Starwood Preferred Guest Card by American Express

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excellent
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR15.74 - 19.74% (V)
intro BT APR 15.74-19.74% 3% BT fee $5 min
rewards 1 or 5 points per dollar +35,000 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
  • extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after you make an additional $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months

$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
  • Extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after you make an additional $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 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
  • points are valued at 2.2-2.4 cents each - more than double than typical reward

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 a 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.

A major drawback of the card is that American Express cards are not convenient for traveling 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: 02/27/2017




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