The credit card wars are heating up, and cardholders are benefitting from elevated welcome bonuses along with increased credit card rewards. Nowadays, we are seeing more cards offer welcome bonuses that just keep climbing. Now, it’s not uncommon to see offers for 100,000 or more bonus points when opening a card.
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 decisions. If you want to know more about these boosted welcome bonuses, the redemption potential and which card is best for the type of spending you do, look no further. We’ll break down top welcome bonus offers to see which ones are worthy of being your next credit card.
Are 100,000-point sign-up bonuses worth it?
Before we jump in and take a look at some of the top credit cards with 100,000-point or more welcome bonuses, let’s talk about what it means to be “worth it.” Cards with high welcome bonuses also have other things in common: A bevy of card perks and benefits and, often, an annual fee.
The key to determining whether or not a card is worth it for you comes down to the annual fee. So, the question is, will you get enough use out of the card to justify the annual fee? For example, if a card has an annual fee of $95, but you routinely squeeze $400 or $500 in credits, discounts and perks out of the card, then the annual fee would be justified.
When you add a welcome bonus, another way to look at it is to what extent the bonus covers the annual fee. A card with 50,000 (potentially $500) or 100,000 (potentially $1,000) bonus points could be said to cover up to 10 years in annual fees for a $95 annual fee card.
One thing to note is that not all credit card rewards points and programs are created equal. There are multiple redemption options, such as shopping, statement credits and travel arrangements, that can also change the value of the points.
For instance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card welcome bonus could be worth more when redeemed for statement credits or cash, but it could increase when redeemed for travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel portal. The Platinum Card® from American Express and American Express® Gold Card work in a similar fashion. When it comes to Amex’s Hilton Honors cards, however, the point values can be much lower, as we’ll see below.
In addition to judging a card based on the welcome bonus, it’s important that you factor in the long-term value you’ll get from the card—especially if it has an annual fee. It’s not ideal to get a card with a large bonus, then ditch it or keep it around without using the benefits enough to justify the annual fee.
These are just a couple of the ways you can figure out if any credit card is worth it for you—considering the welcome bonus amount, point value and ongoing overall value is a good start.
Best credit cards with 100,000+ point sign-up bonuses
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best for flexible rewards
- Rewards rate: Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases. Plus earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
- Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening—worth $1,250 toward travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Annual fee: $95
If you aren’t yet ready to splurge on a premium travel card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great way to cut your teeth on travel cards with an annual fee. The nominal $95 annual fee is covered for many years with the 100,000-point welcome bonus for new cardholders.
Plus, the option to redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal at a 25 percent boosted value helps justify the annual fee, too. Other redemption options like statement credits, Pay Yourself Back and gift cards are also available.
The Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for international travel
- Rewards rate: 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: 100,000 points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months
- Annual fee: $695 (effective Jan. 1, 2022, for existing cardmembers)
The American Express Platinum has recently upped its annual fee and increased card perks. If you take a look at the card’s credits, there’s over $1,400 in value:
- Up to $200 airline fee credit for incidental purchases with a select airline
- Up to $200 hotel credit for prepaid bookings with Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties (which requires a minimum two-night stay), when booked through American Express Travel
- Up to $200 Uber credit (doled out as $15 per month, plus an extra $20 in December)
- Up to $179 Clear credit
- Up to $100 fee credit for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck ($100 or $85 every five years)
- Up to $240 digital entertainment credit (up to $20 in total statement credits per month) toward Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM and The New York Times subscriptions (enrollment required)
- Up to $100 Saks credit (doled out in two $50 increments per year)
- Up to $300 on eligible Equinox memberships credits (up to $25 per month) (Enrollment required).
In addition to these credits, travel benefits include airport lounge access, no foreign transaction fees, travel and cellphone protection, and boosted redemption values for rewards points redeemed through Amex transfer partners.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Amex has launched preapproved offers for some of its cards, including the Amex Platinum, in CardMatch, in which approved applicants could get 125,000 or even up to 150,000 in Membership Rewards points as a welcome bonus offer.
Hilton Honors American Express Card: Best no-annual-fee Hilton card
- Rewards rate: Earn 7X points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio, 5X points at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants, and 3X points on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: 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.
- Annual fee: $0
The Hilton Honors card is a great choice for travelers who frequent Hilton properties. High rewards rates on common spending categories like supermarket spending, gas stations and U.S. restaurants mean there’s lots of potential to rack up rewards. 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.
With no annual fee, it’s clear that this card would provide great value compared to the low cost of owning it. If you like redeeming points for discounted Hilton stays, this Amex co-branded card is a good pick.
It’s important to note, however, that Hilton Honors points are notorious for their poor value. According to The Points Guy, 1 Hilton point is only worth about 0.6 cents, compared to the industry standard of 1 cent per point. That means your welcome bonus is only worth up to $480 in reward nights.
Other credit cards with 100,000+ point bonuses to explore:
|Cards||Annual fee||Welcome/sign-up bonus offers||Bonus value*|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||$95||100,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening||Up to $1,250|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||$695||100,000 bonus points after you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first six months of account opening;||Up to $2,000|
|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.||Up to $480|
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||$95||Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card in the first 3 months of card membership.||Up to $780|
|IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card||$89||Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening||$625|
|Hilton Honors American Express Aspire||$450||150,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening; terms apply||$900|
|Iberia Visa Signature® Card||$95||100,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening||$1,500|
*Bonus values calculated using average point value from The Points Guy
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 cash back rewards, card perks, credits, insurance or other extended protections.
Cards with an annual fee shouldn’t be ruled out, either. You’ll just have to make sure you use enough of the card features to make the annual fee worth it. If you are ready to take advantage of any one of these larger welcome bonuses, just make sure the card’s reward structure and redemption options make sense for your lifestyle and spending habits.
*The information about the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.