Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express Reviews

Starwood points credit card

The Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express is offering new cardholders 2 free nights at Category 1 through 5 hotels & no annual fee the 1st year.

  • Category:
  • Finance
  • Review Topic:
  • Credit Cards,
  • Personal Finance
  • Website:
  • www.americanexpress.com

About Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express

It’s never a bad thing to find a credit card with rewards you’ll actually use.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express is one of those cards; you can use it to rack up points you can cash in for free nights at Starwood hotels.

Using the free nights you get is the easy part, but deciding whether or not this card is something you’ll use in the long term isn’t so simple. You should know about the card’s long-term benefits (not just the flashy short-term ones), its fees and penalties as well as what other people say about it.

Once you get a sense of all these different aspects of the card, it’s much easier to say “yes9rdquo; or “no.9rdquo; An informed consumer is a wise consumer, we think.

So, what we want to do is cover each one of those topics we mentioned. We’ll take you step by step through the most important aspects of the Starwood Preferred Guest Card, and then we’ll conclude with our overall thoughts on the card.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card ’s Short-Term Offers

At the time of research, new cardmembers get 2 free nights at a Category 1–5 hotel in the SPG network. The only requirement? Spend $3,000 in the first three months, which is an easy goal for average American households who can charge at least $1,200 a month on their card for various expenses.

However, just one month ago this offer was 25,000 points. In our opinion, the old offer was better.

How Many Free Nights Can 25K Points Get You?

Starwood has 67 Category 1 (2K–3K points) and Category 2 (3K–4K points) hotels in the United States; all but three of those are Category 2.

So, it’s conceivable that you could book 6 nights in a Category 2 hotel with your 25K points.

If it’s luxury you want, then browse SPG’s Category 5 hotels. You can find some of these properties at the 12,000-point level, which can get you a pair of nights with your intro bonus. For example, the new Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hill.

Using the nights on Category 1 or 2 hotels just wouldn’t make sense, because you’d be redeeming the nights for 2,000-4,000 point hotels.

In addition to the pair of free nights, new cardmembers won’t have to pay the card’s $95 annual fee the first year. Once you reach your first anniversary, the annual fee will be charged to your account.

The Long-Term Benefits of Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card

Once you get beyond the first year of card ownership, the short-term benefits of the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express disappear, and you’re left with several long-term benefits.

Hotel rewards cards give you points every time you make a purchase with your card. Most of those purchases will get you one point for every dollar you spend. However, there’s usually a bonus or two for other things you pay for with your card.

The SPG Amex gives you up to five points on every purchase you make at SPG properties: 2 points for the purchase, an additional 2 points if you’re an SPG loyalty member and an additional 1 point if you have SPG Elite status.

You’ll also get double points for money you spend at Marriott hotels, a bonus that came about in 2016 when Marriott announced a merger with SPG.

In past research we’ve done on annual income and spending habits of the average American household, we’ve concluded that you can expect to spend about $25,000 a year on your card. That’s good enough for two nights at a Category 5 hotel, two nights at a Category 4 property and three nights at Category 3.

Pro Tip: You get a 1,000-point discount for every Category 1 or 2 weekend night you book through the SPG site.

When you become a cardmember, Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card gives you complimentary access to high-speed internet at their hotel properties, as well as free access to more than 1 million Boingo hotspots around the world.

One of the big long-term perks of the SPG AmEx card is that any points you rack up on your card can be transferred to more than 30 airline frequent flyer programs. Also, when you transfer 20,000 points for a flight, you’ll get a 5,000-point bonus.

The final long-term perk of this card is that when you book three nights at an SPG hotel through the SPG website, you’ll get a fourth night free.

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card Fees and Penalties

Every credit card has its set of fees and “fines9rdquo; you’ll pay if you make a late payment or you don’t pay off your balance in full on time. Here’s what you can expect from the SPG AmEx:

Our main concern here is the penalty APR because it can have a big impact on how much interest you pay.

The penalty APR kicks in when you make a late payment and will, according to American Express, apply to your account for six months. At that point, they’ll review your account and determine whether they’ll drop your APR back down to what it was before.

So, if you carry a $3,000 balance, your APR is 15.99% and you pay your card off in 12 months, you’ll pay around $265 in interest over the course of the year.

If you have that same balance at the penalty APR of 29.99%, you’ll pay around $505 in interest during the year it takes you to pay off the card.

Our advice: Pay your balance in full every month, and you won’t have to worry about APR.

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card Reviews

We took a quick look at a few popular personal finance sites to get a sense of what people are saying about their experiences with the Starwood Preferred Guest card from AmEx. Here are some of the common praises:

  • Excellent hotel network with which you can book multiple nights with your bonus points
  • In some cases, consumers with sub-700 credit scores can get it
  • Nice perks for SPG members at SPG hotels (tier upgrade)

The opinions on this card are pretty uniform: most people love it.

Our Conclusions About the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express

As we said at the beginning of this article, a hotel rewards card is a great tool if you’re going to use it. And if you love Starwood hotels, the AmEx SPG card is an obvious choice for you.

If luxury is what you want out of your 25,000 intro points, then a night at the following hotels can be had with your bonus:

Another thing we haven’t mentioned is that, if you spend $30,000 on the card in one year, you’ll get SPG Gold status for the following 12 months, which entitles you to late checkout, complimentary room upgrades (when available) and more.

The penalties and fees on the card are pretty standard, but it’s important to keep an eye out on the penalty APR.

Our advice is to avoid late fees/penalties by setting up automatic payments through which you pay your entire balance. As we pointed out earlier, just one missed payment will activate your penalty APR, and that could cost nearly double in interest payments.

Based on our research, we believe this card is a great fit for someone who travels frequently and likes the Starwood network of hotels.

If you aren’t a hotel loyalist and are just looking for as many introductory free nights as possible, you can certainly sign up for this card, but we think you may be happier with the Marriott Rewards Premier Card from Chase. Marriott has more than four times the Category 1 and 2 hotels in the U.S. that Starwood has.

If Marriott or Starwood hotels don’t excite you, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which lets you transfer your points 1:1 to the Hyatt Gold Passport, IHG Rewards, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards programs.

If you want pure value and the quality level of the hotel isn’t important to you, then you’ll love the Choice Privileges Visa. We estimate that you can get enough points in the first year for 11 free nights.

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Starwood Card 30,000 Point Offer ($300 in Gift Cards or $600+ in Hotels) is Back!

Starwood points credit card

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express is a Million Mile Secrets advertising partner. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

[Disclosure: Emily and I get a commission for the links in this post. As always, the links are to the best offers for the card regardless of whether they pay a commission or not. You don't have to use our links, but we are grateful when you do!]

The Starwood credit card 30,000 point offer is back!

Link: American Express Starwood 30,000 Points Personal Credit Card

Link: American Express Starwood 30,000 Points Business Credit Card

The 30,000 point offer has appeared for

1 month every year for the last 3 years. though there is no guarantee that it will come back again next year.

30,000 points is the most that American Express has ever offered for the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) card. That said, the standard offer is for 25,000 points after spending $5,000 within 6 months, so you’re only getting an extra 5,000 points.

Starwood Credit Card 30,000 Points

You earn 30,000 Starwood hotel points – 10,000 after your first purchase, and 20,000 points after spending $5,000 within 6 months. The offer ENDS on September 3, 2013. American Express says that you have to be APPROVED before September 3, 2013 to be eligible for the offer.

This offer is valid on the Starwood personal card and the Starwood business card.

You don’t need to be incorporated (i.e have a corporation) to apply for a business credit card. You can also apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor and even as a start-up business with little to no revenue.

But don’t lie on the application form if you don’t have a business!

You earn 1 Starwood point per $1 you spend everywhere and 2 Starwood points per $1 at Starwood hotels.

Spending $5,000 within 6 months is

$833 each month, and I suspect that most of us spend more than $833 each month. You can charge almost everything to a credit card, so see the 40+ ways to complete your minimum spending requirements.

You can usually get 2 cents per Starwood point if you redeem for hotels using the cash & points option, so 30,000 points is worth at least $600 in hotels if not more!

You can also redeem Starwood points for gift cards. so 28,000 points will get you$300 in Amazon (or other) gift cards. 30,000 points will also get you $345 to $410 in airfare with NO blackout dates (which will also earn miles). That said, these aren’t as lucrative as the other redemption options, but you should use your points in the best way for YOU.

The $65 annual fee is waived for the first year on both the business and personal cards. But the card charges 2.7% in foreign transaction fees, so I wouldn’t use it outside the US. See this post for cards which do not charge foreign transaction fees.

I also wish the card offered some benefit for keeping it after the first year. I’d prefer a free night at a Starwood hotel just like the Chase hotel cards offer.

Instead, the Starwood card gets you 2 stays or 5 nights towards elite status if you have the Starwood card. You can get 4 stays or 5 nights credit towards elite status if you have BOTH the business and personal cards.

So you’ll need only 6 stays or 15 nights to get Starwood Gold status if you have both the personal and business card. Gold status gets you 4:00 pm late check-out, and free internet (you can choose between a drink, internet and extra points, but the free internet is the most valuable to me). You also get Starwood Gold status if you spend more than $30,000 within 1 calendar year on the card.

This means that you need only 21 stays or 40 nights to get to Platinum status if you have both the business and personal card. Platinum status gets you 4:00 pm late check-out, upgrades to rooms including standard suites, free internet

Some readers have reported NOT getting the full bonus with the AMEX Starwood card.

So make sure that you verify that the offer is for 30,000 points when you sign-up for the card.

And don’t forget to take screenshots of the offer before applying.

The terms say that you can’t get the Starwood card again unless it has been 12 months since you have cancelled the card.

Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months.

For example, you should not have had the Starwood personal card for 12 months before reapplying to get the personal card again. However, you could have the business card open in the past 12 months because the business and personal card are considered separate products.

The terms also say:

identified as a current American Express ® Cardmember, you may not be eligible for this welcome bonus offer.

I don’t like how vaguely this is worded and suggests that AMEX could deny the bonus – if they want to – to folks who currently have an American Express card.

I’ll write a detailed series on how to use Starwood hotel points, but here are few reasons why I like Starwood hotel points.

Starwood has Over 1,000 Hotels in 100 Countries

One of our most memorable Starwood stays was at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna. the former palace of Prince Philip of Wurrttemberg, and part of the Starwood Luxury Collection hotel.

One of our Favorite Hotel Stays – The Hotel Imperial in Vienna!

Starwood points credit card

In contrast, Hyatt points are great to use for top tier Hyatt hotels, because you need 22,000 points for any top tier Hyatt hotel compared to 35,000+ points for top-tier Starwood hotels.

I have both the personal and business Starwood credit cards. and like using Starwood points for cheap hotel stays using the Cash & Points option. That said, cash and points stays have blackout dates, so the hotels don’t have to make standard rooms available for cash and points redemptions.

Cash & Points Can Save You Starwood Points

The Cash & Points option lets you pay for your hotel with fewer points and a cash co-pay which saves you both points and cash.

For example, using the Cash & Points option, the Sheraton Iguazu Resort & Spa (the only hotel in the Iguazu National Park) costs 6,000 points and $110 a night instead of 16,000 points if I used only points.

The Sheraton at the Iguazu Falls was just outside the National Park boundary, so we could be first into the park when it opened.

Starwood points credit card

Emily & Daraius at the Iguazu Falls in Brazil

Cash & Points stays also count towards Starwood hotel elite status.

3. Bonus Points When Transferring To Airlines

Starwood points are useful because you can transfer them to 30 airline partners such as American Airlines, British Airways, and Alaska. Most of the transfers are in a 1:1 ratio.

You get a 5,000 mile bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starwood points. So 20,000 Starwood points becomes 25,000 airline miles. The Starwood card is the best way to replenish your American Airlines miles.

You will get 85,000 air miles if you apply for both the business and personal card, complete the minimum spending and transfer the points to airlines.

This means that you earn 1.25 miles per $1 for regular spending (assuming you’re not taking advantage of category bonuses on other cards) if you spend enough to transfer 20,000 Starwood points to airlines.

Starwood points credit card

You Can Transfer Starwood Points to 30 Different Airlines

Nights & Flights is a great redemption for long category 3 and 4 hotel stays.

Starwood points credit card

The Great Value of Nights & Flights!

5 free hotel nights AND 50,000 airline miles cost:

You can get 70,000 Starwood points (60,000 from the sign-up bonus and 10,000 points from the minimum spending) if you apply for one 30,000 points Starwood personal card and one 30,000 points Starwood business card s.

Two cards can get you 5 free hotel nights and 50,000 of the 60,000 miles needed for a coach ticket to Europe! 60,000 air miles is also enough for at least 2 coach tickets within the US.

You can redeem Starwood points for flights on many airlines with no blackout dates. The catch is that you’re not getting the most value of your points, but some folks prefer the flexibility of taking any flight and also earning miles for those flights.

Starwood points credit card

30,000 points gets you $345 to $410 in Airfare With No Blackout Dates

Starwood points credit card

30,000 Starwood Points = $300 in Gift Cards

The 30,000 point American Express Starwood Preferred Guest personal and business card offer is the highest bonus for this card and it has only come around a handful of times.

I like having points – especially points which you can transfer to other airlines – in different programs so that I have more flexibility when I’m redeeming my miles and points.

If you were planning on getting this card, the additional 5,000 bonus points is a nice incentive, but it isn’t a very big difference from the regular offer.

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 10,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day! ) or in a RSS reader …because then you’llnever miss another giveaway!


Review: American Express Canada Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card

In my opinion, Starwood Preferred Guest is the most valuable loyalty program out there. SPG points are undoubtedly the most flexible and valuable points currency available to Canadian travellers. Ironically, most Canadians aren’t even familiar with SPG points, or how to earn them.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts is an American hotel company with many different brands operated under the same loyalty program. Properties vary from limited service, budget friendly options to ultra-luxury resorts:

Starwood points credit card

Starwood Hotels And Resorts Brands

The three easiest ways for Canadians to accumulate SPG points:

  • Stay at Starwood properties
  • Credit card spending
  • Stay at Marriott properties and transfer to Marriott Rewards to SPG (3:1 ratio)

The first option is fairly self explanatory. Earn 2 SPG points for every $1USD spent at any participating Starwood property. For frequent or business travellers, points can add up very quickly by being loyal to the Starwood brand.

For those who don’t travel often or want to earn thousands of SPG points quickly and easily, then The American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card is the way to go. Highlights of the SPG credit card include:

  • 1 SPG point for every $1 on everyday purchases
  • 2 SPG points for every $1 on purchases at Starwood or Marriott hotels
  • 20,000 SPG welcome bonus after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months of membership
  • Upgrade to Starwood Preferred Guests Gold status after spending $30,000 in a calendar year

The third option is new, courtesy of the merger between Marriott and Starwood. Although SPG points can’t be directly earned at participating Marriott properties, guests can easily transfer Marriott points to Starwood online. This option will be available until November, 2017, when it’s expected a joint program will be announced by Marriott.

For frequent travellers who plan to stay multiple nights at Marriott or Starwood properties, I would encourage applying for The American Express Platinum card or The American Express Business Platinum card for instant Starwood and Marriott Gold status, amongst other perks. Gold status benefits include late check-out, welcome amenity, and upgraded room based on availability. Marriott Gold members also get access to the executive floor lounge at participating properties, which includes access to the executive floor lounge with daily breakfast, evening canapés, bar service, dedicated check-in etc. The value in having status with a hotel can easily justify the steep annual fee on The Platinum card for frequent travellers.

Marriott also has a co-branded credit card in Canada issued by Chase, which is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Marriott Reward points (or 16,667 SPG) with no minimum spend or annual fee for the first year. Although the sign-up bonus and annual fee waiver certainly make this card a good option to boost your points balance, I don’t consider this a good card for everyday spend due to the poor earning potential compared to other cards.

SPG has a large portfolio of properties all over the globe which can be booked with SPG points. As mentioned earlier, properties range from limited service hotels to luxury resorts, and everything in-between. Redemptions start at just 2,000 SPG points per night for a weekend night stay at a category 1 property to 35,000 points per night for a category 7 property during peak season:

Starwood points credit card

SPG Redemption Chart

Starwood offers a 5th night free on reward redemptions (in category 3-7 properties) which lowers the required number of points by 20 percent for 5 night stays. This can also be repeated for longer stays, meaning a 10 night stay would only require 8 nights worth of points!

Hotel redemptions can provide exceptional value, especially when rates are high during peak season, or for stays 5 nights or longer. I recently redeemed 35,000 SPG points for a night at The St Regis New York City, where the base rooms were selling at $1,000USD per night.

SPG points are transferrable to most major airlines at a ratio of 1:1. Furthermore, SPG provides a 5000 mile bonus for each increment of 20,000 SPG points transferred. So, if you wanted to transfer 20,000 SPG to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, you would receive 25,000 miles. If you wanted to transfer 40,000 SPG points, you would receive 50,000 miles, and so on. Starwood limits the number of points you can transfer in a day to 79,999, so if you’re planning to transfer a large number of points it’s best to limit yourself to 60,000 per day to maximize the transfer bonus.

This flexibility is great when booking award travel, as you can essentially search all airlines for award space, and transfer the points when needed. There is nothing more frustrating than having a large balance of one mileage currency and finding award space on another airline. It should be noted that SPG transfer times are not instant, and usually require a few business days for the transfer to complete.

Marriott Rewards Flight And Hotel Bookings

I find that SPG is a superior program to Marriott for redemptions with one exception: flight and hotel packages through Marriott. If you’re planning to convert your SPG points to a specific airline, I would strongly suggest exploring this option before proceeding. In many instances, you’re able to transfer the same number of points for the flight and get a 7 night stay in a Marriott property for no additional points. Here’s an example:

Say you wanted to book a roundtrip ticket to Hong Kong from North America on Cathay Pacific in business class. Alaska Air Mileage Plan offers roundtrip business class for 100,000 miles, or 80,000 SPG points (1:1 ratio plus 4 X 5,000 transfer bonus)

Alternatively, you could transfer 83,334 SPG points to Marriott for a total of 250,000 Marriott Reward points and redeem for 100,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and a 7 night stay in a category 1-5 Marriott property.

Starwood points credit card

Marriott Flight And Hotel Package Chart

What’s best is you don’t have to redeem the hotel stay at the same time as the mileage redemption. Marriott will simply keep a certificate valid for a 7 night hotel stay on your profile that will remain valid for one year.

Here’s an example on how a couple could earn enough points for a week in Hawaii using 290,000 Marriott Reward Points for a flight+hotel package:

Person A refers Person B for The American Express Starwood Preferred Credit Card and earns a referral bonus of 10,000 SPG points. Person B earns 20,000 SPG points after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months of membership, netting 31,500 SPG points with a total cost of $120 (first year annual fee for SPG card)

Person A applies for The American Express Gold Rewards Card and Earns 30,000 Membership Reward Points after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months of membership and adding a supplement card (for Person B) during the application. 30,000 American Express Membership Reward Points transfer to SPG at a 2:1 ratio, netting 15,000 SPG points at no cost.

Person A refers Person B for The American Express Gold Rewards Card and earns a 5000 Membership Reward Points referral bonus. Person B earns 30,000 American Express Membership Reward Points after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months of membership and adding a supplement card (for Person A) during the application. This nets another 35,000 Membership Reward Points, which transfer to 17,500 SPG points. At this point, the couple has accumulated 85,500 SPG points, or 256,500 Marriott Reward points.

Shift all spend to the SPG credit card to earn points on everyday purchases and earn 1 SPG point for every dollar spent. Depending on your monthly budget for everyday purchases, you could earn the additional 11,200 SPG points required for the redemption in as little as 3-6 months.

Transfer all SPG points into one account (SPG allows free transfers between household members living at the same address for more than 30 days). You should have a total of 96,700 SPG points which you can now transfer to Marriott for a total of 290,100 points – enough for two roundtrip tickets to Hawaii from the west coast using British Airways Avios for an Alaska Airlines flight.

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel was rated as one of the best resort hotels in Hawaii by Condé Nast and regularly sells rooms at $600USD per night. In the above scenario, you could a trip to Hawaii easily valued at over $7,000CAD for $120 and two credit card applications per person. That is incredible value.

Starwood points credit card

Mauna Kea Beach Resort

SPG points are a must have points currency for any Canadian traveller. Not only are they great for hotel redemptions, but they can also be transferred to various airline partners at a 1:1.25 ratio. Furthermore, SPG points can be transferred to Marriott Rewards and redeemed for flight+hotel packages, which can represent phenomenal value. Consider applying for The American Express Starwood Preferred Credit Card for a 20,000 SPG welcome bonus and start earning points on everyday purchases to start travelling sooner!


Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Credit Card Review

  • Extremely valuable rewards rate
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • 25,000 Starpoints bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • $95 annual fee WAIVED for the first year

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card: At a glance

  • Receive 25,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee waived for the first year
  • APR: 15.49%-19.49%
  • Receive free in-room internet access at participating properties
  • Get free nights at more than 1,200 hotels in over 100 countries with NO blackout dates
  • Transfer Starpoints at a 1:1 ratio to a variety of different airline frequent flyer programs
  • Receive complimentary WiFi on four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide

Why should you apply for this card?

The SPG Amex is frequently touted as being one of the best credit cards in the world, and for good reason. The high value of Starpoints (they can be worth up to 2.3 cents per point, depending on how you choose to redeem them) makes it one of the best bangs for your buck that you can get the credit card world.

  • If you stay at Starwood properties frequently – This card gives you 5 Starpoints per dollar spend at Starwood properties. If you’re planning on spending a decent amount of cash at Starwood properties, this card is going to give you a huge rewards rate and you should definitely apply for it today.
  • You want to get closer to elite status – You’ll get a credit for 2 stays or 5 nights, putting you 20% closer to elite status at Starwood. And if you’re a big spender, making $30,000 worth of purchases in a year will give you automatic Gold SPG status.
  • If you fly with one of SPG’s 1:1 airline partners (including American, Delta, and more) – Not only can you transfer at a 1:1 ratio, but you also get a bonus 5,000 points when you transfer in increments of 20,000. This gives you an incredible 25% boost in your rewards rate, just for transferring to your favorite airline.
  • You also get the standard amazing American Express perks: car rental damage waiver, travel insurance, return protection, etc.

Which airlines can you transfer Starpoints to at a 1:1 ratio?

As of right now, the list is as follows:

  • American Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Air Canada
  • Aeromexico
  • Emirates
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Qatar Airways
  • Korean Air
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Jet Airways
  • Air China
  • Air Berlin
  • Japan Airlines
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Korean Airlines
  • Miles and More
  • All Nippon Airways
  • China Eastern Airlines

If your favorite airline is on this list, signing up for the SPG Amex is almost certainly going to give you a better bang for your buck than signing up for the co-branded airline card.

The Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express is a phenomenal choice if you’re looking for a hotel-branded credit card that doubles as a frequent flyer credit card. If you stay at Starwood properties or fly at one of the above listed airlines, this card is a great choice to rack up travel rewards with your everyday spending.

The only downside is that, other than the spending at Starwood hotels, there are no bonus categories for extra points. So while this is a great card for your everyday miscellaneous spending, if there are certain categories of purchases that you know you will be spending a lot of money on (gas, groceries, restaurants, etc) then you might want to supplement this card with a secondary credit card that gives you a better rate of return on those specific categories.


Review: The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card – August 2017

Starwood points credit card

  • If the provider quotes a different rate to the one above please let us know

A competitive hotel credit card with robust airfare and hotel perks.

The Starwood Preferred Card makes it lot more fun to stay at Starwood properties — a portfolio that includes Westin, Sheraton, The Luxury Collection and W Hotels. With the ability to earn lots of points, you’ll quickly score Starpoints that are redeemable for free resort stays. Those same Starpoints can put you on free flights and boost your miles in frequent flyer programs.

If you’re a regular at properties like Westin and Sheraton, you’ll find a lot to like in the Starwood Preferred Guest Card. The card’s 5x points per dollar spent on Starwood means you’ll quickly accumulate Starpoints, which you can redeem for free hotel styas. Just a few thousand Starpoints can buy you a stay at Sheraton, Le Méridien, Four Points by Sheraton properties, Element Hotels and more.

Throw in 2x points per dollar spent on Marriott and you have quite a good hotel card already. But the Starwood Preferred Guest Card won’t just bring you resort stays — it also lets you redeem Starpoints for free airfare through SPG Flights. And if you’re part of a frequent flyer program, chances are you can transfer your Starpoints at a 1:1 ratio. These are valuable perks that elevate the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from the general travel cards.

Of course, you’ll get the most value out of the Starwood Preferred Guest Card if you’re a loyal Starwood customer. If you love sampling properties from different brands, consider a general travel credit card. You’ll have many great choices, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard and the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card.

  • Signup sweeteners. The Starwood Preferred Guest Card comes with a 30,000-point signup bonus, and has no annual fee for the first year.
  • Point multiples. Get up to 5x points on Starwood spending and 2x points at participating Marriott Rewards resorts.
  • Spend Starpoints for stays at Starwood properties. A free night costs as little as 3,000 Starpoints.

Starpoints get you free nights at Starwood’s 11 properties:

  • St. Regis
  • The Luxury Collection
  • W Hotels
  • Le Méridien
  • Westin
  • Sheraton
  • Aloft
  • Element Hotels
  • Four Points by Sheraton
  • Tribute Portfolio
  • Design Hotels

  • Starpoints take you to the skies. Book airfare through more than 150 airlines by spending Starpoints through SPG Flights. You can also transfer your Starpoints — often at a 1:1 ratio — to select frequent flyer programs. And receive 5,000 bonus Starpoints if you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a qualifying frequent flyer program.
  • Starwood Hotels perks. Get an automatic boost toward higher status in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. Also, get free in-room Wi-Fi each time you stay in a Starwood resort.
  • Travel protection. Use Amex’s Roadside Assistance Hotline and Global Assist Hotline when you’re in bind on vacation. Also, leverage your card for free car rental insurance and travel accident insurance.
  • Purchase benefits. Get extended warranties, purchase protection and return protection on your purchases.
  • Cardmember-only entertainment. As a cardholder, you’ll have access to exclusive events and ticket presales.
  • Not as widely accepted overseas. The Starwood Preferred Guest Card comes with no foreign transaction fees. But because it’s an American Express, you might not have as many opportunities to use it overseas as you would with a Visa or Mastercard.
  • No intro APR. The Starwood Preferred Guest Card doesn’t come with a 0% intro APR for purchases or balance transfers.
  • Penalty APR. Making late or returned payments could saddle you with an APR as high as 29.99%.

Always consider your options and your financial situation before you apply for a credit card.

Starwood points credit card

You can get a decision on your application within 60 seconds (conditional credit card approval is often automated). You’ll have a better chance of being approved if you apply with a good to excellent credit score of 720 or higher.

  • Making payments. Register your account on the American Express website to pay your balance online. You can also enroll in autopay.
  • Avoiding interest payments. After the close of each billing cycle, you have a grace period of 25 days to pay your balance. If you do, you won’t pay interest on your purchases.
  • Avoiding fees. Late and returned payments come with hefty fees of up to $0.00. Balance transfers and cash advances also come with fees.
  • Customer service. Help documents aren’t easily accessible on the American Express website, but you can call 1-800-528-4800 for customer service. According to market research company J.D. Power, cardholders give American Express high marks in customer interaction.

You’ll get maximum value from the Starwood Preferred Guest Card if you frequent Starwood properties. Otherwise, a general travel card might be a better choice.

Are there other travel cards I should consider besides the Starwood Preferred Guest Card?

If I qualify for the Starwood Preferred Guest Card signup bonus, when will I receive my points?

You’ll receive your Starpoints eight to 12 weeks after you reach the spending threshold.

If I have a penalty APR, how long will it apply?

You’ll be stuck with the penalty APR for at least six months. If you pay your balances on time and have no returned payments within that period, American Express may lower your APR.