Increased 30,000 Point Sign-Up Bonus On The Starwood AmEx!

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Links:

In early June I wrote about the refresh happening to both the SPG Personal AmEx and SPG Business AmEx. These changes include the following:

  • The elimination of foreign transaction fees
  • Complimentary unlimited Boingo wifi
  • Complimentary in-room premium internet access
  • Sheraton club lounge access (for those with the SPG Business AmEx)
  • The annual fee being raised by $30 per year, from $65 to $95 (the first year’s annual fee is $0, though)

Sheraton-Salzburg-1 Sheraton-Salzburg-2 Sheraton-Salzburg-3
Receive club lounge access at Sheratons with the SPG Business AmEx

Not only do the card changes kick in today, but Starwood is also offering an increased sign-up bonus on both cards through September 14, 2015. American Express seems to offer this increased bonus once per year. Here are the details of the increased offers:

  • For the SPG Personal AmEx, receive 30,000 bonus Starpoints® upon spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of card membership
  • For the SPG Business AmEx, receive 30,000 bonus Starpoints® upon spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of card membership

This represents an increase of 5,000 Starpoints, given that the sign-up bonus is usually 25,000 Starpoints. I don’t recall ever seeing a higher sign-up bonus on the card, for what it’s worth.

Furthermore, earlier in the year the sign-up bonus on the personal version of the card was changed from being after $5,000 of spend to being after $3,000 of spend. So this is also the lowest minimum spend requirement we’ve seen for the increased sign-up bonus on the personal card (meanwhile on the business version of the card, it continues to be $5,000).

To me Starpoints are the single most valuable points currency out there — I value Starpoints at 2.2 cents each. So the 30,000 point sign-up bonus is worth $660 to me. While this isn’t really a “mega” sign-up bonus, it’s still a very nice sign-up bonus, and as good as it gets on this card.

There are many reasons I hold onto both the SPG Personal AmEx and SPG Business AmEx. One of the reasons is because each card offers two elite qualifying stays and five elite qualifying nights towards status annually. That means just for having both cards I receive four elite qualifying stays and 10 elite qualifying nights towards status each year, which is huge.

SPG-Amex-2

It’s also worth noting that if you’re already a cardmember then you can possibly refer a friend to these cards, and earn a 5,000 point referral bonus. This may be targeted, so you’ll want to log into your American Express account to be sure you’re eligible.

Bottom line

The increased sign-up bonus on the SPG Personal AmEx and SPG Business AmEx is as good as it gets. It’s exciting to see an increased sign-up bonus that coincides with the card refresh, which also happened today.

30,000 Starpoints with the new benefits, lower minimum spend, and waived first year annual fee is tough to beat. You have about a month to take advantage of this offer.

Do you plan on applying for either/both of these cards with the increased sign-up bonus?

Links:

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Comments

  1. Do I plan to apply to either? No, they are still the most overrated cards in the hobby in my opinion. If you could churn them, then maybe it would be worth it.

  2. My timing is poor, as I signed up just at the end of July… what are the chances AmEx will increase the sign-up bonus if I contact them?

  3. You mentioned that there are many reasons why you keep both the personal and business cards. Other than the elite qualifying stays, which I don’t care about, what other reasons are there for keeping both cards? I’ve had the personal card for a long time and plan on getting the business card, but don’t really see any reasons to keep both.

  4. Hi Lucky,

    I just want to know how does spg choose the 5 nights and 2 stays. Does it choose the most expensive 5 nights and 2 stays or randomly? Do I need to achieve gold status to get 5 nights and 2 stays credits? Thanks

  5. @ Luis
    There are some other benefits that come from Amex not listed.

    1) Small business Saturday. The more Amex cards (+ authorized users) the more free money you would earn.
    2) Typically there are some really good Amex offers. Right now I have $50 back on $300 travel spend. Those offers can add up. The SPG biz card may get targeted offers that the personal card does not get.
    3) He may be purchasing things for his business on the SPG biz card. If he bought a laptop it would double his warranty. I’m not sure if you cancel the card if you could still use the double warranty. So it could be another reason to keep it open.
    4) Now there is the lounge option for biz card holders, but he already has elite status.

  6. @ Rufo Sanchez — it doesn’t hurt to try; I’ve had luck with Chase and Citi. You have a very good case if you signed up a couple of weeks ago.

    @ Chris — the card does NOT reimburse your nights or stays. Just think of it as a shortcut to attaining status. For example, normally you need 10 stays or 25 nights to earn Gold status. Because you have SPG card, you would need 8 stays or 20 nights. If you want a card that reimburses you, look into Citi Prestige — it gets 4th night free (there’s been a few posts about this benefit here).

  7. Does anyone know how to fix this error or why I’m getting it on the Amex application?
    “Your Membership Number cannot exceed 10 characters”

    It’s not my fault Starwood provided me an account with 11 numbers.

  8. @ Lucky sez: “To me Starpoints are the single most valuable points currency out there…”

    Thank you for qualifying it with “to me” since it is not a universally true statement, and I do believe that starpoints may be “the single most valuable points currency out there” to YOU, because you clearly have the means and ability to earn a lot of them. Not so for the average player who has to acquire starpoints at a rate of 1 per $ on general spend on the SPG AMEX cards, after their one time sign up bonus. Considering the lackluster response to this post so far, saturation point may have been reached. That’s right. Doesn’t everyone already have the SPG AMEX cards by now after years of bloggers touting the highly dubious metaphysical value of starpoints? 😉

    Transferability to air miles is a key asset of starpoints, but for getting air miles, I do much better with my United Club card @ 2mi/$ at UA.com and 1.5mi/$ on everything else, and I can travel to pretty much anywhere I want by redeeming UA miles on any of the 27 *A carriers, without having to transfer any miles. I just use them as they are.

    I get hotel points with a hotel card to use for hotel stays…

  9. You ask: “Do you plan on applying for either/both of these cards with the increased sign-up bonus?”

    What is the best way to get both of these, since both are credit cards and (I am under the impression that) AmEx only allows 1 credit app on the same day?

    My tentative plan is to incorporate the personal card into an App-O-Rama today and then apply for the business card towards the end of the promotion. Assuming good credit, what are my chances of getting the business SPG a month after an AOR? Any suggestions?

  10. What are the signup bonus churn limitations for the personal card? When was the last time you could have gotten it before signing up again?

  11. @ Daniel — With AmEx you should be able to apply for both on the same day, though may not get approved for both same day. So if you apply for them both today you’ll likely get approved for one right away, and then the other application may be delayed by a few days. But it shouldn’t result in a denial. Otherwise you should have no trouble applying for one today and then the next one in a week or so.

  12. @ Lance — For the personal version of the card, it seems you’re not eligible if you’ve had the card at all before:
    “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.”

    What happens in practice I’m not sure of, though.

  13. @ DCS — You don’t seem to understand the concept of value. Something being tougher to accrue/rarer doesn’t make it less valuable — quite the opposite typically.

    I’m not suggesting everyone should accrue a ton of Starpoints, but purely in terms of valuation, something being exclusive/tougher to accrue makes it more valuable.

  14. @ Presley — That’s odd. You can always apply now and then phone them up to change the SPG number on the account.

  15. @ Chris — These are just elite qualifying stays/night. There’s no value of a stay associated with them. It just counts towards the required 25 stays/50 nights required for Platinum status.

  16. @lucky Thanks. I only signed up today for a Starwood account and tried to apply for the credit card, but got that error. Maybe I’ll wait a day and try again

  17. Ben- I tried going to your website using my windows 7 computer. Your website tried to install some malware on my computer. In fact it tried to lock me out of my computer and says I must call some number 18773030225 and buy some crap software to debug my computer. The notice on my computer makes it look like my windows firewall has detected an atttack. The notice is totally bogus. This happens only when I try to access your site from my windows computers. It does not happen when I access your site from my Ipad. Further it only happens when I try to access Boarding Area websites.

    PLEASE ASK BOARDING AREA TO STOP SELLING THESE UNETHICAL FIRMWARE/SPYWARE TYPE ADS!!!!!!!! ABSOLUTELY UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR!!!!

  18. I am having a hard time understanding the value of these points. Some of the hotels I checked are 30000 points per night.

  19. I quite literally signed up for this card a week ago. What are the chances that they will grant the 30K bonus (v. 25K); considering I haven’t received the actual card yet to use (“delay in delivery”)?

    Thanks!

  20. @Presley I had the same issue. I removed the first digit of the 11 digit Starwood account number and that worked! Not sure why they give out 11 digit numbers and only ask for 10 with the credit card.

  21. @John – I’ve been having the same problems with this site. It’s really annoying, but the warning is totally bogus. DO NOT CALL the number.

  22. Just did a round of apps at the end of June, not sure if I should push my luck. What do you guys think?

  23. @ Adam — Assuming you haven’t maxed out the limit on AmEx Cards, I’d say your odds in general are good. I find AmEx Cards to anecdotally be pretty easy to be approved for, assuming you have a good credit score.

  24. @ Lance, I posted this on another blog regarding your question about how far Amex goes back to see if you had a personal card in the past.

    When the most recent Delta offer came out I thought I had had the personal card in the past, but wasn’t sure when, or if it was Northwest card, or maybe not at all. Only started keeping track of these things in 2012. So I called American Express to check. Turns out I got it in 2008, probably as part of a bonus trying to get people to switch over to Amex during the Delta/Northwest merger.

    In any case, call Amex and ask if you had this card in the past. They have very good records, apparently. And like others said, the lifetime restriction doesn’t apply to business cards, then the 12 month restriction applies. Pretty sure that’s since the day you most recently had an open card of this product. So if you had a business card but closed it before August 11, 2014, you should be able to get the bonus again with another business card.

  25. This is the most frustrating application ever.

    I finished everything and confirmed everything, then I get this error:

    ——————————-
    Currently, our systems are not responding. Please try again later or call/contact us as follows:

    To apply by phone or for product information — 1-800-223-2670.

    We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to serving you.
    ———————————————

    Did a hard credit pull just get wasted with no results of approval or denial?

  26. As an FYI, I received a letter from AMEX in the mail today informing me that they decided to not increase the annual fee on my SPG AMEX card this year. It is apparently remaining at $65.00. Not sure if this is just me, or all current SPG AMEX card holders, or what. Here is the text from the letter:

    “We are pleased to let you know we have decided not to increase your annual fee at this time. As a reminder, we previously sent you a letter stating that your Annual Membership Fee would increase to $95.00 on 2015-08-05. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

    You don’t need to take any action. The Annual Membership Fee on your account will remain $65.00.”

  27. Wow, I literally just got this card three days ago (applied and was approved) back when the bonus was 25,000 (though back then when I applied I was also quoted the yearly fee of $65). And now only three days later they raise the bonus by 5000 points. Now that’s just terrible luck (like Rufo, I wonder if I could convince them to give me those extra 5000 points?) It’s also a bit confusing signing up for this card right before their rules change – is my annual fee going to go up?

  28. Several times I have had the same experience as John, getting bogus pop-up warnings about malware and trojans while on this website. Please do not participate in these ads/schemes, as any revenue they generate for you will be more than offset by the negative experiences of your followers.

    “John says:
    August 11, 2015 at 3:12 pm
    Ben- I tried going to your website using my windows 7 computer. Your website tried to install some malware on my computer. In fact it tried to lock me out of my computer and says I must call some number 18773030225 and buy some crap software to debug my computer. The notice on my computer makes it look like my windows firewall has detected an atttack. The notice is totally bogus. This happens only when I try to access your site from my windows computers. It does not happen when I access your site from my Ipad. Further it only happens when I try to access Boarding Area websites.

    “PLEASE ASK BOARDING AREA TO STOP SELLING THESE UNETHICAL FIRMWARE/SPYWARE TYPE ADS!!!!!!!! ABSOLUTELY UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR!!!!”

  29. @Lucky sez: ” You don’t seem to understand the concept of value. …I’m not suggesting everyone should accrue a ton of Starpoints, but purely in terms of valuation, something being exclusive/tougher to accrue makes it more valuable.”

    Gobbledygook. In this business, give me points that I can use. That’s “value” to me. Just because SPG is stingy and makes it tough to earn their points does not make them magically more “valuable”. Why is that concept of “value” utterly silly. Because any program could be just as stingy as SPG and just arbitrarily make their points tough to earn! If you think that there is anything inherently more “valuable” about starpoints that makes them tough to earn other than the fact that SPG is stingy, then you’re more gullible than I thought.

    I now think I understand the basis of your claim, and it makes it even more bogus than ever. Please change the tune!

  30. @Lucky: Never max out my cards! Pay them off every month and score is sitting pretty at 760! Was more worried since I was able to get to Amex cards in June, wasn’t sure if trying for another one so soon was being pushy. As always, thanks for the advice my friend!

  31. @DCS – “give me points that I can use.”

    Who says you can’t use SPG points? Yo do realize that they have no blackout dates, right?

    “If you think that there is anything inherently more “valuable” about starpoints that makes them tough to earn other than the fact that SPG is stingy”

    It’s not just that they’re tougher to earn, it’s that they have different uses.

    “then you’re more gullible than I thought.”

    You do realize that when you get personal like this, it completely destroys your credibility, right?

  32. Pointless argument…

    Sign up, use them, and cancel the card if you didn’t like having them. My wife and I will snag 146,000 SPG points by signing up for both cards, one of us referring the other for each card, and spending 16,000 that we had to spend anyways! It costs next to nothing to try it out. We’ll use the points and after a year decide whether we liked it or not. End of story.

  33. @ Logesh — The purchase is processed by points.com, so wouldn’t qualify as hotel spend for the purposes of your credit card. You’d earn one Starpoint per dollar spent on the purchase of points.

  34. @Lucky , thanks for that info.

    Separately I received the card 3days back, it’s the new design, but I did notice the card pricing and terms that came along in the mail indicates that the annual fee is $65, not $95. Anyone else notice this?

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