SPG American Express credit card changes

Starwood is making some minor changes to the SPG American Express card. I’m one of those people that uses the Starwood American Express card as my primary card, but almost never stay at SPG hotels. I love the variety of airline transfer partners they have, and in particular the ability to earn 1.25 miles per dollar when transferring in chunks of 20,000 points. And most of the time it’s even more, like the US Airways promotion which ends today, offering an additional 50% transfer bonus, or the American promotion which recently offered an additional 35% bonus.

So the negative changes are that they’re eliminating the annual SPG50 (50% off an SPG stay at rack rate, which I haven’t ever found to be useful) and raising the annual fee from $45 to $65. On the plus side, if you have the card you now get five nights towards elite status annually. That’s not worth anything to me, since I would qualify by stays as opposed to nights if I had status with SPG. And they’re also offering the third free night on Sheraton stays at select properties, though these are likely many of the same properties that currently have such a promotion.

So for me this means an extra $20 a year in annual fees. No biggie, as I still find it to be the best card out there. At the end of the day, with transfer bonuses, I’m still earning almost two miles per dollar on average.

(Tip of the hat to Gary)


  1. As Gary reminded me, one other current (and presumably continuing) benefit of the SPG Amex is that you get pseudo-elite Preferred Plus status, for which you get the same 4pm checkout privileges as Gold and Plat elites. Putting aside the advantages of earning SPG points vs accumulating in other programs, I think late checkout itself is worth $45 (or even $65) a year unless one never, ever stays at Starwood properties.

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