Frequently asked questions regarding Starwood American Express credit card

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Update: This offer for Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is expired, but there’s currently an opportunity to earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within first 90 days of having the card. Learn more about the special offer here.

Update: This offer is expired. Please check out the current list of the best current travel credit cards.

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The current bonus is for 10,000 Starpoints after the first purchase, and an additional 15,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000 within six months. The nice thing about Starpoints is how versatile they are. They can efficiently be redeemed for hotel stays, and can also be converted to airline miles at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. While this isn’t a “mega” sign-up bonus, Starpoints are probably the single most valuable points currency out there, and this is as high as I’ve ever seen the sign-up bonus.

I’ve received lots of questions about the card and offer, and figured I’d answer some of the most common ones here:

Can I earn the bonus for both the personal and business Starwood American Express Cards?

Yes! There’s a chance you may not be instantly approved for both on the same day, but you can absolutely earn the sign-up bonus on both cards.

If my spouse and I both apply for the cards, is it possible for us to pool our Starpoints?

Starwood actually does allow household points transfers, meaning you can transfer your Starpoints to another member’s account as long as they’ve had the same address on file as you for the past 30 days. It’s worth noting it usually takes a few days for the transfers to occur.

Is it possible to earn the two stays and five nights towards status annually through both the personal and business card?

As a Starwood Platinum member, one of the invaluable perks of the card which more than justifies the annual fee for me is that you get two elite qualifying stays and five elite qualifying nights towards status annually just for having the card. The best part is that you can earn that credit with both the personal and business cards, for a total of four stays and 10 nights towards status without making a single stay.

In the past I’d qualify for Platinum on stays, though for me this is what pushes me over the edge for qualifying on nights as well, which earns me 10 suite night awards per year.

If I apply for the card(s) now, do I still get the two elite stays and five elite nights towards status for this year?

While the stays/nights towards status typically post at the beginning of the year, if you apply now the stay and night credits would still post this year. It usually takes about 1-2 months for the elite stay/night credits to post.

Is it possible to get approved for the business credit card without a tax ID/EIN?

It is possible to be approved for the card as a sole proprietorship. Just put your name (or anything else you’d like to put) as the business name, your social security number as the tax ID, and be honest about your business/income.

Do the benefits differ at all between the business and personal card?

Aside from the standard differences between a business and personal card (consumer protection, how it reports on your credit score, etc.), it’s worth noting that the Starwood Business Card qualifies for the American Express OPEN Savings program. For example, you can receive discounts of 5-10% with Hertz, Hyatt, FedEx, etc. I always find it a bit ironic that the best credit card with which to pay a Hyatt stay is the Starwood Business Card.

If I apply for these cards now, which other cards does it make sense to apply for at the same time?

A lot of people like to apply for several credit cards on the same date, the reason being that the (minor) impact of your credit inquiry typically doesn’t show up on your report till the next day or so. With that in mind, some good non-American Express complements for the Starwood Cards would be:

Personal:

Business:

If anyone has any other questions on the cards, please let me know!

Links:


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Comments

  1. I have a AMEX Platinum and Amex Business Gold. I’ve never had a SPG Amex before. Website is stating because I’m an AMEX Cardholder, I may not be eligible for “what’s advertised?”..

    Anyone have insight to this?

  2. How soon after having (a) applied for and been approved for and (b) cancelled the personal/business card can i apply again and receive the 10 k plus 20 k bonuses? Thankd

  3. Where in the FAQ is “How much will I receive as a kickback for this referral?” –> Possibly several hundred dollars.

  4. Lucky, If I use the some of the countless links posted in this post to apply for a few CC for my AOR, would you mind sharing some of the referral fees with me?

  5. Canceled my last AMEX SPG card over a year ago. Until last month I was authorized user of my wife’s AMEX SPG card. Called AMEX and they said to try again!!!

    Provided credit approval, am I eligible to get this card again?

    Thanks!

  6. @ Joeb C — The personal card seems to have language suggesting that if you’re an existing American Express card member you may not be eligible for the bonus, however I don’t see similar verbiage for the business card. If you see the offer when applying then you shouldn’t have issues getting the bonus, assuming you don’t have the card (and haven’t had the card in the past 12 months).

  7. @ Amdrew — My understanding is that you have to wait 12 months from when you last had the card, meaning from the date you canceled.

  8. @ Ganta — Unfortunately the terms of all the major affiliate programs prevent an affiliate from paying someone for an application or sharing the payout, so I’m afraid there’s no way I could do that. Sorry. 🙁

  9. @ Kalboz — Assuming you’re only an authorized user on the card you’d still be eligible for the sign-up bonus.

  10. Folks, please chill out. If you don’t like cc posts, don’t read them. Personally, I’m happy to give Lucky (and other bloggers) referral credit in exchange for all the valuable posts they provide.

    Lucky, one other key difference between the personal and biz cards: The personal card carries car rental protection in most countries worldwide; the biz card only for US rentals (unless you pay an extra fee). A key issue for anyone tempted by the Hertz discounts…. 🙁

  11. @ Glenn — I’m trying to get an official answer on that but haven’t yet. I’d suggest calling AmEx to make sure.

  12. I signed up for a personal SPG last year during the 30K promo, and I just cancelled it a few days ago. Do you think it will look bad to Amex if I apply for the business card (sole proprietor) just after closing the personal card? Otherwise, my credit score, etc. should provide approval, but I’m just not sure if a biz card often requires manual approval that will lead SPG to look at the whole relationship… and whether recent cancellation may lead to a denial. Many thanks for your thoughts.

  13. I have yet to apply for this card. I usually stay in Hilton properties and in Hyatt /SPG every now and then.

    This card provides very low points for miles ( basically 35k, and United is a 2:1 so not that great). Spending is high but spread out in six months. The points+cash is not that great, at least the hotels I have tested. Maybe Asia, but Asia itself is relatively affordable. And no benefits like free Gold status or free nights every anniversary. And no category spending or extra bonus. So basically once the points are used. That is it.

    Personally I am OK with 4 star hotels, no need for suites since I am a “sleep and go” type of guy.

    I would not consider this card for daily expenses. I prefer the CSP or the Amex PGR for that, even though I appreciate UR much more than SPG points.

  14. @ Robert — I can’t imagine that would be an issue, assuming you haven’t done that several times in the past.

  15. Lucky – newbie to your blog and nice work on devoting your life to travel! Given the red box you placed around the fine print, if we have the Hilton Amex Surpass Card today, are we not eligible for this offer, since we’re technically Amex members? If so, if we close our Hilton cards, are we good to go?

  16. Kelly,

    Just make sure you’re in incognito mode or clear your cookies before you apply. You shouldn’t have any problem even if you have the Hilton Amex Surpass card.

  17. Lucky

    I would like to apply and get you your referral credit;

    Question: if I click on the ‘Already a Card Holder?’ link… what happens to the process? Smoother or worse for the applicant? Does it mess up your referral credit?

    thanks!

    Rick

  18. @ Rick — If you click on the “already a card member” link you’ll most likely get a lesser offer. I’d just apply directly through the page above, in your shoes.

    Thanks for using my link, I appreciate it!

  19. Lucky

    One more question: Before I commence the app do I need to dig up my SPG account number that was assigned to me when I got my personal Plat card? I have a zero balance anyway..

  20. @ Rick — That would help, though otherwise they’ll auto-assign you an account number and you can later merge the points.

  21. Which credit cards should I apply first at the same time? Right now I got only SPG AMEX and united explorer.
    Thanks!

  22. @lucky – I was thinking on Marriott Rewards and maybe AA Citi Advantage? I don’t to get cards denied so which ones can I apply @ the same time?
    Thanks!

  23. I applied for the amex spg card and was denied due to a forclosure on my credit report. It has been 4 yrs and my credit score is in the low 700’s. any advice on how I can get approved. That is the only ding I have.

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