These cards come with welcome offers worth an estimated $900 — or more

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These days, you hear about credit cards offering new 100,000-point sign-up bonuses all the time.

Guess what? They’re overrated.

We did the math and found 11 sign-up bonuses and welcome offers that could each be worth $900 or more — and it turns out these valuable promotions often come in under 100,000 points.

How did we figure this out? Instead of stopping at the points, we dug deeper to calculate a dollar value using our estimated value of what those points and miles are really worth. Take a look.



AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®: $1,446 estimated value

Here’s why: The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® features a sign-up bonus worth about $1,446 when redeemed for flights, based on our estimated value of 2.41 cents per mile.

  • Sign-up bonus: 60,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles
  • Spending requirement: One purchase, plus paying the $99 annual fee
  • How long you have to earn it: 90 days from account opening

The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® offers 60,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after you make your first purchase (and pay the $99 annual fee) within 90 days of account opening.

Each account anniversary year, you can earn a companion certificate allowing you to take one guest along on a roundtrip domestic flight for only $99, plus no more than $43.20 in taxes and fees. To get the companion certificate, you need to spend $20,000 on purchases in the card membership year, and your account must remain open for at least 45 days after your anniversary date.

See our review of the picks for the best American Airlines credit cards to learn more about the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: $1,368 estimated value

Here’s why: It might surprise you to learn that this card has a more valuable sign-up bonus than its sibling, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Here’s what you get with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

  • Sign-up bonus: 80,000 points
  • Spending requirement: $4,000 on eligible purchases
  • How long you have to earn it: 3 months from account opening

But here’s the trick: You could get a better value for your points if you redeem them through a transfer partner (instead of through Chase’s own rewards program).

If you transfer to the United MileagePlus® program, your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card sign-up bonus could be worth about $1,368, based on our estimated valuation of 1.71 cents per point for MileagePlus®. But depending on which transfer partner you choose and how you redeem, your points could be worth more or less.

Along with that sign-up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with a $95 annual fee.

You can learn more in our review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

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Platinum Card® from American Express: $1,308 estimated value

Here’s why: The Platinum Card® from American Express features a welcome bonus worth about $1,308, depending on how you redeem the points.

  • Welcome bonus: 60,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • Spending requirement: $5,000 on purchases
  • How long you have to earn it: 3 months from account opening

When redeemed through the American Express Membership Rewards® program, this welcome bonus is worth no more than $600. You could get a much better value by transferring your points to a transfer partner like Delta SkyMiles, though it’s important to note that your points could be worth more or less depending on which transfer partner you choose and exactly how you redeem.

But the $550 annual fee might be a showstopper.

Check out our review of the Platinum Card® from American Express to learn more.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®: $1,205 estimated value

Here’s why: The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® features a sign-up bonus worth about $1,205 when redeemed for flights, based on our estimated value of 2.41 cents per mile.

  • Sign-up bonus: 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles
  • Spending requirement: $2,500 on purchases
  • How long you have to earn it: 3 months from account opening

The annual fee is $0 intro, then $99 after first year. And if you spend at least $20,000 on purchases each year and renew your card, you’ll receive a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount, which could more than offset the annual fee.

Check out our review of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® to learn more.

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Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®: $1,205 estimated value

Here’s why: The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® features a similar sign-up bonus, worth about $1,205 when redeemed toward flights, based on our estimated value of 2.41 cents per mile.

  • Sign-up bonus: 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles
  • Spending requirement: $5,000 on purchases
  • How long you have to earn it: 3 months from account opening

But you’ll pay a hefty $450 annual fee for what essentially amounts to a VIP airport experience, including priority check-in, priority airport screening and a complimentary Admirals Club membership.

Check out our review of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® to learn more.

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Citi Premier℠ Card: $918 estimated value

Here’s why: This card’s sign-up bonus is worth $750 when redeemed for airfare through the ThankYou Travel Center. But you might get more bang for your buck if you redeem through a Citi transfer partner.

If you transfer to JetBlue TrueBlue, your sign-up bonus could be worth about $918, based on our estimated valuation of 1.53 cents per point for the JetBlue TrueBlue program. But depending on which transfer partner you choose and how you redeem, your points could be worth more or less.

  • Welcome bonus: 60,000 points
  • Spending requirement: $4,000 on eligible purchases
  • How long you have to earn it: 3 months from account opening

The Citi Premier℠ Card has a reasonable $95 annual fee, but — unlike some of the other cards on this list — there are no freebies like travel credits or free hotel nights to offset it.

If you want to learn more, take a look at our review of the Citi Premier℠ Card.


Making the most of a sign-up bonus or welcome offer

A six-figure sign-up bonus or welcome offer doesn’t necessarily make a card’s offer the most valuable. Our estimated point valuations can help you figure out how much your bonus could actually be worth in dollars and cents.

Ultimately, how much your points are worth depends on how you redeem those points. For example, you theoretically could get a higher point value if you use your hotel program points to redeem for hotel nights than for, say, cash back. But these offers can give you an idea of how much each bonus could be worth if you’re looking to maximize your rewards.