Review of the Amex Starwood Card – Week 1 (Also, Current Sign-up Bonus Expiring Soon!)

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In case you might have missed it, the Starwood Amex Credit Card is currently running a fantastic sign-up bonus of 30,000 Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points when you spend $4500 within the first 3 months.  You receive 10,000 points upon the first use of the card, and the remaining 20,000 after you meet the minimum spend requirement.  The $65 annual fee is also waived the first year. I know that the spend requirement sounds a little high, but the “normal” offer is 25,000 SPG points after spending $15,000 within 6 months.  That is much, much steeper!  Last summer they ran a similar promo to what they are running now (albeit with a lower minimum spend), and it took a full year for them to offer 30,000 SPG points again.  Obviously I don’t have a crystal ball (though that would be fantastic!), but their track record indicates that an offer like this won’t come around again for quite a while.

This deal is set to expire on August 21st – in just 4 days!  SPG points are pretty much unanimously valued very highly among points and miles collectors.  They can be used for nights at Starwood Hotels (W, Westin, Aloft, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, etc….) and they can be transferred at a very favorable rate to many different frequent flier programs.  Additionally, you can sometimes use miles and points to book rooms (this is typically a great deal), or use points to book flights and rooms at a discounted point rate.  It is important to note that this is a “real” Amex, as opposed to the AAdvantage Citibank Amex card.  In my book, that is a positive.  You can read more about my thoughts about the deal in general in this post.

I applied for the card just about a week and a half ago, and already love it even more than I thought I would.  First, I was automatically approved.  My last couple applications with Chase and Citibank have not been automatic approvals, so that was a big plus in my book.   Then, the card arrived via Express Mail about 36 hours after I was approved.  This is great since you don’t have a ton of time to meet the minimum spend requirement.  I was sold for sure when 24 hours after I made my first purchase on the card, the initial 10,000 SPG points that is awarded upon first use were deposited in my SPG account.  Wow!  I’m used to things like that taking close to 6-8 weeks.  A one day turn-around is phenomenal!

You initially needed someone with the card to refer you for this deal, but the deal is now open to everyone without a referral.  You can apply for the card here.  Some people are still able to refer you for the 30K offer.  The benefit of that is that the referrer also receives 10,000 bonus SPG points for referring you, but some people no longer are able refer for this limited-time offer.  So, if you choose to be referred, just double check the deal you are actually applying for before you click “apply”! 

If your credit score can support another smallish hit, and you can meet the minimum spend requirements, now really is the time to get this card.  Time is running out on this “five alarm deal”, so act quickly!  Here is C at a local fire station today, helping spread the word about this “five alarm deal”!

Do you have this card?  Are you considering this card?  What do you think of it?

BTW, if you have young kiddos, I highly recommending letting them “tour” a local fire station, as we did today.  C had a great time, and she learned about how firefighters are here to help her.  Okay, maybe she just learned that driving a real fire truck is WAY cooler than playing with her little ones at home.  🙂  Either way, we both had a blast. 

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  1. I got instant approval for my card on Saturday, and I’ll hit my minimum spend with wedding related payments. I think this will be a long term keeper card for me because I love posh hotels like the W, and I’m also trying to bolster my AA miles balance, so I’m intrigued by this cards flexibility. On another note, C is such a cutie! You should look into tv station tours for her when she’s a bit older. Kids go nuts seeing themselves on the monitors or seeing their heads floating on the green screens

    • Congrats on the instant approval (and upcoming wedding!). It may be a long-term keep for me as well. Thanks for the comment about C – great idea on the tv station tour!

  2. in this day and age this is hardly a fantastic offer. amex membership rewards are more valuable and easier to get in large quantities. i have this card but only use it for spg spend now. with cards like amex premier rewards gold and chase saphire preferred this is no longer a topn card and they need to do 50k+ sign ups to make it interesting

    • I think you are right that how valuable an offer is varies from person to person. I agree with infamousdx that this offer is on par with many of the 50K offers out there…..to me. To someone else it might not be as good. It all depends what you plan to use the points for. I am all for a 50K sign-up bonus though!!

  3. @Phil – I guess some may think this offer is sub-par but as far as hotel points go, we all know Starpoints are the most valuable out of the bunch. You can easily redeem them from $0.025 – $0.035 per Starpoint. Using those figures, 30k Starpoints are worth $750-1050. Conservatively, this bonus is ON PAR with the 50k sign-up bonuses.

    I think that, on the surface, this bonus may lack the wow factor of the 50-75-100k offers but if you use the points correctly, they are just as good, if not better.

  4. How were you able to get your card in 36 hrs? Although I was also instantly approved, I still have to wait 7-10 days to get the card (I’m on day 8).
    It must be nice to get the blogger special treatment 🙂

    • Blogger special treatment……that makes me laugh a bit. I can guarantee that there is no special treatment of this blogger! Ha ha. My best guess as to why my card came so quickly is that I selected the option to immediately display my credit card number. It gives you a few minutes to enter some info in order for the number to be displayed……I got distracted with my “mommy duties” and that time expired. Perhaps that triggered a quick mail out. Just a guess though………..

  5. @infamousdx – not sure you can really redeem at that level? i am spg plat and rack up around 200k per year and do not value them as high as you do. i value them lower than hyatt points so chase pfd at 50k is massivley more valuable imho. with spg 20k gets me basic room at a cat 6 of which there are very few truly great properties. 22k hyatt gets me a night at ph paris, beaver creek or maldives all of which can easily be $1k a night value. i stick with spg because my base rates are so cheap (cash is king!) and while i like the points i tend to value them more around 2cpm

    • I agree that it all depends on how you plan to redeem your points. At 20K a night, points will go pretty quickly for sure!! I enjoy many of the 10-12K properties, and when cash and points are available, that can really stretch how far 30K can go. It varies so much person to person though! Thanks for sharing your experience!

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