I learn two things about the Starwood American Express

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Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

I learn something new about credit cards every day. On Thursday I made a post about which credit cards are in my wallet right now, and which I was planning on acquiring soon.

I’m a huge fan of the Starwood American Express, not only because SPG points are incredibly valuable, but also because you earn two elite qualifying stays and five elite qualifying towards status with Starwood annually just for having the card. While I knew the Starwood Business American Express offered the same benefit, I wasn’t aware you could stack them — I was under the impression that two elite qualifying stays and five elite qualifying nights was the most you could earn towards status for any single account from their co-branded American Express cards. But apparently that’s not the case, and you can earn the bonus annually for both cards, for a total of four elite qualifying stays and 10 elite qualifying nights towards status annually. That’s huge for me.

Starwood requires 25 elite qualifying stays or 50 elite qualifying nights annually to earn Platinum status. Since I don’t mind frequently switching hotels I typically qualify for hotel status based on stays as opposed to nights. However, in March Starwood added new benefits to the SPG program, including 10 confirmed suite night upgrade awards for Platinum members with at least 50 nights (with none given to those that just qualify for Platinum on 25 stays).

For me the 10 nights I’ll get for having both cards is the difference between being a Platinum member qualifying on 25 stays, and being a Platinum member qualifying on 50 nights.

Furthermore, as pointed out in the comments section of that post, the Starwood Preferred Guest Business American Express belongs to American Express OPEN, which gets you a 3% discount on all spend at Hyatt hotels. So I think this might just be my new preferred credit card for Hyatt hotels spend within the US. With this card I’d earn one SPG points plus 3% cash back per dollar (which I value at 5.2 cents per dollar), while with the Chase Hyatt Visa I’d earn three points per dollar (which I value at 4.8 cents per dollar), or with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card I’d earn 2 points per dollar (which I value at 4.1 cents per dollar). These valuations are based on my previous posts about the valuations of hotel points and credit card points.

While the difference isn’t huge, it’s something I never previously considered, and enough to make me change my habits.

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  1. I wonder if you can stack again with AMEX Platinum charge card?

    You get automatic gold status with AMEX platinum. I just did this yesterday.

    Since you already have gold in my case would the qualifying stays to reach platinum start at 0 or do you just have to bridge the gap between gold and platinum?

  2. @ foofiter — Unfortunately not. They give you Gold status with the AmEx Plat card, though not any elite qualifying stays or nights. So you’re not actually any closer to Platinum.

  3. Starts at 2/5 (what you get with the spg card), the amex plat doesn’t count for any stays…

  4. I am not familiar with American Express OPEN even though I have the SPG business card. What is it and how do you use it? Do you sign up anywhere?

  5. @Zzz – it is automatic, you should see the OPEN logo on the back of your card, but you can always call Amex to be certain. Go to opensavings.com to see the discount partners, which also includes 5% off most of the budget Marriott brands, but not the Marriott brand itself.

    Frequent Miler also has a number of useful posts on leveraging the OPEN savings discounts with other offers.

  6. For Hyatt Visa calculations, July/August Hyatt spend is being credited at 3.5/$ rather than just 3. At least according to the mailer I received. I assume it’s not targeted?…

  7. For the OPEN savings, it does not include Hyatt Place and Hyatt House…you should check the specific locations first. I believe that HR, GH, PH, and Andaz are eligible though.

  8. I applied for both starwood personal and business cards for bonuses and then closed the personal one to avoid annual fee. I wish I had known earlier about the elite qualifying stays

  9. May take some planning on when to get the Amex Business card. I would hate to get the card this year and not have any stays post till next year. From the AMEX site

    “Upon opening your Card Account and, by February 15th of each subsequent calendar year it is open, you will receive from Starwood credit for 2 stays towards your Starwood Preferred Guest elite status and credit for 5 nights toward your Starwood Preferred Guest Elite status.”

  10. @PerryPlatapus – From my reading, that goes to how SPG calculates elite status based on calendar year. The card gets 2 stays/5 nights for the current year upon opening. Then by Feb. 15 of the next year (new elite qualification period), you get another 2 stays/5 nights.

    This is actually good. I was worried that if I applied now, I would get 2 stays/5 nights for 2012 upon opening, but I wouldn’t get the 2013 benefit until my 1 year anniversary. That would mean I would potentially delay Gold/Platinum benefits until Q3 of 2013. Instead, I get the credit in Q1 of 2013, so it helps me for the full year.

  11. Anyone else find it ironic that the SPG business AMEX is better for spend at Hyatt within the US and the Hyatt VISA is a better option at SPG outside of the US due to no transaction fees?

  12. @Jason – yes, that is how it works. 2 stays/5 nights credit in the calendar year the account is opened and then the same in February of subsequent calendar years.

  13. Eric – I’ve read that they’re planning to add some additional features to the Hyatt card sometime in the near future. If this happens maybe it’ll change things up a bit.

  14. i have been using the SPG Amex for six month. I have not yet received the bonus miles. l also havent received the additional miles for using the SPG credit card at a SPG hotel. I called AMEX customer services multiple times. Nothing. I am thinking about using another credit card.

  15. @Mark,
    I would speak to manager in CS department and not to only one. They have good ways of solving problems.

  16. Does one actually need to have a business to apply for the business card? Can I use my SSN instead of a federal tax id number?

  17. The cards give Gold status only with a minimum annual spend of $30, right?

    If you have both a business and personal, does all $30k need to spent on one (i.e., minimum spend can’t be split across cards)?

  18. looks like the business version no longer gives you 2 stays or 5 nights towards elite status? It’s not listed in the card description.

  19. Does anyone know when the stay and night credits post? I called SPG and SPG Amex and I got 3 different answers. The last person said that it doesn’t show up on the account but instead lowers the requirement. e.g. Platinum level decreases from 25 stays to 23 stays. Can anyone confirm this? Thanks.

  20. @ Ed — Nope, it doesn’t lower the requirement. Usually they post within six or so weeks of getting the card, and then in the new year they post around February.

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