Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

10 Cards with Sign-Up Bonuses That Get You at Least $500 in Value

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Update: I’m adding a No. 11 to this list — see below.

If you’ve spent any time on this site or are at all interested in the points and miles hobby, you know that credit card sign-up bonuses are a great way to quickly earn points or miles that can be used toward flight, hotel and other travel redemptions. However, not all rewards currencies are created equal — which is why I created my monthly valuations series to pin down an exact worth in cents for the points and miles used by the major travel loyalty programs.

To show you just how lucrative these sign-up bonuses can be, below I’ll run through 10 cards with offers that equate to $500 or more in value. (As you’ll see, some get you more than double that amount.) All values are calculated based on my latest valuations, and I subtracted the annual fee from the points/miles valuation if the card charges it within the first year.

Finally, keep in mind that you can get significantly more value from several of these cards if you maximize certain benefits. For example, if you use the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card to earn the Companion Pass and get virtually free travel for one of your friends or family members, the value will far surpass the $651 you’ll get from the sign-up bonus. And while the 10,000 MQMs you’ll earn as part of the sign-up offer for the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card aren’t factored into the $525 valuation listed below, those MQMs and any additional ones you earn by meeting certain spending thresholds help you get Delta elite status, which we value at $790-$6,820 depending on the tier.

1. Chase Ink Plus Business Card

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The Ink Plus Business Card’s sign-up bonus is worth a whopping $1,165.

Sign-up bonus: 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $1,165, factoring in the annual fee) after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months

Annual fee: $95

Reasons to get it: Apart from offering the highest-value bonus of all the cards on this list, the Ink Plus Business Card is a great pick due to its lucrative bonus categories. You’ll earn 5x points (a 10.5% return) on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year, plus 2x points (a 4.2% return) on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and hotel accommodations when purchased directly from the hotel each account anniversary year. While this is a business card, you could qualify if you freelance or have a side gig such as an eBay store. If you do qualify, you’ll benefit from this windfall of Ultimate Rewards points, which you can transfer and redeem with the program’s 11 travel transfer partners.

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $1,050) after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. Get an additional 5,000 points (worth an additional $105) after you add an authorized user and have them make a purchase in the first three months.

Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Reasons to get it: Aside from the large sign-up bonus, this card earns you valuable Ultimate Rewards points on all purchases, plus 2x points on travel and dining purchases. I use the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for most of my purchases thanks to the generous bonus category and other benefits like primary auto rental insurance and trip cancellation coverage. As with the Ink Plus Business Card, you can transfer points to a strong selection of travel partners, including British Airways, Hyatt and United.

3. United MileagePlus Explorer Card

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Get up to $955 worth of miles with a limited-time sign-up offer on the United MileagePlus Explorer Card.

Sign-up bonus: 70,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months (targeted; worth $955) or 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months (worth $655)

Annual fee: $95

Reasons to get it: This card is offering a targeted sign-up bonus of 70,000 miles to select users (click this link and log in with your United account details to see if you’re eligible) now through June 30, and it’s a great opportunity to score more than double the usual sign-up bonus of 30,000 miles. Even if you’re not targeted, using this link you can get an offer for 50,000 miles, still an improvement over the standard offer. The 70,000-mile bonus can get you a round-trip economy Saver award from the US to Japan (among many other redemption options), while the 50,000-mile bonus is enough for a round-trip domestic business-class Saver award. Other card benefits include a free checked bag, priority boarding, two United Club passes each year and additional award availability.

4. British Airways Visa Signature Card

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 Avios after you spend $3,000 in the first three months (worth $655, factoring in the annual fee).

Annual fee: $95

Reasons to get it: This isn’t the highest sign-up bonus we’ve seen for this card, but it’s a good opportunity to earn a lot of Avios without having to spend too much up front. The British Airways Visa Signature Card earns you 3 Avios per dollar spent on British Airways purchases, and if you spend $30,000 on the card within a calendar year, you’ll get a Travel Together Ticket good for two years when you redeem Avios for a flight on BA.

5. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card

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Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months (worth $651, factoring in the annual fee)

Annual fee: $99

Reasons to get it: There are several reasons to consider this card if you ever fly Southwest for domestic travel or destinations like Costa Rica. For one, the points you’ll earn both from the sign-up bonus and everyday spending will get you far with the carrier’s revenue-based award chart. Plus, these points count toward the Companion Pass, an amazing benefit that lets a designated friend or family member fly with you for free (minus taxes and fees) when you earn 110,000 points in a calendar year. See Jason Steele’s post on how to earn the Companion Pass starting with a 50,000-point sign-up bonus for more info.

6. Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

Sign-up bonus: 25,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months (worth $625).

Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Reasons to get it: Even with the impending Marriott-Starwood merger, this card is a great option thanks to the valuable points it will earn you. In fact, I value Starpoints at 2.5 cents apiece — higher than any other loyalty currency listed in my valuations. That’s because you can use them for a wide variety of great redemptions, including hotel award nights, transfers to more than 30 airline programs and VIP experiences through SPG Moments. I’d recommend signing up for this card before the merger, since it will likely be discontinued if the Starwood Preferred Guest program is folded into Marriott Rewards. Even if the system for redeeming Starpoints eventually changes, we’ll likely have some advance notice, and you can always use the sign-up bonus for awards in the short term rather than saving them up.

7. Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express

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Use points earned with the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express at properties like the St. Regis Osaka.

Sign-up bonus: 25,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months (worth $625)

Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Reasons to get it: This card offers most of the same benefits as the personal version, with the main differences being that you need to spend $5,000 rather than $3,000 to earn the sign-up bonus and you get Sheraton Club access on eligible stays. Other benefits for both cards not mentioned above include 5 night and 2 stay credits toward SPG elite status (per card), complimentary premium in-room internet access and no foreign transaction fees.

8. Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

Sign-up bonus: 100,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months (worth $601, factoring in the annual fee)

Annual fee: $99

Reasons to get it: We’ve never seen a higher offer for this card, so now’s a great time to sign up and earn a ton of rewards. While I only value Marriott Rewards points at 0.7 cents apiece, this offer still gets you some great value; 100,000 points is enough for 10 nights at a Category 2 property, or two nights at a Tier 3 Ritz Carlton hotel. Plus, this card offers automatic Silver elite status, and you’ll get one credit toward elite status for every $3,000 you spend on the card with no limit to the number of credits you can earn. You’ll earn 5x points on Marriott purchases; 2x on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline and at car rental agencies, restaurants, office supply stores and for internet, cable and phone services; and 1x on everything else. Other benefits include an annual free night at a Category 1-5 property after your account anniversary, and no foreign transaction fees.

9. Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

Sign-up bonus: 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months plus a $50 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase in the first three months

Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Reasons to get it:  While Delta no longer publishes its award charts, you can make the most of these SkyMiles by planning ahead and finding Saver-level tickets or looking into partner redemptions. Other benefits of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express include priority boarding, a first bag checked free on round-trip Delta flights, 20% off in-flight purchases, no foreign transaction fees and an earning rate of 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases. Note that the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express is also currently offering a sign-up bonus of 30,000 SkyMiles when you spend $1,000 in the first three months.

10. Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

Sign-up bonus: 35,000 miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $1,000 in the first three months

Annual fee: $195

Reasons to get it: This is another Delta co-branded Amex card and if you’re alright with paying a higher annual fee, it could be worth it. Aside from the sign-up bonus, the biggest perk is the 5,000 MQMs you’ll earn after meeting the spending requirement, since these count toward Delta elite status. You can even earn another 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles after spending $25,000 on the card in a calendar year, plus another 10,000 of each when you spend $50,000 in a calendar year. As with the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, you’ll get a first bag checked free, priority boarding and 20% off in-flight purchases, and you’ll earn 2x miles on Delta flights and 1x on everything else. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card is offering the same sign-up bonus.

11. Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

Sign-up bonus: Two free weekend nights (worth a varying amount, but easily more than $500) after you spend $2,500 within the first four months

Annual fee: $95

Reasons to get it: The two free weekend nights with this card can be extremely valuable, as long as each of the free nights is worth more than $300 (factoring in the annual fee). However, that threshold isn’t amount isn’t hard to get to because there’s no limit on the category of the hotel you can use for the free nights. I used my free nights at the Conrad Maldives and got extremely good value out of that — worth well more than $500. In addition to the valuable sign-up bonus, the card also comes with complimentary HHonors Gold status as long as you’re a cardholder, an anniversary bonus of one weekend night after you spend $10,000 each year and no foreign transaction fees. You’ll earn 10x points per dollar on Hilton stays, 5x points on airlines and car rental purchases and 3x points on all other purchases.

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are plenty of travel rewards cards that will get you well over $500 in value from their sign-up bonuses alone. Also keep in mind that my valuations are on the conservative side; you can often get even more out of your points and miles if you redeem for a hotel stay or award flight that would cost thousands of dollars out of pocket. Plus, this post doesn’t even touch on more premium cards like the Platinum Card from American Express that come with steep annual fees but also offer perks like a $200 annual airline fee credit. In any case, hopefully this post has made it clear that credit card sign-up bonuses are one of the best ways to reap the rewards of the points and miles hobby quickly!

What’s the highest-value sign-up bonus you’ve received?

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named a 'Best Credit Card' for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 16.24%-23.24% Variable Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 0% Excellent Credit