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Historically the Starwood American Express typically has an increased sign-up bonus on their credit card this time of year. The sign-up bonus on both their personal and business credit cards is typically 25,000 Starpoints upon completing minimum spend, though back in March they temporarily increased it to 35,000 Starpoints, which was the best offer we’ve ever seen on the card.
Well, the business version of the card is now back with a new sign-up bonus for the fall, valid through October 19, 2016. It’s… different.
With the new sign-up bonus on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express you can earn two free nights at any Category 1-5 SPG property after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first three months. While the card has a $95 annual fee, it’s waived the first year.
As a reminder, Starwood Preferred Guest ordinarily charges the following number of points for a free night redemption:
The most value you’ll be able to get out of this sign-up bonus is 32,000 Starpoints, assuming you redeem at a Category 5 property in high season. For example, take the W St. Petersburg, where I recently stayed.
Looking at rates next summer, the hotel is going for $500+ or 16,000 Starpoints per night, so you’d come ahead under this offer if redeeming there.
However, if redeeming for any other type of stay you’d come out behind with this new offer. Furthermore, keep in mind that even at Category 5 properties you can often get lower rates by booking Cash & Points, or otherwise by using the fifth night free feature.
You can find all 251 Category 5 SPG properties at this link.
What I love most about Starpoints are how flexible they are, since you can efficiently use them both for hotel stays and also for airline mileage transfers. Part of the value of that is lost with this sign-up bonus.
For what it’s worth, I don’t believe the sign-up bonus on the personal credit card will change. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is still offering 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.
Also, as of now this link still leads to the old 25,000 point sign-up bonus on the business Amex, so if you’re interested in that offer it could make sense to sign-up there ASAP (just be sure the offer details on that page still refer to the 25,000 point bonus, as it could be updated).
Whether or not the new offer on the SPG Business Amex is better depends entirely on your redemption patterns. If you can redeem at a Category 5 SPG property in high season then you’ll do better than usual with this offer, though otherwise you’re better off with the normal offer of 25,000 Starpoints. That’s because a lot of the value of Starpoints comes from their flexibility, and that’s something you give up with this offer.
The SPG Personal Amex is continuing to offer 25,000 Starpoints upon completing minimum spend.
With Marriott and Starwood finalizing their merger in the next 24 hours, it’ll be interesting to see what that means for the future of the combined group’s co-branded credit card.