Review of the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express
The Starwood Preferred Guest ® by American Express ® is a flexible hotel points card offering generous points bonuses good enough for two free nights at 4 and 5 star hotels. New cardholders receive 10,000 points for making the first purchase and an additional 15,000 points (called Starpoints®) for spending $5,000 within the first 6 months. Starwood Hotels include the St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W® Hotels, Le Meridien®, Westin®, Sheraton®, AloftSM, ElementSM, and Four Points® by Sheraton.
Cardholders earn 4 Starpoints for every dollar spent at Starwood Hotels (5 if you are a Gold or Platinum status) and 1 point on all other purchases. Room awards can be redeemed for as little as 2,000 points for a Category 1 hotel and there are no blackout dates for standard rooms. Perhaps, the best part is the ability to transfer Starpoints to major frequent flyer program like Delta and American on a 1 to 1 basis, and better yet, Starwood provides a 5,000 bonus for transferring 20,000 or more points!
25,000 points is enough for 2 nights at the above-pictured Category 5 hotel, the Westin St. Francis in San Franciso. Regular rates were at $237 per night when I checked, making the value of the initial bonuses awarded about $474!
ADVANTAGES of the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express:
- 25,000 points in bonuses is enough for 2 free nights at 5-star hotels.
- Ability to transfer points to Delta®, US Airways®, American®, Alaskan®, Hawaiian®, British Airways®, ANA, Air Canada®, and more on a 1 to 1 basis. There are 30 airline transfer partners. United® requires 2 points per mile. In addition, for every 20,000 points you transfer, Starwood gives you a 5,000 point bonus–enough for 2 free nights!
- Redeem for flights, at Avis®, Amtrak®, and for gift cards.
- Foreign transaction fee of 2.7%
- Earn 4 points for every dollar spent at Starwood hotels (5 if Gold or Platinum status).
- Earn 1 point for every dollar spend on all other purchases.
- 10,000 points for making your first purchase.
- Earn an additional 15,000 points for spending $5,000 in 6 months.
- 5,000 points bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints into one of 30 frequent flyer programs
- Can be used for hotel stays as follows:
- Can be redeemed at Avis, on Amtrak, as well as for gift cards at stores such as Nordstrom®, Pottery Barn®, and Banana Republic®.
- Can transfer the points to one of 30 frequent flyer programs.
- Annual: Waived for first year, $65 thereafter.
- Foreign transaction fee: 2.7%
- Upgrades to enhanced rooms at check-in, when available.
- 4 p.m. late checkout, when available.