Top 2 Reasons To Get The SPG Business AmEx

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Earlier in the week I wrote about American Express offering increased sign-up bonuses on both the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.

  • For the SPG Personal AmEx, receive 25,000 bonus Starpoints upon spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of card membership
  • For the SPG Business AmEx, receive 25,000 bonus Starpoints upon spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of card membership

What’s especially exciting this year is that the cards also underwent a major refresh as of August 11, 2015.

Both the personal and business version of the cards are undergoing the following changes:

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

In my opinion those changes are pretty compelling for most, and will more than justify the $30 increased in the annual fee.

If you’re thinking of applying for either the personal or business version of the card, there are a couple of things worth noting about the SPG Business AmEx in particular, which make the card especially compelling:

Sheraton club lounge access with SPG Business AmEx

Starwood has over 1,200 hotels around the world spread across quite a few brands. The single largest brand is Sheraton, as they have ~440 hotels around the world. Sheratons do vary significantly in terms of quality — there are some great ones and some mediocre ones.

That being said, there’s no denying that this new benefit on the SPG Business AmEx is especially compelling. Just for having the business version of the card you’ll get access to Sheraton club lounges. And there are some really nice Sheraton club lounges out there, like the one at the Sheraton Salzburg.

Sheraton-Salzburg-1
Club lounge at Sheraton Salzburg

Sheraton-Skyline-London-Heathrow-Hotel-28
Club lounge at Sheraton Skyline Hotel London Heathrow

This benefit applies on both paid and award stays, so has fairly few asterisks. There’s nothing special you have to do to qualify for the access. If you have the SPG Business AmEx and it’s linked to your SPG account, then you’ll automatically be eligible for Sheraton lounge access with each stay. There’s no need to show the card or do anything to “opt-in.”

I was really surprised when they introduced this benefit, as it’s extremely generous. Like, outrageously so. As an SPG Platinum I sure hope it doesn’t lead to lounges being overcrowded.

AmEx OPEN Savings With SPG Business AmEx

This is a benefit which applies for all American Express small business cards, probably the most compelling of which is the Starwood Business American Express.

Specifically, you receive a 5% discount on your American Express statement for each eligible dollar spent at participating Hyatt Hotels & Resorts in the US, up to $10,000 per card per calendar year.

Amex-OPEN-Savings

Here are the list of participating locations, and the terms & conditions.

As someone who lives in hotels full time (and largely in Hyatts), this has saved me tons of money. Given the 5% cash back and $10,000 limit, that’s the equivalent of $500 in cash for me each year thanks to the card. That’s huge… it covers the annual fee more than 5x, in my case.

Hyatt-Gift-Cards

For what it’s worth, the OPEN Savings program extends well beyond Hyatt. For example, there’s a similar 5% discount offered with FedEx and Hertz.

Bottom line

Both the SPG Personal AmEx and SPG Business AmEx are worth picking up.

That being said, if I could get just one version of the card it would be the SPG Business AmEx. It has virtually all the same benefits as the personal card, plus Sheraton club lounge access and access to the American Express OPEN Savings program.

The card’s benefits more than cover the annual fee year after year, in my opinion.

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Comments

  1. How do you rate the SPG Personal Amex vs the EveryDay Preferred for Daily spend? Don’t have either, considering grabbing the 30,000 mile SPG offer that’s out there now.

  2. Lucky, I would love to use your links to apply for these cards. But I don’t see why only you should profit from my good credit score. Can we setup a system to share the commission you would make from my application ?

    Thank you

  3. @ credit — Unfortunately that violates the terms of virtually any affiliate agreement. Sorry! Hopefully you find the blog useful and can benefit from it through the information I share. And certainly also respect if you choose not to use my links. Regardless, thanks for reading.

  4. @credit:

    Seems reasonable, as long as you are willing to give Lucky half of all benefits you receive from any information you learn from reading his free blog. 🙂

  5. Buncha jerks on here this morning. My comment: I am planning on getting the biz SPG this time. The new Sheraton lounge benefit is attractive. I have to overnight in Frankfurt soon so I will try the airport Sheraton out. Last I used Hilton in the city (liked it).

  6. @livelyFL
    We just had an unexpected overnight at Frankfurt Sheraton. Best thing is its location. Literally a walk across bridge from airport. Also, the train into the city is two flights down — 20 minutes into bars and restaurants on the riverfront.
    The hotel hallway seemed smoky even though the rooms were supposed to be smoke free. They gave us a room with king bed+twin bed for 10,000 SPG points. We are only gold status and they would not give us access to the lounge. (But next time I will be armed with my SPG Biz!). Btw, the lux lounge, airside–access with lounge pass– is not a bad place to kill an hour. Free alcohol and snacks– typical fare.

  7. So why exactly would one want to go to a hotel lounge again? I’m in a new European city wouldn’t I rather explore the city and eat at local cafes instead of wasting my vacation in a sterile lounge?

    Convince me that this is an actual benefit – the free food etc is actually a bad thing because i’m wasting a meal there instead of experiencing local culture.

  8. Solid post. Timely because of (marginally) increased bonus, and you do add value to readers unaware of these additional benefits. I am critical of bloggers like GLeff who publish top 10 cards to get every week (no joke!) with no value added along with his affiliate links.

  9. I have a personal card now and only want one card. How should I proceed with switching to the business card?, or should I?

  10. @ Gordon — There’s no way to convert a personal card into a business card, so your only option would be to apply for the business card, and then you can always cancel the personal card at some point in the future if you’d like to.

  11. The Business Card application form asks for a legal business name. Am I disqualified if I don’t own a business?

  12. @Damian – You can use your name as the business name and be a sole proprietorship and use your SSN as your business EIN

  13. I’m the general manager of the business I work for. My name is not linked to the tax ID number of the business. The owner is ok with me applying. Can I still apply for the SPG business card. ?

  14. If you have the personal spg card you can refer yourself for the business card and collect an additional 5k points.

  15. Applied for the business card and was told it was pending approval and asked me to call. I called and they said they are having technical issues pulling credit reports and that is why my account was pending. He said I should get a response in 48 hours and to call back if I don’t.

    5 minutes prior, I was approved for the Chase British Airways card with a $20k credit line.

  16. At most, I get one new card every year, so I’m somewhat picky about whose referral link I click on and to the extent that it matters, I try to spread them around. This time around I was trying to decide between Gary and Lucky, but after reading @credit’s boorish comment, I’ve decided Lucky’s my man. Thanks @credit!

  17. @ stvr — I buy them directly from Hyatt when they seem to offer them for ~10% off, but otherwise can’t say that I do.

  18. @ Francisco — You need to be an “officer” of the company to apply. Otherwise you can probably apply as a sole proprietorship for yourself.

  19. I can’t find the benefits [access Sheraton lounge] on SPG site? In some foreign country, they may not know this benefit from American Express cards. Do you have the link from SPG site say such benefit?

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