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Credit card competition has been heating up, and cardholders have been benefitting from large welcome bonuses and improved credit card rewards. It’s not uncommon now to see cards with welcome offers of 100,000 or more bonus points. As a result, credit card rewards enthusiasts are scrambling to find the best new credit cards to add to their wallets — and welcome bonuses are a big part of their decision.
fIf you want to know more about boosted welcome bonuses and their redemption potential, plus which card is best for you, look no further. We’ll break down some of the top welcome bonus offers to see which ones are worth applying for as your next credit card.
Compare the best cards with sign-up bonuses of 100,000+ points
Before we dive in, it’s important to note that welcome bonuses frequently change. Some cards only offer bonuses of 100,000+ points or more for a limited time (such as three to six months).
Regardless, here are some of the best credit cards with a welcome bonus of 100,000 points or more, along with their estimated point values:
|Cards||Annual fee||Welcome bonus/offer||Bankrate point value||Estimated welcome bonus value|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||$695||80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $8,000 within 6 months of account opening||2.1 cents||$1,680|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card||$650||150,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $6,000 within 6 months of account opening||0.7 cents||$665|
|Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card*||$450||150,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening||0.6 cents||$900|
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card*||$95||Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in your first 3 months of card membership.||0.6 cents||$780|
|IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card*||$99||Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||0.7 cents||$980|
|Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card||$95||Earn 75K Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on your first 6 months + 50K Bonus Points after you stay 6 eligible paid nights at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® through 1/31/24.||0.7 cents||up to $1,050|
|Hilton Honors American Express Card||$0||Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first 3 months of card membership.||0.6 cents||$480|
Our picks: Top cards with sign-up bonuses of 100,000+ points
The Platinum Card from American Express: Best for premium travel perks
The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best travel credit cards on the market for a reason: In exchange for a $695 annual fee, you’ll get an incredible welcome bonus — 80,000 points after spending $8,000 within six months of account opening — and over $1,500 in annual credits. Some of these credits include:
- Up to $200 in airline fee credits for incidentals with a select airline
- Up to $200 in hotel credits for prepaid bookings with Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties (must book a minimum two-night stay through Amerian Express Travel)
- Up to $200 in Uber Cash ($15 per month, plus an extra $20 in December)
- Up to $189 credit for CLEAR® Plus membership
- Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or up to $85 TSA PreCheck (every four years)
- Up to $240 credit for select digital entertainment services ($20 per month)
- Up to $100 credit for Saks Fifth Avenue ($50 for January through June and $50 for July through December)
- Up to $155 in credits for Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal)
In addition to these credits, you’ll get benefits like airport lounge access, no foreign transaction fees, travel and cellphone protection, and boosted redemption values for points redeemed through Amex transfer partners, which are estimated to be worth around 2.1 cents each on average with the right partner. You’ll also earn 5X points on directly-booked airfare and flights booked through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year), 5X points on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel, 2X points on prepaid car rentals booked through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases.
Hilton Honors American Express Card: Best for no annual fee
The Hilton Honors American Express Card is a great choice for travelers who frequent Hilton properties — especially if you like redeeming points for discounted Hilton stays. With this card, you can currently earn a welcome offer of 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, you’ll earn 7X points on eligible Hilton purchases; 5X points at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants; and 3X points on all other purchases.
With no annual fee, it’s clear that this card provides a great value since there’s no cost to holding it. Plus, because the Hilton Honors program is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, this card could pair well with another American Express card that lets you earn points in this program.
However, it’s important to note that Hilton Honors points are notorious for their poor value. According to our points valuations, each Hilton Honors point is worth about 0.6 cents (the industry standard is 1 cent per point). That means your welcome offer is only worth up to $480. But for a no-annual-fee card, that’s still a pretty good deal.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card: Best for Marriott loyalists
With the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, you’ll earn 6X points on eligible Marriott purchases (up to 21X points with Platinum Elite status), 3X points at restaurants worldwide, 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines and 2X points on all other purchases. This card also has one of the highest welcome bonuses currently offered — you can earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $6,000 within the first six months of account opening. Plus, earn 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you stay 6 eligible paid nights at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy through 1/31/24. The offer ends on 8/9/2023.
However, considering that Marriott Bonvoy points are only worth 0.7 cents each, that makes this welcome bonus worth about $665. Although that value is low in comparison to the Amex Platinum’s welcome bonus value, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant makes up for this — and its high annual fee of $650 — with its numerous card perks and credits. Some of these include:
- Up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 back per month) for dining at restaurants worldwide
- Up to a $100 credit on directly-booked, eligible purchases (using a special rate for a stay of two nights or more) at The Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve or St. Regis brands
- Up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or up to $85 TSA PreCheck
- 25 Elite Night Credits each year
- One Free Night Award (worth 85,000 points or less) at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels each year after card renewal
- One Annual Earned Choice Award benefit (starting January 2023) each year after making $60,000 in purchases
- Priority Pass Select membership
- Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status
Should you get a card with a 100,000-point sign-up bonus?
Can you recoup the annual fee?
After considering some of the top credit cards with welcome bonuses of 100,000 points or more, let’s talk about what it means to be “worth it.” Cards with high welcome bonuses tend to have numerous card perks — along with an annual fee. The key to determining whether or not a card is worth it for you usually comes down to the annual fee. So, the question is: Will you get enough use out of a card to justify the annual fee?
For example, if you’re interested in a card that has an annual fee of $95, but you estimate that you’ll be able to squeeze out $400 or $500 in rewards and perks, then the annual fee would be justified. Alternatively, you can take a look at how much of the annual fee a welcome bonus covers. A card with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 (worth $500) or 100,000 (worth $1,000) points could be said to cover up to 10 years in annual fees for a card with a $95 annual fee.
It’s also important to factor in the long-term value you’ll get from a card — especially if it has an annual fee. It’s not ideal to get a card with a large bonus and then ditch it, but you also shouldn’t keep a card around that you don’t use enough to justify the annual fee.
How much value will you get?
One thing to note is that not all credit card rewards and programs are created equally. Many loyalty programs have different baseline values and estimated values. That means that a 100,000-point bonus with one program might actually provide less value than a 100,000-point bonus from another program (as demonstrated in the card comparison table above). Plus, the way you redeem your rewards — such as for shopping, statement credits or travel arrangements — can also change the value of your rewards.
The bottom line
Justifying a credit card with a high sign-up bonus comes down to how much value you’ll get from the card’s benefits — whether those benefits are in the form of rewards, card perks, credits, insurance or extended protections. Cards with an annual fee shouldn’t be ruled out, either. You’ll just have to make sure you use enough of a card’s features to make the annual fee worth it.
If you’re ready to take advantage of any of these larger welcome bonus offers, make sure whatever card you choose has rewards and benefits that make sense for your lifestyle and spending habits.
*The information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, and IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.