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Best credit cards with 100,000 bonus points

CNN logo CNN 5/10/2021 By Jennifer Yellin
a woman using a phone © iStock

CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value, but does not review all financial companies or all available financial offers. We may receive compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com, and this compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

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.

a hand holding a remote control: Right now you can redeem Capital One Venture miles for your streaming service bill. © iStock Right now you can redeem Capital One Venture miles for your streaming service bill.

The best credit cards with 100,000 bonus points or more

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

text: If your cell phone is damaged or stolen, the Ink Business Preferred credit card can help cover the costs of a repair or replacement. © iStock If your cell phone is damaged or stolen, the Ink Business Preferred credit card can help cover the costs of a repair or replacement.

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.

United Quest Card

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.

a store front at night: Use your Marriott elite status to earn more points at properties like the Heathrow/Windsor Marriott Hotel in the United Kingdom. © Marriott Hotels Use your Marriott elite status to earn more points at properties like the Heathrow/Windsor Marriott Hotel in the United Kingdom.

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.

a row of palm trees next to a swimming pool: Use your annual night certificate at properties like the Holiday Inn Resort Aruba-Beach. © IHG Hotels Use your annual night certificate at properties like the Holiday Inn Resort Aruba-Beach.

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.

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.

a large passenger jet flying through a blue sky: Earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass without even stepping foot on a plane with the Southwest Performance Business card. © iStock Earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass without even stepping foot on a plane with the Southwest Performance Business card.

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.

a room with a large mirror: Relax in the Amex Centurion Lounge at New York's JFK when you have the Business Platinum Card from American Express. © Natasha Hatendi Relax in the Amex Centurion Lounge at New York's JFK when you have the Business Platinum Card from American Express.

Learn more about the United Quest Card.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass 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.

a large passenger jet flying through a cloudy blue sky: With the new United Quest credit card, you can get miles back when you redeem for award travel. © iStock With the new United Quest credit card, you can get miles back when you redeem for award travel.

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.

a large tall tower with a clock on the side of a building: You can currently use the free weekend night certificates earned with the Hilton Surpass card on any day of the week. © iStock You can currently use the free weekend night certificates earned with the Hilton Surpass card on any day of the week.

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.

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.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

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.

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.

IHG Rewards Club Premier 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.

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.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card

Best companion pass

A great sign-up offer might be one reason to get this card, but the value goes even deeper. First, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card currently offers up to 100,000 bonus points — 70,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first three months after opening the account, and an additional 30,000 bonus points after spending $25,000 in the first six months.

You can usually redeem Southwest points for "Wanna Get Away" fares at 1.5 cents each, so on the surface, this bonus is worth a solid $1,500 toward Southwest travel. But you can get even more value than that. That's because if you earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, you'll earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass.

The Companion Pass allows a friend or family member to fly with you for free — plus minimal taxes and fees — for the rest of the year it's earned, plus the entire following year. Best of all, points earned from this credit card sign-up offer and spending on the card count toward earning the pass.

So if you apply for the Southwest Performance card now and meet both spending thresholds, you can be on your way to earning the Southwest Companion Pass for most of 2021 and all of 2022. That's because you'll earn 100,000 points for both tiers of the sign-up bonus, and you'll also have earned 25,000 points from spending $25,000 on the card to get those bonuses. This gives you a total of 125,000 qualifying points — the exact amount required to earn the pass.

This card also offers many benefits that outweigh its $199 annual fee. You'll get up to a $100 credit toward the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, four upgraded boarding passes per year and 365 Wi-Fi credits per year. That's all on top of the 9,000 bonus points you receive after each account anniversary year, which itself is worth $135 toward a Southwest flight.

Learn more about the Southwest Performance Business credit card.

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Best for flexible travel rewards

If you're looking for simplicity, the Capital One Venture is the perfect travel credit card. And to make it even better, it currently features a limited-time offer that allows you to earn up to 100,000 bonus miles — 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months, and an additional 50,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 in the first year.

With the Capital One Venture, you'll earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend on every purchase, with no need to worry about bonus categories. Your miles can be redeemed for any travel purchase on your credit card statement — this includes hotels, airfare, train rides, taxis, Uber, Airbnb stays and more.

You'll get a fixed 1 cent per mile when you redeem this way, meaning you're getting a 2% return on every dollar you spend with the card. This makes the 100,000 bonus miles worth $1,000 toward almost any travel purchase you make.

But, since travel is limited for many these days, Capital One is making it even easier to use your miles right now. Through June 30, 2021, you can also redeem Capital One Venture miles for both food delivery and streaming services in the same way and at the same rate as you do for travel.

For people who are loyalty program experts, you can also now transfer your Capital One miles to 19 different airlines and hotels. Redeeming your miles this way can make them worth more, but it takes time and effort to find valuable redemptions when you transfer your miles. So many people may prefer to simply use their miles to redeem directly for travel purchases at 1 cent each.

Other benefits of the Capital One Venture card include extended warranty protection and up to a $100 credit toward the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. The card also doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, but it does have a $95 annual fee.

The Business Platinum Card from American Express

Best elite perks for businesses

If you're looking for both a big welcome bonus and VIP perks, the Business Platinum Card from American Express is where it's at. Right now small-business owners can earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 on the card within the first three months of card membership. Based on the point valuations of The Points Guy, Amex Membership Rewards are worth 2 cents apiece, which makes this bonus worth $2,000.

But the welcome bonus is just the start of this card's numerous features. You'll get access with the Amex Business Platinum to more than 1,200 airport lounges worldwide, including the exclusive American Express Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Club lounges (when flying Delta), Priority Pass Select lounges, Escape Lounges and more.

Another one of our favorite money-saving benefits that comes with the Amex Business Platinum are the up to $200 in airline fee credits. Each year you can select one airline to earn up to $200 in annual statement credits for incidental fees with that airline, such as checked bags, change fees and in-flight Wi-Fi, to name just a few.

Even if you're not traveling again just yet, the Amex Business Platinum comes with some perks you can use at home. One of the main ones is up to $200 in annual statement credits for US purchases at Dell; it's split in half, with up to $100 in statement credits between January and June, and up to $100 in statement credits between July and December.

You'll also receive up to $100 in statement credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Global Entry allows you to zip through US immigration faster when returning to the United States, while TSA PreCheck gives you fast-track access through TSA airport security lines within the United States. When approved for the Global Entry program, you're automatically approved for TSA PreCheck, so applying for the former is our recommendation.

Although there's a $595 annual fee on the Amex Business Platinum (see rates and fees), the statement credits and perks — which add up to $500 in 2021 if fully used — can help significantly offset the fee.

Learn more about the Business Platinum Card from American Express.

Ink Business Preferred

Best travel card for businesses

If you're in the market for a flexible business travel credit card, look no further than the Ink Business Preferred. With the card's current welcome offer of 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first three months after you open the account, you could be looking at $2,000 in travel value based on The Points Guy's valuations.

The Ink Business Preferred earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points — similar to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve — and you can use these points in a few different ways. You can redeem them for cash back at 1 cent apiece, or redeem them for travel through Chase's travel portal at 1.25 cents apiece.

But to get the most value for them, you'd want to do some homework and learn about Chase's 13 airline and hotel travel partners, since you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to any of these partners at a 1-to-1 ratio. Transferring points is the best way to get premium redemptions like first- or business-class flights, but it does take some time and effort to find the best awards.

Another perk of the Ink Business Preferred — and possibly the best reason to be a card holder — is its cell phone protection benefit. When you pay your cell phone bill with the card, you and all your employees on your phone plan are covered if a phone is stolen or damaged. This can potentially save your business a lot of money, all while earning 3 points for every dollar you spend on your phone bill.

Other desirable perks of the card include purchase protection, trip insurance, trip delay protection and primary car rental insurance. But the one downside to this offer is its high minimum spend — $15,000 in the first three months after you open the account. However, for many businesses, putting $5,000 per month in business expenses on a credit card may not be very challenging.

Learn more about the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.

Check out CNN Underscored's list of the best credit cards of 2021.

Get all the latest personal finance deals, news and advice at CNN Underscored Money.

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