Are you looking for a versatile travel credit card that can accumulate points towards hotels and flights as well as for redeeming gift cards from leading retailer stores? If so, the Starwood Preferred Guest Card is a great choice for consumers. The SPG card is issued by American Express and purchases made earn points towards the Starwood Hotel and Resorts Rewards Program. Besides getting free hotel nights and booking flights, points are really flexible and can be used to book flights, converted into airline miles, or redeemed for gift cards. There are 3 things that sets this card apart from other credit cards and that is the is the generous sign up bonus, awesome value that cardholders get from Starwood points, and lots of redemption options.
Starwood Credit Card Sign Up Bonus Offer
Sign up bonuses have been for either 25,000 or 30,000 points. The latter offer only happens once per year. In both cases, 10,000 StarPoints is awarded upon the first purchase. However, in order to receive the remaining points, cardholders need to spend $5,000 within 6 months from the date of application. This has been an improvement from the past since Amex previously required $15,000 in spend to get the entire bonus.
Starwood members will recognize that 30,000 to 35,000 points, assuming spending requirements have been met (bonus + 5,000 points from spend requirement) does not seem like a lot, but it has a lot of value. Depending on the type hotel chosen, it can mean up to 6 free hotel nights or 2 nights at a really nice hotel. In many cases, customers can use those points to redeem hotels that cost 4 to 6 cents per point.
Redeeming your Starwood Points for Hotel Nights:
Hotel nights can be redeemed in a couple ways.
- Free nights from points – Starwood members can book free hotel nights using only points and pay no out of pocket cost. If 5 nights are booked, the 5th night is free and only 4 nights worth of points need to be used.
- Cash and points – With this option, a portion of the hotel is paid with cash, the remaining with StarPoints. This is by far the best use of your StarPoints. It allows for redemptions that equal 3.5 cents to 6 cents per StarPoint. That’s an incredible value considering most credit cards give a cash back of only 1 cent per dollar spent.
Starwood Hotel and Resorts operates the following hotel brands:
- St Regis
- W Hotels
- Le Meridien
- The Luxury Collection
- Four Points
Redeeming your StarPoints for Flights:
Two Options to Turn StarPoints into Flights
- Starpoints can be used to book flights on nearly 350 airlines without blackout dates.
- There is also the option to convert Starpoints to airline miles. Most programs have a one to one conversion ratio. For every 20,000 Starpoints transferred to a frequent flyer program, 5,000 bonus airline miles will be awarded. Talk about getting the most bang for your buck!
StarPoints to Airline Miles Conversion
- Aeroplan/Air Canada 1:1
- Air Berlin 1:1
- Air China Companion 1:1
- Air New Zealand & Air Points 65:1
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan 1:1
- Alitalia MilleMiglia 1:1
- All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club 1:1
- American Airlines AAdvantage 1:1
- Asia Miles 1:1
- Asiana Airlines 1:1
- British Airways Executive Club 1:1
- China Eastern Airlines 1:1
- China Southern Airlines’ Sky Pearl Club 1:1
- Delta Air Lines SkyMiles 1:1
- El Al Israel Airlines No Transfer Option
- Emirates Skywards 1:1
- Etihad Airways 1:1
- Flying Blue 1:1
- Hawaiian Airlines 1:1
- Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank 1:1
- King Club Miles 1:1
- LAN LANPASS 1:2
- Mexicana Frecuenta 1:1
- Miles and More 1:1
- Qatar Airways 1:1
- Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan 1:1
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 1:1
- Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus 1:1
- US Airways Dividend Miles 1:1
- United Mileage Plus 2:1
- VARIG Smiles 2:1
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1:1
Benefits from American Express
Carrying an American Express card has a lot of advantages including travel benefits such as car rental loss, accidental insurance, rental car insurance coverage for free and anytime access to the Global Assist Hotline sudden emergencies in cases where cardholders travel 100 miles or more away from home, protection on purchases including fraudulent purchases, extending manufacturer warranty, and return protection. Lastly, if there is a credit card dispute, Amex always favors the consumers with appropriate supporting documents.
The annual fee is waived for the first year as an introductory offer. After that, it costs $65 per year. No one likes paying this fee but based on the generous rewards and versatile redemption, it is well worth it. For those that disagree, cancelling after the first year is another option.
Summary of Benefits
- No annual fee during the first year
- 25,000 Starwood Points Sign up bonus (10,000 after 1st purchase, 15,000 more after spending $5,000 in 6 months)
- Earn 1 point for every dollar spent and 5 points at Starwood properties
- Points can be converted to airline miles (if 20,00o points transferred, there’s a 5,000 point bonus)
- Starwood points can be used for free nights, upgrades, cash and points for nights, and other hotel incidentals
- Redeem points for gift cards (Amazon.com, Nordstrom, Pottery Barn, Banana Republic, Starbucks, Williams Sonoma and more)
- No expiration date on Starwood Points
- 2 stay or 5 nights towards gold or platinum status