Starwood Preferred Guest American Express

by James Andrew Scott on March 4, 2012

in American Express, Starwood Preferred Guest

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%

Earning Points:

  • 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.

Bonus Points:

  • 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

Using Points:

  • 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.

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