Starwood Preferred Guest Card by American Express

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excellent
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR15.49 - 19.49% (V)
intro BT APR 15.49-19.49% 3% BT fee $5 min
rewards 1 or 5 points per dollar +25,000 welcome bonus
  • earn 5x points on reservations directly at Starwood Preferred Guest program hotels:
  • you get 3 points as a program member
  • you get 2 points as a cardmember 
  •  1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 25,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of the card

$95 annual fee, waived for the first year

best hotel rewards program

Editors Review

Pros

  • Up to 25,000 bonus Starpoints - after you make $3,000 in purchases within 3 months
  • Redeem points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels worldwide and free flights on more than 150 airlines or transfer points to more than 30 frequent flyer programs at 1:1 rate mostly
  • 1 point per $1 on all purchases
  • 5 points per $1 for purchases made directly from hotels, participating in Starwood Preferred Guest program
  • 5,000 points bonus when you transfer 20,000 points to frequent flyer program – that is 25% additional bonus
  • no international transactions fee

Cons

  • $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year
  • AmEx cards are not accepted everywhere, it is safer to have Visa or MasterCard with you 

Verdict

AmEx card that allows you to earn Starwood points as a reward for your purchases. Starwood is a company that operates several hotel chains including Sheraton, Four Points, W Hotels, Le Meridien, Westin and more. The main advantage of the card is the value of the Starwood points; unlike most travel reward points or airline miles, Starpoints have value from 2 to 5 cents each.

The most profitable way to redeem points is to spend them on free hotel nights; another way to use points is to transfer them to airlines’ frequent miles.

Generous sign-up bonus up to 25,000 points offsets $95 annual fee; if you plan to use the card every month, the rewards can be much more than the costs.

Major drawback of the card is that American Express cards are not convenient for travelling because of the 2.7% foreign transaction fee and problems with AmEx acceptance abroad.

Update 12/19/2015: New terms for American Express SPG card. The card is getting even better!  No international transaction fee, annual fee raised from $65 to $95 (waived for the first year).  To earn 25,000 bonus points now you need to spend $3000 in the first 3 months of your account. 

Last updated: 08/13/2016




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