Taking advantage of a credit card’s welcome offer is a smart way to earn a large amount of points in a short time. If you can meet the spending requirement and pay your balance off on time and in full, there are several cards right now featuring huge welcome bonuses of 100,000 points.
A bonus of that size can be hugely attractive. You can book a lot of free travel with 100,000 points, paying only taxes and fees.
That said, consider your budget, spending habits, and whether a card meets your financial needs before chasing a lucrative bonus offer. You especially want to avoid interest charges.
“When you start paying interest on a credit card, you’re losing the value and it makes the bonus much less attractive,” says Benét Wilson, senior credit cards editor at The Points Guy (which, like NextAdvisor, is owned by Red Ventures.)
If you’re ready to take on the responsibility, we think these credit cards offer the most versatile benefits and rewards, on top of their 100,000-point welcome bonuses.
Credit Cards With 100,000-Point Welcome Bonuses
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The American Express Platinum Card got a major overhaul in July. The annual fee increased to $695 (see Rates and Fees), and Amex added new perks like a $200 hotel credit, up to $300 Equinox credit, and up to $179 Clear membership credit.
It’s also offering an appealing welcome bonus: 100,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in the first six months of account opening. The card’s rewards structure remains unchanged: 5x points per dollar on airfare booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 per year) and 1x point per dollar on everything else.
But this card doesn’t make sense for everyone, especially if you’re not constantly traveling or don’t value luxury travel perks, the premium benefits that come with this card won’t be worth the high annual fee.
Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
For some business owners, the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card may offer a lot of value.
The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, which is among our picks for the best business cards, currently has a welcome offer of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening the account. That’s worth $1,250 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
You can maximize your points earned by using this card for all business purchases in its 3x bonus categories. It offers 3x points per dollar on many categories where business owners typically spend, such as shipping, internet, travel, and more.
The card’s bonus categories are limited to $150,000 in spend each year; after that, you’ll earn 1x. But if you hit the spending cap in the bonus categories for this card annually, you’ll still earn 450,000 Ultimate Rewards points each year — worth $4,500 in redemption value, or $5,625 when you redeem for travel. This card doesn’t offer as many premium travel benefits as other business cards, but it makes up for it with rewards and a lower annual fee of $95.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
How to Earn a Big Credit Card Welcome Offer Without Overspending
The key to meeting a card’s welcome offer requirement without overspending is charging only what you can pay off and making your credit card payments on time. It’s doable as long as you’re planning ahead. If you want to earn a big credit card welcome offer without overspending, we have tips to help keep you accountable while you’re trying to reach that goal:
- Have a budget
- Track credit card spending
- Use your credit for things you would have purchased anyway
- Spread your purchases over the welcome bonus period
- Pay off your credit card balance every month
Other Credit Cards With Welcome Offers of 100,000 Points or More
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
- IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
These credit cards also offer welcome offers of 100,000 points or more after meeting the spending requirements, but you may not get as much value or flexibility from some of them, since they are co-branded cards. If you get a co-branded credit card with a specific airline or hotel, you will only earn that airline or hotel chain’s currency, whereas transferable points, like Chase Ultimate Rewards, give you leeway to book with a variety of airlines and hotel partners.
If you find yourself staying frequently at Hilton properties, one of the more premium cards in Hilton’s lineup, such as the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card*, will likely add more value to your stays. A card like that comes with better rewards and hotel benefits — 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months since account opening and up to $250 in airline fee credits and $250 in Hilton resort credits —but comes with a steep annual fee of $450.
If you qualify for the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, the new welcome bonus now offers 130,000 points when you spend $3,000 within the first three months.
The IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card is another co-branded credit card that allows you to earn points within the IHG Rewards Club and redeem them for stays at nearly 6,000 hotels and resorts around the world. The card is mostly geared toward people who prefer to stay with IHG brands, offering 140,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. (Hotel points are typically less valuable than credit card points or airline miles.)
The Business Platinum Card from American Express is not a co-branded card. Like the Ink Business Preferred, the Amex Business Platinum is among our picks for the best business cards, but we have not included it among our top choices among cards with welcome offers of 100,000 points or more since it only makes sense for frequent business travelers willing to pay extra for convenience and comfort. Its annual fee is $695 (See Rates & Fees), and while it comes with premium travel perks like $189 Clear® Credit toward your CLEAR membership. The hefty cost makes it worthwhile only for people who are on the road for work a lot.
*All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by NextAdvisor and has not been reviewed by the issuer.