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Is a 100,000-point sign-up bonus worth it?

Consider point value and redemption options before jumping at a flashy offer

Summary

Though it sounds generous, a 100,000-point bonus might not be worth as much as it seems.

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When the Chase Sapphire Reserve® debuted a few years ago with a 100,000-point introductory offer, it caught a lot of attention. This was an incredibly generous bonus, even if it was only available for the first few months the card was open for applications.

Since the limited-time offer on the Sapphire Reserve, many other cards have followed suit – offering an inflated sign-up bonus with a card launch (or relaunch). Cards including the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury card (Now the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card from American Express) have previously advertised welcome offers up to 100,000 points.

Now, even more of these offers are available. But are they actually worth it? Point values can shift drastically by rewards program, so they might not be quite as valuable as they seem.

Which cards are currently offering 100,000-point introductory bonuses?

The following credit cards all include welcome bonuses of 100,000 points or more.

Introductory offer
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

130,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 4 months
American Express Aspire

Hilton Honors American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card

150,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
Hilton Honors Business

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

125,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
British Airways Visa Signature Card

British Airways Visa Signature Card

  • 50,000 Avios if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
  • Additional 50,000 Avios if you spend $20,000 in first year
United Explorer Business

United℠ Explorer Business Card

  • 50,000 miles if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months
  • Additional 50,000 miles if you spend $25,000 in first 6 months
IHG Rewards Club Premier Card

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

125,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months

Point value of current introductory bonuses

Unfortunately, not all 100,000-point sign-up bonuses are created equal. Point values can vary drastically by rewards program, affecting just how far your introductory offer will stretch. Like many hotel rewards programs, the points for Hilton Honors and IHG Rewards Club are inflated, meaning none of the bonuses are quite as valuable as they sound. On the flip side, British Airways Avios and United miles have a high value, meaning you can actually get a lot out of your bonus – if you can meet the high spend threshold.

Rewards programPoint value (cents)Value of current introductory bonuses
Hilton Honors0.5
  • $650 for 130,000-point intro bonuses
  • $750 for 150,000-point intro bonus
IHG Rewards Club0.55$688
British Airways Executive Club1.4$1,400
United MileagePlus1.52$1,520

In the case of the Hilton Honors and IHG cards, the seemingly generous bonuses aren’t worth much more than other card’s less eye-catching offers.

CardIntroductory offerValue of introductory offer
The Platinum Card® from American Express60,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months$600
Ink Business Preferred? Credit Card80,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months$1,000

Since these cards get about 1 to 1.25 cents per point of value, a smaller-sounding bonus is actually worth a similar amount. If one of these cards has a rewards rate that better suits your spending patterns, you actually might be better off bypassing a 100,000-point bonus for a card with a better point value.

Redemption options for a 100,000-point introductory bonus

Before jumping at a 100,000-point introductory offer, you should also consider point flexibility. Points might be hard to redeem or even worth much less when redeemed for certain options. If using points is harder than earning them, a 100,000-point bonus might not be worth it.

Hilton Honors redemption options

Redemption optionPoint value (cents)
Average standard room reward0.5
Average premium room reward0.3
Points & Money0.5
Car rentals0.2
Cruise certificate0.2
On-property rewards0.2
Amazon merchandise0.2
Donations (PointWorth.com)0.25

As you can see, Hilton Honors does not have a good cash redemption option. However, frequent travelers who often stay at Hilton hotels will enjoy simple free night redemptions.

IHG redemption options

Redemption optionPoint value (cents)
Reward nights0.55
Gift cards0.25
Merchandise/digital downloads0.25
Flights (through the IHG travel portal)0.3
Non-IHG Hotels (through IHG travel portal)0.23

A common trait among hotel rewards points, IHG points won’t take you very far if you choose to redeem them for something other than a reward night.

United Airlines redemption options

Redemption optionPoint value (cents)
Saver airfare – economy2.3
Saver airfare – business/first class3.5
Everyday airfare – economy1
Everyday airfare – business/first class1.2
Hotels0.8
Car rentals0.9
TSA PreCheck0.9
United Club membership0.8

United redemption options are plentiful, with even more great options than what we’ve listed here. While there is no good cash redemption option, you can get incredible value out of your United miles by redeeming them for the right kind of airfare – namely a business or first class Saver ticket. While these fares are capacity controlled and can be hard to hunt down, you can stretch your bonus a long way by doing some digging.

British Airways redemption options

Redemption optionPoint value (cents)
Reward flights1.4
Avios & Money2.1
In-flight food purchases0.9
Hotel stays0.6
Car rentals0.6
Experiences0.95

Similar to Hilton Honors, the British Airways Executive Club does not offer a good cash redemption option. On the plus side, British Airways Visa cardholders can stretch their intro bonus by taking advantage of the lucrative Avios & Money redemption option. Just keep in mind that British Airways is notorious for charging steep taxes and fees on their flights, so you might have to pay a significant amount in cash in addition to redeeming your Avios.

Who is eligible to earn these sign-up bonuses?

Introductory offers are often only available to certain applicants, so make sure you qualify for the bonus before you apply for the card. For example, all of the offers mentioned in this article are restricted to new cardholders.

Should you sign up for a 100,000-point bonus offer?

If you frequent Hilton or IHG hotels, now is the best time to sign up for one of these cards. These offers are only available for a limited time and offer great value for frequent travelers. Just make sure the card makes sense for your spending habits in the long-term, beyond the flashy introductory bonus.

For frequent flyers of British Airways or United Airlines, now is also a good time to sign up for the card – especially if you have some big purchases to make. Since the spend threshold to reach the full 100,000 Avios or United miles is relatively high, cardholders can use larger purchases to hit the requirements.

As other 100,000-point or higher bonuses pop up in the future, be sure to consider the true value of the offer. While 100,000 points might sound like a lot, the rewards program’s point value and redemption options can significantly impact the overall value. If another card with a smaller bonus has a better reward rate, point value and redemption flexibility, it might be a better choice.

See related:Hilton Honors guide: The best ways to earn and use Hilton Honors points, Best ways to redeem British Airways Avios

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