Starwood American Express Review

The Starwood (SPG) American Express offers value to frequent travelers who routinely stay at hotels in the Starwood Hotels and Resorts group.

This hotel group consists of a broad mix of choices in the world’s more frequent business destinations (plus some exotic resort and vacation spots). It includes:

  • W Hotels (with 73 properties worldwide)
  • Regis (51 luxury hotels and resorts around the world)
  • Le Meridien (129 global destinations)
  • The Luxury Collection (made up of 101 hotels and resorts around the world)
  • Sheraton Hotels and Resorts (521 locations around the globe)
  • Four Points by Sheraton (with nearly 290 locations worldwide)
  • Aloft Hotels (with 50 properties in the U.S. and Canada
  • Westin (250 global properties)
  • element by Westin (with 39 locations worldwide)

For people who travel often and routinely choose a hotel in the Starwood group, the Starwood American Express provides a quick and easy way to earn Bonus Starpoints. For this reason, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card is a favorite of frequent business travelers.

SPG Amex

The Starwood American Express is currently offering new account holders the opportunity to earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints when they sign up and are approved for the card. To qualify, you must make at least $3,000 in eligible net purchases during the first three months that your card is active. Net purchases are the total amount of transactions minus any credits and/or returns. Eligible purchases do not include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, or purchases of traveler’s checks or foreign currency. Once you meet the spending threshold, your Bonus Starpoints will appear on your SPG statement in approximately 8-12 weeks.

Cardholders receive up to five Starpoints for every eligible dollar spent on the card at any Starwood Hotels and Resorts – two Starpoints per dollar charged on the card plus the additional two or three Starpoints earned as a Starwood Preferred Guest member (depending on tier). All other eligible purchases earn one Starpoint per dollar. The Starwood American Express makes it easy to turn Starpoints into Airline Miles. Card members are eligible for free flights on more than 150 airlines with no blackout dates depending on total points accrued. Starpoints can also be transferred to 30 airline frequent flyer programs giving cardholders even more flexibility when booking their travel plans. Card members earn an additional 5,000 Starpoint bonus when transferring 20,000 points to a participating frequent flyer program.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts offer three levels of benefits. The Preferred Level is the basic loyalty level. Preferred level members earn two Starpoints for every dollar spent on eligible stays plus can save up to 30% at restaurants and bars located with Starwood properties worldwide. Gold Level is earned after completing 10 eligible stays or 25 eligible nights in one calendar year. In addition to Preferred Level benefits, Gold status members earn three Starpoints per dollar spent on eligible stays as well as late checkout when available, room upgrade, and choice of welcome gift. The highest tier is Platinum Level which is earned after 25 eligible stays or 50 eligible nights within a calendar year. These benefits are the same as Gold but also include complimentary in-room Wi-Fi and complimentary health club, Club-level, and Executive-level access.

American Express recently changed some of the benefits of this card. Members now enjoy the following perks:

  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling outside of the U.S.
  • Complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Note: You must enroll to qualify.
  • Free in-room Premium Internet while staying at SPG participating Hotels. Booking requirements apply.

There is an annual fee of $95 for this card which is waived for the first year.

The Facts

Here we have broken down the facts of the Starwood American Express to assist you in determining if it’s the right card for you.

The Good

Great bonus for Starwood Hotels and Resorts:

The Starwood American Express gives members a fast way to earn valuable Starpoints. Depending on your status level as a Starwood Preferred Guest participant, cardholders can earn up to 5 Starpoints for each eligible dollar spent on the card at any Starwood Hotel and Resort.

Substantial signup bonus:

New account holders can earn up to 25,000 Bonus Starpoints when they sign up and are approved for the Starwood American Express. To qualify, you must make at least $3,000 in eligible purchases on the card within the first three months that your account is active.

Starpoints can be used for flights:

Not only can Starpoints be used for hotel stays but they can also be redeemed for flights. The Starwood American Express gives members the opportunity to redeem points on over 150 airlines- all with no blackout dates. Starpoints also transfer to more than 32 airline partners many of whom give an additional 25,000 transfer bonus. Frequent travelers will appreciate the flexibility and convenience of being able to use Starpoints towards both luxury hotel accommodations and airline tickets.

American Express Benefits:

The Starwood American Express includes additional benefits offered by American Express such as Roadside Assistance Hotline, Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, Global Assist Hotline, Travel Accident Insurance, Extended Warranty on purchases, and Purchase Protection. All of these benefits come with important restrictions and exclusions.

No Foreign Transaction Fees:

Card members are no longer charged foreign transaction fees when using this card while traveling internationally.

The Bad

Annual Membership Fee:

The first year is waived but after that, card members pay $95 per year.

APRs and other fees:

American Express determines the annual percentage rate (APR) for cardholders during the approval process. Rates vary between 15.24% and 19.24% depending on the applicant’s creditworthiness. For members who carry a balance each month, The Starwood American Express does not offer competitive interest rates. Penalty fees, including late payment and returned payment, can be up to $38 per item.

The Ugly:

Fine print with the Bonus points offer:

People who already have an American Express account may not be eligible for the Welcome Bonus Points offer. Also, the Bonus Points offer is not open to current or previous cardholders.