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One of the credit cards which has withstood the “test of time” more than just about any other is the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. While a lot of new shiny (and awesome!) cards have entered the market since, this one has been around for years, and is still great. Going back five years it was the card to have, and the one anyone savvy in this hobby put a bulk of their spend on.
Anyway, the terms on the sign-up bonus of the SPG AmEx have recently been improved (this only applies to the personal card — the terms on the business card remain unchanged):
- Previously the card offered 10,000 bonus Starpoints after the first purchase, 15,000 additional bonus Starpoints after spending $5,000 within six months
- Now the SPG AmEx offers 25,000 bonus Starpoints after making $3,000 in purchases within the first three months (as always, terms and conditions apply)
I consider Starpoints to be the single most valuable points currency out there, and value them at 2.2 cents each. So while the sign-up bonus isn’t necessarily huge, the annual fee is waived the first year, and is $65 per year thereafter.
What do I love about the SPG AmEx?
Why I keep the card every year
Even if I didn’t actually put any spend on the card I’d still keep it year after year. That’s because the card offers two elite stay credits and five elite night credits towards SPG status annually. So between this card and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, that’s four elite stay credits and 10 elite night credits towards status annually.
That sure makes requalifying for Starwood Platinum status quite a bit easier. The annual fees on both cards are waived the first year, and after that the fee is $65 per card per year, so that’s a small price to pay for a status fast track, in my opinion.
Starpoints are versatile
Nowadays we’re so used to seeing major loyalty program devaluations. And that’s where the major transferrable points currencies — American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest — come into play, as they’re much more sheltered from devaluations.
In the case of Starpoints, you can redeem them for hotel stays (using options like Cash & Points, Fifth Night Free, etc.), or can convert them into airline miles with over two dozen airline partners at a 1:1 ratio.
Redeem Starpoints at the St. Regis Deer Valley
Best of all, for every 20,000 points transferred, you earn a 5,000 point bonus. That means if transferring in increments of 20,000 Starpoints you’re really earning 1.25 airline miles per Starpoint.
Transfer Starpoints to an airline partner to redeem for Emirates first class
Personally I far prefer the terms of the new sign-up bonus of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express to the old one. Everyone wants to earn the full sign-up bonus, presumably, and only having to spend $3,000 rather than $5,000 is a positive change (even if the spend period has been decreased from six months to three months).