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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 (this offer is no longer available).

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 regularly offer promotions advertising welcome offers up to 100,000 points and over.

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.

CardIntroductory offer

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

100,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
Chase Ink Business Preferred card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

100,000 points if you spend $15,000 in first 3 months
The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

100,000 points if you spend $6,000 in first 6 months
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Limited time offer: 130,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months of card membership (offer expires 8/25/2021)
American Express Aspire

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card*

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

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Limited time offer: 130,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on the card at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months of card membership. Offers end 8/25/2021.
IHG Rewards Premier

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

150,000 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, Hilton Honors’ points are inflated, meaning none of the bonuses are quite as valuable as they sound.

On the flip side, Chase Ultimate Rewards have a high value, meaning you can actually get a lot out of your bonus – if you can meet the higher spend threshold.

Here’s our estimated value of current bonuses based on our valuations of rewards program points.

Rewards programPoint value (cents)Value of current introductory bonuses
Hilton Honors0.5
  • $650 for 130,000-point intro bonus
  • $750 for 150,000-point intro bonus
IHG Rewards Club0.55$825
Chase Ultimate Rewards1.25 (When redeemed for travel in UR portal with Sapphire Preferred or Ink Preferred cards)$1,250
Marriott Rewards0.8
  • $800 for 100,000-point intro bonus
  • $1,000 for 125,000-point intro bonus

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 offerEstimated value of introductory offer
Chase Sapphire Reserve60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months$900

Since these two cards get about 1 to 1.5 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 Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred cards both offer 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.

Marriott redemption options

Redemption optionPoint value (cents)
Standard rooms0.8
Upgraded rooms0.7
Cash + Points0.6
Point transfersVaries by the airline you use
Travel packagesVaries by the airline you use
Instant redemption0.2
Cruises0.4
Car rentals0.4
Marriott MomentsVaries
Merchandise0.4
Donation0.3

The best use of Marriott points is redeeming them for standard and upgraded rooms – that’s where your Marriott rewards will have the most value. While there are plenty of other redemption options, your points will lose a lot of value if you decide to take advantage of them.

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 Marriott hotels, now is the best time to sign up for one of their co-branded cards. These offers are only available for a limited time and provide 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.

See related: Hilton Honors guide: The best ways to earn and use Hilton Honors points

There’s one card we recommend jumping at the bonus while you can: the Sapphire Preferred, which is currently touting the highest offer in its history. The offer can be worth $1,250 in travel purchases when you redeem through Chase’s travel portal.

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.

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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