Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express Review

Review of: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4.5
On August 6, 2013
Last modified:February 28, 2014

Summary:

One of the premier travel rewards credit cards and the fastest way to earn bonus Starpoints.

With the vacation season fast approaching, it is a good time to review one of the highest rated travel rewards credit cards available – Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. With this card, cardholders can earn Starpoints faster than with any other card. From up to 25,000 bonus Starpoints, free hotel stays, and 1:1 transfer of Starpoints to most major airlines, the Starwood rewards card is an excellent choice for frequent flyers and those looking for free stays at first class hotels.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is designed for those seeking to earn Starpoints through the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program. Starwood is the frequent traveler program for 9 hotel brands, including Sheraton, W Hotels, Westin, Four Points, and Le Meridien. In total, Starwood represents over 1,000 hotels in 100 countries. In addition to a first class hotel portfolio, the Starwood program offers faster points accumulation and zero blackouts on Free Night Awards. SPG is also the first hotel loyalty program to allow members to redeem points for airline tickets on hundreds of airlines, also with no blackout dates.

Bonus Starpoints

One of the absolutely best features of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is the bonus Starpoints. New cardholders can earn up to 25,000 bonus Starpoints in the first three months, enough for a 6 day stay at a category 1 or 2 Starwood hotel. Cardholders earn 10,000 Starpoints for simply making one purchase with the card in the first year. Cardholders can then earn an additional 15,000 Starpoints when they spend $5,000 in 6 months – enough for a weekend at a category 4 hotel.

Earn Double Starpoints

Beyond the bonus Starpoints, with the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, cardholders earn Starpoints in several ways and get additional great benefits:

  • Starpoints® bonus: earn up to 25,000 bonus points: 10,000 after your first purchase and another 15,000 after you spend $5,000 within the first 6 months of Cardmembership
  • That's enough for a weekend getaway to a Category 4 Hotel.
  • Free Hotel Nights: redeem Starpoints at over 1,100 hotels in nearly 100 countries worldwide - with no blackout dates. Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges.
  • Free Flights: redeem Starpoints on over 350 airlines with SPG Flights - with no blackout dates
  • No limits on the number of Starpoints you can earn
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65
  • Terms and Restrictions apply.

Airline Miles

One of the best benefits of the Starwood card is the ability to convert Starpoints to airline miles on just about any airline. In addition, if you convert 20,000 Starpoints to airline miles in a single transaction, you’ll get 5,000 bonus airline miles. Many standard coach fares requires 25,000 miles, so with the Starwood American Express, you can fly with just 20,000 points. In effect, you’ll be earning 1.25 miles for every dollar spent. This is more than most airline cards pay.

There’s also another benefit to using the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express for airline miles. Because it works with most major airlines, you don’t have to worry about a single airline going out of business or cutting back its frequent flyer program. With Starwood rewards, if one airline shuts down, you can simply convert Starpoints to a different airline.

Pricing Details

There is no annual fee for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express for the first year. After that, American Express charges an annual fee of $65. Additional cards can be added to the account with no additional fee. The regular APR on purchases is currently 15.24% - 19.24% variable. The average daily balance (including new purchase) method is used to calculate monthly balances.

Is This the Card for You?

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express continues to shine as one of the best travel rewards credit cards in the market today.  With American Express, you know you’re receiving world class service and with the bonus offer and rewards program, this card does it all.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are authors alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

Published or Updated: February 28, 2014
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. Fontaine says:

    Great review. I’ve been watching this card and want to pick one up. I have an AMEX Gold card with 80k rewards points. Any ideas or strategies for combining them somehow so I’m not starting at zero?

    • joseph d`angelo says:

      Can this card be used at Costco. Do they recognize it as a viable charge card for costco purchases. I presently have an amex costco card .

      • DR says:

        Joseph, I’ve never tried to use the Starwood card at Costco, so I don’t know.

      • DR says:

        joseph,

        I’ve used the card at Costco with no problems

      • DR says:

        joseph,

        I’ve used the card at Costco with no problems

  2. DaddyD says:

    Yeah, just got this one in the mail. Seemed attractive at first, especially the “25,000 Starpoints bonus,” which you call “one of the absolutely best features” of the card.
    But, Dude, as you duly note, to earn an additional 15,000 Starpoints, you have to “spend $15,000 in 6 months.”
    Really, now, does that seem realistic for most people? What am I missing here?

    • DR says:

      DaddyD, you’re not missing anything. For some spending $15k in 6 months is very realistic, and for others it’s not. Frankly, I think this is a great travel rewards card whether you earn all of the bonus Starpoints or not, but there are certainly other great travel cards worth considering, such as the Chase Sapphire card.

      • Candy Garcia says:

        I just read this review and that was interesting because
        All ready told my husband to get one of these cards.

    • Candy Garcia says:

      What can I say that is funny, it made me laugh. Very true.

  3. john says:

    for those traveling on business trips, $15,000 is doable. Either way, 10,000 points is worth it by itself. Combining this card with occasional deals from spg have been great for me in accumulating and using starwood points to stay at 5 star hotels on a budget.

  4. NB says:

    Hi,

    I recently applied and did not receive my bonus point. Looks like they have (recently?) added a stipulation that you can get the 10K points only once! I used to have an account in 08 which I closed in end of 09 and got a new one in Jan 10.

    Thoughts?

    • DR says:

      NB, it sounds like they want to prevent people from opening and closing accounts just to get the bonus points. That doesn’t sound like what you were doing, but the term they have in place sounds like it covered your situation. Did you call Amex to confirm this was what happened?

  5. Dan Olds says:

    I have been using this card for 3 years now and I love it. It is a great card. We charge everything to this card and then pay it off each month so we easily spend the 15k in 6 months. We just got back from a great vacation at the Westin in Maui. We used 48k points and got 5 free nights at a great hotel. For some reason they upgraded us to a Starwood Gold member which gave us an ocean view room so I can’t complain about that.

  6. Allan W. says:

    I was just on the AXP web page and saw a new offer, it expires Jul 6, 2010 (today). For this offer, if you spend $1000 in first 3 mo, you get 30,000 SPG points. Link to this offer is below.

  7. Carole Frankel says:

    I signed up for this card and have been using it. when I called and asked where my extra 15000 points were–after I spend the required $1500 they are telling me that this promotion didn’t start till June 15–after I applied for my card. You can see that the date under your headline was May 15. Do you know how I can prove to them when this promotion started? Do you have any documentation?
    Thanks for any help.
    Carole

  8. Carole Frankel says:

    I signed up for this card and have been using it. when I called and asked where my extra 15000 points were–after I spend the required $15000 they are telling me that this promotion didn’t start till June 15–after I applied for my card. You can see that the date under your headline was May 15. Do you know how I can prove to them when this promotion started? Do you have any documentation?
    Thanks for any help.
    Carole

  9. Carole Frankel says:

    sorry about the above–I corrected the $1500 to $15000 which is what I have spent.

    • DR says:

      Carole, that’s strange. As far as I know, the 25,000 point bonus is a standard offer on the card, not a special promotion. Do you have the terms and conditions of the offer from when you applied? I’m going to look into this further, and will let you know what I learn.

  10. Carole Frankel says:

    Just got a call from AMEX. they said that when I reponded to your site it connected me to AMEX and since the promotion was not on (it was a special promotion), it flipped me to the most recent offering–which did not include the extra 15000 points. But they gave them to me as a courtesy! I’m happy about that–and do appreciate your response.

  11. Travis says:

    I was curious if you had any thoughts about the Business Card vs. Personal Card.

    We are getting ready to apply for this card, but want to make sure I didn’t miss anything. It doesn’t really matter to me, we will be using this for 95% business, and wanted to make certain this was the best card to use.

    Business expenses include, advertising, inventory purchases, travel, etc, etc.

    Any thoughts are appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Travis

    • DR says:

      Travis, from what I can tell the terms of the two cards are the same. Unfortunately, the American Express site does not do a great job of comparing these two cards.

  12. Blake says:

    Is there an annual cap on the amount of spending that will qualify for Star Points? Other cards quit giving points at $50,000 or $100,000 per year.

    • DR says:

      Blake, that’s a great question. I’ve reviewed the terms and conditions, and see no reference to a cap. Here is language directly from the Amex website: “You will receive two Starpoints® from American Express and two Starpoints (or three Starpoints if you have Starwood Preferred Guest® elite status) from the Starwood Preferred Guest Program for each U.S. dollar of Eligible Spending charged on your Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express at participating Starwood properties, standalone retail establishments, and online stores that, in each case, are wholly owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc, and its affiliates. Starwood associates do not receive any additional Starpoints as a Starwood Preferred Guest member for hotel stays and spend. “Eligible Spending” means purchases for goods and services minus returns and other credits. Eligible spending does NOT include: fee or interest charges; balance transfers; cash advances; purchases of American Express® Gift Cards or Travelers Cheques; and purchases of other cash equivalents. American Express reserves the right not to award any Starpoints for transactions we determine are not made with the good faith intention of consuming the item charged.”

      Best of luck!

  13. Allen says:

    Will you get points for purchasing visa gift cards that can be used as debit cards? Those technically aren’t “cash advances”.

  14. DR says:

    Allen, I believe you will receive points for purchasing gift cards. But to be certain, you could always call the customer service number on the back of the card to get confirmation.

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