The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card by American Express is another must have for the points & miles enthusiast. It’s also a great travel credit card for beginners thanks to no annual fee for the first year and the wide variety of redemption options that include both hotels and airfare.
My husband and I both have this card in our wallets. It’s a double threat because you can redeem the Starpoints earned with this card for both hotels and airfare when you transfer points to an airline partner. Starwood has a great collection of hotels all over the world and we’ve enjoyed staying at more than a few. We’ve also taken advantage of the fact that you earn 5,000 bonus points for every 20,000 you transfer to an airline partner. Whatever destination is first on your bucket list, this card probably has a way to get you there.
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card Sign-up Bonus
Currently, this card has a sign-up bonus of 25,000 Starwood points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. The minimum spending requirement is pretty standard for a travel credit card, but make sure you’ve done a financial check-up before you apply. Keep in mind that this card is issued by American Express and less merchants accept American Express than Visa or MasterCard. If you plan on paying your regularly scheduled bills to meet the minimum spending requirement, make sure they accept American Express before you sign-up. (I still forget this every single time.) There are occasionally increased sign-up bonuses so this is the kind of card you might want to watch for a few months before you apply.
If you’d like to sign-up now, we’ve provided our SPG referral link here. If you use my link, you get the sign-up bonus listed and I get the commission listed which helps me provide content for this site. You don’t have to use my links, but I certainly appreciate it when you do.
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card Annual Fee
As with any credit card, you should thoroughly read the pricing, terms, and offer details on the American Express website before you apply. You can find all of those details here. As previously mentioned, I don’t discuss things like interest rates on this blog because you should pay your balance off every month and never pay those fees. If you pay interest fees, you negate your free travel and you lose the points & miles game.
This card does have an annual fee of $95, but it’s waived the first year so you can take advantage of the sign-up bonus without committing to a card with an annual fee. If you decide you don’t want to pay that fee after the first year, you can call and see if you qualify for a retention offer or cancel the card. A retention offer is an additional bonus or statement credit that a credit card company offers in exchange for you keeping your card open another year.
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card Bonus Spending Categories
With the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card, you can earn up to 5 Starpoints for purchases at Starwood hotels. This is a little deceptive because you actually earn 2 Starpoints for being a card member on top of the 2 or 3 you earn by just being a member of Starwood Preferred Guest. You also earn 2 points at Marriott hotels and 1 point on everything else.
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card Additional Benefits
This card comes with some additional goodies like no foreign transactions fees, purchase protection, and return protection. You also get free in-room WiFi at SPG hotels which is always nice.
The easiest way to redeem Starpoints is for free nights at Starwood hotels. The other great way to redeem Starpoints is by transferring your points to one of over 30 airline transfer partners. You can do both directly from the SPG portal. I’ll go into greater detail about redeeming Starpoints in another post. Starpoints do not have a fixed value so I can’t give you a concrete value for this sign-up bonus. Your value will vary greatly depending on your redemption choices.
My husband and I both have this card. We had very different experiences when it came time for redemption. You can read more about that here.
Final Thoughts on the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card
I love my Starwood Preferred Guest credit card so much that I signed my husband up as soon as they offered an elevated sign-up bonus. Even though we’ve used both our bonuses, I decided to keep mine open because I received a retention offer. You can only receive a sign-up bonus from each American Express credit card once per lifetime so make sure to put your Starpoints to good use. SPG and Marriott are in the process of merging. They have not released the full details of what the combined rewards program will look like just yet. I highly recommend taking advantage of the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card before the merger is complete.