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One of the best aspects of getting a new credit card is earning a big chunk of rewards right at the start from a new customer bonus. These bonus offers alone can often earn you enough points or miles for a round-trip flight or a multi-night stay at the resort of your dreams — all just by being approved for a credit card with a strong offer and meeting the minimum spending requirement.
And if you’ve been on the cusp of applying for a new credit card, right now there are a number of cards offering lucrative welcome bonuses of 100,000 points or more. Of course, not every credit card is created equal, so a 100k bonus on one card might actually be worth a lot more than another.
But don’t worry! We’ve gone through all of the biggest bonus offers currently available and picked out the best based on the value of the points, the card’s benefits and who should get it. So take a look at our list of the best credit cards with 100,000 bonus points or more and see which one is right for you.
United Quest Card: Best for United Airlines
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Best for Hilton hotels
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Best for Marriott hotels
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: Best for IHG hotels
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card: Best companion pass
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Best for flexible travel rewards
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Best elite perks for businesses
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card: Best travel card for businesses
Let’s dive into the details of each of these cards and see how they compare and how much each bonus offer is actually worth.
Best for United Airlines
The United Quest Card is a brand-new card that was just introduced with an impressive sign-up bonus. Right now you can earn up to 100,000 bonus miles, broken down into two tiers. First, you’ll earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months after opening the account. Then you can earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 total in the first six months after opening the account.
Frequent flyer website The Points Guy values United miles at 1.3 cents apiece, which would make even 80,000 miles worth $1,040 in United travel. And the grand total of 100,000 miles would be worth a whopping $1,300 in flights on United or its partners.
The United Quest Card does come with a $250 annual fee, but there are a number of benefits that can help offset the fee a good chunk of the cost, including up to $125 in statement credits for United purchases charged to your card. This is a yearly benefit — available every 12 months from the date you first open the card — and if you can use all $125 in credits each year, you’re effectively knocking off half of the $250 annual fee.
Also, starting at your first anniversary as a card holder — meaning one year after you were approved for the card — and each year thereafter, you’ll get 5,000 United miles back when you redeem your miles for a United- or United Express-operated flight, regardless of the number of miles redeemed. You can even earn this mileage rebate twice per year.
With the new United Quest credit card, you can get miles back when you redeem for award travel.
For those chasing United elite status, the United Quest Card earns 500 Premier Qualifying Points (PQP) for every $12,000 you spend on the card, up to 3,000 PQP per year. While this won’t earn you elite status on its own, if you aren’t flying as much this year as you typically might, it can help push you over the threshold.
Other benefits of the United Quest Card include 3 points for every dollar you spend on United purchases (after your $125 in annual credits), 2 miles per dollar on travel, dining and select streaming services, up to $100 in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credits, free first and second checked bags for you and a companion traveling on the same reservation, priority boarding, 25% back on United in-flight purchases and no foreign transaction fees.
Learn more about the United Quest Card.
Best for Hilton hotels
If Hilton is your go-to chain when it comes to hotel stays, the Hilton Honors Surpass Card could be the right credit card for you — especially with its lucrative current welcome offer.
Right now new card members can earn up to 180,000 bonus points, split into two tiers. You’ll earn 130,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months after opening the account, and then another 50,000 bonus points after spending $10,000 in total purchases in the first six months.
Based on the point valuations of The Points Guy, those 180,000 bonus points are worth as much as $1,080 in travel. Plus, you’ll automatically earn many other perks with this card that will come in handy during your next Hilton stay.
Just by having the Hilton Surpass Card, you’ll get automatic Hilton Gold elite status, which is one of the best midtier statuses available across major hotel chains. Gold status perks include complimentary breakfast, space-available upgrades and late checkout when you stay at a Hilton.
You can also earn a weekend night certificate with the Hilton Surpass Card if you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year. This certificate can be used at any Hilton property as long as a standard room is available.
Typically, as the name describes, weekend reward nights are limited to just weekends. But Hilton has made some temporary changes due to the pandemic, so you can redeem certificates expiring anytime through December 31, 2022, on any day of the week. Additionally, certificates typically expire 12 months after they’re earned, but right now all certificates issued in 2021 are extended until December 31, 2022.
You can currently use the free weekend night certificates earned with the Hilton Surpass card on any day of the week.
The Hilton Surpass Card has a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees), but other money-saving benefits of the card include a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership with 10 complimentary visits a year, as well as the ability to earn 12 points for every dollar you spend on eligible purchases at Hilton hotels, and 6 points per dollar at US restaurants and US gas stations. All other purchases earn 3 points for every dollar you spend on them.
But if you still think the $95 annual fee is too steep, or you can’t use all the benefits, there’s another Hilton Honors credit card that’s also offering an increased welcome bonus.
The Hilton Honors American Express Card is currently offering 130,000 bonus points for new card members. Again, this bonus is split into two tiers: You’ll earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months after opening the account, and another 50,000 bonus points after spending a total of $5,000 in the first six months.
This card has no annual fee at all (see rates and fees), though of course the benefits aren’t as good. You’ll still receive complimentary Hilton Silver elite status with the Hilton Amex Card. Yes, that isn’t nearly the same as Gold, but checking into a Hilton hotel with some sort of elite status — versus no status at all — can only help.
And with the Hilton Amex Card, you’ll earn 7 points for every dollar you spend on eligible purchases at Hilton hotels, and 5 points per dollar at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations. You’ll also earn 3 points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
Not sure which Hilton card to get? We recommend trying to roughly plan out your next year of travel to see if the increased annual fee is in fact worth it. That may be hard to do, but if you have an idea of how much you might be on the road for the rest of 2021, you’ll have a better idea of which Hilton card is worth the cost.
Learn more about the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card.
Learn more about the Hilton Honors American Express Card with no annual fee.
Best for Marriott hotels
For Marriott fans, there’s good news for you. Chase recently increased its sign-up offer on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card to 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months after you open the account. Based on the point valuations of The Points Guy, Marriott points are worth 0.8 cents a piece, which makes this bonus worth $800.
In addition to the sign-up bonus, there are many other benefits that are extended to Marriott Boundless card holders. You’ll receive complimentary Marriott Silver elite status, which gets you late checkout and a 10% bonus on points earned during your Marriott stays. Although this is Marriott’s lowest-tier elite status, having some sort of status is better than no status at all, and it could potentially even get you a better room during check-in (though improved rooms are not guaranteed).
Or, if you’re looking to earn Marriott Gold elite status — which is one step up from Silver status — the Marriott Boundless card comes with 15 annual elite night credits. Since you typically need 25 nights to achieve Gold status, this benefit brings your annual requirement down to 10 nights — a much more obtainable number.
Of course, you can also use these 15 elite nights toward any level of Marriott status if you stay at Marriotts often enough. Alternatively, you can also earn Marriott Gold elite status by spending $35,000 on the card each account year.
Use your Marriott elite status to earn more points at properties like the Heathrow/Windsor Marriott Hotel in the United Kingdom.
But our favorite benefit of the Marriott Boundless card is its complimentary award certificate. Starting with your first yearly account renewal (meaning when you pay your annual fee at the start of the second year) and every year thereafter, you’ll receive a certificate that can be used at any Marriott hotel for one night costing 35,000 points or fewer. This means you can use it at any category 1 through 5 property on the Marriott award chart except for category 5 hotels during peak periods.
With the Marriott Boundless card carrying only a $95 annual fee, you can easily come out well ahead with all these perks. In fact, if you can use the card’s complimentary award night each year for a room that would otherwise cost $95 or more, you’ll easily make the card worth it.
Learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card.
Best for IHG hotels
The IHG Rewards Club Premier card is currently offering 125,000 bonus points and a reward night certificate after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. With a low $89 annual fee that’s waived for the first year, this is a credit card that IHG travelers should pay attention to.
Although IHG points aren’t worth as much as some other hotel loyalty programs, this welcome offer is still worth a decent up to $825 toward travel based on The Points Guy’s valuations — $625 for the points and up to $200 for the certificate. The certificate can be used on a one-night stay at any IHG property that costs 40,000 points or fewer. But the real reason to have this card — and to keep it year after year — are the benefits.
Our favorite benefit by far is the annual night certificate you’ll get starting at the second year you have the card. This certificate works in the same manner as the certificate that comes with the welcome offer where you can stay for free at any IHG property costing 40,000 points or fewer and expires a year from the date it is deposited into your IHG account. This benefit alone can very quickly make up for the annual fee, especially if used at an expensive property.
Use your annual night certificate at properties like the Holiday Inn Resort Aruba-Beach.
On top of that, when you have the IHG Premier card, you’ll receive your fourth night free when you use your points to redeem for a free stay. If you find yourself staying at hotels for more than a few nights at a time, this perk can be invaluable. And don’t forget about the complimentary Platinum elite status and cell phone protection that you get with the card — two additional benefits that are the icing on the cake.
Now, if you prefer not to pay an annual fee, you can consider IHG’s lower-tier credit card, the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card. This card offers a 60,000-point bonus after you spend $2,000 on the card within the first three months, and you’ll still receive your fourth night free when redeeming points, plus cell phone protection (although you’ll only be reimbursed for up to $600 per claim versus $800 per claim with the IHG Premier). But you won’t get the rest of the more expensive card’s benefits.
Learn more about the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.
Learn more about the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card.
These 8 credit cards are currently offering 100,000 bonus points or more
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