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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 Ascend Card

125,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 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

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 are inflated, meaning none of these bonuses are quite as valuable as they sound.

Rewards programPoint value (cents)Value of current introductory bonuses
Hilton Honors0.5
  • $625 for 125,000-point intro bonuses
  • $750 for 150,000-point intro bonus

In fact, these 100,000-point 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
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®70,000 miles if you spend $5,000 in first 90 days$700

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.

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 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.

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: The Marriott Bonvoy program officially launches, Hilton Honors guide: The best ways to earn and use Hilton Honors points, Marriott Bonvoy guide: The best ways to earn and use Marriott points 

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Published: May 14, 2019

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