Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Credit Card Review

If hotels feel like your second home, this is a credit card you might want to keep in your wallet beginning this year. We’ll list the benefits of the card for frequent travelers and help you decide if this is a card for you. Here’s our review of the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Credit Card, coming August 1, 2018.

starwood preferred guest american express luxury credit card review

Earlier this year, American Express and Marriott International, Inc. announced the roll out of a new value rich Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Credit Card. The card will come out in August, 2018, under Marriott International’s newly unified loyalty programs. The new program will offer one set of benefits to all members, and enable them to earn points at almost 6,500 hotels in 127 countries, across 29 Marriott and Starwood hotel brands.

What’s more, as of August 1, 2018, Starpoint balances will convert the points within Marriott international’s loyalty program at a ratio of one Starpoint to three Marriott points (1:3). For example, if you have 1,000 Starpoints, they will convert to 3,000 Marriott rewards points.

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Credit Card Details

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Credit Card will offer the following features and benefits:

  • Earn 6X points at participating Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Hotels, as well as purchases made at retail establishments or online stores owned by Starwood or Marriott
  • Earn 3X points at US restaurants and on flights directly booked with airlines
  • Earn 2X points on other eligible purchases
  • Up to $300 in statement credits each card renewal year for purchases at participating Marriott rewards and SPG hotels
  • Annual Night Award every year after your card account anniversary, for redemption levels at participating hotels for under 50,000 points
  • Automatic Gold Elite Status and the ability to earn Platinum Elite Status after spending $75,000 on the card in a calendar year

Other benefits include:

  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck fee
  • Priority Pass Select membership to allow cardmembers to enroll and access more than 1,000 airport lounges around the world with Priority Pass network
  • Complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi
  • No foreign transaction fees

15 Elite Night Credits

Card accounts opened before December 31, 2018 will be eligible for a maximum 15 Elite Night credits. The credits will be added to Marriott loyalty program accounts on or before March 1. You’ll receive a maximum of 15 Elite Night credits per calendar year, even if you participate in more than one Marriott Rewards or SPG program.

For cards opened after January 1, 2019, a maximum of 15 Elite Night credits will be credited to one of your Marriott Loyalty program accounts within 60 days of opening an account. On or before March 1 of each subsequent calendar year, an additional 15 Elite Night credits will be credited to your account.

The Free Night Award

The Free Night Award can be redeemed for a one night stay, inclusive of room rate and applicable taxes. Free Night Awards are redeemable at participating Starwood and Marriott rewards hotels with a redemption level of under 50,000 points. The award will be available beginning on August 1, 2018.

The Free Night Award will appear in your loyalty member account within 8 to 12 weeks after the anniversary of your account in the form of an e-certificate. The certificate cannot be transferred, re-credited for points, or extended beyond the expiration date.

“Eligible Purchases”

Eligible purchases do not include fees, interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, cash-like transactions, gambling transactions, or the use of checks to access funds on your credit line.

Platinum Elite Status Upgrade

The upgrade is available only to basic cardmembers. Eligible purchases made by additional cardmembers will contribute to the purchase requirement of $75,000. The upgrade is based on the calendar year, regardless of when your account was opened, and will take place within 12 to 16 weeks from the time your total purchases reach $75,000. The upgrade will then be available for the balance of the calendar year in which it occurs.

Platinum Elite Status Upgrade will automatically expire at the end of the calendar year, unless you complete $75,000 in purchases in that year as well.

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Credit Card Interest and Fees

Interest rates and fees on the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury are as follows:

Purchase/Balance Transfer interest rate: 17.24% to 26.24% APR; variable based on the Prime Rate; the rate applies for balance transfers within 60 days of account opening

Cash Advance interest rate: 26.74% APR, variable based on the Prime Rate

Penalty Rate: 29.99% APR

Balance Transfer fees: the greater of $5 or 3% of the balance transferred

Cash Advances fees: the greater of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transaction

Foreign transaction fees: none

Annual membership fee: $450, with an annual statement credit of up to $300 for purchases on the card at participating hotels worldwide

For Current Starwood Preferred Guest Consumer Credit Cards

If you’re a current Starwood Preferred Guest Consumer from American Express cardholder, the card will be refreshed, and include the following benefits:

  • 6X points at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels
  • 2X points on other eligible purchases
  • Annual Night Award each year after your card account anniversary, redeemable at participating properties at or under 35,000 points
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status, with the ability to earn Gold Elite Status after spending $30,000 on the card in the calendar year (the requirement will rise to $35,000 for the calendar year beginning January 1, 2019)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee of $95

Until August 1, 2018, both SPG members and Marriott Rewards members will continue earning points within their own respective programs. You’ll need two loyalty member accounts, one for each program if you participate in both. However beginning on August 1, the two programs will combine. At that time, your SPG rewards points will convert to Marriott Rewards points on a 1:3 ratio.

If you are an SPG member, you will have an opportunity to upgrade to the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury on August 9.

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • The card offers very generous rewards points, particularly on spending at participating Marriott Rewards and SPG properties.
  • The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Credit Card is the perfect choice for frequent travelers, and naturally those who primarily stay at Marriott and Starwood properties.
  • Annual Night Award and 15 Free Night credits are a welcome feature, given that most people participate in hotel rewards cards mainly to get free nights.

Cons:

  • The annual fee of $450 is high but it’s partially offset by the annual $300 statement credit. By contrast, Chase Slate has no annual fee.
  • The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Credit Card is for travelers who make extensive use of hotel properties by Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood. It will not be suitable for the more casual credit card user. For example, if you’re looking for a 0% interest balance transfer, Discover it offers it for 18 months.
  • Rewards points are excellent for those who want to accumulate them toward hotel stays within the Marriott and Starwood chains. But they will not provide cash back. A better option for consumers who want a cash back credit card is Chase Freedom which pays 5% cash back on select purchases, and 1% on all other purchases.

Should You Sign Up for Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury

The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Credit Card is for frequent travelers looking for free or reduced hotel nights. For this purpose, the card will definitely fit the bill. It offers very generous rewards points for in-chain hotel stays, as well as automatic free nights.

This will not be the card of choice for those who are looking for other credit card benefits including 0% balance transfers, 0% purchase offers, no annual fee, or cash back rewards (rather than points).

But the credit card world has moved toward specialization. There’s a card that does each of those benefits well, but none that does them all. Among travel related credit cards, Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Credit Card will be one of the best. It will offer generous rewards at Marriott and Starwood properties. In fact, since you’ll be earning points for US restaurants and airline flights, as well as other eligible purchases, nearly all your activity on the card will be purchasing more free hotel nights.

It’s a card that will be working for you, every time you use it.

If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to sign up for the card, visit the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury credit card website.

Topics: Credit Cards

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