and their results to a common – in many other tools a monetary - scale. Numerous case studies in the literature suggest that MCA has seen widespread application across different policy venues, spanning many policy areas concerning the environment, public transport and health, analysis of vulnerability to natural and man-made hazards, and many others. To evaluate the tool's merits, we first take a close look at the main methodological aspects of MCA before analysing its application across different policy venues. This will lead us to an evaluation of the tool’s added value and caveats that policy makers and analysts have to bear in mind when applying MCA in policy formulation processes, as well as provide insight into the venues that are most favorable to its application.