Loyalty programs are about to get fun again, and having lots of points ready for action allows you to get in on it all, when the party comes back around. Rewards credit cards allows you to sleep like an elite guest and fly like a frequent flyer, without ever leaving home, just from your daily spending.
Not one, not two, but six lucrative travel rewards credit cards currently have 100,000 point bonuses or greater, which means you could be sitting on nearly a million points, without even leaving the house. And let’s be real – it might be a while before you do…
Hot tip: many of these fantastic offers are from Chase, which means you need to be aware of the 5/24 restriction on how many cards you can successfully apply for in a 24 month period. Read up, if you need to.
The Southwest Card is offering a 100,000 point welcome bonus, with 70,000 points after $5,000 in spending within the first 3 months, and another 30,000 points after you spend a total of $25,000 in the first six months.
That’s hefty spending, no doubt, but the card is well worth the $199 annual fee and initial lift, because the companion voucher benefit is one of the best deals in travel, and you can get more than a year of use out of it.
The Points: After spending, you’d have 125,000 Southwest Points, worth over $1500.
The Voucher: Incredibly, these points earned would trigger the Southwest companion voucher, which means you’d be able to take someone along for all of 2020 and all of 2021, just paying government taxes and fees. That stretches the value of your points beyond double, so really, you’re looking at $3500 in free travel.
Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) has some absolutely fabulous hotels around the world and with 140,000 points, you could check out virtually any of them. Not only that, the IHG Premier card brings automatic Platinum status in IHG Rewards as long as you hold the card, an annual free night, and an interesting fast track opportunity to Spire Elite, an even higher tier.
Most IHG properties cap at 70,000 points, so it’s at least two nights at the highest end, but with some places only going for 10,000 points per night during Points Breaks, you could work 14 nights out of it!
The Points: 140,000 IHG Rewards Points is fantastic after $3,000 in spending within 3 months.
The Value: With a $89 annual fee, it’s so easy to keep and love this card. Your annual free night certificate can be worth at least a couple hundred, so this is a no brainer, really.
United has a new premium credit card bringing United Club access, 4 miles per $1 spent on United, first and second bag free on United, priority boarding, a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit and more.
If you’re a United loyalist, the lounge access can easily justify the new United Club Infinite Card alone, but the 100,000 point welcome bonus after $5,000 in 3 months goes much further, bringing enough points for international business class, or a whole lot of domestic flying, starting at just 5,000 points one way.
The Points: 100,000 United MileagePlus Miles, well, at least 105,000 after spending.
The Value: United MileagePlus miles are worth well over 1 cent per mile, and there are plenty of ways to get far greater value. Think of this bonus as at least $1000 back on $5,000 in spending, and with 4x on United purchases and 2x on dining, there are lots of good ongoing reasons to use the card.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card has a whopping 100,000 point bonus to offset the $450 annual fee. It’s also got an annual $300 Marriott credit, which makes the fee more like $150 from the start, if you stay at Marriott, which is also the entire reason to get the card. Yeah.
On top of that, there’s the annual free night valid for any hotel up to 50,000 points, credit for 15 nights towards elite status, 6x points at Marriott and automatic Bonvoy Gold elite guest status.
The Points: the 100,000 point bonus is much higher than usual, and is a great way to kick start big time earning with Bonvoy. It’ll book you any hotel in the entire Marriott portfolio, with the exception of that one island hotel for 300,000 points per night.
The Value: A free night annually worth 50,000 points and $300 credit to offset the $450 annual fee is very fair, and the Bonvoy Gold status is worth plenty on its own. This is a great offer and instantly has you right where you want to be, to book some amazing stays.
Delta has incredibly strong bonuses across all their Amex cards right now, and the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card is a strong example. The card is a solid blend of reasonable annual fee, and benefits which bonus aside, can easily offset the $199 annual fee, including complimentary checked bag and priority boarding.
You earn 80,000 points after $3,000 in spending in 3 months, and an additional 20,000 after your first annual card membership renewal. The best feature for long term place in your wallet however, is the annual companion certificate, which allows you to book a second person in main cabin economy, just paying taxes and fees, which are typically $5 for a domestic itinerary.
The Points: Delta allows you to spend points for reward flights, or apply them toward the cost of a ticket. 100,000 points would get you $1000 in Delta flights at a minimum, which is a great bonus.
The Value: With checked bag fees at $50 each way, or worse, it’s easy to offset a $199 annual fee with just two round trips with a bag. Add in the companion ticket and the welcome bonus and this is super solid.
Not to be outdone by any other, Hilton also has a 125,000 point welcome bonus on the Surpass Amex. With an annual fee of $95 a year, that’s a great deal. If you spend $15,000 a year you earn a free weekend night, and if you spend $40,000 a year on the card you earn Hilton Diamond status.
The card automatically grants Hilton Gold Elite Status, offers 12x on Hilton spending and 6x points at US restaurants, supermarkets or gas stations. Those are great, practical earning categories.
The Points: 125,000 Hilton Points can do quite a lot for you, and unlock any hotel in the Hilton Honors portfolio.
The Value: $95 a year for elite status and great points earning is a solid proposition, and the welcome bonus tips the scales. $40,000 is a lot of spend for Diamond status, considering you can just get it by applying for the Hilton Honors Aspire, albeit with a $450 annual fee.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points are among the most valuable in the “points game”, thanks to 1:1 transfers to partners like Hyatt, United, Virgin Atlantic and more. In addition, you can use the points at any time for 1.25 cents of value, so 100,000 points as a bonus is worth a minimum of $1,250 if used for travel. If you have Sapphire Reserve, you can do even better.
This $95 annual fee card is fantastic for small business owners thanks in part to the flexibility of the earning categories, including 3x on broadly defined travel, which includes airfare, car rental, Uber, hotels and more. It’s also got 3x on shipping or advertising spend with Facebook, Google etc.
The Points: It’s hard to beat Chase Points, and 100,000 is a fantastic start with a lot of flexibility.
The Value: A card with over $1250 of initial minimum value on just a $95 annual fee is very, very compelling. Being able to earn a spending multiplier on general travel expenses and practical things like shipping or advertising make it even better. Great card.
Now is a brilliant time to rack up the points and spend all that time on the couch learning how to maximize them. Here’s a guide to best ways to spend: Chase Ultimate Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy Points, Hilton Honors Points and IHG Rewards Points.
Keep up to date on the latest points info here, too.