UPDATE: This offer has ended. To see the current Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card bonus for new applications, check out my Top Favorite Credit Card page.
The annual Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card American Express offer of 30,000 points is back! Typically this offer is at a steady 25,000 bonus points but once or twice a year they bump up that bonus and give new applicants an extra 5,000 points. The minimum spend to earn this bonus is actually very favorable as well – you will earn 10,000 points after your first purchase on the card and then an additional 20,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first 6 months. There is both a personal and business version of this card, both with the same offer (and yes, you can get both cards for a total of 60,000 points!). This offer expires September 3, 2013.
I personally got this card three years ago during the same 30,000 offer and go back and forth between this card and my Chase Sapphire Preferred for most of my every day spend (that is unless I am trying to meet minimum spend on another new credit card!). Every day spend are those categories where there is rarely a bonus regardless on the card you use (bonus categories typically include travel, groceries, gas, etc.). I find SPG points extremely valuable since you get 1 point for every dollar spent and the number of points needed to redeem is much lower than Marriott and Hilton (Marriott you get 1 point per $1 for your everyday spend with the card and Hilton it really depends on the card you have, at best you get 3 points per $ for your everyday spend). Starwood has some great category 4 and 5 properties out there where you only need 10,000 and 12,000 respectively to get a free night. In Asia there are also some gem category 1 and 2 hotels! I personally had a field day redeeming hardly any points in Thailand for free nights! It then jumps to 20,000 points for category 6 hotels (which can still be a great value internationally) and then an unreasonable amount for their category 7 hotels (their highest category). You also receive your 5th night free when redeeming at category 3-7 hotels. A huge benefit of SPG is that you can redeem a combination of cash and points at many hotels for a much better value. Click here to view the redemption options.
Additionally, if you prefer miles you can transfer to many airlines for a 1:1 ratio and get a 5K bonus for every 20K increments transferred over. This can be a great value and makes the Starwood card more valuable on your everyday spend then any other airline card. This will give you much more flexibility and a 25% increase in miles if you decide to redeem your points for flights. In this past there have also been a few bonuses for transferring points to miles, although these have been sparse.
Although Starwood properties are not as common as Marriott and Hilton, they have some of the top properties in the world. The Starwood brand includes: W Hotels, Westin, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Le Meridien, Sheraton, Aloft, element, and Four Points by Sheraton.
- 10,000 SPG points after your first purchase using the card
- 20,000 SPG points after you spend $5,000 in the first 6 months on the card
- No annual fee for the first year – $65/year thereafter
Starwood Credit Card Benefits:
- One (1) SPG points for every $1 spent on every day purchases
- One (1) additional SPG points for every $1 spent at participating Starwood properties — a total of four (4) points will be earned on every Starwood stay when using your Starwood American Express credit card
- Get your 3rd night free when you stay 2 consecutive nights at participating Sheraton hotels and resorts worldwide
- Receive 5 nights and 2 stay credits toward SPG elite status each year (if you have both the business and personal card that will equal 10 nights and 4 stays towards status yearly)
- Gold status if you spend at least $30,000 per year on your card
I also love that this is an American Express card as I’ve been able to take advantage of the various Amex money making promotions! On this card alone the $65 annual fee has actually earned me about $500!
Over the course of the month I’ll post more on this card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Program in general.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.