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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

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
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 Business

United℠ Business Card

100,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
IHG Rewards Premier

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

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

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

  • 70,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months
  • Additional 30,000 points if you spend $25,000 in first 6 months
Chase Ink Business Preferred card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

100,000 points if you spend $15,000 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 the bonuses are quite as valuable as they sound.

On the flip side, British Airways Avios, Southwest points 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 thresholds.

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
IHG Rewards Club0.55$687
Chase Ultimate Rewards1.25$1,250
British Airways Executive Club1.4$1,400
United MileagePlus1.52$1,520
Southwest Rapid Rewards1.6$1,600

In the case of the Hilton Honors and IHG cards, the seemingly generous bonuses aren’t worth more than other cards’ 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$714
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months$750

Since these two 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 Rewards Club redemption options

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

IHG points are slightly more valuable than Hilton Honors points when redeemed for reward stays, but the program offers less redemption variety.

Chase Ultimate Rewards redemption options

Redemption optionPoint value (cents)
Ultimate Rewards portal travel1.25
All other travel1
Statement credit1
Gift cards1
Amazon.com purchases0.8

The Ink Business Preferred card offers a 25% higher point value when you redeem your reward for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, so that is the best way to stretch the introductory bonus.

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, 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.

Southwest redemption options

Redemption optionPoint value (cents)
Wanna Get Away fare1.6
Anytime fare1.1
Business Select fare0.9
Gift cards0.7
Car rentals0.7
International flights0.8
Merchandise0.6
Hotels0.2
Experiences0.8

As you can see, the most valuable way to redeem your Southwest Rapid Rewards points is for airfare, or more specifically, the budget-friendly Wanna Get Away fare. If you prefer to redeem another way, Southwest offers plenty of other great options to choose from – many of which also have a competitive redemption rate.

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.

For frequent flyers of Southwest, 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 Rapid Rewards, 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

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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