Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Card from American Express sign-up bonus increased! (expired now)

Edit: this deal is now expired!  The current promotion is 25,000 Starpoints (10,000 points after first purchase and another 15,000 after you spend $5,000 within the first 6 months of Cardmembership).  This is still an excellent promotion that I would not hesitate to recommend!

It’s that time again; the Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG) Card from American Express sign up bonus has been increased!  This is one of my favorite credit cards and is undoubtedly one of the best travel credit cards available.  This offer only comes once a year from American Express.

From now until September 3rd, 2013, the sign up bonus for each AMEX SPG card has been increased from 25,000 to 30,000.  This is the highest sign-up bonus that comes with the SPG card.  There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the card, then $65.  The standard APR is 15.24% - 19.24% variable.  I don't hesitate to pay the annual fee for this card because it is so valuable.  
The points will be awarded as:
·                10,000 bonus Starpoints after your first purchase
·                20,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $5,000 in 6 months

Starpoints are extremely valuable and flexible.  They can be used for both hotel stays and flights. Starpoints can be valued at a minimum of around 2 cents and up to 4 cents per point.  

So 30,000 Starpoints can have a cash value of between $600 to $1,200!  I would say on average I have redeemed Starpoints for around 2.5 to 3 cents per point.

Hotel Points
SPG brands include Four Points, Sheraton, Aloft, W Hotels, Le Meridien, Luxury Collection, Element, Westin, and St. Regis.  There are over 1100 participating hotels in nearly 100 countries.  There are several categories of hotel stays in which you can redeem Starpoints.

As you can see, a basic SPG Category 1 hotel can be redeemed for 2,000 points each night.  The most expensive SPG Category 7 hotel will run up to 35,000 points per night.

Special fifth reward night free
A nice feature about Starpoints is that if you redeem five nights with your Starpoints, the fifth night is free at any category 3,4,5,6, and 7 hotel.

Cash and Points Award Nights 

Let’s say you don’t have enough points for a free night.  You can use a combination of cash & points to get a significant discount on your next hotel stay.  This can also be used to stretch out the value of your Starpoints. 

SPG Airline partners 
SPG points can be transferred to over 30 of the major airlines, most at a ratio of 1 point to 1 mile.  There is a special bonus of 5,000 points when you transfer 20,000 points.  For example, you can convert 20,000 Starpoints into 25,000 airline miles.

Participating airlines include: Aeroplan, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, Hawaiian, US Airways, United, Virgin Atlantic, and much more (over 350 airlines).

American Express Backdating
One hidden benefit of having an American Express card is that for every future AMEX card you open up, American Express will “backdate” your membership year to when you first got approved for an American Express card.  This is a great feature that will help keep your average age of accounts older and will ultimately boost your credit score.  This is another reason why if you don't already have an AMEX card, now is the time to open one.

The first year of owning this card is free, so you can really test it out to see if it’s worth the fee.  After the first year, the annual fee is $65 a year.  Most frequent flyer travelers will agree that the SPG card is definitely a keeper. 

Edit: My wife just applied and was approved!  SPG members who reside at the same address (within the last 30 days) can transfer points from one account to another for free!
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Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all info is presented without warranty. Consult a card's issuing bank for terms & conditions.

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