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Continuing the (awesome) theme of credit cards upping their sign-up bonuses and/or increasing their perks, there is more good news today from American Express!
Specifically, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express has not only lowered its minimum spending requirement to trigger the sign-up bonus, but it is also ready to officially announce its benefits makeover!
Beginning on August 11th the SPG Personal Amex will have the following new perks:
- No Foreign Transaction Fees– SPG Card Members can now enjoy international travel without foreign transaction fees from American Express when using their Card on purchases abroad.
- Complimentary, Unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi – SPG Card Members will enjoy complimentary, unlimited Wi-Fi access when they enroll in the Boingo American Express Preferred Plan. Receive Wi-Fi access on up to four devices to more than 1,000,000 hotspots worldwide and pay no Wi-Fi roaming fees.
- Complimentary Premium In-Room Internet Access – SPG Card Members won’t miss a beat while away from family, friends, or the office with complimentary premium in-room internet access at SPG® Participating Hotels when booked via an “eligible channel”.
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Amex also gets this new perk (in addition to the ones above):
- Access to Sheraton Club Lounges for Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Amex cardholders staying on an eligible reservation for the cardholder and a guest in the same room. Card Members with a SPG Business Credit Card feel like VIPs with access to Sheraton Club Lounges, which includes a complimentary daily breakfast, evening selection of premium beverages and hors d’oeuvres, and space for hosting a friend or colleague.
Review of new SPG Amex Benefits:
If you didn’t already have Sheraton Club access via SPG Platinum status, then being able to grab a snack or complimentary daily breakfast vai having the business card is a real improvement. Now, most Sheraton Club Lounges in the US aren’t exactly memorable, but having the option to grab something is better than not having the option!
No foreign transaction fees on both the business and personal cards doesn’t sound near as novel now as it did a few years ago since many rewards cards already have this feature, but for this card it is still a very welcome change. The SPG Amex awards 2x points on SPG charges, so it is very tempting to use it at international SPG properties, but the foreign transaction fees made that a deal killer. Now you can swipe and earn valuable SPG points both in and out of the United States without any additional fees – hurray!
I could have used the card during my recent stays at SPG properties in Madrid and Barcelona if no foreign transaction fees had been in place during that stay!
Earlier this year SPG announced that internet would be free for all SPG members who book directly with SPG, but often hotels have different tiers of internet available, and the free internet available to everyone via that SPG benefit is just standard internet unless you have Platinum status or have Gold status and select that as your “amenity”. This means that for those of us who aren’t SPG Platinums, this premium in-room internet perk is an improvement! You still have to book directly with SPG and the benefit is limited to one room per cardholder. Complimentary Boingo is also handy when traveling, especially at airports that don’t yet have free WiFi for everyone.
The other card perks are staying as they are, and those include:
- 2x points on eligible SPG charges, 1x on most other charges
- Receive credit for 5 nights and 2 stays toward SPG elite status each year (this stacks so if you have business and personal SPG Amex cards you get 10 nights and 4 stays toward SPG elite status)
- Upgrade to SPG Gold status after spending $30,000 in eligible purchases on the card in a calendar year.
The bad news is that the annual fee will be increasing from $65 to $95 effective August 11th, 2015 for both versions of the card. The first year of card membership is still $0, and the $95 kicks in starting at the first anniversary. Personally I currently have the business version of the card, and I’m glad I do since it gets the Sheraton Club perk and the personal card does not.
What do you think of these new benefits for the SPG Amex?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.