November 8, 2016
Why I Love the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card

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Straight to the Point

  • I see Starpoints as the most valuable reward currency out there right now. They can be transferred to 36 airlines across all three major alliances, mostly at a 1:1 ratio, and you get 5,000 bonus miles for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer. And of course you can use the points for free nights at Starwood and Marriott properties like the beautiful St. Regis at the Maldives above.
  • This provides tremendous diversity and protects your points against the constant devaluation we’re seeing across airline specific reward programs.


Sign-up Bonus

  • 25,000 Starpoints after spending $3,000 within the first three months of account opening.
  • I value Starpoints at a conservative $0.03 each as this is the minimum amount for which I’ll redeem them (though you can often redeem for more value).
  • This would make the sign-up bonus worth a conservative $750 (25,000 x $0.03).


Earning Points

  • Earn 2X points per dollar on all Starwood hotel spending.
  • Earn 2X points per dollar on all Marriott hotel spending.
  • Earn 1X point per dollar on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.


SPG Perks

  • Receive credit for 5 nights and 2 stays each year towards SPG Elite status.
  • Receive free in-room Wi-Fi at SPG properties (Not very helpful as you get this anyway if you book your room through SPG).
  • Spend $30,000 in a calendar year to earn instant Starwood/Marriott Gold status.


Travel Perks

  • Free unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at over 1,000,000 hotspots worldwide. (I don’t personally use this much).
  • Travel Accident Insurance: Coverage for accidental death and dismemberment while traveling on a common carrier when your entire fare has been charged to your card (Odd insurance to offer and I’m sure there’s tons of restrictions).


Car Rental Perks

  • Secondary Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance (Restrictions apply, see terms for details. There’s other credit cards with better car rental insurance like the Chase Sapphire Reserve)
  • Roadside Assistance Hotline


Annual Fee

  • $0 for the first year, $95 per year after that.


Should You Apply

  • If you stay at Starwood or Marriott properties I would definitely get this credit card. Starpoints are the most valuable rewards currency you can get right now and the points can be used in so many ways-free economy, business, and first class flights across 36 airlines, free nights at Starwood and Marriott hotels, SPG Moments, Marriott Experiences.
  • Starpoints are a great way hedge against the constant devaluation of airline miles.
  • You get a conservative $750 worth of points with the sign-up bonus upon hitting the spend requirement.