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There’s an increased sign-up bonus of up to 35,000 Starpoints on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express through November 1, 2017. When I first heard about an increased sign-up bonus on the SPG Amex I was super excited, but then I found out that it’s only on the business version of the card, and that the minimum spend requirement is pretty significant.
Specifically, the card offers 25,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $6,000 within three months, plus a further 10,000 Starpoints after spending another $4,000 within the first six months. That’s a pretty sizable minimum spend requirement, so is this offer still worth it? As a point of comparison, the card usually offers 25,000 Starpoints upon completing minimum spend.
Crunching the numbers on the sign-up bonus
Personally I value Starpoints at ~2.2 cents each, so to me 35,000 Starpoints are worth $770. So here’s how the math works out given the spend requirement on the SPG Business Amex, assuming all your spend is in non-bonused categories:
- After spending $6,000 within three months you’d earn 31,000 Starpoints; that’s ~5.2 Starpoints per dollar spent, or a return of ~11.5%
- After spending an additional $4,000 within the first six months, you’d earn an additional 14,000 Starpoints; that’s 3.5 Starpoints per dollar spent, or a return of ~7.7%
On an incremental basis, both of those are excellent returns. Yes, the spend requirement is significant, but assuming you’d otherwise spend $10,000 in non-bonused categories over six months, you won’t do better on any other card, in my opinion. Spending $10,000 would net you a total of 45,000 Starpoints or 4.5 Starpoints per dollar spent.
Will we see a better sign-up bonus on this card in the future?
35,000 Starpoints is the biggest sign-up bonus we’ve seen on the SPG Business Amex, though at some points in the past the spend requirement to earn those points has been lower. Unfortunately I think it’s unlikely that we’ll see a bigger sign-up bonus on this card, or that we’ll see the same bonus with a lower spend requirement anytime soon.
That’s because the clock is ticking on this card, at least in its current form. Marriott took over Starwood more than a year ago, and eventually Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest will all be merged into one. That could happen in 2018 or 2019, though probably not later.
We don’t know what the future of the credit card contract looks like, as it could go to American Express, it could go to Chase, it could be a non-exclusive agreement, etc. Regardless, if/when one of the issuers wins, there’s a good chance that whatever product they introduce will be considered a new product, given that it will be for a “new” loyalty program.
So it’s just unlikely that American Express is going to be spending more money than they already are to market a card with an uncertain future, even if it’s “business as usual” for now.
The other considerations when applying for an American Express business card
In addition to the SPG Business Amex being a rewarding card with a lucrative sign-up bonus and great perks, there are some other general advantages to applying for an American Express business card:
- Typically applying for Amex business cards won’t count towards Chase’s “5/24 limit,” so you can apply for those cards without it counting as an additional open account; along similar lines, many report not having a credit inquiry show when applying for this card
- In the unlikely event that you’re denied for the card, Amex typically conditionally approves people based on their existing customer profile with them, meaning you likely wouldn’t get a credit pull if you already have Amex cards
- Anecdotally American Express business cards are among the easiest to be approved for among business cards, assuming you have excellent credit
While the minimum spend requirement for earning the 35,000 Starpoints on the SPG Business Amex is a bit higher than in the past, I still think this offer is very much worthwhile. Starpoints are one of the most valuable points currencies out there, and I value 35,000 Starpoints at ~$770. Assuming you spend a good amount in non-bonused categories this is a great offer, not to mention this card is a keeper long term thanks to the generous return on spend and great perks.