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Update: The below links for the Starwood Preferred Guest cards are expired, but you can learn more about the best current offers here!
Through April 5, 2017, there’s an increased sign-up bonus on both the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Both cards are offering a sign-up bonus of up to 35,000 Starpoints upon completing minimum spend, with the $95 annual fee waived for the first year.
Over the years we’ve seen quite a few increased sign-up bonuses on the SPG Amex, though the bonus doesn’t get bigger than what’s being offered through this promotion. Furthermore, this year is a bit different than in the past, given that Marriott and Starwood have merged. Combined, the programs are estimated to have roughly 90 million members.
So there are a few reasons I think this offer may interest more people than ever before — especially Marriott Rewards loyalists:
Earn up to 210,000 Marriott Rewards bonus points
Starpoints convert into Marriott Rewards points at a 1:3 ratio, so that means the 35,000 Starpoint sign-up bonus can be converted into 105,000 Marriott Rewards points. I don’t recall ever seeing a sign-up bonus that big on a co-branded Marriott card. So for Marriott members, this is a huge sign-up bonus, and arguably the best they’ve had access to.
These cards are actually easy to be approved for
The co-branded Marriott card is subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, meaning that you typically won’t be approved for it if you’ve opened more than five new accounts in the past 24 months.
Conversely, I find that the SPG Amex (both personal and business) is quite easy to be approved for:
- You can be apply for (and potentially be approved for) both the same day
- Applying for the SPG Business Amex won’t even count towards the Chase 5/24 limit
- Assuming you’re an existing Amex cardmember, Amex doesn’t typically pull your credit until after you’re conditionally approved, meaning that if you’re denied, you don’t even get a negative inquiry on your credit score
- Anecdotally Amex is very open to working with small businesses, so getting approved for a small business card isn’t tough at all
Earn more points at Marriott hotels
Marriott’s co-branded credit cards offer 5x Marriott Rewards points per dollar spent at all Marriott properties. The SPG Amex offers 2x Starpoints per dollar spent at all Marriott properties. This means you’re really earning 6x Marriott Rewards points when using the SPG Amex at Marriott properties — that’s better than what’s offered through Marriott’s card directly. So many Marriott loyalists may actually want to use the SPG Amex at Marriott properties.
The sign-up bonus on each of the SPG Personal Amex and SPG Business Amex is worth 105,000 Marriott Rewards points, which is huge. Even if you’re a Marriott loyalist and hadn’t previously considered Starwood, there’s a lot of value to be had in picking up one, or maybe even both, of these cards. 210,000 Marriott Rewards points through two cards is an incredible deal.