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One of my go-to credit cards is the Starwood co-branded American Express card. There are two reasons for this: 1) I love many of the benefits that come with Amex cards, and 2) Starwood hotels are pretty sweet! I personally have the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (personal version), but the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN (business version) is on my radar. While the sign up offer is slightly lower than some of the other points and miles credit cards, the points can go quite far.
So here are the top 10 reasons why I like this card.
- Receive statement credits with Amex Offers. You can take advantage of the many Amex Offers that I write about with both the personal and business card. If you have both, for example, then you can sync them to separate Twitter accounts and take advantage on each card. I’ve found that many times the money I get back as a statement credit throughout the year surpasses the annual fee paid. This means not only is the annual fee then covered, I also make money on top of it. These cards are also eligible to earn a statement credit during Small Business Saturday. For this calendar year (so the past 3.5 months), I have personally received $110 back in statement credits on this card alone. This makes the yearly annual fee well worth it for my situation!
- Get free additional card holders. The biggest perk of this is that additional cards under the same account are treated as two separate accounts for Amex Offers. This means that for offers that are available via Twitter, you can take advantage of the offer for both the primary card and all additional cards on the account. I love that a no fee card (the price of the additional card) can earn statement credits and ultimately “make” money by making purchases they would have anyways!
- Access to OPEN benefits. I wrote about Saving Money with American Express OPEN yesterday and the benefits they provide. The business version of the Starwood credit card (not the personal version) gives you access to these benefits. This means at many merchants, such as Hertz, FedEx, etc., if you use your Starwood business credit card you can get a 5% statement credit on your purchase!
- Lower annual fee than other points/miles credit cards. Both the personal and business version have a $95 annual fee (waived the first year). While paying an annual fee in general is never fun, this is less than some of the more popular point earning credit cards.
- Points earned are very flexible. This is a big plus of Starwood points in general regardless of how you earn the points. Not only can you use your points at SPG affiliated hotels, you can also transfer them to many of partner airlines at a 1:1 conversion rate (most partners, but not all). Not only do they transfer at a generous rate, you also get a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. Many other hotel programs have a horrible transfer ratio, but Starwood actually shines in this category. This means you can use the points earned for a hotel stay or a flight!
- Earn status faster. If you are trying to earn SPG status, having the credit card will give you 2 stays and 5 nights towards status. For SPG Gold you need either 10 stays or 25 nights and for SPG Platinum you need either 25 stays or 50 nights. You get the stays and nights for both the personal and business card, so if you happen to have both this will give you a total of 4 stays and 10 nights. If you are trying to obtain Gold status this gets you almost half way there!
- Spend a lot and get SPG Gold status. If you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year, you will automatically receive an upgrade to SPG Gold status.
- Sign up offer available again and again. A little less than a year ago, American Express put a policy in place where you are only able to get the sign up bonus once per American Express personal credit card in a lifetime. However, that rule does not currently apply for Amex Business cards. If you are in the market for the business version of the card, the terms specifically state: “Welcome bonus not available to applicants who have or have had this product within the last 12 months.” So if you had this card awhile ago and are looking to apply again, you are still eligible for the sign up offer if you are approved for the card. UPDATE: This is no longer the case. In 2016 American Express implemented a one bonus per person for both personal and business cards.
- Receive protection on many purchases. In my opinion, Amex has one of the best protection benefits when it comes to buying products. If within 90 days from the date of purchase a merchant will not take back an item, you can get a refund for the purchase price from American Express. This is valid for primary cardholders as well as any additional cardmembers on the account. They make the process extremely easy where you fill out a quick form online and typically hear back within a few days. This has come in extremely handy when purchasing final sale items (which I do often from Zulily.com). In my experience, they typically let you keep the item as well. This benefit is for all Amex credit cards. You can learn more about this benefit here.
- Get extended warranty protection: With both the personal and business card (along with all other American Express credit cards), you can get up to a one year extension on a manufacturer’s warranty when you use your Amex credit card to make the purchase. This is for certain purchases and only valid for warranty’s that are under 5 years to begin with. Essentially Amex will double the warranty up to an extra year. So if the warranty is 6 months, for example, you’ll receive an additional 6 months. If it is a 2 year warranty, for example, you’ll receive an additional year. The coverage is up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per cardmember account per calendar year.
Here is everything you need to know about the Starwood Preferred Guest program:
- Perks of the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card
- Understanding Starwoods Cash & Points Redemption
- Getting your 5th Night Free with Starwood Points
- Redeeming your Points for Hotels & Flights
- Redeeming your Points for Upgraded Rooms and Suites
- Transferring your SPG Points to Airline Miles
- Transferring SPG Points Between Accounts
- Getting Starwood Status and the Perks
- How the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card Annual Fee Pays for Itself
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. My goal is for you to travel on a deal! As always, thanks for your support!