The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express Review
Update: American Express is no longer taking applications for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. To learn about the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program and the co-branded credit cards, click here.
Editorial Note: The information related to the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express has been collected by Credit Cards House and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
Offering generous rewards for every dollar spent, flexibility on how and where you can redeem your rewards and travel extras that can make any trip a vacation, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, a Credit Cards House advertiser, is the type of card that both summer vacationers and frequent travelers can appreciate.
What You Get
With the merger with Marriott, American Express made some significant changes to the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card. With the Starwood Preferred Guest card, you now earn points that can be redeemed at SPG and Marriott brand hotels. While you earn 2 point for each dollar of eligible purchases, you earn 6 points at any of the 29 brand hotels and resorts, which includes well known brands such as Sheraton, Westin, W Hotel, Marriott, Courtyard and more.
You can use your points for free nights at any of their over 6,500 hotels, with no blackout dates. Travelers receive free in-room premium internet access and free unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi hotspot access worldwide. The card also has no foreign transaction fee and the $95 annual fee is waive for the first year (see rates and fees).
New card members can earn 75,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. To understand how valuable this offer is, consider that a current one night stay at a Category 3 Dallas Sheraton costs around $170. But for the same room, you can redeem around 17,500 points and your stay is free. With awards starting at 12,500 points for a Category 2 hotel in the US, the welcome bonus could get you around 6 free nights, which more than offsets the $95 annual fee.
In August 2018 card benefits changed, with the Starwood Preferred Guest program folding into the new merged Marriott loyalty program. Benefits now include:
- Starpoints are now points, and be used between the Marriott and Starwood properties.
- The card will earn 6 points for every dollar at participating Starwood and Marriott properties
- The card will earn 2 points for all other purchases
- 6,500 hotels. The number of hotels where you can earn and redeem points has increased dramatically
- Changes to the point costs for night stays at hotels. In 2019, the program will add peak and off-peak point rates
- 40 airline transfer partners. Gaining new point transfer partners. The program now covers all the major domestic airlines: American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United.
- Through January 1, 2019, you can earn SPG Gold Status after spending $30,000 or more in a calender year. After the new year, cardmembers will have to spend $35,000 in a calender year to earn Gold Status.
Using Starpoints for Travel
One of the downsides of travel rewards credit card is that sometimes you can be locked into one miles program. The Starwood Preferred Guest rewards program allows you to turn points into miles. You can transfer points into the frequent flyer miles programs of most major airlines. There are currently over 40. For most airlines, your points transfer to miles on a 3:1 ratio. If you’re close to a free flight on American or Delta, you can use our points to push you over the edge and take that trip. And if you transfer 60,000 points in a single transaction, you can earn 15,000 bonus points.
What You Don’t Get
While the Starwood Preferred Guest card does offer a lot of flexibility, there is no one-size fits all credit card. Points are only good at Starwood and Marriott brand hotels, so if you find that you mainly stay at other hotel chains, then you might want to consider another card. It also might not be a good option if you mainly fly JetBlue as the points transfer at a rate of 6:1. The card also does not offer a 0% intro APR on balance transfers, or a low APR, and if you want statement credits or cash back then this card may not be the right card for you.
The Starwood credit card combines the largest hotel brands with one of the most flexible point redemption programs. If you are a sometimes-traveler or a road warrior, the wide array of options make theStarwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express a card to definitely investigate.
For rates and fees of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, click here.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.
First published , last updated
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.