Answers To Your Questions About The SPG Amex

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As I wrote about earlier in the month, Starwood is offering an increased sign-up bonus on both their co-branded American Express cards through September 14, 2015. That means you have just a few days left to apply under the current promotional offer.

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).

There has obviously been a ton of interest in these offers, so I thought it would be helpful to go through some of the most frequently asked questions on the cards.

Westin-Hotel-Singapore-3
The stunning Westin Singapore is just 16,000 Starpoints a night

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.

Starpoints-Transfers

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.

Prior to having both cards I’d qualify for Platinum on stays, though this benefit pushed me over the edge for qualifying on nights as well, which earns me 10 suite night awards per year or a choice of other perks.

SPG-Amex-2

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.

The Business card also gives you access to Sheraton Club lounges, whereas the personal card does not.

Sheraton-Salzburg-1

Should I get the SPG cards, or ____ card instead?

The Starwood Preferred Guest cards have long been on my list of the best cards for everyday spend. I’ve been using both cards regularly for several years now, as I find them to be among the most rewarding cards in my wallet.

That being said, it often makes sense to take advantage of some of the other great signup bonuses. 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:

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 adds some great new benefits.

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

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

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Comments

  1. If I already have the SPG AMEX personal card, can I refer myself to sign up for the SPG AMEX business card and therefore get the 5,000 referral bonus?

  2. “IF MY SPOUSE AND I BOTH APPLY FOR THE CARDS, IS IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO POOL OUR STARPOINTS?”

    For what it’s worth, you can actually pool Starpoints to a single SPG account number earned across multiple people’s Amex SPG cards. (You don’t get the other people’s stays/nights credits, though). I had done this in the past but later realized you’re better off crediting your earned Starpoints to your SO’s own SPG account as a way to get around the daily Starpoint airline mileage transfer limit. We can now transfer 120,000 Starpoints to an airline partner at the full 25% bonus rate.

  3. I signed up! Thank you for so much great info. Brand new to the world of mileage plans and using points. My goal is to use this card for almost everything and use the points to buy business/first class tickets after about a year to somewhere exotic like Asia. In the meantime, I’ll be going on some domestic alaska and delta flights – but to maximize points, should I buy those on their own separate carrier credit cards vs just using my single spg card?

  4. I’m out of the country for awhile. Can I apply at some (?) phone number and activate the card when I return?

  5. @Cheryl: For the personal card yes, but for the business card, you can get the bonus again if you have a previous card closed at least 12 months before. From AMEX: “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product within the last 12 months.”

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